Pakistani PM plays down row over judges

Gilani played down the concerns over political instability arising from a dispute between the president and Supreme Court over the appointment of judges.

Pakistani PM plays down row over judges


Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Sunday played down the concerns over political instability arising from a dispute between the president and Supreme Court over the appointment of judges.

On Saturday, the Supreme Court blocked a presidential order appointing two judges, one to the Supreme Court and the other as chief justice of the high court in the city of Lahore.

"There is no threat to democracy. There is no threat to the country nor to any institution," Gilani told reporters.

Hours after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari made his court appointments, a Supreme Court panel said the order had been suspended as Zardari had apparently violated the constitution by not consulting Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The Dawn newspaper said the country was facing a "highly arcane and technical dispute over constitutional prerogatives. (The dispute) nevertheless carries the potential for having seriously destabilising effects.

"Historically, clashes between these two institutions have led to disastrous consequences for democracy and constitutional continuity," it said in an editorial.

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who has been largely supportive of the government, denounced the president as "the biggest threat to democracy".

"We'll stop him and we call upon the government to withdraw this decision," Sharif told a news conference, referring to the president's appointments.

Sharif did not say what he might do but analysts do not expect him to launch anti-government street protests.

Two months ago, the Supreme Court threw out an amnesty that had protected Zardari, top aides and thousands of political activists and civil servants, mostly from corruption charges.

The Supreme Court, in blocking Zardari's appointments late on Saturday, said according to the constitution, the president must make Supreme Court appointments after consultation with the chief justice. It's next hearing will be on Feb. 18.

Zardari's spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said the chief justice had been consulted.

Agencies

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2010, 18:43
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