Pakistan to have two Supreme Courts?

May 10th, 2008 - 2:15 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, May 10 (IANS) Pakistan may end up having two Supreme Courts to break the deadlock between the two ruling coalition parties over the restoration of higher court judges sacked last year by President Pervez Musharraf. With the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-Nawaz) still locked in a row over the judges, the formation of two Supreme Courts has been proposed, The News reported Saturday.

The proposal envisages a Supreme Court to be headed by deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to deal with criminal and civil cases and the other by incumbent Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar to look after constitutional matters.

Dogar’s Supreme Court would also have all the suo motu powers.

Leaders of PML-N and PPP have failed to resolve the issue of restoration of sacked judges despite talks between PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in London.

The News, quoting unnamed sources close to the presidential camp, said the new constitutional court to be headed by Justice Dogar, whom Musharraf and Zardari like, would be called the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC).

It will be empowered to deal with all constitutional issues such as the interpretation of the constitution, the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), constitutional disputes and the legality of President Musharraf.

The court to be headed by Iftikhar Chaudhry would be a sort of appellate court on the high courts of the four provinces. But it is the court headed by Dogar that will handle issues that worry the presidency and Zardari.

Dogar’s court would have seven judges. The court of Iftikhar Chaudhry would include the sacked judges.

The expert said the move appears to placate the apprehensions of the establishment and the presidency on the one hand and to appease the civil society, media and lawyers on the other.

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