Ministers from the party of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have pulled out of Pakistan's Cabinet after the coalition partners failed to meet a deadline Monday on reinstating deposed judges.
Nine ministers from the six-week-old coalition government -- all members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party -- submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad today (Tuesday).
But Mr. Gilani declined to immediately accept the resignations. He said a decision on them will come after his party's leader, Asif Ali Zardari, returns to Pakistan from Britain later today. Mr. Gilani urged the outgoing ministers to wait and try to resolve the matter.
Mr. Sharif's party wants the unconditional reinstatement of judges deposed by President Pervez Musharraf last year. Zardari, leader of the Pakistan People's Party, wants to link their reinstatement to constitutional reforms. This includes retaining the judges Mr. Musharraf installed in November.
The former president of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association (Muneer Malik) says lawyers will continue to protest until the country's judiciary is restored.
Mr. Musharraf fired scores of senior judges last year after they questioned the legitimacy of his re-election as president while serving as Pakistan's top military officer.
The president's attempts to confront the judiciary -- in particular, Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry -- set off a strong opposition movement.