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International Forum Discuss Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers at the Political Forums; 2 Video's of Haiti and one on Pakistan, at the site. Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers By ZARAR KHAN, Associated ...

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Default Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers

2 Video's of Haiti and one on Pakistan, at the site.

Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers

By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer Zarar Khan, Associated Press Writer 1 hr 49 mins ago

ISLAMABAD A parliamentary committee agreed on a constitutional amendment Wednesday that strips the Pakistani president of powers inherited from the country's former military ruler, fulfilling a long-standing opposition demand and reducing pressure on the U.S.-allied leader.

The development could help calm Pakistan's turbulent political environment at time when Washington wants the government focused on battling Taliban and al-Qaida militants blamed for cross-border attacks against U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

"This was a difficult job that has been done amicably and with consensus," Senator Raza Rabbani, the head of the parliamentary committee, told reporters Wednesday.

The draft amendment transfers a variety of powers, including the ability to fire an elected government and appoint military chiefs, from the office of the president to the prime minister, said Senator Hasil Baloch, another member of the committee.

The opposition has criticized President Asif Ali Zardari for dragging his feet on relinquishing the powers, which he first promised to do when he was elected in 2008.

Analysts say the changes mean Zardari will occupy a largely ceremonial post, but since he derives much of his power from his position as co-head of the largest party, he will still wield significant influence over the government.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is a loyal member of Zardari's party and a strong supporter of the president.

"By and large, Gilani will hold the power, and he holds his position because he is the chosen one of Zardari," said Cyril Almeida, an opinion writer for the respected English-language newspaper, Dawn. "It is hard to imagine given the structure of political parties in Pakistan that Gilani will defy the president."

The constitutional amendment was drafted by a committee made up of representatives from every party in parliament and must be approved by two-thirds of parliament to be ratified.

The committee was expected to finalize the draft amendment last week, but opposition leader Nawaz Sharif raised unexpected objections at the last minute on two issues, including the process by which judges for the high courts are chosen and the new name for one of Pakistan's four provinces.

The various sides resolved their differences Wednesday, paving the way for the amendment to be presented before parliament.

"We succeeded in protecting the independence of the judiciary," said Ahsan Iqbal, a member the committee and the leader of Sharif's party in parliament.

One key provision included in the amendment pushed by Sharif was the removal of a ban on prime ministers serving for more than two terms, said committee member Baloch. Sharif served twice as premier in the 1990s and is eager to take up the job for a third time if his party can win the next set of national elections scheduled for 2013.

Sharif, who heads the second largest party, was the most vocal figure calling for Zardari to relinquish the powers he inherited from former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The president's acquiesce could improve relations between the two and ease up a political system that is often gridlocked by power struggles between the two main parties.

"It is a great gift for democracy and the people of Pakistan," said presidential spokeswoman Farahnaz Ispahani.

Zardari has also been under pressure from a Supreme Court decision in December to revoke a blanket amnesty that protected him and many other politicians, party members and bureaucrats from corruption charges filed in the 1990s.

That pressure also eased Wednesday when Switzerland said it will not reopen a money-laundering case against Zardari as long as he enjoys legal immunity as president. The announcement marks the latest development in a monthslong struggle between the government and the court.

"We could go further only if the competent authorities in Pakistan decide to lift the immunity of the head of state, which I do not know whether it is possible according to their constitution," Geneva prosecutor Daniel Zappelli told The Associated Press, speaking in English. "If not, we can't. Absolutely not. Period."

Zardari and his late wife Benazir Bhutto were found guilty in absentia in a Geneva court in 2003 of laundering millions of Swiss francs (dollars). They were handed six-month sentences and fined, but both punishments were automatically suspended when they appealed.

Swiss authorities abandoned the case in 2008 after the Pakistani government asked them to. The case was among the thousands dropped as a result of the controversial amnesty that was part of a power-sharing deal that allowed Bhutto to return from exile and contest elections.

Bhutto was killed in a December 2007 gun and suicide bomb attack and Zardari was designated her political successor. He became president after his party won parliamentary elections and forced Musharraf to resign.

He has struggled to make much of a dent in the country's myriad problems, but his government has been praised of late in the West for battling the Taliban in northwestern border regions.

Earlier Wednesday, six soldiers and 20 Taliban militants were killed when troops repulsed an attack by dozens of insurgents on a checkpoint close to the Afghan border, a statement from Pakistan's paramilitary Frontier Corps said.

Also Wednesday, at least six alleged insurgents were killed by suspected U.S. missiles in Pakistan's volatile North Waziristan tribal area, said two Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Associated Press writers Rasool Dawar in Mir Ali, Hussain Afzal in Parachinar and Frank Jordans in Geneva contributed to this report.

Related Searches: taliban militants, president asif ali zardari, prime ministers, nawaz sharif, benazir bhutto. 1,212 Comments.
Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers - Yahoo! News

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Question Re: Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers

Zardari on the ropes?...

Power struggle could further destabilize Pakistan
Friday, December 30, 2011 Pakistan's powerful army wants President Asif Ali Zardari gone, but it has ruled out staging a coup, and instead is hoping for a legal ruling that could lead to Zardari's impeachment by the country's parliament, analysts and military insiders say.
Zardari suffered a setback Friday when Pakistan's Supreme Court set up a judicial commission to investigate an alleged request by his government for U.S. help in averting a coup in return for full cooperation in crushing Pakistan-based Afghan insurgents and reining in the country's premier intelligence agency. The government fought the ruling, contending that the so-called Memogate scandal is a political matter that's already being investigated by parliament. If the judicial panel confirms the authenticity of the offer to the U.S. allegedly made in a secret memo drafted by a top Zardari adviser it could trigger parliamentary impeachment proceedings against the president.

Yet impeaching Zardari could prove difficult as he enjoys immunity from prosecution and his Pakistan Peoples Party controls the largest bloc of legislative seats. The result could be a stalemate that's likely to see the army intensify its battle against Zardari consigning Pakistan to a prolonged internal power struggle that would divert its leaders from tackling violent Islamic radicalism and repairing ties with the United States. "Given the churn in the internal situation, this could prove distracting for the leadership and complicate decision-making," said a Western diplomat, who requested anonymity because of the delicacy of the situation. "We're seeing a process that could play out over several months."

Among other moves, the military is expected to continue encouraging its political allies to join a political party led by Imran Khan, a sports celebrity-turned-politician, who has struck a chord with young and middle-class Pakistanis with a campaign against endemic corruption. Top generals want to force out Zardari, the widower of assassinated Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, considering him too pro-West and bent on wresting away the army's control over national security and foreign policies, analysts and military insiders said. "It's not really about national security, although that's part of it," said Hamir Mir, the host of Pakistan's most popular current affairs television show. "The problem is that some generals suffer from a deadly disease which makes them crave a (figurehead) presidency, with the dominant role reserved for the army."

But the powerful military-run spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, advised the army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, that the public would oppose a fifth military coup in 64 years, military insiders said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Pakistan's fiercely independent chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhury, made it clear earlier this month that the Supreme Court would declare a coup an act of treason. A takeover also would unify the normally fractious major political parties against the army and incur the wrath of the highly influential media, analysts said. Like the October 1999 coup by former Gen. Pervez Musharraf, another takeover would leave Pakistan isolated internationally, bringing severe repercussions for its crisis-ridden economy, analysts said.

Read more here: Power struggle could further destabilize Pakistan | McClatchy
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers

As I am suggesting in the Pakistan War Thread, may I borrow this last post you made and place it in this thread as it goes with what I am saying there... And I you for allowing me to do this...

As I am about to do so right now..

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