PPP and PML-N to form coalition govt

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Islamabad, Mar 9 (UNI) Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) today formally decided to form a coalition government at the Centre and in Punjab province.

A joint declaration to this effect was signed by PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif in the hill resort of Bhurban, 30 km from here.

''It was agreed that PML-N will join PPP in the government at the Centre while PPP will join us in the government in the Punjab province,'' Mr Sharif told a press conference after signing the joint declaration.

He said the coalition partners undertook to form the coalition for a democratic Pakistan and translating the mandate given by the people in the February 18 elections.

In today's meeting, it was decided that restoration of deposed judges shall be brought about through a parliamentary resolution to be passed in the National Assembly (NA) within 30 days of the formation of government, the joint declaration said.

Former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was sacked along with another 12 judges of the Supreme Court after their refusal to take fresh oath following imposition of emergency on November 3 last year.

Mr Zardari said, ''We feel Pakistan stands on the verge of making history. We intend to stick to the road to democracy as we are aware of the problems the country is facing. We believe democracy is the solution to all problems.'' When asked if the coalition will be ready to work with President Pervez Musharraf, who they regard illegal and unconstitutional, the PPP co-chairperson said, ''We don't believe in personal agenda and nor do we beleive in offices of President and Prime Minister. We hope everybody will work together in harmony and strengthen democracy. Mr Musharraf should accept the mandate of the people and avoid creating hurdles.'' However, Mr Sharif didn't mince words in opposing Mr Musharraf, saying, ''We consider him illegal and unconstitutional.'' PPP's nominee for slot of Prime Minister will be fully supported by the coalition parties but the nominee should carry forward the agenda of both the parties, the PML-N chief said, Geo TV reported.

Mr Zardari said it was the dream of his wife Benazir Bhutto that PPP and PML-N should reach an accord and that has come true.

PML-N and PPP, in the joint declaration, also demanded that the NA session should be convened immediately.

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