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Musharraf's fate in hands of people, says Zardari

August 19, 2009 18:54 IST

Amid main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's demand that Pervez Musharraf be tried for treason, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said the fate of the former military ruler will be decided by the people and Parliament and ruled out using his powers on "frivolous issues of the past".

The fate of Musharraf, who has been booked by the Islamabad police for "illegally" detaining over 60 judges during the 2007 emergency rule, is in the hands of people and Parliament of Pakistan, Zardari told ARY News channel in an interview.

Zardari, who was granted amnesty in graft cases under the National Reconciliation Ordinance issued by Musharraf during his regime, said that he will not use his powers on "frivolous issues of the past."

His remarks made in the interview earlier this week came amid demands from the opposition PML-N, which is headed by former Premier Nawaz Sharif, that Musharraf be tried for "treason". Sharif was toppled by Musharraf in a military coup in October 1999.

Zardari said the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party will convert the "thirst for revenge into a positive energy" by implementing the Charter of Democracy signed with the PML-N in 2006. He also said the PPP is committed to repealing the 17th constitutional amendment that gives the President sweeping powers to dismiss the Premier and dissolve Parliament. "I think the 17th amendment is practically dead. I have called on the Parliament twice to repeal it. I do not consider it as an instrument. I do not rely on it. I do not intend to use it," Zardari said.

When was asked about his relations with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in light of reports of differences between them, the President replied that Gilani is a powerful Premier and was nominated for the top post by the PPP. It was the "wishful thinking" of some people that there were differences between the Premier and President, he said. "We all are with him. The PPP is behind (Gilani). He is a strong Prime Minister," he added.

Some people, Zardari said, wanted the PPP to get into "confrontation with state institutions" but the party wants to strengthen democracy and institutions. Truth and reconciliation is part of the PPP's manifesto and it will promote politics of reconciliation, he added. The people of Pakistan had refused to be subdued by a "ragtag force of militants" who wanted to impose their views on the public and target the political leadership, he said.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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