Is this the end for Musharraf?
Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to fire 60 judges last November helped set in motion the political crisis that led to his party’s electoral defeat. But since its February victory, Pakistan’s ruling coalition has failed to live up to its campaign promise to reinstate the judges — to the relief of Musharraf, ...
Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to fire 60 judges last November helped set in motion the political crisis that led to his party’s electoral defeat. But since its February victory, Pakistan’s ruling coalition has failed to live up to its campaign promise to reinstate the judges — to the relief of Musharraf, whose reelection might be declared illegal if the old Supreme Court were to return.
Today, a breakthrough was finally made as coalition leaders Nawaz Sharif, of the Pakistani Muslim League-N, and Pakistan People’s Party leader (and Benazir Bhutto’s widower) Asif Zardari, agreed in Dubai that legislation to reinstate the judges will be brought to Parliament on May 12. The announcement came two days after the coalition’s self-imposed deadline for restoring the judges.
Officially, the deadlock was caused by disagreement over whether the reinstatement should be accompanied by constitutional changes, with Zardari was pushing for new rules to prevent the judges from being sacked again in the future. (Unofficially, Zardari didn’t want to bring back Musharraf’s arch-enemy, former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry, for fear that the latter would revive corruption charges that the Musharraf-appointed court had dismissed.)
The agreement appears to be a victory for Sharif, who hopes the speedy reinstatement of the judges will lay the groundwork for Musharraf’s ouster. Zardari has a different view — he says he wants to gradually erode Musharraf’s power through legislation, and worries that an injunction against the president will be meaningless if the military doesn’t play along. Pakistan may have to wait until after May 12 to see who’s right.
Joshua Keating is a former associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
More from Foreign Policy
America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose
Global war is neither a theoretical contingency nor the fever dream of hawks and militarists.
The West’s Incoherent Critique of Israel’s Gaza Strategy
The reality of fighting Hamas in Gaza makes this war terrible one way or another.
Biden Owns the Israel-Palestine Conflict Now
In tying Washington to Israel’s war in Gaza, the U.S. president now shares responsibility for the broader conflict’s fate.
Taiwan’s Room to Maneuver Shrinks as Biden and Xi Meet
As the latest crisis in the straits wraps up, Taipei is on the back foot.