President should not be authorised to dissolve NA: Zardari

Posted: August 25, 2008 in Political
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Says deposed CJ has become politicised; ‘no change in Pak-US relations’

Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has said he believes the president should not be authorised to dissolve the National Assembly and the head of state’s role should be “ceremonial.”

In an interview with Newsweek before he was formally nominated as the president by his party, Zardari said: “Parliament is sovereign and one has to look at the future of Pakistan’s democracy as more important than individuals.”

To a question, the PPP leader said he was in favour of restoring the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. “I am personally in favour of restoring the chief justice, but there is an opinion in the party that he has become too politicised in the last many months and led public rallies,” Zardari said.

Elaborating his views on the powers of the president, he said: “We fought a war for democracy and all powers that Musharraf had enjoyed were obviously undemocratic. We need to have a debate in parliament and see how strong we want the future president (to be) and how strong we want to make our prime minister. I think the president should not have the power to dissolve the assembly.”

He said that he was not interested in taking any action against Pervez Musharraf, adding, the former president’s fate would be decided by parliament. “I don’t blame former president Musharraf for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He can live in Pakistan. It is my desire Pervez Musharraf should live in the country and see it on the path to development. This will be the revenge for Benazir’s martyrdom,” he added.

He said the next president could exercise his power to grant indemnity to the former president. “After President Musharraf’s resignation, there will be no change in Pakistan-US relations and the ISI was not involved in the Kabul blasts,” he said, adding, the ruling coalition would remain strong in the next five years.

Meanwhile, in an interview with a US radio station, Zardari said the government’s top priority was to restore peace in the tribal areas and US support was required for the purpose. He said Pakistan needed the full support of the US to strengthen democracy, the economy and improve the security situation in the country.

About corruption charges, he said all the cases were politically-motivated, which had been rejected by the people of Pakistan. “People would have never voted for the PPP if the charges were correct,” he added. Zardari said the decision to bring a PPP man in the presidency was aimed at strengthening democracy.

In an interview with the BBC, Zardari said the agreement with the PML-N for the restoration of the deposed judges needed to be amended. He said no timeframe could be given for the reinstatement of the judges.


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