Pakistan’s sacked judges will be reinstated within 10 days, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif announced at a press conference in Lahore on Friday.
“I am happy to announce that all those judges who were removed from their posts on November 3 will be restored to their positions on May 12,” Sharif told assembled journalists outside his family home in Model Town.
The announcement came after two days of deliberations between Sharif and PPP boss Asif Zardari, in Dubai. At the conclusion of the talks on Thursday, Sharif had told reporters that he would “give some good news” on Friday in Lahore.
The former PM said that a resolution restoring some 60 judges would be passed in parliament on May 12 and, on the same day, a notification will be issued giving effect to the resolution. “This will all be done in one day,” Sharif promised.
Sharif, however, said that the judges who signed the provisional constitutional order of the Musharraf government “would be allowed to stay on”. The PML-N chief said that he didn’t favour this action, but added that “this is a bitter pill that we have to swallow”.
Sharif started his press conference by recounting the electoral pledge his party made prior to the February elections and how his party made this their one point agenda. “We also said we do not want any ministries, all we want is the restoration of judges,” remarked the PML-N leader.
The former Pakistan PM praised Asif Zardari and the team from the Pakistan Peoples Party. He said that there was indeed a deadlock between the two parties over the re-instatement of the judges but they had worked around it "in the best interests of democracy."
Sharif said that the coalition government between his party and the PPP would “remain at all costs”. Sharif stressed that fissures in the coalition government would only benefit anti-democratic forces in the country. He also said that the priorities of his party included the removal of President Pervez Musharrraf and addressing issues like unemployment, inflation and crime.
Sharif said that a committee of constitutional experts would be set up to take the issue of re-instatement of the judges issue to its logical conclusion.
The PPP had insisted that larger constitutional reforms also be part of the package that re-instates the judges sacked by Musharraf. But Sharif, the head of the PML-N party, wanted them to be reinstated without conditions. The PML-N seems to have had its way.