By Dilshad Azeem
ISLA MABAD: The top PPP leadership told its Central Executive Committee (CEC) on Saturday that President Pervez Musharraf could not be forced to quit through an impeachment motion or some other means, at least, in the near future.
“The reason for abstaining from such a measure is the fact that Pervez Musharraf still enjoys the American backing and the establishment’s support,” the sources quoted PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and other key leaders as telling the CEC meeting.
The sources privy to the CEC session said that the meeting had a general approach to Musharraf’s remaining in the presidency after Asif Ali Zardari apprised them of the situation on the ground. “In nutshell, you can say that Musharraf will not be touched.”
“The leadership told us, both directly and indirectly, that it was not the time to disturb Musharraf because of his strong backing from the Americans while the establishment was still toeing his line despite the fact that the PPP was in power,” the sources said.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, the sources said, had a tough time during the meeting with many members asking him to choose either the PPP or the lawyers’ movement.
“There was an opinion within the party in general that Aitzaz should not ride both the boats when the party is bringing a package on important constitutional matters,” the sources further said.
Not only the members from other provinces but also the Balochistan leadership of the PPP came up with opposition to the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and asked the party to go ahead with its own programme of bringing amendments in the form of a package, these sources further said.
While the PPP CEC supported the move to restrict the CJ’s tenure to three years, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan went to join Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s rally shortly after attending the CEC meeting.
The inside sources quoted Asif Ali Zardari as telling the meeting that the constitutional package had been worked out after taking the coalition members, including Nawaz Sharif, into confidence. “We took Nawaz Sharif in confidence on the package,” the sources quoted Zardari as saying.
Source: The News, 25/5/2008