Pakistan opposition divided on reinstatement of ousted judges

[JURIST] Former Pakistani prime ministers Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and Benazir Bhutto [personal website; JURIST news archive] are in negotiations to draw up a list of formal demands they say must be met by the government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official website; JURIST news archive] before they will definitively agree to participate in January's parliamentary elections, but they remain divided on the issue of reinstalling ousted superior court judges, according to Tuesday media reports. Sharif and Bhutto began formulating the demands, which include the end of the present state of emergency [JURIST news archive] and the release of former Supreme Court judges from house arrest, in a meeting on Monday. Sharif wants to link participation in the elections with restoring the pre-state of emergency judiciary, but Bhutto has said she would be satisfied as long as the judges are given their freedom and does not want to make restoration of the judiciary a requirement for her party's participation.

Musharraf dismissed 14 Supreme Court judges after declaring the state of emergency [JURIST report] last month, replacing them with lower court judges more loyal to the president. Provincial high courts were also purged. On Tuesday, the Pakistan government announced the formal forced retirement [JURIST report] of 37 judges from the Supreme Court and other high courts, citing the judges' refusal to take oaths under the Provisional Constitution Order [text as amended]. AP has more. The News has local coverage.

 

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