Nawaz Sharif confident of sacked judges’ restoration(Lead)

April 26th, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, April 26 (IANS) Former prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif Saturday said all judges deposed by President Pervez Musharraf last November would be restored by April 30. But there are speculations that the government may not be able to do so as parliament has been prorogued indefinitely without taking up the much-awaited resolution. “Let me make it clear that judges will be restored to the position they were on Nov 2…there should be no doubt in this regard,” Sharif, who heads the ruling coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), told reporters.

About 60 judges of the Supreme Court and four provincial high courts were sacked under President Pervez Musharraf’s controversial emergency decree Nov 2 last year.

The ruling coalition partners - the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) - March 9 signed what was called the Murree Declaration. It committed the government to restore the judges through a resolution to be passed by the National Assembly within 30 days of taking office, for which a countdown began when Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s cabinet was sworn in March 31.

But the prorogation of the house Friday went against earlier plans to bring the resolution as per schedule.

But Sharif, who is spearheading the campaign to restore the judges to the pre-Nov 2 position, is still confident of meeting the deadline.

“I have said that we are very clear and I repeat all the judges will be restored to the Nov 2 position,” said Sharif, who looked short of saying that his party will quit the coalition if the move was not supported by PPP.

The PML-N chief parried a question about his strategy if the PPP did not agree to restore the sacked judges.

“We want a country where judiciary is free and where no general or dictator can dare control the country. We are against dictatorship and this is the reason that our ministers took oath from Musharraf under protest,” he said.

Negotiators from the two major ruling coalition partners said they had agreed on how to reinstate top judges.

Law Minister Farooq H. Naek told reporters that the committee he heads has finalised its recommendations. The committee was formed earlier in the week after several rounds of PPP and PML-N talks failed to reach at an agreement.

The draft, Naek said, would be presented to Sharif and PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari in a couple of days.

Nawaz and Zardari would then announce the package the committee has agreed upon, Naek said after the committee met.

The sources said the PPP had some reservations regarding reinstatement of all the judges.

“They have given a list of 11 judges who they do not want to be reinstated,” said a PML-N leader.

Earlier in the day, Naek told reporters the committee would come up with what he called a “historic decision”.

Sources in the PPP and the PML-N said Sharif was likely to meet Zardari Monday, after the PPP leader arrives from Dubai.

Unconfirmed reports said Sharif and Zardari could meet even earlier as the PPP leader had decided to fly back as soon as possible.

The committee, the sources said, had finalised the draft of a resolution to be tabled in the National Assembly for judges’ restoration.

They added the government would reconvene the lower house for the purpose possibly next week.

“We will decide it in a manner the nation will always remember,” said Naek.

It was not known what transpired in talks as Naek insisted leaders of the two parties would disclose it after giving a final go ahead.

He said that there was no deadlock over the issue. But they were stuck in some constitutional and legal intricacies that would be worked out in the next few days.

He said that the prorogation of the National Assembly was not a big deal and they could convene the session anytime.

The minister underlined that the pledges made by the government would be fulfilled at all cost.

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