Nawaz may take Zardari's bait over judges' restoration

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Islamabad, Apr 24 : Even as the deadline of April 30 for restoration of judges approaches, the PML-N seems to be in the mood to arrive at a "compromise" formula and might concede to the PPP's idea of slashing deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry's tenure from 2013 to 2010.

The party is learnt to have softened its stance over the issue for the sake of continuing the coalition government.

It may be recalled that the PML-N's main political plank in the February 18 elections was restoration of judges, including Choudhry. On the other hand, the PPP is not so particular about restoring the deposed judges. A PML-N source believed that getting the party to back off from its clear stance on the judges' issue might be a trap set by the PPP to "politically damage" the Nawaz-League, which has so far been attaining more and more popularity for speaking out on the judges' issue.

According to The News, though the party has not taken any decision, a section of PML-N leaders argue that this compromise solution is being deliberated upon to save the PPP-PML-N coalition. The PPP leadership is adamant that it would not allow Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to continue till June 2013.

The PML-N finds itself in a tight corner as it is being made to concede to slashing the tenure of the deposed chief justice in exchange for the PPP's willingness to table the resolution in the National Assembly for the restoration of the deposed judges to their Nov 2, 2007 position, said the paper.

If finally approved and agreed between the two parties, the PML-N might consider this formula a "compromise" to achieve the greater goal of the judges' restoration and to save the PPP-PML-N-ANP coalition from possible demise. However, it is believed that such a solution might not be acceptable to the lawyers' fraternity and the civil society, which had struggled relentlessly after March 9, 2007 for the cause of the independence of the judiciary.

While Asif Ali Zardari is also facing a great fall in his overall popularity among these quarters after dithering on his commitment to restore the judges within 30 days of the formation of the federal government, there is a realisation within the PML-N that the fate of Nawaz Sharif and his party could also be no different if such a compromise solution is reached. Perhaps, it would be more damaging in the case of the PML-N, added the paper.

In Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry's contribution for the independence of the judiciary is acknowledged, by defying Musharraf's dictates first on March 9 last year and later on Nov 3. He became a symbol of the independence of the judiciary.

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