Pakistan parties agree to form government

February 21, 2008 9:46:37 AM PST
Pakistan's two main opposition parties announced Thursday they would form a new government together after their victory over President Pervez Musharraf's allies in elections this week.The two leaders of the Pakistan People's Party of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League-N led by Nawaz Sharif made the announcement at a joint news conference after meeting in Islamabad.

"We have agreed on a common agenda. We will work together to form a government together in the center and in the provinces," Sharif said.

Zardari said "we intend to stay together and be together in the parliament ... We intend to strengthen Pakistan together."

Sharif said the two parties had agreed in principle on restoration of judges purged by Musharraf when he declared emergency rule late last year - an issue that many see as a possible source of discord between the parties.

"In principle there's no disagreement on restoration of the judiciary. We will work on the modalities in parliament," said Sharif, who has previously demanded the immediate reinstatement of the detained ex-Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.

The two party leaders did not make explicit whether they would push for Musharraf's ouster. They won a comfortable majority in parliament in Monday's election, but fell short of the two-thirds majority in parliament required for the president's impeachment.

But Sharif reiterated his desire for the U.S.-backed president to go.

"I think the nation today has given out its verdict and that verdict is amply clear and it is from every nook and corner of Pakistan," Sharif said.