Islamabad, May 25 : The Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) met over the judges' issue on May 24, but was divided with a considerable number of party leaders pressing for a quick resolution of the judicial crisis.
They were not in favour of any person-specific clauses in the proposed constitutional amendment package aimed at deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in June this year.
In the party's CEC meeting held at the Zardari House on May 23, the leaders were split on the judges' issue.
A large number of party leaders spoke in favour of the judges' restoration in the presence of Asif Ali Zardari, Co-chairman of PPP.
The package repeatedly discusses the so-called Minus-One Formula, which excludes Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. However, the package remains silent on the question of the deposed judges' restoration.
It was not clear if the restoration would be made through a National Assembly resolution or linked to the passage of the controversial constitutional package, which might take months.
The tenure of the Chief Justice of Pakistan was being fixed to three years while the age of retirement of the Supreme Court judges and High Court judges was being enhanced to 68 and 65, respectively, the CEC was told.
However, the PPP was in favour of five-year tenure for the CJP, but firm on the enhanced age. Only then, chief justice Iftikhar would be sent home three years prior to his retirement age, thus, giving a two-year stint to Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar as the CJ after Iftikhar's retirement in 2010.
While the party co-chairperson spoke of changing the system and making the judiciary independent, there was a clear division in the CEC on the issue of the judges' restoration.
Some members however felt that the judges' issue was an artificial crisis and the PPP should address the issues of Roti, Kapra and Makan (food, clothing and shelter) for the people of Pakistan.
Aitzaz Ahsan, a representative of lawyers opposed the cut in the tenure of the chief justice and warned that such a constitutional package was not going to resolve the issue. He told that the lawyers would oppose such move.
Aitzaz's view had a considerable support and demand that the cut in the tenure of Justice Iftikhar would neither be acceptable to the people nor to the legal fraternity. And that, such person-specific constitutional amendments was not acceptable.
In a strange contradiction, the constitutional package proposes an amendment in Article 6 to impose high treason charges on those judges who would validate the abrogation of the Constitution by a dictator or take oath under the PCO. But it is not against the PCO judges who took oath on Nov 3.
It is also interesting to note that while the cut in the tenure of the chief justice would be implemented retrospectively to get rid of the deposed chief justice, the amended Article 6 of the Constitution would be effective in future only.