Pakistanis celebrate reinstatement of deposed Chief Justice Chaudhry, other judges

March 16th, 2009 - 10:23 am ICT by ANI  

Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, Mar.16 (ANI): Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’’s announcement to restore the judges who were sacked by President Musharraf in 2007 to their respective positions, was greeted with both joy and celebration on Sunday night and Monday morning.
In an address to the nation, Gilani said that sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and other judges who had been sacked two years ago would assume charge of their respective offices from March 21 after the retirement of present incumbent Chief Justice Hamid Dogar.
Hundreds gathered outside Chaudhry’’s Islamabad residence on Monday after the government agreed to reinstate him. Officials said the move was to defuse a political crisis and end a street agitation that was threatening to turn into violent confrontation.
Chaudhry became a cause celebre after being dismissed in late 2007 by then-president and army chief General Pervez Musharraf.
A government official was quoted by a foreign agency as saying that Chaudhry would be restored and that there would also be a constitutional package.
President Asif Ali Zardari, who was elected by parliament six months ago, had feared the judge could wage a vendetta against Musharraf that could also threaten his own position.
His retreat on the issue would raise inevitable question marks over his future, while it will enhance the reputation of his chief rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Several hundred jubilant lawyers and activists at Chaudhry’’s residence danced and chanted “Long live the chief justice”.
Chaudhry refused to vacate his residence after his dismissal when Musharraf declared emergency rule in a desperate move to extend his presidency for another term.
The political crisis gripping Pakistan has alarmed the United States and Britain, which fear any slide into chaos would help the Taliban and al Qaeda become stronger in Pakistan. (ANI with inputs)

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