Dawn : Pakistani coalition wrangles over president, judges

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pakistani coalition wrangles over president, judges

August 24, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Pakistan's two major ruling coalition parties – the PPP and PML-N -- wrangled over the presidency and deposed judges on Sunday.

The PPP announced Saturday the widower of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, would be its candidate in the presidential election set for Sept. 6.

This further annoyed another PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who has been pressing for reinstatement of judges purged by Pervez Musharraf late last year.

“If they're taking steps unilaterally then what we can do? It looks like the People's Party wants to break ties with us,” Sharif's party spokesman, Ahsan Iqbal, said on Sunday.

Sharif wants the post of president stripped of strong powers, in particular to dismiss parliament.

But a senior PPP official has made it clear that would only be dealt with after the presidential election.

Iqbal said his party's leadership would meet on Monday to decide on a plan of action after the move by the PPP.