According to a newspaper comment, speaking in the National Assembly after being elected prime minister with a two-thirds majority in the House on Monday, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani ordered the release from detention of all the deposed judges of the higher judiciary. He then requested the judges to refrain from agitation and let the parliament be the judge of what is to be done in respect of their restoration. The first priority of the new National Assembly had to be the judges' case, because the two mainstream parties in the ruling coalition had given themselves one month in which to decide the matter.
The lawyers' movement has taken the deadline of one month as its deadline too. This clearly means that the National Assembly will be involved in the matter as soon as it begins its session after the swearing in of the prime minister. The ulti ginti (countdown), as the lawyers say, has begun. But surely the priorities of the parliament for the "first hundred days"--the term coined by President Roosevelt as he began his term in the midst of the depression--are more than just one. One may even say that these priorities contain issues which are no less urgent than the restoration of the judges.
Meanwhile, The Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N have refused to give any assurance to the United States about the future of President Pervez Musharraf, saying that every matter would now be debated in parliament.
The US officials met PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ishaq Dar and Ahsan Iqbal at Punjab House.
Later, a PPP delegation comprised of chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Rehman Malik visited the US embassy to meet the two officials.
Mr Negroponte also called on President Pervez Musharraf in the evening.
Another purpose of the visit, they said, was to seek commitment from the new coalition government about Pakistan's role in the war on terror.
Anne W. Patterson, the US ambassador, was conspicuous by her absence from the meetings.
A US embassy official, however, said the ambassador did not attend the meetings because she was away from the capital.
Mr Sharif said at a press conference he had told Mr Boucher and Mr Negroponte that the Pakistani nation had given its verdict on Feb 18 and now there would be no more "one-man show" in the country.
He said he told the US officials that since Sept 11, 2001, only one man had been making crucial decisions, but now the situation had completely changed.
"Now an individual has no right to make fundamental decisions. Now every matter will be brought to Parliament," he said, adding that soon a parliamentary committee would be formed to review the policies of President Pervez Musharraf.
Mr Sharif said the US officials had been told that there was no doubt in the minds of the people of Pakistan that President Musharraf used the war on terror only for his personal gains. He said as the president had never taken the parliament or the prime minister into his confidence on the war on terror, he did not have the nation's support.