Islamabad, Mar 16: Pakistan's new parliament will convene on Monday. At stake are the future course and political stability of the nation of 160 million people as it struggles with economic problems and rising militancy. The outgoing speaker of the National Assembly will swear in the newly elected lawmakers on Monday, but Parliament will only get down to the real business of lawmaking once the new government takes office later in the month.
The parties - PPP, PML-N, and the ANP - are set to lead the new coalition government. The PPP has said its top priority will be to seek a UN investigation into Benazir Bhutto's assassination on December 27, 2007. The coalition also hopes to amend the Constitution to strip President Pervez Musharraf of his powers to dissolve the country's Parliament and to dismiss the Prime Minister. The National Security Council, which gives the military a formal say in policy matters, may also be axed.
The coalition's most explosive plan is expected to be the restoration of some 60 superior court judges, including deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry who were sacked by President General Musharraf when he declared emergency rule on November 3, 2007.