Tag Archives: Nawaz

Constitutional Crisis In Pakistan

Turmoil in Pakistan continued as a three judge court appointed under the administration of President Musharaff denied former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the right to run for parliament in an upcoming by-election. Nawaz, who heads the Pakistan Muslim League-N, had returned to Pakistan along with Benazir Bhutto with the understanding past misdeeds would be forgotten and he could participate in politics. The court ruling was based on a prior conviction before the coup led by President Musharraf. AS Nasim Zahra of Harvard noted, “The ruling will undermine, in a major way, the effort for national reconciliation.”

Nawaz Sharif has been allied with Asif Ali Zardari, husband of the slain Benazir Bhutto, in a combined effort to restore parliamentary government to Pakistan. They both agree that judges who were discharged by President Musharraf would be restored to office, and those who replaced them would be discharged. However, Zardari has proceeded at a slower pace since he wants to deal with the entire court issue as part of a package dealing with constitutional reform. This latest example of Musharraf judges interfering with political life will runs the risk of ending the coalition and creating more turmoil.

Pakistan Turmoil Over Judges Upsets Unity

President Musharraf last fall removed several judges from the Pakistan Supreme Court because they opposed his attempts to gain complete power. The judges were replaced by another set of judges who were sympathetic to the demands of the president. The Pakistan Muslim League-N- headed by Nawaz Sharif has taken up the fight to restore to power the judges who were sacked and being unable to get their ideas accepted by the current government led by the Pakistan People’s Party, they have resigned their posts. Nawaz said he had joined the coalition government on condition the judges would be restored. PPP co-chair, Asif Zardari, wants to move slowly on this issue. He fears trying to restore the judges would result in the current Pakistan Supreme Court declaring such an action to be illegal and creating a constitutional crisis.

This entire mess was created by President Musharraf’s original illegal action. Nawaz may well be playing to the court of public opinion by casting himself as a noble person who is fighting against the forces of evil. In a sense, he has transformed the PPP from a party opposing Musharraf into one that is supporting him. it is a rather clever ploy, but it runs the risk of creating turmoil at a time when Pakistan needs calm heads in order to deal with a host of problems including dealing with militants in northeast regions of the country.