ISLAMABAD-The constitutional package proposed by the PPP is partly out. It is comprehensive and probably first attempt to cover a broad spectrum of changes and correct distortions made by military rulers since the original document was approved in 1973. It also tries to enshrine most part of the Charter of Democracy signed by Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif in May 2006 that had enkindled a fresh hope for a democratic Pakistan. The full text has yet not been released to the media, so any meaningful commentary would have to wait for that. Senator Asif Zardari and Law Minister Farooq Naek spelled out some of its salient features. However, they conveniently skipped over some other elements, in particular the abridgement of tenure of chief justices, extension in the retirement age of judges of superior courts and restoration of deposed judges. The media, in any case, was able to skim out many details from the PPP's CEC members which are disturbing. A key question that was not asked in the news conference nor did Naek volunteered any information, is about the status of the package itself. What is it amending? There is reason to believe that the Constitution before the author of the package is post-November 3 document that includes Article 270 AAA. That means an implicit recognition of the Constitutional validity of the emergency, the PCO, the massive purge in judiciary, his fraudulent election, grant of indemnity to himself besides Shaukat Aziz and other accomplices of gross violation of law and court judgments etc; and all his other acts perpetrated between November 3 and December 15 before lifting the emergency. Zardari reportedly assured the CEC that he did not consider the November 3 emergency and other actions as Constitutional. His compulsion to accept an apparently induced advice from a handful of PPP lawyers and Hafeez Pirzada that undoing an unconstitutional act through an executive order would be equally illegal, is inexplicable and illogical. He takes pride that PPP released judges from detention. But when Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered it, he was simply the Leader of the House and had no legal status to issue any Executive Order. The groundswell of popular support had built a moment under which he could next day restore judges after taking oath as PM. Musharraf at that time was in a stupor benumbed by the spectacular expression of popular mandate against him. The new judges were scared of the popular sentiments against them while the army was still trying to restore its image by staying away from politics. Zardari acknowledged lack of two-thirds majority in the Senate that would make the entire exercise futile, until Naek is pursuing some other objectives. There was a hint of vain hope that even PML-Q and MQM Senators would be persuaded to fall in line. Ostensibly, the brighter side of the package relates to an attempt to do away most of the 17th Amendment and reform procedures for appointment of Election Commission, judges etc. Naek did not say anything about reported changes in the tenure and retirement age of judges. But all media reports quoting participants said the tenure for Chief Justice is being abridged to three years. Asfandyar Wali also confirmed it. This means Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry will retire before the package is adopted and given assent by Musharraf. Justice Dogar will stay and will also benefit from extension in retirement age. A questioner referred to a similar person specific amendment introduced by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto fixing the tenure for five years. As a result Chief Justice Sardar Iqbal of Lahore High Court and Safdar Shah Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court had to retire. Later during his trial, Bhutto requested Justice Iqbal to fight his case. Justice Safdar Shah was one of the three judges of the Supreme Court who honourably acquitted Bhutto. Sardar Iqbal politely declined to represent. He reasoned that if he lost the case as was likely because Gen. Zia was hell-bent to hang Bhutto. People say Sardar Iqbal deliberately put up a poor defence to avenge his forced retirement. Justice Safdar Shah not only honourably acquitted Bhutto but sacrificed his job by publicly declaring that there was no justification in hanging him because of the split 4-3 verdict. Zardari was warned by the journalist that a repeat of Bhutto's mistake would be equally unfortunate. 'What is the compulsion in imposing those judges on the nation who validated every act of the usurper and could not be expected to act independently in future'? Zardari was asked. He evaded a direct answer.