Pakistan’s ruling coalition end talks in Dubai(Lead)

May 1st, 2008 - 8:56 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Nawaz Sharif
By Aroonim Bhuyan and Muhammad Najeeb
Dubai/Islamabad, May 1 (IANS) Two major partners of Pakistan’s ruling coalition ended their crucial talks in Dubai Thursday on the issue of restoration of sacked judges, with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif saying the matter would be resolved in accordance with an earlier agreed formula. “Both sides have agreed on both the issues - on Pervez Muharraf and restoration of judges,” Sharif, former prime minister, told reporters

“The restoration of judges will take place in accordance with the Muree declaration,” he said, but hinted that a constitutional amendment could be brought about to solve the issue.

Sharif refused to give details, saying they would talk to reporters after a PML-N parliamentary party meeting in Lahore Friday. He also did not elaborate on what the parties decided on Musharraf future and powers.

Calling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari his “brother”, Sharif said he was “very happy at the way the PPP took forward the talks in a positive manner.”

Sharif leaves for Pakistan Thursday night.

Before the formation of the government last month, both PPP and PML-N signed the Murree Declaration that they would reinstate the sacked judges within 30 days of assuming power.

The PML-N and PPP held the last round of their talks at the Jumeirah Hilton hotel in Dubai, a day after the expiry of their self-set 30-day deadline for deciding on the restoration of sacked judges of Pakistan’s higher judiciary.

On Wednesday, the two dominant partners of the ruling four-party coalition held seven hours of talks after their marathon discussions on Monday remained inconclusive.

The PML-N delegation was to return to Pakistan Wednesday night, but decided to stay on for one more round of talks Thursday.

The judges were sacked by President Pervez Musharraf when he imposed emergency last November.

Sharif arrived in Dubai Tuesday night in a last-ditch bid to work out a solution with Zardari. Talks were being held in Dubai as Zardari had “some personal issues to attend to”, according to Nissar Ali. Zardari and his wife late Banazir Bhutto, former prime minister who was assassinated in December last year, had set up home in Dubai during the family’s long years of self-exile.

The PML-N is determined to undo the decisions of Musharraf and assert the democratically elected government’s authority. It even questions the legality of Musharraf’s presidentship. The PPP is not too keen on linking constitutional reforms and restoration of judges.

PML-N sources said party leaders wanted the judges to be restored within the set deadline as they believed any delay would leave a bad impression on the lawyers’ community in particular and the public in general.

The two sides differ widely over the modalities of restoring the judges, especially the proposed constitutional package that envisages fixing the tenure for the chief justice. The PML-N is averse to the idea of fixing any tenure for the post.

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