Feb 28, 2009

Disqualification regrettable, but according to law: govt

The federal cabinet said on Friday that Supreme Court’s decision to disqualify the Sharif brothers from contesting elections and holding public office was regrettable but in accordance with the law.
According to a handout, the cabinet described the imposition of governor’s rule in Punjab as an option of last resort, necessitated by the constitutional and administrative vacuum in the province caused by the SC verdict.
The prime minister, according to the handout, said he wanted to take the cabinet into confidence about the political events taking place since the disqualification of Mian Nawaz Sharif and former chief minister of Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif.
The handout said: ‘To move forward according to democratic norms, the cabinet decided to move a summary for president’s approval to call a National Assembly session on Feb 28 at 4pm.’
‘The cabinet unanimously condemned desecration of the memorial of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi by some PML-N activists. Burning and destruction of public property by PML-N workers at different places was also condemned.’
‘The cabinet called upon all political workers to keep their cool and refrain from destruction, looting and burning public property. It was noted that the PPP believes in democratic principles and would not like its workers to resort to any kind of violence.’
‘The cabinet strongly condemned the indecent language used by PML-N leaders and activists against President Asif Ali Zardari. It was also observed that the President was the symbol of the federation and deserved due respect.’
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan told journalists after the cabinet meeting that Prime Minister Gilani had asked members of the cabinet to exercise restraint.
He said the National Assembly session was being summoned to review the overall situation in the country.
‘Politics of agitation and democracy cannot go side by side and declaration of mutiny is against the spirit of the Constitution,’ Mr Awan said.
He termed the judgment ‘unfortunate’ and said the same law had been used against Ms Bhutto and Mr Zardari by the chairman of an accountability court in 1997.

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