Pak: PML-N says no option but to quit govt

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{image-pakistan flag_12052008.jpg}Islamabad, May 12: After failing to break the ice with the PPP on the judges restoration issue, the PML-N last evening gave enough indications that it will pull itself out of the PPP-led coalition, but would continue to support it from outside as it "doesn't want to destabalize the government".

PML-N Information Secretary and Federal Education Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that his party had no option but to quit the federal cabinet, and added that it might rejoin the cabinet after the judges were restored. "If there is no hope that the sacked judges will be restored ... our party will quit the cabinet once and for all," the Daily Times quoted Iqbal as saying in Islamabad last evening. He further said that conspiracies were being hatched to dismantle the PPP-led coalition, but the PML-N would never become part of such conspiracies. The people of Pakistan had sacrificed a lot for the freedom of judiciary, he said and added that the restoration of the sacked judges was their "collective demand" and had given the mandate to political forces to implement the Charter of Democracy and the Murree Declaration.

Meanwhile, after a fresh round of talks involving PML-N's Khawaja Asif and PPP's Rahman Malik and Hussein Haqqani, PML-N chief Shahbaz Sharif expressed optimism that the coalition government would remain intact, and said both sides were making sincere efforts to resolve the issue in an amicable way

Haqqani said the two sides "are still trying to take this matter to a satisfactory conclusion."

He said experts, lawyers and diplomats were all working together to achieve a satisfactory solution. "We need to continue talking rather than putting any deadlines," he said.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman said the PPP would try to work with the PML-N even if the formal relationship breaks down.


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