PPP may restore judges within a fortnight

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Islamabad, May 19: If PPP sources are to be believed, the party is contemplating restoring the deposed judges within the next fortnight through a parliamentary resolution, but only if it is sure of getting through its preferred constitutional package in the Parliament.

According to the sources, another option under serious consideration is to remove all the judges, both deposed and those who took oath under the PCO, and appoint a new set of Supreme Court and high court judges after a thorough scrutiny by a parliamentary body, as is done in the US. "The next 15 days are important. The government is presently working hard on a constitutional package that it intended to introduce prior to the restoration of the judges," The News quoted a PPP source as saying.

He added that the PPP Headquarters "Zardari House" continues to have its misgivings about deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and before his restoration the party's top leadership seems to ensure that he remains compliant.

Through a constitutional package, the party's top leadership intends to cut the discretionary powers of the chief justice of Pakistan, besides limiting Chaudhry's tenure.

On the other side, it wants to allow the incumbent Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar to have at least two years as chief justice once Justice Chaudhry retires. These two highly controversial constitutional changes would be part of a comprehensive constitutional package being prepared by Law Minister Farooq Naek, said the PPP source.

In case such a package does not get the approval of the major parties in Parliament, the protesting lawyers, and agitating civil society and dissenting political parties continue struggling for the restoration of the deposed judges, the PPP would press for the Fazlur Rehman formula, i.e. remove all the judges whether deposed or sitting who have taken oath under the PCO or appointed after Nov 3.

According to the report, some of Zardari's close aides have already started discussing with media persons the idea of sacking all the existing judges and replacing them with a new set of judges to be appointed through a parliamentary committee.

ANI

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