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Sharif Asks Zardari To Give Up Sweeping Powers Of President

Opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on tuesday asked President Asif Ali Zardari to give up his sweeping powers to strengthen democracy in Pakistan but the two leaders, who met for the first time in over

PTI [ Updated: October 27, 2009 8:34 IST ]
sharif asks zardari to give up sweeping powers of president
sharif asks zardari to give up sweeping powers of president

Opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on tuesday asked President Asif Ali Zardari to give up his sweeping powers to strengthen democracy in Pakistan but the two leaders, who met for the first time in over three months, could not agree on a time-frame for achieving this.

Sharif, who met Zardari on the sidelines of a banquet hosted in honour of visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the ruling Pakistan People's Party should take steps without delay to scrap the 17th constitutional amendment from which the President derives his powers. 

"Mr Nawaz Sharif said the 17th constitutional amendment should be scrapped to strengthen democratic institutions and improve conditions in the country. 

"He also called for the implementation of the Charter of Democracy and the restoration of the constitution of 1973," senior PML-N leader Raja Zafrul Haq told reporters after the meeting. 

Haq said the two leaders agreed on the need to scrap the President's sweeping powers, including his ability to dismiss parliament and sack the premier, but did not set any time-frame for achieving this. 

This was the first meeting between Sharif and Zardari in over three months. 

Relations between the two leaders have been strained since Zardari reneged on several promises he made to Sharif and dismissed the PML-N-led government in Punjab province earlier this year. 

Haq also quoted Sharif as telling Zardari that force alone would not be adequate for tackling terrorism. 

The two-time former premier called for a change in policies and greater socio-economic development so that the basic causes of terrorism could be addressed, Haq said. 

Sharif reminded Zardari of his earlier promises and said the people and PML-N would be satisfied if steps are taken to implement them, Haq said. 

A statement issued by Zardari's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the two leaders reiterated their commitment to the Charter of Democracy to "democratise the constitution and rid it of all undemocratic clauses through constitutional amendments". 

They also agreed to implement legislative and administrative measures contained in the CoD, which was signed by the PPP and PML-N in 2006.

Babar described the 90-minutes meeting between Zardari and Sharif as "constructive" and "driven by a spirit of mutual accommodation". 

The two leaders also agreed that militancy "posed the greatest challenge to national security and needed to be tackled effectively and urgently". PTI 

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