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PML-Q slams Musharraf, Aziz

The Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid flayed the president and the premier for mishandling the judge's case.

world Updated: Apr 16, 2007 12:12 IST


Several leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid) have asked the government to take back the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry that has triggered nationwide protests and global criticism.

President Pervez Musharraf himself came under attack at a meeting of the party, with demands that the presidential reference against Chaudhry made before the Supreme Judicial Council be withdrawn.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz also came under attack from the party Sunday for "mishandling" Chaudhry's suspension.

Chaired by party chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, the central working committee (CWC) of the party charged the Aziz government with failing to stop the judge's case "from becoming a political issue".

The criticism comes amid persistent speculation that Musharraf may find a scapegoat in Aziz in the row involving the top judge.

Quoting political sources, The Daily Times said the party's deputy secretary General Iqbal Dar demanded the constitution of an inquiry committee to uncover the "motives" for filing the reference.

"The reference should be withdrawn for an amicable solution to the judicial crisis," Dar and Justice Mohammad Azam Khan said.

The two complained that the PML (Q) had not been taken into confidence before filing the reference.

"The issue has been mishandled because of the government's arrogance and incompetence. We have to be fair to the country and withdraw the reference in the nation's interest," Khan said.

Both Musharraf and Aziz have termed the protests by lawyers against the suspension, joined in by opposition parties, as "a conspiracy" against the government.

In other resolutions, the CWC members also expressed concern over the 'Talibanisation' campaign launched by the students of Jamia Hafsa, a seminary in Islamabad.

"The government should use force to settle the issue; otherwise this campaign could grip the entire country," warned Nighat Orakzai, the party's woman secretary general for the North West Frontier Province.

Encouraged by the government, tribals in Pakistan sympathetic to Taliban have been fighting to evict Uzbeks, Chechens, Uighours and Arabs of various nationalities from the vast terrain where Islamabad's writ does not run.

Orakzai said the government seemed "unable to establish its writ even in the heart of the nation's capital".

Lawmaker Ali Akbar Venus said he disapproved of the government's reported efforts for rapprochement with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

"We are not satisfied with the government's clarifications. We should be told what is going on. It is time we devised an election strategy instead of confusing ourselves and our electorate," he said.

The PML (Q) has been resentful of the so-called 'deal' between Musharraf and Bhutto. If it comes through, it could split the party, which was formed by the crossover of lawmakers and workers of opposition parties.

First Published: Apr 16, 2007 12:07 IST

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