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PAKISTAN

Jamali quits as Prime Minister

B. Muralidhar Reddy

Saturday 26 June 2004, by MURALIDHAR REDDY*B.

ISLAMABAD, JUNE 26. Ending weeks of speculation and suspense, the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, tonight announced his decision to quit office and proposed the name of the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam) chief, Chaudhary Shujat Hussain, as his successor as an interim arrangement. Shaukat Aziz, Finance Minister in the Jamali Government, will succeed him once he is elected to the Lower House of the National Assembly.

The resignation came in the wake of reports in the last few days that he had fallen out of favour with the Pakistan President and Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Pervez Musharraf. Mr. Jamali did not hide his displeasure at being booted out when he told an emergency meeting of the ruling combine leaders that there were no charges either against him or any of his Cabinet colleagues.

He told a packed house of the Pakistan Muslim League that under the new arrangement, Mr. Aziz would be a "senior Minister." Dyed in the IMF and World Bank economic philosophy, Mr. Aziz is a member of the Upper House and, under Pakistan’s Constitution, only a member of the Lower House can become the Prime Minister.

The former Information and Broadcasting Minister, Sheikh Rashid, said that in the next few weeks Mr. Aziz would be fielded as party candidate for election to the Lower House. "This is an era where economics dominates. In India, too, we have a financial wizard as Prime Minister."

As per the Constitution, the Prime Minister is elected on the floor of the Lower House. A special session of the National Assembly is being convened on Monday. Once Mr. Jamali’s resignation is announced on the floor of the House, the Speaker will invite political parties to nominate their leaders for election as the Leader of the House. A person elected by at least 50 per cent of the total strength of the House will be sworn in Prime Minister.

See online : The Hindu

P.S.

in The Hindu, Saturday, June 26, 2004.

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