Atul Aneja

Differences over judges’ issue

DUBAI: The former Pakistan Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader, Nawaz Sharif, has arrived in Dubai to rescue talks which have stalled over the reinstatement of judges.

Mr. Sharif will meet Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday. Talks between PML (N) president Shabaz Sharif and Mr. Zardari over the last two days have reached a dead end on account of the persisting differences over a road map to deal with the judges’ issue.

Analysts say Wednesday’s talks would be crucial as an inability to find common ground can threaten the survival of Pakistan’s newly-formed government.

Mr. Zardari is insisting on the adoption of a constitutional package that would reform the judiciary. The PML-N says a parliamentary resolution should restore the judges as initially agreed to by the two parties. However, in an interview with Geo TV, Mr. Zardari clarified that a constitutional package, which would then be passed by Parliament, should result in bringing about a lasting solution. He added that Law Minister Farooq Naek was working on a package that would also cover fixing the tenure of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Emphasising reconciliation, Mr. Zardari said old judges should be reinstated, but that new ones should not be removed. “I believe there is a need to reform the judiciary. I was a victim of the judiciary. So was Nawaz Sharif, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the country. We will bring a constitutional package through which old judges will be reinstated and the new ones would remain undisturbed.”

Mr. Zardari said a 30-day deadline to reinstate the judges was unrealistic. The Murree Declaration would take “some more time” to enforce, he observed. The six-point declaration on which the coalition government was formed stated that “the deposed judges would be restored, on the position as they were on November 2, 2007, within 30 days of the formation of the federal government through a parliamentary resolution.”