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Former rivals agree to form new Pakistan government

Srinagar, February 22, 2008:

Former arch rivals Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N)and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have agreed to join hands to form the new government in Pakistan.

The PML-N Chairman Nawaz Sharif addressed a joint press conference with PPP acting chairman Asif Ali Zaradari at Zardari house Thursday evening after a meeting between the two leaders.

Nawaz said the two parties have agreed to work on a common addenda.

PPP emerged as the leading party, followed by PML-M in elections held in the country on February 18.

None of the two had enough seats to form a government.

Nawaz and Zardari announced to have reached an agreement in principle to work together towards strengthening the country by following the path of democracy.

Nawaz said that the two parties had in principle agreed to restore the Constitution of 1973 again in Pakistan.

Sharif said that there is no difference in the two parties on the restoration of the judges sacked by President Musharraf.

"We respect the mandate wholeheartedly. We will support him in Islamabad, ensure his party completes a full five-year term and will not create any problems for him. We will work jointly throughout the country,"Nawaz said expressing his confidence in Zardari.

Both the leaders announced that the UN would be asked to investigate into the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Zardari’s wife Bhutto was the chairman of PPP until her assassination on December 27.

Zardari said today that PPP and PML-N have decided to work together for democracy.

However, he said, some of the matters are yet to be decided by the parties.

The PPP will most likely elect senior party member, Amin Fahim, as prime minister.

By coming together the two have formed a potentially dangerous coalition for President Musharraf who shed uniform in late 2007 after securing a second presidential term for himself.

Musharraf loyalist PML-Q suffered badly in the elections, with most of its bigwigs losing their seats.

Sharif has already made calls for Musharraff to resign, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999 ousting Sharif.

Musharraf has declined to step down, and the opponents would need a two third majority in Parliament to impeach him.

Sharif was later sent to exile after being convicted of an attempt to murder the then army chief Musharraf.

Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, who had been in a self imposed exile amid corruption charges in her country, returned in 2007.



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