Sharif for repealing 17th amendment

March 18th, 2009 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Nawaz Sharif Lahore, March 18 (IANS) Flexing his muscles in the wake of the victorious lawyers’ ‘long march’ for reinstating the judges sacked in 2007, opposition leader Nawaz Sharif said Wednesday he had informed the prime minister that the controversial 17th amendment should be repealed.
“We have talked to the prime minister and now the 17th amendment will be abolished,” he told reporters here.

The repeal of the amendment was one of the demands of the protesting lawyers but had got lost in the larger issue of restoring the Supreme Court and high court judges Musharraf had sacked after imposing an emergency Nov 3, 2007.

After initially talking tough, the government buckled in Monday, with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani announcing that sacked Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhury and other apex court and high court judges would be restored.

Chaudhury will assume office March 21 when incumbent Abdul Hameed Dogar retires.

Musharraf had pushed through the 17th amendment in 2003, transferring key powers from the prime minister’s office to the presidency.

These included the powers to appoint the service chiefs and the chief justice, as also to dismiss the federal and provincial assemblies.

There is also the possibility of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) rejoining Gilani’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) coalition in the wake of the judges’ reinstatement.

The PPP and the PML-N had formed the coalition along with two smaller parties after emerging on top after the February 2008 general elections. They had even agreed on a governance agenda that included the restoration of the deposed judges.

The PML-N walked out of the alliance after PPP co-chair and now Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari reneged on the deal.

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