Pakistan’s election winners sealed an agreement Sunday to form a coalition government and said parliament will restore judges ousted by President Pervez Musharraf — further clouding the U.S.-allied leader’s political future.
In the capital, police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of lawyers demonstrating for the reinstatement of the judges, whom Musharraf deposed during a burst of emergency rule last year.
Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the man ousted by Musharraf in a coup eight years ago, announced their pact after talks at a hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas.
The two parties won a landslide victory in Feb. 18 elections, trouncing Musharraf’s closest allies and raising doubts about the survival of a leading figure in the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
After weeks of talks, they announced a breakthrough on two key issues: the makeup of the coalition and the future of the ousted judges.
Sharif said his party would be part of a federal coalition led by Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, which won the most seats in the parliamentary vote.
In return, Zardari agreed that parliament would vote within a month to restore the judges expelled from the Supreme Court and high courts in November to prevent them from ruling his presidency illegal.