WASHINGTON, March 17: A new resolution moved in the US House of Representatives calls for the restoration of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to its pre-Nov 3 status and for the reinstatement of all judges dismissed during the emergency period.
The resolution, titled “Condemning the dismissal of the Supreme Court in Pakistan and calling for their reinstatement by the Government of Pakistan,” also condemns President Pervez Musharraf’s move to force judges of the superior courts to take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order.
The resolution already enjoys a bipartisan support in the House and is considered much more significant than ordinary resolutions because it is backed by members of powerful congressional committees that deal with judicial and legal matters.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the House Judiciary Subcommittee on International Law, is the original mover. She plays a significant role in the Democratic Party as the Chair of the 34-member California Democratic Congressional Delegation and may have a major role in the administration if the Democrats win the 2008 presidential election.
Another significant sponsor of the resolution is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who chairs the Pakistan Caucus on Capitol Hill.
Congressman William Delahunt, a senior member of the House International Relations Committee and the Judiciary Committee also backs the move.
The resolution recalls that on Nov 3, 2007, President Musharraf imposed emergency rule and required all Supreme Court justices to take a new oath of office under the Provisional Constitution Order and dismissed seven judges, including the Chief Justice, who refused to take this new oath.
“This resolution welcomes these statements and encourages other civilian leaders in Pakistan to make similar public statements of their intent to restore to office all judges dismissed after November 3, 2007.”
In addition, consistent with Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, which withholds $50,000,000 of Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan pending the restoration of an independent judiciary, this resolution also calls on the government of Pakistan to reinstate all Supreme Court and high court justices and other members of the legal profession in Pakistan who were removed from office since the imposition of emergency rule.