Monday, April 28, 2008

Pakistan must restore sacked judges without delay

"Pakistan’s ruling Coalition has less than forty-eight hours left to fulfill their pre-election promise with the nation to restore the high court judges that General Musharraf fired by means of the 2007 Emergency Proclamation last November, an action contrary to the Constitution. The country's lawyers are likely to protest hard and refuse to cooperate with the new government if the Coalition fails to deliver the promise.

The Pakistan Peoples Party, the chief party of the Coalition, appears to be uncertain about the modalities of restoration even though it had previously agreed that the judges would be restored through a Parliamentary resolution followed by an executive order. Since the sacking of the judges was unconstitutional per se, the cumbersome constitutional procedures were deemed unnecessary for the restoration.

More pressing problems await the Coalition. The shortage of food items and electricity frustrates the common people on a daily basis. The court system is less than fully functional. The economy is sliding into non-performance. The national debt is high. Pervez Musharraf refuses to step down. The Attorney General who engineered the undermining of the Constitution is still in office. The Prime Minister should have fired the Attorney General right away, for his continued occupation of the highest law office is an affront to the supremacy of the Constitution. The Coalition must move fast on the primary logistics of cleaning the constitutional mess. If the Coalition fails to handle the relatively easier issue of the restoration of judges, it is unlikely to stand the pressures of solving the more serious problems."