Restoration of Pakistan’s sacked judges may be delayed

April 26th, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, April 26 (IANS) The Pakistan government has virtually delayed restoration of deposed judges after sending parliament into an indefinite recess without taking up the much-awaited resolution. With this, the chances of meeting the deadline of the Murree Declaration issued last month by the ruling coalition partners have diminished, media reports said Saturday.

The March 9 declaration had committed the coalition 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 during the April 10-25 first regular session, the Dawn newspaper said.

About 60 judges of the Supreme Court and four provincial high courts were sacked under President Pervez Musharraf’s controversial emergency decree on Nov 3 last year.

“Woh aajaiga jab aana hoga (that will come when it has to come),” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Farooq H. Naek told reporters about the fate of the resolution after the assembly prorogation.

“Naek seemed to have little time to talk as he rushed out of his office in the Parliament House for Friday prayers,” Dawn newspaper commented.

“But his terse remark reflected an apparently cautious but politically costly ambiguity maintained by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) about one of the most serious problems inherited by the new government it leads,” the newspaper added.

However, the minister later told a Dawn correspondent that the new session could be called “at any time” when related issues were settled by a joint committee he chairs and the coalition leadership.

The meeting of the committee on the judges’ restoration has so far failed to agree on a consensus resolution forcing the government to prorogue the session, The News said in its report.

However, there were reports that if the committee could reach a consensus, the National Assembly session would be summoned by Tuesday or Wednesday to move the resolution, added The News.

Sources told the newspaper that the PPP had virtually put the deposed judges’ reinstatement on the backburner with the likelihood of maintaining the status quo for at least a month.

“The National Assembly is not scheduled to meet in the coming month i.e. May, and there is no sign of convening it before the first week of June,” The News quoted sources in the assembly secretariat as saying.

According to the schedule of the parliamentary calendar, the house would now meet June 2 for the budget session. “We do not think that any session would be convened before the scheduled session of the assembly,” the officials said.

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