Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Zardari, Nawaz agree to impeach Musharraf

Daily Times, August 6, 2008

* PPP co-chairman agrees to impeachment following Kh Asif’s assurance that coalition has strength to sack president
* PPP says coalition partners to be consulted before today’s meeting
* PML-N leader says coalition to prepare charge sheet against Musharraf

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday agreed in principle to impeach President Pervez Musharraf, provided that all coalition partners assured their support for this endeavour.

He conceded this conditional agreement to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif during a “make-or-break” meeting that was meant to resolve contentious issues between the two coalition partners, including the sacked judges’ reinstatement and the impeachment of the president.

Kh Asif’s assurance: Sources privy to the meeting told Daily Times that the agreement came about after senior PML-N leader Khawaja Asif assured Zardari that the coalition partners had sufficient strength to impeach President Musharraf if the PPP took the initiative. “Both parties agreed that the issue of reinstating the sacked judges could easily be resolved once they succeeded in getting rid of President Musharraf,” the sources added.

According to the sources, Nawaz also complained to Zardari about not taking his party into confidence over the military operations in FATA and NWFP, and an increase in petroleum prices. “Syed Naveed Qamar told Nawaz that [PML-N] Senator Ishaq Dar had been apprised of the petroleum price increase,” the sources added.

Consultations: Following the meeting, which lasted six hours, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar told reporters that the “discussions were held in a very cordial manner and were very positive, frank and productive”. “Major progress was made as broad consensus emerged on key issues,” he added.

He said the talks would resume on Wednesday at Zardari House at 11.30am, adding that prior to this, the remaining coalition partners, including Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, would be consulted. “Mian Raza Rabbani and Ishaq Dar were assigned to initiate contact with the coalition partners,” the sources added.

Charge sheet: Khawaja Asif told Geo News that all parties in the ruling alliance would prepare a charge sheet against Musharraf and have an open debate on it. He said the president would be allowed to defend himself, adding that evidence was being gathered for the charge sheet.

Also on Tuesday, Information Minister Sherry Rehman told a private TV channel that the meeting between Zardari and Nawaz was “very positive and cordial”. She told Geo News that the agenda of the meeting was to evolve a joint strategy on national issues, APP reported.

Speaking to reporters after arriving in Karachi to meet the ANP president, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the nation would soon hear “good news” regarding the reinstatement of the sacked judges. He said that he hoped the ruling coalition would remain intact. Meanwhile, Geo News reported that Nawaz has summoned a party meeting at 10.30am in Murree today (Wednesday), ahead of his meeting with Zardari. The channel said Nawaz would seek his party leaders’ advice during the meeting. zulfiqar ghuman/daily times monitor

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