Pakistani coalition discusses restoration of deposed judges

Other News Materials 15 April 2008 13:19 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The leaders of two major parties in Pakistan's new coalition government were set to meet Tuesday to discuss how to reinstate senior judges deposed by President Pervez Musharraf, a party official said.

Asif Ali Zardari, who has led the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) since the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated late last year, and the leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Nawaz Sharif have pledged to restore more than 60 judges within 30 days of the formation of new government. The judges were sacked by Musharraf under an emergency order on November 3.

But the two leaders have some differences over how and when to restore the judges, who were dismissed when the Supreme Court was set to rule against the re-election of the military dictator-turned-civilian president for the next five year term.

"There is some difference of opinion between the two parties on the issue but these will be resolved and the modalities for the reinstatement of judges will be chalked out in today's meeting," PML-N spokesman Siddiqul Farooq told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

PML-N says the restoration should occur through a parliamentary resolution followed by an executive order, while the PPP believes a constitutional amendment would be required for the purpose.

The other point of contention is the timing of the restoration. The PML-N says it should come into effect within 30 days of the oath-taking of the coalition Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani on March 25. The PPP believes the countdown should start from April 14 when the last government was formed in the eastern province of Punjab.

"It makes a difference of nearly 15 days but Mr Zardari has indicated that the judges might be restored before the lapse of the 30-day deadline," said Farooq.

"I believe the judges will be in their offices within 15 days," he added.

The move would further cloud the political future of Musharraf as the restored judges could revoke the approval of his re-election by the current Supreme Court, which was packed with handpicked justices following the declaration of emergency rule.