A deal struck by the Pakistan government with former President Pervez Musharraf, to bring the latter to step down, included a condition that the deposed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary would not be reinstated, a media report said on Thursday.
The deal is threatening to rip apart the ruling coalition, with former Premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N setting a Friday deadline to restore the judges sacked during last year's emergency, the Urdu daily Aaj Kal said.
While announcing their plans to impeach Musharraf on August seven, the two parties had said the deposed judges would be restored immediately after the President's ouster.
However, the daily quoted sources as saying that a deal mediated by Saudi Arabia and Britain for Musharraf's resignation includes not reinstating the sacked Chief Justice.
The sources said the former Chief Justice would not be reinstated because he might initiate cases against Musharraf.
Sources in the coalition government said PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari opposes the idea of restoring the sacked judges through an executive order because of the deal, and has proposed appointing a new Chief Justice to replace the incumbent and sacked chief justices.
PML-N is likely to abandon the alliance, in which case a large number of lawmakers from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and PML-Q are ready to join the coalition, sources were quoted as saying.
Crucial political decisions are expected within the next three days, they said.