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Archive for May, 2008

In security-related developments this week, media outlets reported on a “breakthrough” in negotiations with Islamist militants in Swat, [see this past post for further background on the situation in Swat Valley]. The NWFP government on Tuesday announced that insurgents “agreed to to extend a ceasefire till the next round of talks,” reported Dawn newspaper. However, in return, the government agreed to implement Islamic law [Shariah] in the Malakand region [which encompasses one third the area of the NWFP]. The Pakistani newspaper, The Nation, specified in its coverage:

Provincial officials negotiating with representatives of militant leader Maulana Fazlullah said they had agreed in principle to implement previously drafted regulations allowing Islamic scholars to offer guidance to judges in the Malakand and Swat areas. The decision did not specify the extent to which Islamic law would be promoted or required in courts, and officials said they would work out details later.

Although many media headlines blared, “Shariah Law in Swat Agreed,” a development that is significant in light of the secular party currently in power, Afrasiab Khattak, a senior official of the NWFP’s ruling Awami National Party, was quick to assure reporters, “We are not introducing any new law…These will be same courts like anywhere in Pakistan, headed by normal civil and district judges.” The NWFP Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour has noted the Shariah-compliant system would be enforced in Swat within one month. Despite the assurances from the ANP, the advent of Shariah law in some capacity is arguably problematic for this region. However, the establishment of Islamic law in Swat, as well as the release of prisoners taken into custody during the insurgency, and the withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the area are some of the main demands of the negotiating militants.

As the talks have continued, several of these demands have already been addressed. On Wednesday, media outlets, including the Daily Times, reported that the Pakistan Army exchanged prisoners with the local Taliban in South and North Waziristan. Military spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas told the news agency, Twelve security personnel – five army jawans and seven Frontier Corps personnel – were swapped for over 30 Taliban prisoners.” The News reported, ” [Abbas] said the government had already accepted the major demands of the militants, including the removal of all roadside checkpoints, withdrawal of the Pakistan Army from the tribal areas, Darra Adamkhel and Swat, compensation to the affected people and release of all the suspected militants held during the military operations.” He added the government had already begun calling back Army troops from the “[Beitullah] Mehsud-inhabited hilltops” in the frontier areas. The AFP, in its coverage, noted the Pakistani military termed the movement a “readjustment” of forces, rather than a “withdrawal,” adding, “The moves were mainly to facilitate the return of people who had fled the area due to previous unrest.” The AFP added that Abbas “declined to comment on whether the troop moves were linked to the peace talks with militants.”

In its report, the Associated Press underlined the reactions of American, British, and NATO officials to these developments. According to the news agency, “Washington and London are co-funding a plan to flood the impoverished tribal belt, a possible hiding place for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, with development aid in a bid to dry up support for extremism.” However, they view past peace agreements with militants as failures and warn that any future accords must be strictly enforced. The AP also cited statements made by NATO spokesman James Appathurai, who told reporters in Brussels, “The principle concern is … the deals being struck between the Pakistani government and extremist groups in the tribal areas may be allowing them … to have safe havens, rest, reconstitute and then move across the border.” Although he asserted that NATO did not want to engage in the internal policies of Pakistan, they “have every right to and will convey our concerns about what is happening inside Afghanistan,” where attacks in the eastern regional command of the country were up 50 percent in April.

An alleged U.S. missile strike in Pakistan’s FATA yesterday that killed 12 people could be further problematic for anti-American perceptions in the region. Today, Pakistani militants vowed to avenge the attack, blaming the incident on the United States. According to an AP report, “Residents said they saw a U.S. aircraft flying in the area before two explosions rocked the village.” A photographer from the AFP said more than 1,000 tribesmen gathered to bury eight people in Damadola, while four more were buried in neighboring villages. The news agency reported, “Shouting ‘Death to America’ and waving klaashnikovs, the mourners vowed they would avenge the attacks from the U.S. forces across the border, the photographer witnessed.” Such reactions are certain to influence the already-poor perceptions of the United States in the region and may have further consequences for foreign troops located across the border. [Image from the Associated Press]

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With the unfolding political developments currently dominating media coverage of Pakistan, it is difficult for me to not provide daily updates on the PML-N exit from the federal cabinet and the judiciary restoration issue. However, following this post, I do promise to update you on the other (mainly security-related) issues affecting the country.

