Chaudhry’’s restoration, an extraordinary victory for Pak legal fraternity: Washington Post

March 16th, 2009 - 12:05 pm ICT by ANI  

Nawaz Sharif

Lahore, Mar.16 (ANI): The Pakistan Governments announcement early Monday morning that it would restore former Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and a group of other deposed judges should be seen as an extraordinary victory for the countrys legal fraternity and as a major capitulation to opponents, the Washington Post says.
According to the paper, the restoration of sacked judges is a reflection on the weakening position of President Asif Ali Zardari, a key U.S. ally.
Zardari resisted for months, but faced with mounting pressure from a broad coalition of opponents who demanded the reinstatement of Pakistan’’s independent judiciary and threatened to march on Islamabad, he had no other choice but to back down, says the paper.
The Pakistan legal community had been agitating peacefully for the judges” reinstatement for the past two years, and for Zardari’’s major political rival, Nawaz Sharif.
As word spread early Monday morning that Prime Minister Gilani would announce the judges” restoration to office, Pakistani television stations showed jubilant crowds gathering around Chaudhry’’s house in Islamabad.
Celebrations also erupted in the Sharif-led caravan, which was traveling through the night from Lahore. The prime minister made the official announcement at dawn Monday.
“This will restore stability to Pakistan,” Athar Minallah, a spokesman for Chaudhry, said.
A spokesman for Sharif’’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N, had said that he expected an official pardon of Chaudhry and the other judges, in accordance with an agreement signed by Zardari and Sharif last year.
Pakistans former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, fired Chaudhry and the other judges in 2007 because they refused to take an oath under his amended constitution.
Zardari had publicly insisted that the judges could not be restored until Pakistan’’s Parliament had a chance to make broader changes in the Constitution. But many Pakistanis and foreign observers believed the president reneged on his pledge to restore them because he feared that the independent-minded Chaudhry would reopen old corruption cases against him and might also overturn many of his actions as president. (ANI)

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