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]