International Law

Judges Still a Divisive Issue for Pakistan's New Leaders


Even as a suicide bombing that killed perhaps 25 people served as a tragic reminder of the need for decisive leadership in Pakistan, those in charge of the country’s ruling coalition continued to wrangle today over whether some 60 appellate judges removed from office last year by now-former President Pervez Musharraf would reclaim their seats on the bench.

“Leaders of the four-party ruling coalition came together for a second day of meetings that are said to have focused on the restoration of the judges,” reports the Hindu. However, no agreement on the issue was announced.

As discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, leaders have pledged to restore at least some of the judges to the positions they held when Musharraf removed them in November, after declaring a state of emergency and imposing what many considered martial law. But they differ on how to do so. Lawyers, whose organized protests for more than a year that helped topple Musharraf from power, have pledged renewed demonstrations if the judges are not returned to office within a few days.

“It is critical the judges are reinstated so that the system doesn’t collapse and there is some semblance of stability,” Ayesha Siddiqa, a political analyst based in Islamabad, tells Bloomberg.

“Our movement was for the rule of law, for an independent judiciary in Pakistan,” Rasheed Razvi, president of the Sindh High Court Bar Association, told lawyers today at a “Day of Deliverance” event, according to the Daily Times. Razvi said the lawyers’ movement against Musharraf could focus on the country’s new leadership, if promises about immediately restoring the judges he deposed in November aren’t kept.

Additional coverage:

International Herald Tribune: “Pakistani parties discuss presidential candidates and restoration of judges”

London Times: “US base targeted as violence flares after Musharraf exit”

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