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Zardari unfurls package

world Updated: May 25, 2008 02:23 IST

Pakistan’s ruling party has moved towards clipping the wings of President Pervez Musharraf as part of a constitutional package to appease coalition partners. Co-chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, told a news conference in Islamabad on Saturday evening that the package will limit the powers of the president and at the same time restrict the period of service of the chief justice.

Zardari said the package aims at limiting the tenure of a president to two and takes away the power to dismiss an elected parliament or appoint service chiefs. Zardari said the power of the president to appoint governors of provinces will instead be given to the prime minister.

Under the constitutional package, to be presented to parliament, the powers of the prime minister will be enhanced and the role of the president will be limited to a constitutional one, law minister Farooq Naek said.

After a meeting of the central executive committee of the PPP, Zardari told the media that it had been decided to push the demand of a coalition party to rename the North West Frontier Province as the “Pakhtoonkhwa” province.

Zardari said that inter-provincial matters will also be settled. In the question-and-answer session, the PPP co-chairman said that judges who swear endorse military rule by giving judgements to validate military take-overs would be tried for high treason.

The leader of the Awami National Party, Asfandyar Wali, later told newsmen that the PPP had taken his party on board with the constitutional package.