After watching one of Mr. Asif Zardari's recent TV interviews Mr. Zaman was "deeply affected by some of the things" that were supposedly said in the talk show about the judiciary (An Open Letter to Zardari, The Nation May 06, 2008). Mr. Zardari talked of how, when in the dock, he was denied justice by the courts and of how Pakistan's first directly elected Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was murdered judicially. The remarks persuaded Mr Zaman to conclude that the arguments were 'more emotional than rational' and that the PPP was against restoring judges. It is not irrational to talk of how Judges have been forced to abandon their oath to protect and defend the Constitution and take fresh oath of allegiance to a dictator. It is also not emotional to talk about how during the past sixty years dictators were allowed to re-write the Constitution by invoking various obscure doctrines ranging from 'successful revolution' to 'Kelsen's theory' to 'doctrine of necessity' that resulted in the social and political re-engineering of Pakistan. Politicians are not alone in bemoaning this. Former judges, jurists, members of the legal profession and civil society have all complained about it. After all a former Supreme Court judge who was on the bench that tried Zulfikar Ali Bhutto himself publicly admitted that the verdict was wrong and it was politically motivated under the pressure of General Zia and his commanders. Justice Khuda Bakhsh Marri in his book "A Judge may speak" mentions harrowing tales of denial of justice in the face of an ambitious and all too powerful executive authority. If judges of superior courts were independent and able to assert themselves the 21 year old Abdul Hamid Baloch could not have been executed in late 70's on the orders of a military court despite stay against execution granted by the Balochistan High Court. Justice Marri says that he still twisted and turned by recalling this traumatic incident. Such recalls serve a useful purpose. They enable us to look inwardly and ponder what when wrong, where and how to correct it. Those possessing great strengths should be able to approach their weaknesses with hope and courage. The November 3 emergency plus was designed primarily to get rid of the judges. That the emergency proclamation by the army chief and not by the President is unconstitutional is not in the doubt. It has been admitted even by the author of the move himself. That the judges must be restored and the constitutional amendments, decisions and orders made after the emergency plus must be reversed is also not in doubt. The only question is how best to do it. Should a wrong be undone through correct procedures or it must be reversed even if through wrong means? After the National Assembly passes the Resolution calling for the restoration of Nov 2 judges it will have to be sent to the government for implementation. The question is how best to implement it. By restoring the Nov 2 judges and also keeping the present judges intact the number of the judges in the SC would increase to 27. Implementation of the Resolution thus would require an amendment in the Judges Act 1997 to permit for more than 17 judges as allowed under the Act at present. The Prime Minister cannot lawfully order the increase from 17 to 27 the number of judges of Supreme Court. It has to be through an Act of the Parliament. It is precisely for reasons like these that a Committee of eminent legal minds has now been set up to sort out the issues involved. If it is decided that, starting with tabling of the Resolution in the National Assembly, we have to adopt the legislative path we should also address other broader issues either along with or soon after the restoration of judges. The prime objective of the emergency of course was the demolition of superior courts. But during the six weeks of emergency the people of Pakistan were made to suffer a PCO, two constitutional amendment orders (altering 12 articles of the Constitution besides adding one more to it), four President's Orders and a number of ordinances. Of the six amendments made to the Constitution four pertain to the setting up of the Islamabad High Court which has since started functioning confronting the new parliament and the government with a fait accompli. The PCO also contains a provision (section 5) designed to extend the life of ordinances indefinitely; not only those that were promulgated after Nov 3 but also those which were previously in force immediately before the PCO. Among these are included amendments to Army Act of 1951 (providing for court martial of civilians) and the done and finished deed of vote count by returning officers. These issues too will have to be considered by the Parliament. Sooner or later we have to make a choice. Do we permit the pernicious and wide ranging effects of post Nov 3 actions to continue or seek to reverse it through the Parliament along with reversing the decision to sack the judges? The writer is a former Senator