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Pakistan ex-PM plans to abandon coalition if reinstatement agreement not reached

[JURIST] Former Pakistan prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) [party website] head Nawaz Sharif has threatened to withdraw from the government if all of the judges ousted last year by President Pervez Musharraf [official website; JURIST news archive] are not reinstated by Friday, according to a report [AFP report] published Thursday. Lawyers' groups in the country have also demonstrated [News report] against the failure of Pakistan's ruling coalition to reach an agreement on reinstating the judges, after the negotiations between the PML-N and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) failed [JURIST report] on Wednesday. Sharif said that the controversy centers around the reinstatement of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [JURIST news archive], and that his party will withdraw from the government if he is not restored to his position. Also Thursday, Pakistan Attorney General Malik Abdul Qayyum, who was appointed by Musharraf, resigned [Xinhua report] following the former President's decision to step down [press release; JURIST report] on Tuesday. PPP senator Latif Khosa took Qayyum's place.

Earlier this month, the coalition government said that it would push to impeach Musharraf because he had given a "clear commitment" to step down from office after his party was defeated in parliamentary elections [JURIST reports], but subsequently refused to resign or go into exile, and because be had failed to follow through on a promise to ask parliament for a confidence vote. In June, the PML-N called for Musharraf's impeachment [JURIST report] and released a "charge sheet" outlining misuse of presidential authority, including the dismissal of the country's superior court judges. Also in June, PML-N leader and former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [JURIST news archive] called for Musharraf to be tried for treason [JURIST report], labeling him a traitor disloyal to Pakistan and saying he should be punished for the "damage" that he has done to the country in the years since he led a military coup [BBC backgrounder] and unseated Sharif in 1999.

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