Sharif, Zardari ask Musharraf to convene parliament session

March 9th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
(Lead, changing dateline)
By Muhammad Najeeb
Bhurban (Pakistan), March 9 (IANS) The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Sunday decided to form a coalition government and asked President Pervez Musharraf to immediately convene the session of the national and provincial assemblies. They also agreed to restore the sacked judges of the superior courts. PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N head Nawaz Sharif accompanied by their aides held a three-hour meeting in Murree at Sharif’s holiday villa and discussed the government formation at the centre and in the provinces after the Feb 18 elections, in which parties supported by Muhsrraf were defeated.

They also signed a declaration in front of the media at a joint press conference at hill resort Bhurban, some 60 km from Islamabad.

According to the declaration which Sharif read out at the press conference, both parties agreed to restore the sacked judges through an act of parliament within 30 days of the inaugural session of the National Assembly.

The “PPP-PML-N Summit Declaration” also said the prime minister will be nominated by the PPP, the major partner in the coalition.

While the speaker and the deputy speaker of the National Assembly will be from PPP, in Punjab the PML-N will name the chief minister, the speaker and the deputy speaker.

The two leaders announced the decision to restore the judges on a day lawyers throughout the country took out rallies to press their demand for restoration of judges sacked by Musharraf when he imposed emergency Nov 3.

“We are now committed to restore the judges and that will be done within 30 days,” Sharif told journalists. He said that modalities were decided between the two parties.

Zardari said he offered the prime minister’s position to Sharif but he refused, saying that it was the PPP’s right as it was the largest single party in the National Assembly.

After allocation of seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, the PPP has obtained 120 seats while the PML-N now has 90 seats in the 342-member house. However, the Election Commission is yet to announce the results for 10 seats.

The PPP has yet to announce its candidate for the top executive position. There are speculations that it will name either Makhdoom Amin Fahim or Ahmed Mukhtar as prime minister.

However, many say that Zardari himself is a candidate for the top position and whoever is named prime minister will be in the position for just three months until he (Zardari) is elected to the National Assembly.

According to the constitution, only an elected member of the lower house of parliament or the National Assembly can be the prime minister. Zardari is likely to contest the by-polls to be held next month.

Both Zardari and Sharif, without naming Musharraf, said the sessions of the National and the provincial assemblies should be convened immediately.

Musharraf Saturday said that the session of parliament will be summoned in two weeks.

“Results have been announced, we (PPP and PML-N) have decided to form a coalition government with other parties, now there should be no excuse for delay in calling parliament in session,” Sharif told journalists.

“Enough is enough, there is no room for dictatorship in the country… he should quit now,” Sharif told reporters, saying the “dictator” had added to the problems in the country and now an elected government should be allowed to run the country in a democratic way.

“Musharraf is illegal and unconstitutional president and he is not acceptable to us,” he said.

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