On Wednesday, Pakistani media outlets continued to report on the developments following the widely covered PML-N resignation. The News reported:

In yet another controversial move, the government has contacted several deposed judges of the provincial high courts with an offer to reappoint them as judges of their respective high courts but at the cost of compromising their pre-Nov 3 seniority.

What exactly is this new initiative? If implemented, the offer “would make those judges of the provincial high courts who had refused to take oath under General Musharraf’s PCO on Nov 3, 2007, junior to their colleagues who preferred to work with a military strongman under the PCO.” The Daily Times noted, “It claimed that the government had decided to reappoint the sacked judges if they agreed to adjust themselves with the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) judges, adding that the same offer would be forwarded to the Supreme Court judges if the initiative succeeded.” However, almost all the deposed judges approached with the initiative rejected the offer. The News added, “Sources said that through this move the government would be rewarding the judges who had taken oath under the PCO on Nov 3, and punishing those who had refused to show allegiance to the military dictator in violation of the Constitution.” According to the media outlet, the PPP “wanted to retain the incumbent chief justices of the provincial high courts even if the deposed judges were restored.” This differs from the PML-N “full restoration” position, which had reportedly “compromised to the extent that the PCO judges appointed after Nov 3 in the Supreme Court, would be made ad hoc judges,” noted The News.

The debate over the judiciary restoration (not the issue itself, but the how-to) was essentially the impetus behind the PML-N resignation from the cabinet on Monday. Yesterday, the nine PML-N federal ministers submitted their official resignations to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who asked them “to continue to hold their offices until the matter was discussed with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari who would return home soon,” Dawn newspaper reported. Although the resignations garnered significant media attention and speculation over the future of the ruling coalition, it is important to underline that Pakistani politicians downplayed its significance. On Wednesday, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, following an announcement that a resolution for restoration of judges will be presented before a joint session of Parliament, told reporters, “The media is presenting a picture as if the country is facing a situation of severe crisis, but in my view the situation is not that grave.” BBC News reported that Zardari “called the dispute a minor matter and said he expected Mr Sharif’s party to re-join the government.” A separate analysis by the BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan further affirmed this point, noting,

And Tuesday’s cabinet split may not be as dramatic as it appears. Mr. Sharif says his party will continue to support the government from the backbenches, rather than join the opposition. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is refusing to accept the resignations until Mr Zardari returns from abroad.

Do you agree that this situation can be rectified? Moreover, have we all just been waiting for this coalition to crumble, and therefore view any somewhat negative development as the final straw? According to The News, Zardari did assert that he will not abandon being Nawaz’s partner, and the PML-N leader emphasized that his party will continue to support the government. What do you think of these assertions? [Image from The News]

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Nawaz Sharif‘s dramatic announcement yesterday that his party, PML-N, was resigning from the cabinet garnered much news coverage and raised doubts about the fate of the six-week-old coalition government. Following the development, Pakistani media outlets reported on the reactions of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, although coverage of his response varied slightly among news sources. Although The News reported that Zardari said that his party “would keep supporting the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in Punjab and no new ministers would be inducted into the federal government in place of the PML-N ministers who had resigned,” Dawn noted that he said the government did decide to appoint a new finance minister today in place of Ishaq Dar. According to Geo News, this decision to replace Dar was due to the country’s “looming budget” and “pressing economic issues.” Dawn noted that Zardari still emphasized that the other minister positions would remain vacant, adding, “We will wait for Nawaz Sharif to come back.”

The Daily Times reported that the PPP co-chairman “asked Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani not to accept the resignations of PML-N ministers.” The Times, citing a report by ARY Television, “Zardari said he would call a party meeting after his return from London and that he would persuade the PML-N to resume talks.” According to the Daily Times, “Zardari said his differences with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif were not of serious nature and that the PPP would not field a candidate against him in the June 26 by-elections.”

