Pakistan’s Prime Minister sought to defuse tension on Sunday over a Supreme Court decision to strike down a presidential order appointing two top judges, saying the dispute would not threaten political stability.
But leading opposition figure Nawaz Sharif sought to play up the issue to pressure President Asif Ali Zardari, saying his decision to appoint two judges opposed by the court showed he was “the biggest threat to democracy”.
Mr. Zardari has clashed with Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry in the past, and the court’s decision to reject the appointments late on Saturday, only hours after they were announced, sparked fears that the conflict could destabilise Pakistan at a time when it is battling a raging Taliban-led insurgency.
“Today, if there is really a danger to democracy, it is through these kinds of acts by Zardari,” Mr. Sharif told reporters. “The government is attacking the judiciary to protect its corruption.”
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira responded by saying Mr. Sharif had spoken in anger and would “certainly correct his position.”