Committee meets ‘under oath’: Beleaguered govt to take its case to parliament

Committee meets ‘under oath’: Beleaguered govt to take its case to parliament

President Asif Ali ZardariISLAMABAD: While options for the beleaguered Pakistan Peoples Party appear to be narrowing, the ruling alliance has decided to use the platform of parliament to deal with threats emanating from the judiciary on the National Reconciliation Ordinance ( NRO) issue.

After a brief lull of a few days, the executive and the judiciary once again appear to be heading towards a head-on confrontation after Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision on the NRO implementation case.President Asif Ali Zardari, who rushed to the capital, held a meeting with senior leaders of coalition parties. All of them advised the government to find a ‘middle way’ and not to adopt a hostile approach.

Before the meeting, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani held a one-on-one meeting. The senior leadership of the PPP also had another meeting of their core committee. While an overwhelming majority of the core committee members wanted to fight the party’s case in the full glare of the public eye, quieter voices again urged the party leadership not to adopt a confrontational posture, a source privy to the meeting said.

Most of the participants of the core committee meeting declined to share details, saying that they were under oath that they would not divulge a word.“I can tell you the meeting was held in a very serious atmosphere. We took an oath not to divulge any details,” one of the senators who attended the meeting said.Another participant said that the party will continue to contest conspiracies against the government, irrespective of whether it was in power or not  He said the party will fight its case openly and expose ‘conspirators’.The government decided to call a National Assembly session on January 12 and use the platform of parliament.

Farhatullah Babar, the president’s spokesperson, said that, before the NA session, a joint meeting of the parliamentary parties will also be held in the Parliament House to work out the strategy to be adopted during the session.The NA session was previously scheduled for January 25, while Senate will meet on January 16.Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, who was part of coalition meeting, proposed a ‘national dialogue’ between all sides to solve the current problems in the country.“All the institutional heads and political leadership can solve the problem in one week because all the forces want to solve the issues and no one is ready to take an extreme decision,” he told the media.

Sources said the top PPP leadership has given its legal gurus the task of chalking out a ‘time- buying strategy’ once again in the wake of new SC directives. “We will be looking for something within the SC’s six options … one of these is throwing the ball in the court of parliament as the court itself said,” a PPP leader said before the core committee meeting.The party at the same time will be mobilising the public at large through political gatherings. The first such rally will be held in Sargoda on January 21, and the prime minister will also make an address.“It had been tradition of PPP workers that they neither submitted themselves to coercion nor gave in to dictatorship,” were the words of PM Gilani when the court verdict came in. Gilani and other PPP leaders had converged in the Prime Minister’s House when the court proceedings were in progress, sources said.