ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that he has not promulgated ordinance regarding establishment of Shariah courts in Swat so far. In an interview to Sky News broadcast yesterday, Zardari said “there exists a Federal Shariah Court in Pakistan” and all matters relating to the interpretation of Qur’an and Sunnah are referred to that court.
He also told the British TV network, “Militant Taleban hold no territory in Pakistan. Our forces have pushed most of the militants out of Pakistan. If some of them are hiding we are working hard to track and hunt them.” He said Pakistan’s military is better equipped to track down and capture terrorists along its lawless border with Afghanistan than US forces, whose presence threatens to unite opposition factions into a cohesive anti-democratic coalition.“Give us the intelligence and tools we will do the job,” Zardari said, adding, “It’s far better done by our forces than yours.”
He dismissed suggestions that his country was a greater terror threat than neighboring Afghanistan. Asked what was his message to US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Zardari replied: “You’ve got democracy, democracy is part of the solution, but… the second part of the solution is with you, so please give us that help that we need.”
Separately, Zardari called for national reconciliation in a Pakistan Day message yesterday, as he sought to mend fences with the opposition after defusing a political crisis by restoring the country’s top judge.
The reinstatement of Iftikhar Chaudhry as Supreme Court chief justice a week ago averted a looming violent street confrontation.
But tension has lingered between Zardari’s party and its main rival, the party of former Prime Minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, in particular over control of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous and most politically influential province.
Pakistan’s Western allies fear political upheaval distracts the nuclear-armed country, a key US ally, from fighting spreading militancy and reviving its flagging economy.
“On this day I urge everyone to work in the spirit of tolerance, mutual accommodation and respect for dissent and invite every one to participate in the national effort for … reconciliation and healing the wounds,” Zardari said.
Zardari, whose party heads a civilian government that came to power a year ago after eight years of military rule, said the rule of law and constitutionalism had at times been “trampled by dictators,” a cycle that he said had to come to an end.
The restoration of Chaudhry and other judges had raised the expectation of the people that the cycle was ending, he said.
On Sunday, Zardari delivered a message of reconciliation to Sharif through Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Sharif welcomed the call, saying reconciliation was the “need of the time.”
Despite that, potentially divisive issues remain including the question of Sharif’s eligibility for elected office and who controls Punjab province. The Supreme Court ruled on Feb. 25 that Sharif and his politician brother, Shahbaz, were ineligible to hold elected office. The ruling nullified a by-election victory by Shahbaz Sharif and disqualified him from being chief minister of Punjab.
The Sharif party’s government was thrown out of power in the province and Zardari imposed central rule there for two months.
Courtesy : Arab News