This is from thepost.
There seemed to be agreement all along about re-instatement but disagreement about what else should be involved. At any rate it is good to see that the differences were not great enough to threaten co-operation. The sooner the judges are re-instated the better. This must be a great blow to Musharraf who seems to have disappeared from the press at least in the west.
Coalition averts break-up over judges’ reinstatement | Agreement to be announced today: Nawaz -- No differences on judiciary: Zardari
PML-N chief says restoration by NA resolution | Naik says constitutional package to reinstate judges
The Post Report/Monitoring/Agencies
DUBAI/LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari narrowed differences on Thursday over the reinstatement of deposed judges to calm fears that the coalition was about to break up.
"The meeting has made progress in a very positive way. We are now satisfied," Nawaz told journalists after holding the second day talks with Asif Zardari. It had been decided that judges' restoration would take place as per the Murree declaration, Nawaz said.
Nawaz and Zardari had pledged that their government would pass a resolution in the National Assembly to bring the judges back in a month of being sworn in. That self-imposed deadline passed on Wednesday. Nawaz said the resolution would be passed, regardless of the delay.
"There is no ambiguity, there is no doubt about it," he said. "The restoration would take place through a resolution, the details will be revealed today," he said. Nawaz said judicial reforms adamantly sought by Zardari were a separate issue but said he would announce details only on Friday (today) after he returns to Lahore. The PML-N leadership is due to meet in Lahore today (Friday).
On the other hand, Asif Zardari told a private news channel that the talks with Nawaz Sharif went smoothly in a pleasant environment. He said his party was still firm on the Murree declaration while there were no differences on the issue of deposed judges. However differences might arise afterwards, he added. He said the PPP would give its reaction after today's announcement by the PML-N.
To another question, the PPP co-chairman said that his party would formulate its future strategy on the judiciary after the news conference of the PML-N leader in Lahore today. The PPP would show its stance after the announcement of the PML-N, he added. Information Minister Sherry Rehman expressed confidence in the outcome of the talks in Dubai.
"We are very satisfied with the results of the talks. There is nothing to worry about, really," she told Reuters. The talks took place in Dubai because Zardari is there at the weekend to see his daughters. The PPP wants to link reinstatement of the judiciary to a constitutional reform package that will include measures to shorten the tenure of senior judges. The constitutional reforms are also expected to strip Pervez Musharraf of presidential powers to dismiss the government.
A smiling Zardari batted away reporters' questions as he stepped into a limousine outside the hotel. Zardari told reporters only that the talks were meant to improve their relationship. "This is Dubai, no politics," he said when reporters pressed him for an explanation. Earlier on Thursday, Nawaz said that he would not budge an inch from his demand for the reinstatement of judges. "We cannot accept the November 3 action under any circumstances," he said.
"We will not sit with peace until the judges are restored. We are trying our level best that we stay together in the coalition and together return all the judges back to their offices with honour and dignity," he said. "I am trying my level best to make sure we fulfill the commitment we made to the nation on the restoration of judges," the PML-N leader said, referring to the March agreement between his party and the PPP.
"Our parliamentary party and the central working committee will meet to decide about it," Nawaz said when asked about the future of the coalition if the judges were not restored. The PPP leadership harbours doubts about some judges, notably Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the former Supreme Court chief justice whose defiance of Musharraf galvanized the opposition last year.
The PPP favours reinstating Iftikhar and then forcing him to retire, while the PML-N is negotiating to allow the judge to stay on until 2010, according to sources familiar with the talks. "We will not disappoint people, as the leaders said that the judges will be restored and the coalition will remain intact," the information minister said. She said a process has been agreed and that there would be no significant delay in restoring the judges.
"The nation will hear very good news today on the issue of the restoration of judges," PPP spokesman Wasif Syed said. Analysts say Zardari is concerned that if he restores the deposed judges, they could pick up corruption charges against him that were recently dropped by the current Supreme Court. Many analysts questioning whether the coalition is fracturing? But both sides insist the coalition is not in jeopardy.
Mian Nawaz Sharif was authorised to make statement on behalf of the PPP, Sherry told a channel. Advisor to PM for Interior Affairs Rehman Malik and Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naik said good news would be announced soon. The judges' issue would be resolved very soon in accordance with the wishes of the countrymen, Naik said. He said the negotiations between the PPP and the PML-N have concluded positively.
The minister said that the constitutional package would be introduced that would ensure not only independent judiciary and reinstatement of judges but also ramifies balance of power between the president and prime minister, ensure independent election commission. The package would also make impossible abrogation of constitution in future, he said.
He said Asif Zardari authorized Nawaz Sharif to announce the decisions of Dubai talks in Lahore as political activities were not allowed in Dubai. He denied the impression created by certain sections of media that Zardari left the venue of talks earlier. The PPP co-chairman left the hotel after concluding talks, he said. He also lamented that the media was trying to create an impression that the PPP and its co-chairman were against the restoration.
Federal Petroleum Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Dubai negotiations have been successful and deposed judges would be reinstated and the PML-N was satisfied with the outcome of it. He said the constitutional guarantees would be ensured for an independent and free judiciary in the country.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the issue of deposed judges has certain implications and consequences. Regarding constitutional package, Education Minister Ahsan Iqbal said not one but many constitutional packages would come as charter of democracy proposes several constitutional amendments.
The PPP and the PML-N have also settled the service tenure of the chief justice which will be five years, according to new formula for the judiciary, a private news channel reported. It was unanimously decided that deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will stay at the post till 2010, the channel said. It was also agreed that retirement may be accomplished at the end of age limit or upon the expiry of the tenure, which ever was applicable.
The coalition partners have also agreed upon the appointment and retirement age limits of the judges. According to the sources, the coalition might present the resolution in the National Assembly in five days. On the other hand, the PML-N had agreed upon a short extension to the deadline for restoration of judiciary, the sources added. The extended deadline could be of two weeks; however, no exact period was mentioned