ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The country’s prime minister sought to defuse tension yesterday over a Supreme Court decision to strike down a presidential order appointing two top judges, saying the dispute would not threaten political stability.
But Pakistan’s leading opposition figure, Nawaz Sharif, sought to emphasize 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.’’
Zardari has clashed with Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry in the past, and the court’s decision to reject the appointments late Saturday sparked fears that the conflict could destabilize 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,’’ Sharif said. “The government is attacking the judiciary to protect its corruption.’’
In a separate development yesterday, a US drone missile struck a house in the North Waziristan tribal area, killing five people, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
Also yesterday, a homemade bomb exploded in a busy intersection of Dadu city in southern Sindh Province, an area that has mostly avoided violence in the past, regional police Chief Fayaz Leghari said. Leghari said one person was killed, but a local hospital official said three people died and nine were wounded.