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No agreement yet on restoring Pakistan judges: coalition party leader

[JURIST] Pakistan's coalition government has not yet reached a specific agreement on restoring judges ousted by President Pervez Musharraf last year after he declared emergency rule [PDF text; JURIST report], former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Tuesday. Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) wrapped up a fresh round of discussions with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party website] Tuesday, and though Sharif said that the judges would be reinstated "soon," PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari indicated that the process would not be rushed. Zardari said that the PPP is in favor of a "broad-based" course of action that would allow the judiciary to be restored "without any agitation." Sources told AFP that a main point of disagreement between the two parties is whether to include ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] among the judges to be reinstated. AFP has more.

The coalition government, sworn in last month after parliamentary elections earlier this year, has vowed to establish a fully independent judiciary [JURIST reports]. One of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's first actions upon taking office was seeking Chaudhry's and other ousted judges' immediate release from house arrest [JURIST report]. Pakistan's attorney general has said that reinstating the ousted judges would require a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] with a two-thirds majority vote in parliament.

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