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Pakistani parties still not in agreement over re-instating justices

When the 2 principal parties of Pakistan, led by Bhutto’s widower Asif Zardari, and the other led by previous exiled Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif got a sizable portion of the seats in Pakistan’s long-delayed elections, the days of Pakistan’s military dictator and President Pervez Musharraf seemed doomed. After all, he had to give up his command of the Pakistani army, and the President in Pakistan has always seemed as the weakest among the 3 power centers of Pakistan (among the President, Prime Minister and Army Chief). And once the 2 parties agreed to share power and bring in the justices back (after being kicked out by Musharraf). But the delay in bringing back the judges seems to be giving a second life to Musharraf:

The leaders of the two main parties in Pakistan’s ruling coalition on Tuesday denied any rifts over plans to reinstate judges ousted last year by President Pervez Musharraf. The two parties, both packed with foes of U.S-allied Musharraf, have made restoring the independent-minded judges one of their top priorities since sweeping Feb. 18 elections and coming to power.

While both leaders are keen to stress they are in agreement, Sharif appears to be keener than Zardari to reinstall Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as chief of the Supreme Court. Chaudhry became a rallying point for opposition to military rule last year when he resisted efforts by Musharraf to sack him from that post. Chaudhry was finally ousted when Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November and purged about 60 judges — just as the Supreme Court was to rule on his eligibility for the presidency.

Musharraf still seems a favorite of the United States, and the struggle between the 2 political parties seems to be giving him an extended life. Of course, what is causing this delay could be the fact that bringing back the justices could threaten the amnesty that forgave all the accusations against Zardari (a strong reason to resist the attempt to bring back the Chief Justice).

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