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Pakistan: PML(N), PPP clinch deal
March 09, 2008 19:13 IST
Reversing its earlier stand in an apparent bid to provide stability, Nawaz Sharif's PML(N) on Sunday decided to join the PPP-led coalition government and the two parties agreed to re-instate all the judges sacked by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] within a month of assuming power.
The long-time foes clinched a power-sharing deal etching the contours of the new government at a one-to-one meeting between PPP chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Sharif at the former premier's weekend retreat in the hill resort of Murree, 60 km from Islamabad under tight security.
A joint declaration signed by Sharif and Zardari, widower of former premier Benazir Bhutto [Images], however, made no mention of possible impeachment of Musharraf, an idea championed by PML(N) but disfavoured by PPP which has said that it does not want to "rock the boat".
"In her (Bhutto's) memory we signed this... and Insha Allah (God willing) we intend to stick to the road to democracy," Zardari said after the meeting.
The PML-N, which had earlier said that it will support the government from outside, agreed to be part of the federal cabinet and to support the PPP's nominee for the post of prime minister. PPP emerged as the largest party in the March 18 poll, winning 120 of 342 seats while PML (N) had bagged 90.
The PPP said it would join the PML-N-led government in the politically crucial Punjab as the two parties asked Musharraf to immediately convene the National Assembly.
The parties said the new parliament will move a resolution within 30 days of forming government to restore the pre-emergency judiciary. Sharif had been insisting that the judges be reinstated immediately while the PPP had been saying that the matter should be resolved by parliament.
The PML-N had demanded the reinstatement of judges, including the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, which has been strongly opposed by Musharraf who had even said that he would quit if such a step was taken.
"We have decided that the restoration of the deposed judges as it was on November 2, 2007 shall be brought about through a Parliamentary resolution to be passed in the national assembly within 30 days of the formation of the federal government," Sharif said.
The two parties said they would forge a common minimum agenda that will provide good governance and end dictatorship in the country.
The joint declaration said they would form a government to translate into action the mandate given by the people in last month's general election.
Sharif, who was deposed by Musharraf in a coup in 1999, once again reiterated his demand for the military ruler to quit following the defeat of the President's supporters in the February 18 general election.
"If Musharraf and his supporters say this is a hung parliament, they should not have any misperceptions that it will tolerate dictatorship," Sharif said.
"The people gave a verdict against his dictatorial rule of eight years. I think he should accept the reality and the people's verdict and not delay the formation of the government," he said.
The joint declaration said: "The leadership was of the firm opinion that the coalition partners are ready to form the governments and the national and provincial assemblies should be convened immediately.''