No breakthrough in PPP, PML-N talks

May 11th, 2008 - 6:25 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Nawaz Sharif
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, May 11 (IANS) Pakistan’s leading ruling coalition partners, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have failed to reach an agreement to reinstate superior court judges as a senior American official reached London for possible mediation. “US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher is likely to meet (PPP co-chairman) Asif Ali Zardari and (PML-N head) Nawaz Sharif in London,” the ARY television said in its report from London Sunday. The channel quoting unnamed sources said Boucher reached London on his way back home from Dhaka.

However, in Pakistan no one, either from the PML-N camp or the PPP quarters, confirmed or denied the report.

According to media reports, a spokesman for the State Department in Washington was also unaware of Boucher’s London schedule.

Zardari again met Nawaz in London this week to resolve the issue of reinstating about 60 judges of the superior courts that were sacked by President Pervez Musharraf when he imposed emergency Nov 3 last year.

PML-N party leader and Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif confirmed to television channels there was no headway in the talks.

“The ball is in the court of PPP. We have tried our level best but so far no achievement has been made,” Shahbaz Sharif told the Geo television from London.

Back at home, PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said: “We do not support a judiciary which is subservient to the executive.”

Asked if his party will part ways with PPP in case they failed to reach any decision, Khan said: “We are committed to restoration of judges and nothing less than that is acceptable.”

He said Nawaz Sharif would return Monday morning and their party would meet the same day to take a final decision in this regard.

Nawaz Sharif had said the National Assembly would approve a resolution on this matter May 12 and on the same day it would be followed by the official restoration of the judges.

PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar, however, downplayed reports of a deadlock and said: “There is progress, there is hope.”

Babar said party stalwarts from both sides held meetings till late Saturday night and had “narrowed down” differences over the reinstatement of judges and independence of judiciary.

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