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PPP finalises constitutional reforms package

world Updated: May 23, 2008 22:34 IST

Pakistan's ruling PPP on Friday said it has finalised a sweeping 62-point package of constitutional reforms aimed at curbing President Pervez Musharraf's powers and the draft proposal would soon be presented in Parliament.

Pakistan People's Party Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said the party has "come up with a 62-point amendment draft which is being debated in-house in the PPP".

Copies of the draft proposal will be sent to the Cabinet and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for discussions, he said.

The copies will also be sent to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and other members of the PPP-led ruling coalition, Zardari told a conference organised here by the South Asian Free Media Association.

"And then we will start a debate on it," he said, adding that the PPP hoped to get the amendments passed by Parliament before the budget session.

Zardari did not give details of the 62 points included in the package. However, he told PTI in a recent interview that the package is intended to curb the President's sweeping powers, including the power to dissolve Parliament and dismiss an elected prime minister.

Zardari said the package would restore the Constitution framed by PPP founder and former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

The PPP's move triggered an angry response from the President's camp, which ended indirect contacts with the party. Sources close to the Presidency were quoted by TV channels as saying that Musharraf would oppose all moves to clip his powers.

Zardari also asked the lawyers' movement and the PPP's coalition partners to be patient on contentious issues like reinstating judges who were sacked during last year's emergency by Musharraf.

The PML-N had pulled out its nine ministers from the Cabinet after failing to achieve the restoration of the deposed judges by the self-imposed deadline of May 12. Sharif has said his party will back protests to be launched by lawyers from June 10 to press for reinstatement of the judges.