ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) – Pakistan’s two main opposition parties announced Thursday they would form a new government together after their victory in elections this week over the allies of President Pervez Musharraf.
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 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 to impeach the president. 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. Zardari said that the first act of the new Pakistani government will be to ask the United Nations for help in uncovering who was behind the Dec. 27 assassination of Bhutto. “Our first resolution, our first point of order on the day we take the oath of governance, will be to request the United Nations for helping us uncover the incident of … Benazir Bhutto,” Zardari, her widowed husband, said.
U.S. and Pakistani officials have accused Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud of masterminding the assassination, but many Pakistanis suspect Pakistani intelligence may have been involved in her death.