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Pakistan must change constitution to reinstate judges: justice minister

[JURIST] The Pakistani constitution must be amended in order to reinstate the judges who were ousted last year by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official profile; JURIST news archive], Pakistani Law and Justice Minister Farooq H. Naik said Sunday. He said that while the constitution provides for the appointment of judges, it does not speak to the reinstatement of ousted judges. Under current law, parliament can request the reinstatement but the federal government is not required to follow parliament's suggestion. In April, Naik prepared a constitutional package [JURIST report] to restore the ousted judges, calling for a parliamentary committee to limit the tenure of the chief justice to three years. Those proposed constitutional amendments also called for restoration of the 1973 Constitution and the abolition of Article 58(2)b [texts], which empowers the president to dissolve the government and the parliament. Daily Times has more.

Pakistan's new coalition government, formed by the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League [party websites], has vowed to establish a fully independent judiciary and work together to reinstate judges [JURIST reports] ousted by Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule [proclamation, PDF; JURIST report] last November. Pakistani Attorney General Malik Qayyum has also said that reinstating the judges would require a constitutional amendment [JURIST report] with a two-thirds majority vote in parliament. In May, Musharraf insisted that a constitutional amendment was necessary [JURIST report] to restore the judges.

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