Pakistani Opposition Parties to Form Coalition

February 21, 2008 05:42 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Leaders of the two main opposition parties vow to form a coalition government despite disagreements over how to reinstate the country’s judiciary.

30-Second Summary

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari met with Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) today in Islamabad.

After what the International Herald Tribune described as “make-or-break” talks, the two leaders held a joint press conference where they announced plans to work together to create a coalition government.

“We intend to stay together and be together in the parliament," Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, told reporters. “We intend to strengthen Pakistan together.”

The meeting comes as Pakistani lawyers continue demonstrations for the reinstatement of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf dismantled the country’s judiciary during emergency rule last November.

The reinstatement of Chaudhry, and the rest of the Pakistani judiciary, has been a point of contention between the two party leaders. Sharif is a strong proponent of reinstating Chaudhry, while Zardari has said that such a move should be decided by the new National Assembly.

The leaders, whose parties won the most votes in Monday’s general elections, did not say whether they would push for the removal of Musharraf.

In fact, what to do about the Pakistani president has been a point of contention between former Prime Minister Sharif and Zardari.

Sharif and the PML-N have been adamant in their criticism of Musharraf, calling his current rule illegal.

By contrast, until today some analysts thought Zardari would align the PPP, who won the most parliamentary seats in the elections, with the remnants of Musharraf’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q.

Headline Link: ‘Bhutto's Widower and Sharif Meeting to Discuss Pakistan Coalition’

Background: Lawyers protest


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