Despite Zardari’s diplomatic overtures, I have still been confused over the logic of Sharif’s decision Monday. However, upon reading and exploring various theories, I found this explanation, from The Pakistan Policy Blog most plausible:

So what’s Sharif doing? He’s strategically distancing himself from the PPP with a measured protest against the latter’s refusal to reinstate the deposed judges in the agreed manner and time frame. His party’s resignation from the government permits the PPP to proceed on its own course vis-a-vis the judges…If the public finds the PPP’s judicial ‘reforms’ palatable, then Nawaz can return to the government. But, if they don’t, he can say that he had nothing to do with this and, despite his best efforts, the judges were not restored.

Definitely a logical explanation that allows Nawaz a seemingly convenient exit out of the hot seat  – what do you think?

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So it’s official – on Monday, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif announced that ministers from his party will resign from their posts tomorrow over differences regarding the restoration of the judiciary, [PML-N currently has nine ministers in the 24-member federal cabinet]. Media coverage yesterday predicted this development, following news that the ruling parties had not come to an agreement on the judiciary issue, [see yesterday's related post]. During the news conference, Nawaz used the opportunity to play to oh-so-famous “blame game,” telling reporters, “PPP failed to keep its promise and that is why we have decided to part ways with the coalition government.” According to The News, he added, “We left no stone unturned to keep our promise made in the Murree Declaration…I had to go to Dubai and then London to hold negotiations with the PPP on the issue but to no avail.”

Oh, Nawaz, woe is you. News outlets did add, however, following the PML-N leader’s swan song, that his party “would not take any decision that would strengthen what he called a ‘dictatorship’ under Musharraf.” The AFP quoted him asserting,

We will not be part of any conspiracy aimed at strengthening dictatorships…We want the unconditional, dignified and honorable return of the judges…We will not sit on opposition benches for the time being.

So what many deemed was the inevitable has now occurred. We must now consider the next steps the fledgling government must take to ensure its survival and quell doubts that the entire regime is collapsing. The Associated Press assessed, “While the civilian government is likely to survive, Sharif’s move raises doubts over its stability and is a setback to Pakistan’s transition to democracy after eight years of military rule under Musharraf.” Despite his dramatic exit, we must realize this is not the last we’ll see of Nawaz Sharif. However, perhaps in his party’s absence, the government can finally concentrate on other issues impacting the country – including the food and electricity crises and working to uphold the newly signed peace agreement with militants, [a development covered on Friday by BBC News]. Or perhaps it will crumble further under the weight of these decisions. [Image from the AFP]

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With the deadline to restore the judiciary slated to pass on Monday, media outlets on Sunday reported that Pakistan’s ruling coalition have yet to reach an agreement on the issue. As a result of this development (or lack thereof), most news coverage focused on what this could mean for the future of the coalition. The Associated Press noted it subsequently increased “the likelihood the ruling coalition could shatter after just six weeks in power and plunge the country back into political turmoil.” The News similarly reported that “the chances of separation between the two large ruling coalition partners are getting bigger.”

According to a Reuters newswire, Richard Boucher, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asian affairs, met with PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in London on Sunday, “although a U.S. embassy spokeswoman said reports the meeting concerned the judges were unfounded.” CNN quoted the embassy spokeswoman, Elizabeth Colton, who asserted to reporters, “The restoration of judges is Pakistan’s issue to solve. It is not for the United States to prescribe solutions.” Nevertheless, media outlets affirmed the two leaders, who first met on Friday in London, had not reached an agreement by Sunday. Reuters quoted Minister of Education Ahsan Iqbal, who said, “It looks now it will be missed…If the deadline is not met then the PML-N will be forced to review its decision to stay in the cabinet.” The AFP quoted PML-N Siddiqul Farooq who put the blame on the PPP, telling reporters, “The ball is in the court of PPP. We have tried our level best… but so far no achievement has been made.”

Although Western media sources were more cautious in their assessment of the situation, Pakistani news outlets underlined how this could signal the end of the ruling coalition. According to The News, it is “expected” that the PML-N would “announce its separation tomorrow.” The news agency noted that PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif “said the party’s parliamentary committee will be held tomorrow, where decision would be made regarding future course of action.” Dawn newspaper reported,

A visibly disappointed Nawaz Sharif made it clear on Saturday that if by May 12 the PPP failed to keep the promise it had made in the Bhurban Declaration on the reinstatement of judges, the PML-N would walk out of the coalition government.

