TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary
Email This Page
Pak partners ‘agree’ on judges

Dubai/Islamabad, April 30 (Agencies): Pakistan’s key coalition partners, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have “agreed” to reinstate the judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf.

However, they have more issues to iron out tomorrow, a senior minister said today.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rushed to Dubai for the talks after aides failed to settle differences with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari over reinstating judges that President Pervez Musharraf deposed during a period of emergency rule six months ago.

Some officials of Sharif’s PML-N, have hinted their ministers could quit Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s cabinet over the issue.

Any coalition cracks would heighten concern that nuclear-armed Pakistan, a US ally under Musharraf, will suffer prolonged political instability at a time of challenges from Islamist militants and acute economic problems.

In Dubai, Zardari had earlier said that both parties had agreed to reinstate the judges. “Both the parties have agreed to reinstate the judges and the coalition is as strong as ever.”

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, a senior minister and close aide to Sharif, told reporters: “A lot of progress has been made... There is consensus on most issues but difference of opinion on some legal and constitutional matters,” .

Having defeated Musharraf's allies in a parliamentary poll in February, Zardari forged a post-election alliance with Sharif.

When they sealed their alliance, Sharif and Zardari vowed the PPP-led government would within a month of being sworn in pass a resolution in parliament to bring back 60 judges.

That deadline passed today, with Zardari in Dubai where he went last weekend to see his daughters. “The fact of the matter is that a final decision on the issue will be made tomorrow and I can say that very categorically,” Khan said at an upmarket hotel in Dubai where the talks were held.

Sharif, overthrown by Musharraf in 1999, wants the judges to be reinstated immediately as part of a strategy to drive Musharraf from office.

The PPP leadership wants to avoid an early confrontation with Musharraf. It also harbours reservations about some judges, notably Iftikhar Chaudhry, the supreme court chief justice, whose defiance of Musharraf last year galvanised the Opposition.

The PPP wants to link reinstatement of the judiciary to a constitutional reform package that will include measures to shorten the tenure of senior judges. Under such a formula, Chaudhry could be reinstated with honour and then immediately packed off to retirement.

Email This Page