Tuesday, March 25, 2008

PPP proposing “Minus-One-Formula"

PPP proposing "Minus-One-Formula"

Iftikhar Chaudhry releasedThe top PPP leadership has recently approached the legal community proposing a "Minus-One-Formula" which opens the door for a full restoration of the judiciary without the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. It is in some way living up to the Murree Declaration albeit with a few political compromises but basically a face saving package for the PML-N and its full uncompromising commitment to the restoration of Pre-Nov 3rd judges. PPP being in the driving seat will undoubtedly bull doze its own agenda while the Sharif brothers will be left biting the dust and quite literally taken for a ride (willingly or unwillingly? - time will only tell). PML in turn may accept these compromise, claiming to fulfilled part of the promise as it was a minority partner in the PPP-led parliament

It has been a fact that the present PCO-adorned CJP Justice Dogar is a PPP leaning judge and surely Asif Zardari would definitely not sacrifice this top slot to accept Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry a PML-N leaning judge, paramount to shooting himself in the foot.

It seems that for now the leading lawyer activists are claiming that none of the judges will take office without the full and uncompromisable restoration of the entire pre-Nov 3rd Judiciary, but internally there are significant rifts within the legal cadre and the instant a partial restoration (minus-one-formula) is announced most of the ’sidelined judges’ will snap into attention abandoning the rank and file and take oath for office, with or without Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry.

This Minus-one-Formula might truly be the only workable political compromise, a let down for the civil society activists who have fought long and hard for the restoration of judiciary position, but then we may have some form of democracy aka an NRO-influenced democracy. The question for everyone, is this the best for Pakistan and will the newly restored judiciary have the power to change the system, or this restoration will be tied in with immunity clauses protecting the rank and file of existing politicians

Reported in The News: Some top legal aides of PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have approached certain active members of the lawyers' community to discuss a formula for the restoration of the deposed judges, which surprisingly does not include Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmud confirmed to The News that this strange formula called the "Minus-One-Formula" was also discussed with him recently by a top legal mind in the PPP.

Though this suggestion is in complete contrast with what was committed by the PPP and the PML-N top brass in the Bhurban Accord a few weeks back, it is not yet verified if this new formula has the backing of Asif Ali Zardari. The lawyers' community, however, rules out such a move to resolve the judicial crisis. Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, when contacted, said not a single judge would be willing to return to his office if Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is not restored. Aitzaz also reiterated that lawyers would foil any attempt to subvert the Bhurban Declaration. He also alleged that the presidency was trying to subvert the Bhurban Declaration and pressurising the newly-elected democratic government through international pressure to change its stance on the Murree Declaration.

According to Justice Tariq, a PPP leader tried to convince him that the new PPP government would feel more comfortable with the present Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar instead of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Story Credit: Yasir