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PPP wants Musharraf to seek trust vote

Source: PTI
August 05, 2008 13:31 IST
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The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party is considering asking President Pervez Musharraf to seek a vote of confidence from parliament as an alternative to impeachment, in an apparent effort to placate its ally the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and ensure the continuance of their alliance.

PPP sources said the move is designed to provide a respectable way out for Musharraf and save the coalition from breaking up. The move will also clear the way for reinstating the judges deposed by Musharraf during last year's emergency by allowing them to be administered a fresh oath by a new democratically elected President, the Dawn newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The move was reportedly discussed by the PPP's top leadership at a meeting in IslamabadĀ on Monday, chaired by party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

It is also expected to be taken up at a meeting on Tuesday between PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Zardari to decide the future of the coalition.

The reinstatement of the deposed judges has become a divisive issue for the coalition, with the PML-N insisting that they be restored through a parliamentary resolution. However, the PPP has linked the restoration of the judges to a controversial constitutional reforms package.

Musharraf's attorneys, Malik Qayyum and Sharifuddin Pirzada, had given an assurance to the Supreme Court last year that the president would get a fresh vote of confidence from the new parliament after the 2008 general election.

On the basis of this assurance, the apex court had allowed the announcement of the results of last year's presidential election. The court had earlier withheld the results of the polls, which Musharraf had contested before giving up the post of army chief.

PPP sources said the party's leadership had decided to stick to its stand that the deposed judges would have to take a fresh oath if they wanted to get themselves restored to their positions.

According to the sources, PPP leaders also discussed a line of action to be followed in the event of the PML-N deciding to withdraw support to the coalition and sit in the opposition. Such a move would also have repercussions in the politically crucial province of Punjab, where the PML-N heads a coalition government that includes the PPP.

For this reason, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and prime minister's adviser Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, a key leader from the province, were specially invited to Monday's meeting of the PPP leadership to discuss the likely situation in Punjab in case of withdrawal of PML-N's support, the paper said.
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