Why is Asif Zardari averse to the restoration of deposed judges? What is the impediment? Is it legal, political, or personal? The proclamation of emergency and the removal of judges by Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007, was clearly illegal. It was ab initio void and of no legal effect. The deposed judges have not ceased to hold office. No enactment is required to restore them. They can start functioning straightaway, if backed by the government in power. There is, thus, no legal impediment. Politically, there is no danger for Zardari from the PCO judges and Pervez Musharraf. The PCO judges are appointed illegally by Musharraf on November 3. They cannot legally issue any writ against the government. Faced with a government, determined to uphold the law, they have no means to enforce their orders. As for Pervez Musharraf, he cannot dissolve the National Assembly under Article 58 (2b) without the backing of the Army. There is not even the slightest chance of Army backing such an adventure, and taking on an elected government and public opinion. There is, thus, no political impediment either. At the personal level, though, Zardari is vulnerable because of the NRO and the deal he seems to have secretly made with the Americans. He hopes to get nod from the PCO judges on this issue, and is afraid of an independent judiciary. The real impediment is therefore personal. -ASAF ALI SHAH, Lahore, via e-mail, May 15.