Judiciary restoration and new constitutional amendment
By Nadia Khan
At last, the deposed Chief Justice Ifthikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is restored and he will be in action from 22nd Mar 2009. The entire nation is celebrating this joyful moment – with a sense that nation has rejected Musharraf actions– and it would be, probably, the beginning of a new era for judiciary. President Zardari, when yesterday noticed the crowd with Nawaz Sharif, had decided to change his mind and allowed his party-premier to announce the restoration of deposed judges, a case pending since over an year after 18th February 2008 elections due to number of reasons, likely the NRO as most of his critics say, which might implicate President Zardari in a legal battle with Supreme court leading to his disqualification.
Till 15th March morning, the most trusted lieutenant of President Zardari, Rahman Malik was engaged with his team in blocking all the sides of federal capital and the border sides of each province to avoid long-march participants' entrance. However, what he thought & worked out, finally over ruled and he has left with no option to remove all the barricades.
While many of the political parties including Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Imran Khan, and Sindhi-Bloch nationalist forces have hailed the Prime Minister timely action, Fazlur Rehman's statement came up as a surprise for most of the political analysts. He was off the view that this Long March is only the case of Punjab because Mian Nawaz Sharif is fighting to restore his party's deposed govt in Punjab . MQM, also became critical and raised a point that this Long March is somehow became controversial due to the slogans chanted against Sind . Later, Altaf Hussain has issued the party statement in favour of this restoration.
Beside, Fazlur Rahman and MQM, as the two political forces are mostly considered as opportunist political groups by being under the fold of former President Musharraf and now in present PPP-led govt, this could be a beginning a new era for judiciary. As Chief Justice has to handle number of issues crop up since 3rd November 2007 – such as:
1. Review of the recently appointed higher judiciary judges as number of appointments have been made early this month
2. Review of pending petitions, like missing Pakistanis, NRO suo moto, and Chak Shahzad farm
3. Incorporation of Charter of Democracy (CoD) guidelines to setup new judges appointments
As the two main rival forces have taken a cease fire stance after the announcement of prime minister, it is likely anticipated that a new amendment, a mother of all amendments, would shape up in Parliament soon to indemnify the actions of 3rd Nov 2007 by Pervaiz Musharraf and rectify the changes made under 17th amendment. This could abolish the power of President such as 58 2(B), forces head appointments, life-long ban once disqualified by any higher court, bar on 3rd time premiership election and so on.
Keeping all this in stock, it is said that a real battle is on its way once situation would cool down soon in Punjab after PML (N) provincial govt reinstatement (through higher judiciary) and replacement in governor's house!