Murmurs against Musharraf, former PM Jamali resigns from party


Islamabad : There were murmurs against Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's poll plans and dissensions within the party he blessed erupted, leading to the resignation of former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali from the Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid).

Support TwoCircles

Jamali, a Baloch, who was made to vacate the prime minister's post in 2004, has been upset at being sidelined in his party and not kept in the loop when top Baloch tribal leader Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in an operation last year.

The development was termed "a voice of dissent or a mutiny", by The News. Jamali handed over his resignation to party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain at the chief executive committee (CEC) meeting held Monday. Hussain later said the CEC had "unanimously" rejected it.

The CEC is again meeting Tuesday over Jamali's resignation, apart from several other issues as the party prepares for the general elections that Musharraf has announced for later this year.

Musharraf is expected to attend Tuesday's meeting.

Jamali presented a four-page charge sheet against Hussain and the government, saying they had "mishandled" the chief justice issue, failed to ease law and order problems in Balochistan and stop the carnage in Karachi on May 12, and were unable to maintain the state's writ, informed sources said.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Hussain tried to convince Jamali to rethink his decision, but failed.

During the meeting, several PML members criticised the president and prime minister's handling of the judicial crisis, Daily News said quoting unnamed party officials who attended the meet.

The country has been in a crisis since Musharraf suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry March 9 after what the government said was credible evidence that the judge had misused his office to promote his son.

The government's action triggered a nationwide agitation with lawyers, joined by opposition parties, taking to the streets. A counter rally by a pro-government party in Karachi on May 12 led to 48 people being killed.

M.P. Bhandara, a minority lawmaker, questioned Musharraf's plans to get re-elected to the presidency using the current legislatures as the electoral college although they have elected him once.

Bhandara suggested that the assemblies be dissolved after the budget is passed in June. He said elections should be held under an interim government and the president should go for a referendum to gauge public opinion before he tries to get re-elected. He added that the recent controversies had hurt the PML's popularity.

Two senior party leaders, Lt General (retd.) Abdul Majeed Malik and Kabir Wasti blamed Musharraf for the judicial crisis and said he must reconsider his position in the larger national interest, the sources said.

Wasti said he believed it was the president's decision to file the reference against the top judge and not the prime minister's. Aziz, however, denied this.