So, it looks like an end may be near – however, it is important to consider the question – “What next?” Will the PPP continue to head the government on its own? What about the fate of Musharraf and former ruling party, the PML-Q? Moreover, if the PML-N withdraws from the cabinet, the consequent political turmoil could have serious economic repercussions. Given the already burgeoning food and power crises, these factors should be considered before coming to a decision. [Image from the AP]

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The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the education system in Pakistan. Established in 1995, TCF is now one of the country’s leading organizations in education that has established 455 purpose-built schools nationwide with an enrollment of about 55,000 students. TCF encourages gender diversity in their schools by ensuring 50% female enrollment and a full female faculty. The overarching vision of this NGO is to bring a positive change to Pakistan by providing quality education to the country’s less-privileged youth, [also see a similar news post this week on Pakistan's education system]. CHUP interviewed Bushra Tayyeb of The Citizens Foundation, who commented on the organization’s goals and achievements within the overarching context of Pakistan’s education reform and development. [Image from TCF's website, see above link].

Q: The Citizens Foundation (TCF) has established 455 purpose-built schools throughout Pakistan with an enrollment of about 55,000 students. How does the organization decide where to build these schools? Are there particular regions or areas that TCF generally targets?

The sites we take up are 70% donor driven and the rest are taken up on ‘as per need’ basis in those areas where we already have a certain number of schools and feel that there is need for expansion. Also, once a site has been taken up as requested by our donors, we try and develop that area for more schools so that they become logistically manageable for TCF.

Q: TCF also ensures a 50-50 ratio of male to female students at the time of admission in order to counter considerable gender disparaties in Pakistan’s education system. Given the social context of Pakistan’s gender gap, and that only 22 percent of girls in rural areas have completed primary level schooling, what difficulties or resistance has your organization faced in ensuring this 50-50 ratio?

So far no resistance as such to speak of. The odd areas do present a challenge but we have a system whereby counseling sessions are conducted with parents and communities to maximize enrollment of girls in TCF schools. In order to promote female enrollment of students in our schools, the teaching faculty comprises of female members only.

Q: What kinds of values does TCF attempt to instill in their education curricula? Given the sometimes negative perceptions associated with madrassa education, do TCF’s schools focus more on secular or religious education or a combination of the two? In Pakistan, can these two types of education be separated?

Our focus is totally on secular education and Islamiat is one of the subjects taught. We are NOT a madrassa school but an excellent alternative. Training is imparted to teachers in such a way that stress is laid on character building and developing a well-rounded personality.

Q: What is TCF’s greatest success in education reform and development? What message are we sending through this success?

We can’t boast of success until we have actually made a dent in our illiteracy levels. However, we do try and brush-up the curricula in way that suits the needs of our children. Our aim is to encourage people to come forward and help. Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

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Pro-Taliban militants announced last week that they were halting peace talks with the government because “authorities were refusing to pull troops out of tribal areas near the Afghan border,” reported BBC News. As a result, there has been a marked increase in attacks in the past several days, “including the first suicide bombing for several months,” where a blast in Bannu killed at least three people. According to the BBC, “Much of the violence has been in Swat, where at least three girls’ schools have been burnt down or badly damaged in militant attacks since Sunday.” On Wednesday, a girls’ school in the Sherpalam district of Swat was completely destroyed in an arson attack. So far, no group has claimed responsibility for these attacks, and Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas has asserted that it is too early to say whether the militants involved in the peace talks were behind the recent violence. Regardless of who claims responsibility for the violence, the recent upsurge in attacks and subsequent tighter security measures by the Pakistani military indicate that both sides are trying to put pressure on each other as they attempt to negotiate.

However, how feasible are the demands of these negotiations? According to media outlets, the militants involved in the talks want authorities to pull regular troops out of tribal areas near the Afghan border, as well as in other parts of the northern areas. According to the BBC’s Ilyas Khan, “there are few regular soldiers in the tribal areas and replacing them with paramilitary ones would make little difference to the situation.” However, “to do so in other parts of the north-west, such as in Swat, could free up militants who are currently under pressure.”

