12 May, 2008

Pakistani Judges, part two

In an earlier post I mentioned tensions within the Pakistani government on the reinstatement of judges sacked last year by President Musharraf (see: Pakistani Judges). Now the BBC reports that the ruling coalition has split over reinstatement of the judges. The smaller PML-N party, led by Nawaz Sharif, is leaving the government. Sharif has demanded that the judges be fully reinstated with all their old powers. The larger PPP party, led by Asif Zardari, says that it is happy to reinstate the judges, but wants their powers limited.

Just before Musharraf sacked the judges, they were due to rule on two issues. One was the constitutionality of Musharraf's election, but the other was an amnesty that the general had given to Zardari. Zardari has long had a reputation for shadiness, and it hard to see his actions now as anything other than an attempt to prevent himself from facing another round of corruption charges. Sharif in the past has sometimes come across as a bit of a clown, but current events allow him to portray himself credibly as a man of lofty principles.

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