Pak Affairs

Coalition leaders agree on Musharraf’s impeachment, judges’ restoration- Chances for 58-2B

ISLAMABAD: The coalition parties have decided to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Pervez Musharraf and restore all deposed judges strictly in accordance with the Murree Declaration immediately after impeachment of the President. This was stated in a joint communiqué read out by PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari at a joint news conference with PML-(N) leader Mian Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Thursday following three days of their deliberations in Islamabad and Karachi.

They said in view of President Musharraf’s wrong policies and failure to get vote of confidence from the newly elected assemblies as per commitment given by him to the Supreme Court, the coalition leadership has decided to move impeachment proceedings against him. Mr. Zardari said people of Pakistan gave a clear mandate in favour of democracy and democratic forces on in February 18 elections and voted for ouster of General Musharraf by defeating his king’s party.

He said in spite of his clear cut commitment that if his party was defeated in the elections he would resign, Mr. Musharraf continues to cling to the office of the President. This is despite the fact that he made a clear cut commitment before the Supreme Court that he will get vote of confidence from newly elected assemblies.

Mr. Zardari said the President also failed to address the parliament as required in article 56 of the constitution. The joint communiqué points out that the economic policies pursued by General Musharraf during the last eight years have brought Pakistan to the brink of critical impasse.

Incompetence and failure of his policies threw the country into worst power shortage in its history.

His policies have weakened the federation and he is working to undermine transition to democracy. The joint communiqué says that the four provincial assemblies, which constitute part of the Electoral College for election of the President, will adopt resolutions demanding President Musharraf to take a vote of confidence immediately as committed before the Supreme Court.

The Coalition has decided that it will immediately initiate impeachment proceedings against the President and present a charge sheet against him. The coalition leadership further resolve to restore all judges removed through extra-constitutional means by General Musharraf on November 5 last year, strictly in accordance with the Murree Declaration immediately after impeachment of the President.

The coalition partners also expressed their resolve to implement the Charter of Democracy and work together to steer the country on the path of constitutional governance. It further resolved to restore supremacy of the constitution, independence of judiciary, rule of law and make efforts to avert impending economic crisis which the coalition inherited on 31st of March this year.

The coalition parties also expressed their clear determination to restore genuine democracy which includes repeal of 17th amendment as enunciated in the Charter of Democracy, restore true federal parliamentary system based on the 1973 constitution. Mr. Zardari requested PML-(N) to rejoin the Federal Cabinet as an expression of solidarity with the decision of the coalition to restore judges in accordance with the Murree Declaration.

PML-(N) Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif said he fully subscribes to each and every word of the joint communiqué. Replying to a question about possibility of use of article-58/2(B) by the President, the PML-(N) leader said the country suffered a lot due to adventures and we can no longer afford such things. To another question he said the PML-(N) would take a decision about rejoining of the cabinet tomorrow.

Replying to yet another question he said the process of impeachment would begin during the next few days. All provincial assemblies would ask the President to secure vote of confidence and National Assembly would also be convened shortly. Mian Nawaz Sharif said their alliance is strong and they would not allow it to break. Mr. Rehmatullah Kakar of JUI (F), Haji Adeel of ANP and Noorul Haq Qadri from FATA, who were also present on the occasion, said they support decisions of the coalition partners.

Further more Jamiat-Ulema-e- Islam-F (JUI-F) has decided on Thursday to support the ruling coalition’s decisions on president’s impeachment and judges’ restoration. Sources said that JUI held a meeting headed by its chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman in Islamabad Thursday in which they decided to support any joint move by the PPP and PML-N on president’s impeachment and judges’ reinstatement.JUI leader Maulana Amjad Khan said his party would fully support the ruling coalition on judges’ restoration and president’s impeachment.

According to reports President Pervez Musharraf has held detailed consultations with constitutional expert Sharifuddin Pirzada and discussed ways and means to shield himself against impeachment. According to reliable sources, President has made telephonic contacts with MQM Chief, Altaf Hussain, President PML-Q, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Chief of PPP (Sherpao) Aftab Sherpao, PML-F Chief, Pir Pagara and Chief Awami Muslim League, Shaikh Rashid.

While a Political analyst professor Rasool Bakash Raees said that President Musharraf could impose emergency if the coalition parties impeach the president. Talking to the media here, he said unlike the past Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is manifesting unity over impeachment of the president.

They also consulted other allied leaders like Maulana Fazalur Rehman and ANP leader Asfandyar Wali. Raees said the president can imposed emergency and can use 58-2B. He added that Musharraf could resolve the assemblies and can appoint interim government for two years. However, according to constitution he can not impose emergency with out the sanction of the parliament, he said. -SANA

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Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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