Islamabad, May 12 : Former Prime MInister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that as the May 12 deadline for the restoration of the over 60 sacked judges had expired, his party's ministers in the federal cabinet would be submitting their respective resignations to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday.
The failure to break a deadlock with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) over the reinstatement of deposed judges has plunged the recently elected civilian government in Islamabad into a major political crisis.
It maybe recalled that the two parties had signed two separate declarations at Muree and Bhurban, which endorsed their joint desire to have the sacked judges restored within a month of the establishment of the government, though both parties had since then, differed on the path to be adopted for attaining this objective.
"Today is May 12. We were bound by this date," Sharif told reporters at a news conference here, while referring to the Monday deadline he set with the PPP for the reinstatement of the sacked judges.
"Our ministers will meet the prime minister tomorrow and will submit their resignations ... But we will not become part of any conspiracy to destablise the democratic process," he added. The PML-N chief said his party has pledged to maintain support for the country's six-week old coalition government, whatever the party decides to do over an impasse over the restoration of judges.
Earlier, Sharif met other leaders of the party before announcing his next step. Senior Federal Minister for Food, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called on Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani this morning and assured him that PML (N) members would continue to support the coalition government, regardless of the decision taken by the party leadership.
The PPP and the PML-N had all but announced the end of their short-lived political honeymoon here on Sunday as their negotiators jointly told the media after their last round of talks that they had failed to bridge differences over the route to take for the reinstatement of the deposed judges.
Seemingly even the US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, who met Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari separately in London earlier in the morning, was not able to crack the political logjam facing the coalition.
Sharif while leaving for the airport told the media that he was disappointed at the way the negotiations had gone and thought his party's position on the issue was morally and politically very sound.
"There was a deadlock but despite our best efforts we could not break it. Every Pakistani will be disappointed by this outcome of talks which had continued over the last 90 days."
Pakistan's ambassador designate to the US Hussain Haqqani said the talks were held in the spirit of complete cooperation and that every effort would continue to be made to save the coalition.
The Prime Minister's Adviser on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik, said he was confident that the PML-N would return to the fold of the coalition soon.
"We will keep their portfolios vacant," he was quoted, as saying.