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Pak coalition meet to decide Musharraf's fate

PPP and PML(N) will meet again in Islamabad today to discuss whether Musharraf should be provided a safe passage. Will Musharraf's resignation weaken fight against terror? | Surfers' Response

world Updated: Aug 19, 2008 13:16 IST

A meeting of Pakistan's ruling coalition to decide on key issues like granting a safe exit to President Pervez Musharraf in the wake of his resignation and the restoration of deposed judges ended inconclusively on Monday, with the leaders of the alliance deciding to meet again on Tuesday.

Top leaders of the coalition, including Pakistan People's Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, held discussions for over four hours after Musharraf announced his decision to step down but were unable to reach any conclusions, sources said.

PPP officials had earlier said Zardari and Sharif would address a joint news conference but this did not materialise. Sharif left Zardari's residence, the venue of the meeting, without talking to the media. Leaders of both parties were tight-lipped about what transpired at the meeting.

However, sources said the leaders of the two main parties in the alliance had differences over the modalities for the reinstatement of judges who were deposed by Musharraf during last year's emergency.

When the PPP and PML-N announced their plans to impeach Musharraf on August seven, they had said that the deposed judges would be restored immediately after the President's removal.

The sources said Sharif in particular had pressed for the restoration of the deposed judges without any delay.

A brief statement issued by the PPP tonight said the leaders of the coalition would "meet again tomorrow to discuss the post-resignation issues and strengthen democracy".

The coalition's leaders, including Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, welcomed the resignation of Musharraf. "The resignation of Gen (retired) Pervez Musharraf is the fall of dictatorship and a triumph of democracy," the statement said.

The coalition partners said, the "exit of Musharraf would result in political stability". The surge in the stock market and jubilation in the streets proved that the "people of Pakistan regarded the dictatorship of Gen Musharraf as a stumbling block".

Today's meeting also discussed the election of Musharraf's successor. According to the constitution, a new President must be elected within 30 days of the post falling vacant.

Among the leaders being tipped for the post are National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, ANP chief Asfandyar Wali Khan and Zardari's sister and PPP lawmaker Faryal Talpur.