Apr 292008

PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said that judges’ reinstatement might be in next two weeks, and it would be through a constitutional package. 
“Executive order is coming with the will of the people of Pakistan and it will be linked with the constitutional package”. 
In an interview with a private TV channel Monday, Asif said that deposed judges would also be reinstated while the present judges would also continue.
“We’ll accommodate all judges. Without disturbing the present judicial setup, we’ll reinstate all deposed judges though it is against the very spirit of CoD according to which pro PCO judge cannot not be backed. 
“Pakistan needs political reconciliation” and PPP believes in the science of national reconciliation. Restoration of judiciary is a part of our larger struggle”, he maintained. “We are pondering over different options about Judges’ job tenure”, he said. 
Answering a question about Murree Declaration, Zardari said that it was a political agreement not a ‘Hadees’ which was made by the PPP and PML-N in the greater national interest. 
“In February 18 elections, we won mandate on PPP’s manifesto which is ‘Roti’, ‘Kapra’ aur ‘Makaan”, he said adding that his party didn’t obtain seats on the slogan of judges’ restoration. But, he said, his party was committed to restore the judiciary and reinstate the sacked judges. 
Answering a question, he ruled out the impression of any personal reservation against any judges. He said, “I don’t have any personal reservations against those judges who didn’t provide me justice.” He said that those who repeated count down should realize that PPP had ordered to release the deposed judges. Federation has its four units, and its completion occurred after Punjab assembly took oath. He said he would not like PML-N going away as far as the issue of judges’ reinstatement was concerned.
To another question about the U N probes into Benazir Bhutto assassination, he said, “Insiders and foreign elements are involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, so a U N probe is must.” “I think, postmortem of Benazir was conducted, but the actual medical report has not been revealed”, Zaradi said adding the situation would take a clear shape after a probe by the U N officials. 
“Neither we have arrested Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, nor shall we release him. President House was responsible in this connection”, Zardari opined. 
He said that party would decide about giving ticket to Aitzaz Ahsan to contest bye polls. “However, I would like to see Aitzaz in the House”, he added. 
Responding to a question, he said that he did not intend to become Prime Minister and Yousaf Raza Gilani would hold the office for whole tenure. 
“Musharraf as a civilian president has certain question marks. I would like to bring a civilian President”, he said while answering a question about impeachment against President Pervez Musharraf. “I’m more worried about poverty hike in Pakistan rather than involving issues like who’ll be sent to the President House. However, he said, he was in favour of empowering the parliament and taking back the powers of 58-2B from the President. He said that the Americans played a vital role in bringing democracy to Pakistan, and they pressurized the president in uniform to shed his uniform. “If needed, governor Sindh could be removed”, he said adding that efforts are underway to build a political harmony with the MQM. He said that decision about AGP Malik Qayyum was not yet taken.

Meanwhile, in an interview with BBC, Zardari has accused deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of playing politics. 
He said CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry refused to grant him bail when the only case pending against him was the BMW case. He said the ball was not in his hand and the consensus in the parliament was needed to restore the judges.
Transcript of Part of Owen Bennett-Jones’s interview of the Co-chairman Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Zardari is as under:
Zardari: All of them have played politics. Iftikhar Chaudhry had played politics before, and he’s playing politics even now. And we’re going to restore the judiciary.
Interviewer: Will you restore him?
Zardari: Hopefully. It’s part of it.
Interviewer: Hopefully?
Zardari: Yeah, it depends on the parliament. Not me, I cannot restore or not restore anybody else.
Interviewer: Well, you said. I mean, Nawaz Sharif, the other big political leader is absolutely committed to the restoration of this man.
Zardari: Why do you think I’m not?
Interviewer: Because you’ve just told me it’s not up to you when it is up to you. If you ask the parliament to do this, it will happen tomorrow. It can happen in half an hour.
Zardari: No it cannot happen in half an hour. Even if Mr Sharif wants it, it can’t happen in half an hour.
Interviewer: Why not?
Zardari: There has to be a consensus in the parliament, right? For that there has to be a bill drafted which is being drafted today and its being looked at. I have come to power, People’s Party has come to power, we have lost our leader to politics; the fourth leader we’re losing to politics! We intend to change the system. I’m not interested in restoring only the judges, I’m interested in restoring the judiciary, the rule of law, the majesty of law, so that no other Asif Zardari stays in prison under trial for eight years and Mr Iftikhar Chaudhry does not say: “I have not read the case so I cannot hear the case.” That was my last case. What was the case? A BMW case. Less duty has been paid. The law of the land is: if duty is unpaid, you take the car, you don’t take the man! In that case I was languishing in prison for two years and I went to Chaudhry Iftikhar five times. So we do not allow the judiciary again to do that. The judiciary is on record. They have killed my father-in-law. They admit their judicious murder!
Interviewer: If I can say so, your whole demeanor has just changed in the last minutes. You’re angry, and it seems to me that you’re angry with this man, this chief justice. (Zardari interrupts: No!) And well, the difficulty of course is that the vast bulk of Pakistan wants this man restored to office.
Zardari: Ok, let me correct you. I’m not angry. If I’m not angry with the people I’m sitting in politics with, who I have marks on my body of.
Interviewer: You’re referring to the fact that many of your coalition partners played a role in putting you in prison. I mean, that’s true!
Zardari: I was the prisoner of Mr Musharraf for five years. So if I’m not angry at them, if I haven’t asked for the death sentence for the killing of my wife, I don’t believe in anger. It’s a wasted energy.
Interviewer: Ok, but nonetheless, you’ve just been very critical of a man who…
Zardari: No no, not a man, but (of) the system.
Interviewer: Would you feel comfortable with this man as Chief Justice again?
Zardari: You will feel comfortable. Pakistan will feel comfortable with the new laws that the parliament brings in, the package that I bring in. It will be to strengthen the judiciary so that they can do justice and not politics.
Interviewer: And as part of that, will Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry be restored?
Zardari: I think so.

 Posted by at 6:54 am

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