Pakistan Teeters After Ministers Quit Coalition

Sharif pulls out over rehiring judges; Zardari will lead talks
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2008 10:00 AM CDT
Pakistani lawyers burn en effigy of the country's President Pervez Musharraf during a rally for restoration of deposed judges Monday, May 12, 2008 in Multan, Pakistan.    (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
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(Newser) – Pakistan's 6-week-old government is in turmoil today after the prime minister refused to accept the resignation of nine members of the cabinet. Former PM Nawaz Sharif led the walkout in a dispute over the reinstatement of judges sacked during last year's state of emergency, reports the BBC.

PM Yousuf Raza Gilani said he would refuse the resignations until meeting with Asif Ali Zardari, the leader of the PPP and the widower of Benazir Bhutto. Both parties want the judges returned to the bench but can't agree on a timetable: Sharif and his Muslim League want them reinstated immediately, while the PPP prefers a gradual process. The issue is whether to provoke a confrontation with President Pervez Musarraf, who fired the judges.