KARACHI, April 28: Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday the reinstatement of judges would be brought about through a constitutional package, but hoped that Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) would not part ways with the coalition government.

“I believe there is a need to reform the judiciary. I was a victim of the judiciary. So was Nawaz Sharif, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the country. We will bring a constitutional package through which old judges will be reinstated and the new ones would remain undisturbed,” the PPP co-chairman said during an interview with Geo television.

He hinted at holding a dialogue with the PML-Q for the passage of the constitutional package.

Mr Zardari was of the view that the nation needed reconciliation as it was facing other big problems (besides the judiciary issue) like electricity and water shortage, food crisis, law and order. “We are reconciling with all political forces.”

He said that he did not believe in the 30-day countdown for the sacked judges.

Mr Zardari accused some of the agitating lawyers of motivating politicians to boycott the general election to “further the agenda of certain political forces”.

Referring to the Murree Declaration, he said its implementation would take “some more time”.

Mr Zardari made it clear that reinstatement of judges was not the focus of his election campaign. “We were not given a mandate for restoration of judges. People voted for us to save Pakistan and to change the system.”

He exuded bitterness over his time in jail. “I was the victim of judiciary. I was a member of Senate, but I could not attend its proceedings for three years.

“But I don’t want judicial vendetta. We want to change the system and we will reform the judiciary. I want national reconciliation for the sake of Pakistan. It is a larger struggle and the judiciary is its part.”

He said Law Minister Farooq Naek was drafting the constitutional package and working out different options, including fixing of tenure for the office of Chief Justice of Pakistan.

The PPP co-chairman said the parliament would pass a resolution for the reinstatement along with the passage of the constitutional package.

He said he wanted to strengthen parliament and also to bring in a civilian president who would not have powers to dissolve the assembly or appoint services chiefs and governors.

He said he believed the international powers were behind the return of democracy to Pakistan. “PPP had dialogue with the democratic powers and as a result Gen Musharraf doffed his uniform.”

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