There was "no agreement, no disagreement" on the issue of restoration of deposed judges in the Thursday night meeting of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Aitzaz Ahsan with PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari.Aitzaz, Zardari stick to their positions on judges
The two stuck to their respective stand on the question of sacked superior court judges, an informed PPP leader told The News. Aitzaz Ahsan wants instant reinstatement of the deposed justices, saying the talk of amending the Constitution to restore them, amounts to accepting as legitimate unconstitutional actions taken by the then chief of the Army staff (Pervez Musharraf) on Nov 3 last. It would open a Pandora's box for the future, he believes.
Instead of restoration of these judges, Zardari wants to cautiously move for the "independence of the judiciary". He is not inclined to reinstating the deposed judges. However, lawyers, supporting deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, say it would not be possible for the new PPP-led government to keep him and other judges under house arrest and they have to be freed immediately.
"Once the top judge is released he will be addressing bar associations all over Pakistan and will be visiting different cities in processions," a senior lawyer, aligned with the SCBA and the PPP, told this correspondent.
He admitted that this would throw up a grave challenge to the new government, which would face street trouble from day one. He conceded that this would also lead to an intense clash between the government and the lawyers' community.
In the Punjab, the provincial government to be led by the PML-N would not be opposed to the lawyers' movement and would, in fact, encourage it because of this party's unambiguous stand on deposed judges' restoration.
Another lawyer said the attitude of the federal, Sindh and NWFP governments to the lawyers' renewed movement would be different because these would not be backing it in any way. He said pressure would be kept on the PPP government to restore the judges but it would be given some time, enabling it to act in the right direction without much delay.
As far as Aitzaz Ahsan is concerned, lawyers said, it would be difficult for Zardari to tolerate him in the party if he continued to embarrass and put pressure on the PPP through his powerful street campaign.
Lawyers associated with the PPP apprehend that their party would further damage itself if it stood by its non-committal policy on the issue of restoration of judges. They feel that Nawaz Sharif, who came out with a better showing in the Feb 18 elections compared to the PPP, would further gain ground because of his stand on deposed justices.
They said had the PPP matched, if not surpassed the stance taken by Nawaz Sharif on the judges issue, combined with the massive sympathy wave in the wake of assassination of Benazir Bhutto, it would have convincingly won the elections.
zardari is not willing to restore the judges the way ppl want... the constitutional package would assert tht whtever mush did on november 3 is justified... do we want this? atleast I dont.... i want mush to b an example for potential violators n breakers of constitution... a true -ve example so that ppl stop playin with the constitution... n the country progresses in the right direction... but for now it seems that the parliament is also gonna compromise under the logic of 'doctorine of necessity'... among all the major parties I believe only PML-N is respectin the mandate it got... reason for which could be any but its stance is very clear n brave unlike the stance of PPP... see the following for details on the constitutional package n aitzaz's response
To diffuse the judicial crisis, Mr. Zardari has offered the Chief Justice Iftikar Chaudhry the position of Governor of Baluchistan. Instead of humiliating Mr. Musharraf and the Army, he has also asked the president to create a resolution on restoring the judges. Mr. Zarzari is planning to ask parliament to accept the dismissal of all the judges and then reappoint them under a fresh mandate. This may prclude Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry from the position of the Chief Justice. more...
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