The process of these now-halted negotiations could be further complicated by recent developments. Media outlets yesterday reported that the U.S. Pentagon “has rejected or deferred millions of dollars in military aid requests from Pakistan amid criticism that the Islamabad government has squandered U.S. funding and allowed Al Qaeda to rebuild a haven in its western tribal regions.” According to the LA Times, “this marks a sudden change in U.S. policy toward Pakistan, which for years has spent American military aid without having to show results in the fight against Al Qaeda and other militant groups. Even some officials in the Pentagon have acknowledged shortcomings in U.S. funding strategy.” Sen. Robert Menendez told the news agency, “The Bush administration has basically been shoveling taxpayer money to Pakistan, no questions asked, crossing its fingers and hoping that our Al Qaeda problem goes away…Our funding to Pakistan can no longer be a blank check.”

Although the Pakistani government has asserted that they will deal with the Islamist militancy issue through dialogue and development, there have been concerns that an accord will instead act as a “safe haven” for pro-Taliban or Al Qaeda forces, given the events associated with past ceasefire agreements. Although Pakistani authorities reportedly want tribal guarantees that they will stop sheltering foreign militants, I am curious how they propose to monitor these “guarantees,” given how difficult it is currently to monitor the roguish landscape of the frontier region. Moreover, the outcome of the agreement could have serious ramifications for the future of American policy towards Pakistan. Despite the raging anti-American sentiment in the country, the reality is that Pakistan receives millions of dollars in military aid each year. Could a denial of these funds potentially influence the process of these negotiations? Or will the U.S. “see the light” once they see the fruits of this accord? [Image from the BBC]

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On Monday, Pakistan’s Election Commission (EC) announced that the by-elections scheduled for June 18 are now postponed for two months until August 18. According to the NY Times, “Election officials said the postponement was necessary because of security concerns in North-West Frontier Province and the presentation of the federal budget in June.” Although this reasoning was perhaps further validated by a suicide bombing in the NWFP that killed three people on Tuesday, the EC announcement nevertheless spurred protests from the country’s ruling parties. Dawn newspaper reported, “So sudden and abrupt was the move that it provoked a universal condemnation from the prime minister’s office and ministers to senior members of the ruling coalition, Asif Zardari and Mian Shahbaz Sharif included, and opposition members. Some of them even went to the extent of terming it part of a conspiracy against the new set-up.” The NY Times specified that Siddiqul Farooq of the PML-N called the delay a conspiracy by President Pervez Musharraf, and the Daily Times quoted the official stating that “the EC had not taken the ruling coalition into confidence, adding that it would evolve a unanimous strategy on the issue.”

Pakistani news sources today reported the NWFP’s information minister Mian Iftikhar Hussein went on record to claim that the provincial government had sought the postponement “only after Rehman Malik, the prime minister’s adviser, made a request.” The News reported, “NWFP Chief Minister Haider Khan Hoti claimed that he ordered his home secretary to write a letter to the Election Commission for putting off the by-elections after he received a call from Rehman Malik.” ANP Central Information Secretary Zahid Khan also demanded a swift inquiry and an action from the federal government against Rehman Malik and Kamal Shah, the Federal Secretary of the Interior who has been accused of telling the NWFP provincial government to call off the by-elections.

Following the reported outrage over the two-month delay, PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PM Yousaf Raza Gilani announced the by-elections will still be held in June, following a meeting on Tuesday. However, reported The News, “the leader of Awami National Party (ANP), Zahid Khan said no matter when the central government holds the elections the fact remains that ANP being a member of the ruling coalition was not consulted before reaching any decision on the matter of holding by-polls…” The “he-said-she-said” accusations that flew over the past few days further highlights the fragility of this coalition government, and I have a feeling this won’t be the last we hear about “conspiracy theories” and “whodunnit” mysteries.

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A friend directed me to a feature article in yesterday’s NY Times. Entitled, “Turkish Schools Offer Pakistan a Gentler Vision of Islam,” the article discussed the advent of Turkish schools that have come to Pakistan “with an entirely different vision of Islam. Theirs is moderate and flexible, comfortably coexisting with the West while remaining distinct from it.” The group of Turkish educators now based in Pakistan are like “Muslim Peace Corps volunteers,” noted the Times, promoting “this approach in schools, which are now established in more than 80 countries, Muslim and Christian.”

