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Crisis in Pakistan's ruling coalition deepens

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad | August 24, 2008 16:42 IST

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The crisis encircling Pakistan's fragile ruling coalition reached a boiling point on Sunday with the Pakistan People's Party refusing to comply with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's demand on reinstating sacked judges within a deadline and the ally also not enthusiastic about supporting Asif Ali Zardari for presidency.

PPP chairman Zardari said his understanding with the PML-N on reinstating the judges deposed by ex-president Pervez Musharraf [Images] during emergency rule last year was not "sacrosanct" and could be modified to suit the evolving political scenario.

Former premier Nawaz Sharif, the chief of PML-N who has set a Monday deadline for the sacked judges' restoration, is reluctant to commit his party's support for Zardari's candidature for presidency unless the post is stripped of sweeping powers to dissolve Parliament and dismiss the premier.

Following Zardari's comments on the understanding over the judges issue, a PML-N spokesman said efforts by a committee to draft a resolution for reinstating the deposed judges had become "irrelevant".

Understandings between political parties cannot be "termed as agreements" and agreements and declarations between the PPP and PML-N on restoring the judges are not holy scriptures that cannot be "altered or modified" to suit political developments, Zardari told BBC Urdu in an interview.

Zardari refused to set a timeframe for restoring the judges.

He also said the PPP had "no reservations" against Musharraf staying on in Pakistan following his resignation last week as the party does not believe in revenge.

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