Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday called for "last minute efforts" to restore dismissed judges and refused the resignation of ministers from Nawaz Sharif’s party, who pulled out of the six-week-old cabinet over the issue.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) withdrew from the cabinet due to differences with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), its main coalition partner, over the reinstatement judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf in November 2007.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called for a "last minute effort" to save his six-week-old coalition government, after refusing to accept the resignations of the ministers.
“The judges were supposed to be restored 30 days after the new government was formed but this issue has been taken lightly (by the coalition government),” Sharif told FRANCE 24.
Nine out of 24 cabinet members belong to the PML-N; they are turning their resignations in to the prime minister, Yousaf Gilani, on Tuesday, Sharif said. But Gilani declined to accept their resignation, saying he would wait until PPP's co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari returns to the country from London on Tuesday evening. Zardari is the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007.
The ministers' resignation follows three days of unsuccessful talks between Sharif and Zardari in
Sharif said his party wants the judges to be restored rapidly with their old powers through a simple resolution in parliament, but the PPP, who is pushing for limitations on the judges’ powers, wants to reinstate the judges through proper constitutional measures.
“We promised a change to the people of
‘Fight against dictatorship will continue’
President Pervez Musharraf dismissed some 60 judges during a state of emergency in November 2007 as the Supreme Court prepared to rule on the validity of his Oct. 6 reelection, replacing them with political allies. After opposition parties won February’s legislative elections, they formed a coalition headed by the PPP and PML-N. Sharif said he made the judges’ reinstatement a condition of his party joining the government.
“We pledged to the people of this country that we will restore the judges and we want to fulfill this pledge,” Sharif told
The PPP, meanwhile, will continue to pursue talks with PML-N to resolve the current crisis. Farzana Raja told
The newly-formed government had set a May 12 deadline for the reinstatement of the judges but failed to do so. “We cannot keep setting deadlines to restore the judges,” Sharif said. “This is the second deadline that we’ve missed. We should have allowed them long ago to take their position through a simple resolution in parliament,” Sharif said.
May 12 marked the first anniversary of clashes between supporters of sacked chief judge Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Musharraf in
On Nov. 3, as the Supreme Court prepared to rule on the validity of his Oct. 6 reelection, Musharraf declared emergency rule. He suspended the constitution and sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and other top judges. Lawyers and journalists took to the streets and were brutally repressed.
Date created : 2008-05-13