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Gilani must quit; govt should call early elections: Nawaz

27 April, 2012

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LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Nawaz Sharif, president of his own faction of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), on Thursday said Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani should step down after being convicted by the Supreme Court (SC).

Talking to a TV channel, Nawaz said that the premier should resign from his office and pave the way for a new PM.

"In light of the [SC] verdict, I think PM Gilani should resign immediately rather than lingering the issue," he said. The former PM said that his party would no longer accept him as the PM and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) should introduce a non-controversial caretaker PM. Nawaz said the government had not spared any chance to ridicule the SC and its orders.

He said the coalition partners also played their role in increasing political chaos in the country. The PML-N leader suggested that the government hold elections immediately and appoint a neutral PM who would write the letter to Swiss authorities.

"If the government is willing, the PML-N would support a caretaker set up for the federal and provincial governments."

Commenting on the SC's stance, he said, "I believe the Supreme Court has the high moral ground while the government is standing on the wrong wicket."

Nawaz convened a meeting of his party's central working committee to discuss current political situation. He said the party would hold a meeting to devise a strategy for the party's future course of action.

Separately, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the Supreme Court's decision should be implemented in accordance with all its constitutional and legal demands for the supremacy of law and survival of democracy. He demanded that the PM resign immediately from his office.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan People's Party-Sherpao (PPP-S) on Thursday demanded that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani resign after the Supreme Court convicted him of contempt court.

"It is a matter of great embarrassment for the government that the prime minister had been convicted in contempt of court," PPP-S Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Sikandar Sherpao said. He was speaking at the party's provincial cabinet meeting. Sikandar held the government responsible for its "own humiliation", saying that it "spared no chance of ridiculing the court".

The coalition partners also played their role in escalating "political chaos" in the country by misguiding the government, adding that its adamant attitude badly dented the country's image, a party statement quoted him as saying.

Sikandar said the flawed policies further pushed the country into economic bankruptcy. "The rule of law and independence of judiciary must be upheld at all costs," he also said.

He said the government should concentrate on the people's welfare and take tangible steps to overcome the prevailing crises.

The PPP-S leader said further the people had lost faith in the elected government as it failed to steer the country out of the prevailing crises. The government, he said, had set a "new record of corruption" as scandals surfaced regularly involving its ministers and cronies.

Sikandar said that the so-called champions of Pakhtun's rights could not come up to the people's expectations, adding that the masses were no more willing to be ruled by incompetent and corrupt rulers.


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