The Pakistan Government on Friday ratified the imposition of Governors Rule in Punjab amid reports that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani wanted the two-day-old Central rule in the province to be lifted,but could not get support from his own Cabinet.
President Asif Ali Zardari had imposed Presidents Rule in Punjab,where PML(N) chief Nawaz Sharifs brother Shahbaz was Chief Minister,hours after the Supreme Court barred the Sharifs from contesting polls.
A special meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Gilani took stock of the political developments after the courts decision and the imposition of Governors Rule in Punjab.
Describing Governors Rule as an option of the last resort,the Cabinet said it was resorted to because of the constitutional and administrative void caused by the Supreme Courts judgment.
The cabinet turned down Gilanis proposal for the lifting of Governors Rule in Punjab at the earliest,Dawn News channel quoted its sources as saying.
Gilani also said the majority party in the province the PML(N) should be invited to form the Government,but this too was turned down by the Cabinet,the sources said. The Cabinet also decided to ask the President to call a session of the National Assembly on Saturday to discuss the developments in Punjab.
Reports have said that Gilani had opposed Zardaris move to impose Governors Rule,increasing the differences between the two top leaders of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.
Shortly after the SC judgment,Gilani telephoned Shahbaz Sharif and told him that he regretted that the order had come just a day after the two of them had met to discuss ways to improve relations between the PPP and PML(N).
The Cabinet also condemned the desecration of the memorial of late PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto at Rawalpindi by some PML(N) activists and the burning and destruction of public property during protests. It also condemned the indecent language used by PML(N) leaders and activists against Zardari.
Angry protesters attacked Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtars car at Faizabad on the outskirts of Islamabad as he was travelling to Rawalpindi. Police used tear gas to disperse about 100 protesters who blocked a six-lane highway between Islamabad and Rawalpindi with rocks and bricks.
Protesters also set on fire a police station at Shahzad Town in Islamabad though no one was injured in the incident. Lawyers boycotted court proceedings to express solidarity with the Sharif brothers in Karachi and Lahore.