May 122008

Nawaz announces collapse of London negotiations; ready for more parleys; future course of action after 12th

Talks between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leaders on the restoration of the deposed judges collapsed in London on Friday.

“Both sides stuck to their points of view,” announced PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif after two rounds of negotiations. The first round was held at the residence of Nawaz Sharif while the second round took place at a location kept secret from the media.

In the first round, Rehman Malik and Hussain Haqqani accompanied Asif Ali Zardari, while Shahbaz Sharif and Khwaja Asif accompanied Nawaz Sharif. After the first round, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif said they could accept the continuation of the PCO judges on ad hoc basis.

Khwaja Asif said while the second round was in progress that efforts were being made to reach a decision. Later, Nawaz Sharif, while talking to newsmen, announced that the talks could not succeed as differences persisted between both sides on certain issues. Despite lengthy discussions, differences could not be removed, he said.

He said Zardari sought more time to reconsider the contentious issues. He said he would be in London till the evening of Saturday and was ready for more talks. When asked about the course his party would take, he said he would not say anything final in this regard before May 12, the deadline for the restoration of the deposed judges. He said they were bound to wait till May 12 for the restoration of the judges through a resolution in the National Assembly followed by an executive order.

He said in the Dubai talks he agreed to extend the original deadline of 30 days set in the Murree Declaration because of two reasons. The first, he said, because they wanted that the judges were restored in any case as the future of the country depends on the solution to this issue. The second, his party remain an ally of the PPP for the stability of the country.

Nawaz Sharif also said he swallowed a bitter pill in the Dubai talks by agreeing to the continuation of the PCO judges. He said two members of the committee, namely Fakhruddin G Ibrahim and Aitzaz Ahsan, were of the view that the PCO judges could be retained as ad hoc judges while Abdul Hafiz Pirzada differed with them. He said he agreed with the view of Fakhruddin G Ibrahim and Aitzaz Ahsan and considered it a workable formula.

He denied any foreign pressure during talks saying at least he was not under any foreign pressure. He said they would ensure that Article 58-2(b) and 17th Amendment were done away with and the Constitution was restored to the position prior to Oct 12, 1999.

He held President Pervez Musharraf responsible for destroying the judiciary, parliament and the media to achieve his political objectives. These institutions should never be politicised, he said. When asked about the possibility of joining hands with the PML-Q, he said it was impossible. He said PML-Q, an ally of Musharraf, was responsible for all the ills.

Source: The News, 10/5/2008

 Posted by at 6:37 pm

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