Pakistan coalition’s crucial meet begins in Dubai (Lead, Changing dateline)

April 28th, 2008 - 8:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Aroonim Bhuyan and Muhammad Najeeb
Dubai/Islamabad, April 28 (IANS) A crucial meeting of the top leadership of Pakistan’s coalition government got under way in Dubai Monday afternoon to discuss the crucial issues of restoring the judges deposed from the country’s higher judiciary and the future of President Pervez Musharraf. The meeting was being held at the residence of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, who arrived in Dubai Friday to spend time with his children.

While other senior leaders from the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) flew in to Dubai Sunday night, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif flew in Monday morning for the meeting.

Among others attending the meeting are PML-N’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali, senior federal minister, Khawaja Asif, federal minister for petroleum, and Khawaja Haris, attorney general of the Punjab government, according to reports in Dubai.

“The crucial issue of reinstating the deposed judges has to be resolved within the next couple of days because the deadline is April 30,” the Gulf News quoted a senior leader of the PML-N as saying.

Pakistan Law Minister Farooq H. Naik had earlier expressed hope that the outcome of the meeting would be “positive”.

Naik told reporters in Islamabad that there was complete agreement between both parties on the restoration of judges. The two groups had formed a joint committee to draw a mechanism for the restoration of judges.

He said both parties had reviewed the recommendations regarding the judges’ reinstatement in detail and the committee had drafted a few proposals.

However, sources in the ruling coalition told IANS that the committee could not agree on one formula and “there are huge differences between both the parties”.

The two sides widely differ over the modalities of restoring the judges, especially the proposed constitutional package that envisages fixation of tenure for the chief justice. The PML-N is averse to the idea of fixing any tenure for the post.

Naik said Zardari would meet PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif after reviewing the proposals of the joint committee.

After their meeting, the recommendations would be finalized and the procedure for restoration of the deposed judges would be determined.

Before the formation of the government last month, both the PPP and PML-N signed a declaration that they would reinstate the sacked judges within 30 days of assuming power. The 30-day deadline expires April 30.

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