Pak govt, judiciary on a collision course
Posted on: 11:45 AM IST Jan 18, 2013
Islamabad: The Pakistan government on Thursday reached out to fiery cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who has been camping outside Parliament along with thousands of protesters for the fourth day in a row demanding the government's resignation and dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies. The country is going through a political crisis as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) after giving a clean chit to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has refused to arrest him despite a Supreme Court order to do so.
A four-member committee formed by the government held talks with Qadri, who has been targeting the government sitting inside a bullet proof container. Qadri supporters are continuing with their protests despite rains and biting cold at the Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad.
Despite the talks Qadri challenged the Asif Ali Zardari government and give another ultimatum to the government dissolve the National and provincial assemblies.
The PPP government, which has questioned Qadri's credibility, has initiated talk with him with four senior leaders of alliance government meeting him. Qadri has urged his supporters not to leave the capital till the talks are complete and a written agreement hammered out.
Meanwhile, the NAB defended Ashraf in the Supreme Court with its chief Fasih Bokhari claiming that there was no evidence against the Pakistani Prime Minister. Accusing the Supreme Court of creating hurdles in the investigations, the NAB said that Ashraf was not involved in any corruption case.
Following NAB's stand the possibility of a showdown between the judiciary and the legislature has increased while the government is also looking for a counterattack. The government is likely to call a special session of Parliament.
There is also a speculation that dates for national elections will be announced soon and a caretaker government will take over.