World News

Sharif's party to rejoin Pakistan cabinet

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The party of Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to rejoin the cabinet after the ruling coalition decided to impeach President Pervez Musharraf, a party official said on Friday.

Sharif’s party quit the cabinet led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of slain two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in May because of the coalition’s failure to reinstate judges dismissed by Musharraf last November.

Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto’s widower and head of the coalition, on Thursday announced that they would impeach Musharraf and promised to restore the deposed judges after the impeachment.

“We have decided to rejoin the cabinet to express solidarity with the decision of impeachment of General Musharraf,” Ahsan Iqbal, the main spokesman for Sharif’s party said.

“It will be a token rejoining. Three or four ministers will rejoin while the remaining ministers will rejoin after the judges are restored,” he added.

PPP emerged as the largest group in the February elections followed by Sharif’s party by inflicting a humiliating defeat on the allies of former army chief, Musharraf.

Musharraf, who toppled Sharif in a military coup in 1999, sacked around 60 judges, including chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Chaudhry, by imposing a six-week emergency rule in November apparently to stop them ruling illegal his re-election by the outgoing assemblies while he was still army chief.

Musharraf quit the army and later lifted emergency rule after hand-picking judges who endorsed his re-election.

Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani