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Proposed Pakistan constitutional amendments go to coalition partners

[JURIST] A senior member of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party website] presented its proposed constitutional amendment package [JURIST report] to its principal coalition partner Sunday. The 62-point package, which anticipates restoring the judiciary deposed by President Pervez Musharraf last November and limiting executive powers, was also submitted to the other parties belonging to the governing coalition, but Law Minister Farooq Naek personally handed it to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party website] leader and former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Exactly how to restore the judges remains a point of disagreement between the two parties: the PPP and its leader Asif Ali Zardari maintain that it should be accomplished constitutionally, while the PML-N and Sharif hold that it should occur through a parliamentary resolution and an order from the prime minister. The Law Ministry issued a statement Saturday saying that any changes the other party leaders suggest for the package would be incorporated into it. AP has more. Pakistan's Daily Times has local coverage.

A PML-N spokesman said that the party's acceptance of the package turned on the package's backing by the lawyers' movement [New York Times backgrounder], which has planned protests [JURIST report] later this month if the pre-emergency judiciary is not restored. In comments Saturday ousted Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] cautioned lawyers to continue fighting for a restored judiciary and not to succumb to efforts to divide them [Dawn report].

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