Pakistan: President Zardari will administer the oath of office to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at 0800 EDT on Wednesday, 5 June.
At the Supreme Court. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Chaudhry and comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Gulzar Ahmed resumed hearing a petition filed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz which charged that the caretaker government was unlawfully transferring and posting senior civil servants to provincial civil service positions.
The Court issued an order that suspended such transfers and postings. It sent notices to the secretaries (the top civil servants) of the Establishment, Law and Health ministries and to the principal secretary to the prime minister, directing them to submit a complete list of such actions on the next hearing date, which is 6 June.
Comment: The outgoing caretaker prime minister, 84 year old Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, was the nominee of the former Pakistan People's Party government and is a retired Supreme Court Justice. He was selected by the Election Commission.
The responsibilities of the caretaker prime minister are limited to keeping the government functioning and conducting free and fair general elections. Khoso did a creditable job in overseeing the elections but took on the additional task of filling vacancies in the senior civil service - more than 100 of them -- and of letting new government contracts.
He appeared to be trying to break logjams left by the outgoing government, but his actions exceeded the authority of the caretaker prime minister. The new government has a simple majority and will govern without a coalition. It will have the ability to make appointments as it sees fit. Khoso has not explained why his appointments could not wait another few days for the new government to take charge.
The Court is enforcing the rule of law, just as Chief Justice Chaudhry promised.
Turkey: With Prime Minister Erdogan in North Africa, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc agreed to meet with the organizers of the protests in Gezi Park in Istanbul. Arinc apologized to protestors that were injured by the police crackdown against the initial demonstrations and said police have been ordered not to use tear gas except in self-defense.
Arinc called the initial protests against development in Gezi Park "legitimate and patriotic," but asked Turks to avoid letting "marginal and illegal groups" degrade the protestors' demands. Arinc thanked Turkey's opposition parties for their "calming attitudes" regarding the protests.
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