Pakistan leaders extend talks on restoring ousted judges as pledged deadline passes

[JURIST] Top members of Pakistan's government coalition Wednesday failed to reach an agreement on restoring judges ousted by President Pervez Musharraf last year after he declared emergency rule [PDF text; JURIST report], but vowed to continue discussions Thursday. The two leading coalition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People's Party [party websites], reportedly disagree [JURIST report] on the amount of power that the restored judges should wield, whether judges should be subject to term limits, and whether ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] should be among the judges reinstated. The coalition government had earlier pledged to reach an agreement on restoring the judges by the end of April.

The coalition government, sworn in last month after parliamentary elections earlier this year, has vowed to establish a fully independent judiciary [JURIST reports]. One of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's first actions upon taking office was seeking Chaudhry's and other ousted judges' immediate release from house arrest [JURIST report]. Pakistan's attorney general has said that reinstating the ousted judges would require a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] with a two-thirds majority vote in parliament. AP has more.

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