Musharraf swears in new cabinet, Pak government wants to negotiate with Taliban forces
Pakistan politics in state of flux
VOICE OF ZAA NKWETA, PRESENTER: Embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf swore in a new cabinet made up of political opponents who’ve declared to cut back the US-supported leader’s once sweeping powers. Musharraf, sitting next to the new Prime Minister, Yusuf Gilani, swore in twenty-four ministers in the capital of Islamabad.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: Thank you and congratulations.
The ceremony was snubbed by the leaders of Pakistan’s new ruling parties. Ministers from Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League wore black armbands in symbolic protest at taking the oath from Musharraf. The incoming coalition plans to change the Constitution to remove Musharraf’s power to dissolve Parliament and fire the government. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s deposed chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, launched a drive to win his old job back. Chaudhry and other senior judges were released last week, more than four months after they were put under house arrest by Musharraf. Supporters of the judges’ quest to reinstate the judiciary had this to say.
MIAN KHAN, PESHAWAR HIGH COURT LAWYER: We don’t think that he has been suspended, because the suspension is that one has to pass through Supreme Judicial Council etcetera. And this is not a suspension. We don’t consider this a suspension.
Pakistan’s new coalition government has hopes to negotiate with pro-Taliban forces, a move opposed by Washington.
March 27, 2008
JOHN NEGROPONTE, US DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: There is no single solution. Security measures obviously are necessary when one is talking about dealing with irreconcilable elements who want to destroy our very way of life. I don’t see how you can talk with those kind of people.
MAULVI FAQIR MOHAMMED, LEADER, TEHRIK-E-TALIBAN (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Due to the government policies against Islam I ordered a kidnapping of soldiers from checkpoints, I also ordered a carrying out of attacks on forces and I also ordered my soldiers to kill all those people who abuse our Prophet and other Islamic leaders and I have made my stand on that up to now.
MAULVI UMAR, SPOKESMAN, TEHRIK-E-TALIBAN (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): The people of Pakistan voted for a new government against the policies of President Pervez Musharraf, now we appeal to them not to follow the mistakes of the last government and if they don’t repeat them, we will help them with peace in the country.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.