PML-N rules out change in stance on judiciary

February 22, 2008

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 21: The Pakistan Muslim League-N has decided to stand by its demand for reinstatement of deposed judges during talks with other parties on government formation and not to form coalition with any party which does not agree to restoration of the judiciary.

“We will not be part of any government which compromises on our basic demands, such as revival of the Constitution, reinstatement of (deposed) judges and an independent election commission,” said PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan while talking to reporters after a joint meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) and the parliamentary committee here on Thursday.

In the meeting, members elected Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif as their parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly and Punjab Assembly, respectively, despite the fact the two brothers had even not contested the elections.

Chaudhry Nisar said that Mr Sharif would announce, in a couple of days, whether to join hands with the Pakistan People’s Party after consultations with other political parties. He said about 18 newly-elected independents and many members of the PML-Q were in contact with them and wanted to join the PML-N.

Talking to Dawn, PML-N joint secretary Siddiqul Farooque said the CWC had authorized Nawaz Sharif to hold consultations with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and other parties on the issue of the formation of governments at the centre and in provinces.

Mr Farooque said that Mr Sharif informed the CWC and newly-elected MNAs that reinstatement of judges of superior courts was a cornerstone of the party’s policy and there would be no compromise on the issue.

According to Mr Farooque, Mr Sharif also briefed the members on the talks he had held with the US Ambassador after the Feb 18 elections. He said the US ambassador had told him that Washington was ready to cooperate with the future government. Mr Nawaz Sharif, he said, had informed the ambassador about the extent to which the PML-N could go in cooperation with the US.

Mr Farooque said the party had adopted a unanimous resolution, asking President Gen (retd) Pervez Mushararf to step down. The resolution said that President Musharraf had himself announced that he would resign from the office if his popularity went down. He said the party believed that after the Feb 18 elections, it was time for President Musharraf to quit because that was also in the best interest of the nation.

Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Shahbaz Sharif, Raja Zafarul Haq, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Ishaq Dar, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Anjum Aqeel.