[IWAR] PAKISTAN President resigns

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Tue Dec 02 1997 - 09:38:33 PST

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                             Pakistan's president steps down
          Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net
          Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press
       ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (December 2, 1997 10:47 a.m. EST
       http://www.nando.net) -- President Farooq Ahmed Leghari resigned
       Tuesday, a surprise move in an escalating political crisis that has
       divided Pakistan's government and raised fears of a military takeover.
       The crisis -- arising out of a feud between the chief justice and prime
       minister -- has split the Supreme Court and Parliament and cast the army
       chief in the unlikely role of mediator.
       Conflicting rulings issued Tuesday by rival Supreme Court justices
       deepened the crisis.
       Earlier Tuesday, army chief of staff Gen. Jehangir Karamat shuttled
       between the president and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, trying to broker
       a solution.
       Later, the president resigned and it was announced that an acting chief
       justice would be named. There was no immediate explanation for either
       Underlying the chaos were fears that the army would step in to take
       control in Pakistan, which has been under military rule for 25 of its 50
       After the conflicting judgments came out of the Supreme Court, Karamat
       held a series of emergency meetings with both the president and prime
       minister, as well as Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah.
       It's not known definitively what occurred during the closed-door
       meetings, but Karamat is believed to have pushed for Pakistan's
       Parliament to continue.
       The current crisis stems from a clash several months ago between Sharif
       and Shah over the appointment of five new judges to the Supreme Court,
       which expanded the bench from 12 to 17.
       Shah accused the prime minister and the government of manipulating the
       Supreme Court and creating the divisions on the bench.
       Shah eventually won that battle, but not before he resurrected
       corruption charges against the prime minister and struck down other
       legislation passed by Parliament. He also charged the prime minister
       with contempt of court.
       Sharif has accused both the chief justice and the president of
       conspiring to undermine his 10-month-old government.
       Earlier this year, both the government and opposition parties had voted
       in a constitutional amendment to withdraw the president's power to
       dismiss elected governments.
       Leghari invoked that power in 1996 to dismiss Prime Minister Benazir
       Tuesday, the chief justice ruled to restore the president's
       constitutional power to dismiss Parliament. Many had expected Leghari
       would then dismiss Sharif's 10-month-old government, after earlier
       statements by the president accusing Sharif's government of staging an
       attack on the Supreme Court and of resorting to the "law of the jungle."
       But almost immediately after Shah's ruling, 10 other justices sitting in
       a nearby courtroom overturned it. These justices have been opposed to
       Shah on the grounds that he was wrongly promoted to chief justice, ahead
       of other more senior judges.

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