Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Pakistan prime minister seeks reconciliation, but no plan to let ex-premiers hold office

Pakistan prime minister seeks reconciliation, but no plan to let ex-premiers hold office

Pakistan's prime minister called for reconciliation between the country's main political parties as President Gen. Pervez Musharraf prepares to seek re-election, but said the government had no plans to allow two banned opposition leaders to become premier again.
In a television interview aired late Monday, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Musharraf's government had been in touch with all the major political parties.
"This will improve the political atmosphere, and we have always said that we want national political reconciliation in the interest of Pakistan," he said on Geo television.
Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and is a key U.S. ally, plans to ask lawmakers in September or October to give him another five-year presidential term.
But his prospects of staying in power have been clouded by a growing clamor for an end to military rule, and by the plans of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, both two-time premiers, to make a political comeback.
However, he said the government has no plans to lift the constitutional bar on prime ministers serving more than two terms _ a key demand of Bhutto and Sharif.
"For now, in our view, this law is right and it is in the interest of the country," Aziz said.
Musharraf faces serious political and legal hurdles if he is to extend his eight-year rule.
He says he wants an alliance of moderates to stiffen efforts to defeat extremists, including Taliban and al-Qaida militants holed up near the Afghan border.
His envoys are engaged in negotiations over a power-sharing deal with Bhutto, who fled Pakistan in 1999 to avoid corruption charges and leads the main opposition Pakistan People's Party.
But the talks appear snagged on Bhutto's demands, which include Musharraf's resignation as military chief, the watering down of his presidential powers and indemnity from prosecution for former leaders.
Musharraf has seen his authority greatly eroded since March, when he tried unsuccessfully to remove the Supreme Court's top judge. The move triggered protests that snowballed into a broad campaign against Musharraf's rule.
Last month the court reinstated the judge, raising expectations that it will uphold expected legal challenges to Musharraf's re-election plan.
Last week, the court ruled that Sharif, the prime minister toppled by Musharraf in 1999 and forced into exile, can come home.
Supporters say Sharif, a fierce critic of Musharraf, could reach Pakistan early next month, even though government officials have warned that he could be arrested on charges dating back to the coup.


Updated : 2021-05-07 00:22 GMT+08:00