Pakistan's ruling PPP is considering asking President Pervez Musharraf to seek a vote of confidence from parliament as an alternative to impeachment, in an apparent effort to placate its ally PML-N and ensure the continuance of their alliance.
PPP sources said the move is designed to provide a respectable way out for Musharraf and save the coalition from breaking up.
The move will also clear the way for reinstating the judges deposed by Musharraf during last year's emergency by allowing them to be administered a fresh oath by a new democratically elected President, the Dawn newspaper reported today.
The move was reportedly discussed by the top leadership of the PPP at a meeting chaired here yesterday by party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. It is also expected to be taken up at a meeting today between PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Zardari to decide the future of the coalition.
The reinstatement of the deposed judges has become a divisive issue for the coalition, with the PML-N insisting that they be restored through a parliamentary resolution. However, the PPP has linked the restoration of the judges to a controversial constitutional reforms package.
Musharraf's attorneys, Malik Qayyum and Sharifuddin Pirzada, had given an assurance to the Supreme Court last year that the President would get a fresh vote of confidence from the new parliament after the 2008 general election.
On the basis of this assurance, the apex court had allowed the announcement of the results of last year's presidential election.