Restoration issue of sacked judges resurfaces -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Restoration issue of sacked judges resurfaces

ISLAMABAD (February 20 2008): The question of the restoration of judges has resurfaced after the victory of the Opposition parties in Monday’s general election. Five eminent political personalities, Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League chief, Aitzaz Ahsan President Pakistan Bar Council as well as Senators Joseph Biden, John Kerrey and Chuck Hagel brought back the issue of the restoration of judiciary, here on Tuesday.

After the electoral victory of four mainstream political parties-the PPP, the PML-N, the MQM as well as ANP was established in the unofficial results. PPP gaining 87 and the PML-N bagging 66 in Punjab constituencies, the PML leader Nawaz Sharif reverting to this question, said at a news conference, at Lahore, ‘We cannot accept the sacking of judges.’

He said the November 3 PCO must be modified to pave the way for the return of the judiciary to the pre-Provisional Constitutional Order and pre-emergency positions. These acts are and were clearly unconstitutional. Even Pervez Musharraf has admitted that these measures violated the basic law of the land, Nawaz Sharif commented.

The PML-leader also wanted President Musharraf to leave the Presidency. He (Musharraf) had always said that he would do what the people wanted, and now the people had spoken loudly on this matter and, therefore, Musharraf should leave office now.

Two democrat US Senators, Joseph Biden, and John Kerry, as well as Republican Senator, Chuck Hagel, who arrived Pakistan, a day prior to the election day, jointly addressing a news conference on Tuesday, also reiterated their earlier expressed views, that governance in Pakistan should adhere to the 1973 Constitution. The three also asked for restoration of the deposed Chief Justice Ifitkhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges, removed from office because they had refused to take oath on Novemer 3, under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO).

This subject of restoration of the judges to their original position was also voiced by Aitzaz Ahsan, President of Pakistan Bar Council, who demanded the judges be restored to pre-November 3 position.

Aitzaz said the PPP would form the central government; and now the judges must be brought back to the position they held in the judiciary on November 2, 2007. He also wanted the end of lawyers’ detention. With the election victory at yesterday’s hustling, the old order (of yesterday) does not hold the field.

Nawaz Sharif and Aitzaz Ahsan also wanted an end to media repression as well as the return of all anchor persons taken off from their job on Pemra orders. Nawaz Sharif said he would meet with PPP leader Asif Zardari on Friday and they will discuss these questions. The PML-N leader also paid tributes to the Media for their valiant struggle in the cause of democracy since March 9, 2007 the day when Chief Justice Iftikhar’s case was illegally referred to the Supreme Judicial Council.

On this subject, prominent journalist Shaheeen Sehbai told the Media he had discussed the matter with PPP leader, Asif Zardari, and he was all for withdrawal of restriction imposed on journalists bar their participation in TV talk-shows. While a number of legal experts were of the view that the restoration of judges could be easily done through an executive order since their removal was done through a new executive order. Be that as it may, former leaders Benazir Bhutto had left the resolution of this question to the next Parliament.

However, a number of analysts argue that this tricky issue would be best resolved through consent and consensus of major parties: ‘Otherwise there might be a danger that it would create further controversies to harm the new beginning on which Pakistan had embarked since Monday.’
Source: Business Recorder
Date:2/20/2008