Judges' Dispute Sunders Pakistan's Ruling Coalition

Sharif's Muslim League breaks with People's Party, will still support government
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2008 1:38 PM CDT
Supporters of All Parties Democratic Movement march during a rally for restoration of deposed judges Monday, May 12, 2008 in Lahore, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)
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(Newser) – The second-largest party in Pakistan's ruling coalition pulled out today after a disagreement over the reinstatement of judges removed by President Pervez Musharraf, Bloomberg reports. Nawaz Sharif said nine Pakistan Muslim League ministers would leave the cabinet led by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, but would not enter the opposition, supporting the Pakistan People's Party "on an issue to issue basis."

The PML wants judges reinstated via government order; PPP leader Asif Zardari’s prefers to do it by a more permanent constitutional amendment, a lengthier process. Under the disagreement over the judges lies one over Musharraf himself: Sharif and the PML want him ousted immediately, while Zardari and the PPP want him to remain on as a powerless figurehead.