Aug 1, 2007

Musharraf seeks harmony with CJP

Pakistan’s embattled President Pervez Musharraf says he hopes for “harmonious ties” with the recently reinstated chief justice he had tried to fire four months ago in a move that ultimately weakened him politically.

Musharraf, now passing through what is widely seen as the most beleaguered phase of his eight-year rule, suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in March on charges of misconduct.

That sparked a countrywide campaign against the move by the lawyer community and opposition groups, and the Supreme Court quashed the charges and reinstated Chaudhry on July 20.

In his first comment on the judgement, Musharraf said he accepted it and would honour it.

He had personal relations with Chaudhry and hoped to maintain them, he also said.

“We had family ties and hope to maintain (the) same harmonious ties in future,” the official Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as telling a ceremony late on Tuesday.

Musharraf, who is also army chief, said he held judges in “highest esteem” and had never tried to politicise the judiciary.

The judgement against his move came when U.S. ally Musharraf also faced growing difficulties keeping a lid on security problems as he seeks election to a second term this year.

Pakistan has seen a wave of bomb and suicide attacks since a bloody army assault last month on Islamabad’s Lal Masjid or Red Mosque, a stronghold of Islamist militants.

At the same time Musharraf is under increasing U.S. pressure to step up action against Al Qaeda and other militants entrenched in a lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border.

A bill U.S. President George W. Bush is expected to sign ties U.S. aid for Pakistan to progress against the militant groups.

Movement of military and paramilitary convoys in and around the border regions has become more frequent and check-posts have been reinforced in recent weeks, although the government has not linked the steps to U.S. demands.

In a video posted on Tuesday, an Al Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya Al Libi, called on Pakistanis to overthrow Musharraf, accusing him of helping Washington kill Muslims in Afghanistan.

Musharraf survived two Al Qaeda-inspired assassination attempts in 2003.

He plans to seek re-election in September or October from the existing assemblies while remaining in army uniform. General elections are due later this year or in early 2008.

Many analysts believe Musharraf’s move to sack Chaudhry might have been motivated by fears the judge could block his plans.

Last week, Musharraf met secretly with self-exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi in an effort to reach a power-sharing pact before elections.

She represents the most liberal opposition party and would be likely to back him in

No comments:

Post a Comment