WASHINGTON: - A key U.S. lawmaker has joined a growing number of his colleagues on Capitol Hill calling for President Pervez Musharraf to step down for the sake of Pakistan, as he also underscored the need for the reinstatement of judges. In a statement to the press, Congressman Steve Israel, who is a member of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, said: "The people of Pakistan have spoken clearly and decisively for a transition from a decade of dictatorship to democracy in the February 18th elections. It is time for general Musharraf to accept the mandate of the people for democratic change, and step down for the sake of his nation. Free from the threat of a President without legitimacy and popular support, the new democratically-elected government of Pakistan can devote its full attention to the economic, energy and food crises facing the nation, and the growing threat of extremism. "The immediate step after Musharraf's departure should be the restoration of the old independent judiciary.  Without getting the judges back on the Supreme Court and high court benches, Pakistan cannot move forward and make the progress it needs. "... I believe it is critical for Pakistan to turn the page toward democracy, good governance and effective anti-terrorism".