Presently, the education system in Pakistan is relatively weak, since the poorest Pakistanis cannot afford to send their children to public schools, “which are free but require fees for books and uniforms.” As a result, many send them to madrassas, religious schools, which offer free food and clothing. Although it’s important to underline that not all madrassas have radical Islamist agendas, the reality is that a number of them do. The NY Times added, “At the same time, a growing middle class is rejecting public schools, which are chaotic and poorly financed, and choosing from a new array of private schools.”

The “PakTurk” schools, which have expanded to seven cities in Pakistan since the first was established a decade ago, offer an alternative approach that the NY Times noted, “could help reduce the influence of Islamic extremists.” The news agency added,

They prescribe a strong Western curriculum, with courses, taught in English, from math and science to English literature and Shakespeare. They do not teach religion beyond the one class in Islamic studies that is required by the state. Unlike British-style private schools, however, they encourage Islam in their dormitories, where teachers set examples in lifestyle and prayer.

What exactly is this model of education? Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic scholar and preacher with millions of followers in Turkey, is the brainchild behind the model, whose idea is that “without science, religion turns to radicalism, and without religion, science is blind and brings the world to danger.” One source further noted, “The chief characteristic of the Gulen movement is that it does not seek to subvert modern secular states, but encourages practising Muslims to use to the full the opportunities they offer.”

The PakTurk schools are significant because they offer one alternative to the often polarized perceptions of Pakistan’s education system. Instead of families choosing between religious or government-sponsored education, they have more options. And today, the Gulen schools are luckily not the only option. Instead, the model represents just one of the many efforts to improve Pakistan’s education system. CHUP will be publishing a related interview with an education NGO this week, so stay tuned. [Image from the Times -The NY Times piece has an attached slideshow and audio interview with Times writer Sabrina Tavernaise.]

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Following speculations of a fracturing coalition government and “last-ditch” talks between top leaders to address the judiciary issue, [see previous post] media outlets Friday reported that PML-N head Nawaz Sharif and PPP co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari set May 12 as the final date for restoring Pakistan’s ousted judges. At a news conference, Nawaz told reporters,

I want to inform the entire nation that on Monday, May 12, all the sacked judges will be restored…The National Assembly will pass a resolution, and the government will issue a notification in the light of this the same day, and by the grace of God, the judges sacked illegally and unconstitutionally will be restored the same day…”

CNN, in its coverage, noted, “The coalition government had vowed to reinstate the judges within 30 days of taking office — a deadline that expired Wednesday night.” The failure of the ruling parties to pass the legislation led many media outlets to speculate whether the new alliance was already cracking. Although Nawaz emphasized the new May 12th date in his statements Friday in order to quell these rumors, Zardari reportedly “shied away” from the deadline. The News reported, “Talking to a private TV channel, he said only the committee assigned to reach consensus on the issue could tell whether or not the resolution on judges’ restoration could be tabled in the National Assembly by May 12.” Moreover, news sources reported that other coalition partners [the ANP and JUI-F] have to be informed of the decision, which could further complicate the issue.

According to the BBC NewsBarbara Plett in Islamabad, the question is now “how Musharraf will respond” the new deadline. On Saturday, the Associated Press cited a spokesman for “his party,” PML-Q, who indicated the president “may accept the restoration of judges if the government amends the constitution.” The AP added, “However, [Tariq] Azim [PML-Q spokesman] insisted that the judges could not be sent back to courts by the parliament’s simply approving a resolution. He provided no further details, and said the president was still consulting experts.”

Another PML-Q member, the party’s parliamentary leader Faisal Saleh Hayat, used the new deadline as an opportunity to undermine the coalition government’s credibility, questioning the legality of the resolution and terming the new date “as a repetition of the April 30 deadline.” He told The News on Friday, “Even after the passage of 15 days of adoption of the resolution in the National Assembly, the PPP has failed to implement it though it was on the top of its priority list.” He added, “We want that they should come out of this issue and concentrate on real issues of the people who are facing price hike and load shedding.” Although the MP’s reaction is not surprising given that much of the PML-Q were pushed aside during the February elections, he does have a point. If this new coalition government can’t even address one of the primary issues that brought them into power, (Moreover, if they can’t even agree if this was one of the primary issues that did win them the elections), then how will they address the more complex issues? [Image from BBC News]

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