PPP's proposed constitutional package may save Musharraf from impeachment

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Islamabad, May 21 : Sources in Pakistan's Law Ministry have reportedly disclosed that in order to ensure that President Pervez Musharraf is not impeached and steps down at his own will in the future, the PPP-led government is all set to ratify his Nov 3 actions, and also indemnify the steps taken by him in the first PCO which were rejected by the MMA during negotiations on the 17th constitutional amendment.

"Even the steps taken by Musharraf in the first PCO, which were rejected by the MMA during negotiations on the 17th amendment, would also be indemnified," The News quoted the sources as saying.

Though, this was neither confirmed nor denied by the country's Law Minister Farooq H Naek. "Wait and see. Everything is open as of today," he said when asked about the indemnity to actions of Nov 3 through the upcoming constitutional package.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Law Ministry confirmed that the judges who took oath under the PCO on and after Nov 3 would be adjusted in one way or the other. Apart from indemnifying the Nov 3 actions, all those government officials who presented themselves as witnesses in the Supreme Court against the then non-functional chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would stay at their key positions, said the sources.

"There would be many restrictions on the deposed judges after their reinstatement, as they would come back completely in accordance with the wishes of the presidency," the official said, and added: "The package will first be approved by the top legal aides of Musharraf before being presented in the PPP CEC and to PPPs coalition partners."

According to legal and constitutional experts, there were three main steps taken under Nov 3 unconstitutional move of the then chief of the Army staff. The first was the removal of independent judges. The second was installing his own handpicked judges and the third was indemnifying the controversial and illegal National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

The present moves of the PPP-led government to restore the judges in accordance with the aspirations of President Musharraf, the continuation of the PCO judges and the validation of other major and key steps means indemnification to Nov 3 actions, sources said.

ANI

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