Reinstatement of judges through constitutional package: Zardari

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Islamabad, Apr 29 (UNI) Even as the talks between leaders of Pakistan's coalition government on restoration of deposed judges remained inconclusive , Co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari has said the reinstatement would be brought about through a constitutional package.

The talks between Mr Zardari and top leaders of Pakistan Muslim League (N) were held in the Gulf state of Dubai yesterday after a break of more than a week. However, the coalition leaders again failed to reach an understanding on modalities for restoration of judges.

The PPP calls for reinstatement of judges through constitutional package but the PML(N) insists that they should be restored through a parliamentary resolution as initially agreed by the two parties.

Mr Zardari, however, hoped that Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) will not part ways with the coalition government.

''I believe there is a need to reform the judiciary. I was a victim of the judiciary. So was Nawaz Sharif, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the country. We will bring a constitutional package through which old judges will be reinstated and the new ones would remain undisturbed,'' the PPP co-chairman said during an interview with Geo television last night.

He hinted at holding a dialogue with the former ruling party, PML-Q for the passage of the constitutional package. Mr Zardari was of the view that the nation needed reconciliation as it was facing other big problems (besides the judiciary issue) like electricity, water shortage, food crisis and law and order.

''We are reconciling with all political forces.'' He said he did not believe in the 30-day countdown for the sacked judges. Mr Zardari also accused some of the agitating lawyers of motivating politicians to boycott the general election to ''further the agenda of certain political forces.'' The PPP leader made it clear that reinstatement of judges was not the focus of his election campaign. ''We were not given a mandate for restoration of judges. People voted for us to save Pakistan and to change the system.'' Exuding bitterness over his time in jail, Mr Zardari said: ''I don't want judicial vendetta. We want to change the system and we will reform the judiciary. I want national reconciliation for the sake of Pakistan. It is a larger struggle and the judiciary is its part.'' He said Law Minister Farooq Naek was drafting the constitutional package and working out different options, including fixing of tenure for the office of Chief Justice of Pakistan.

The PPP co-chairman said the parliament would pass a resolution for the reinstatement along with the passage of the constitutional package.

He said he wanted to strengthen parliament and also to bring in a civilian president who would not have powers to dissolve the assembly or appoint services chiefs and governors.

Mr Zardari said he believed the international powers were behind the return of democracy to Pakistan. ''PPP had dialogue with the democratic powers and as a result Mr Musharraf doffed his uniform.'' UNI XC ARB DB1250

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