Pakistan’s suspended chief justice freed

March 25th, 2008 - 12:51 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, March 24 (IANS) Barricades at the judges colony here were removed and suspended chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry along with other judges was freed from house arrest Monday evening, soon after new Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani promised their release. Accompanied by his family, Justice Chaudhry appeared in the balcony of his home and waved at a crowd of jubilant and cheering supporters.

Pakistan must follow the rule of law, DPA quoted him as saying in his first public appearance in four-and-a-half months.

His supporter and supreme court lawyer Athar Minallah earlier told reporters that Chaudhry was in “extremely high spirits”.

“The chief justice of Pakistan was excited to get the news that parliament had set him and his children free. He’s in extremely high spirits and looking forward to resuming his office as chief justice,” Minallah said.

After being elected to the post by the National Assembly, Gillani told the lower house of parliament that he would issue immediate directives for release of the judges held in captivity.

While he can issue orders only after being sworn in Tuesday, the Islamabad police soon removed the barriers at the judges colony.

“The order of the prime minister has been implemented and all deposed judges are free to move,” the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

President Pervez Musharraf had sacked Justice Chaudhry and dozens of other judges after declaring a state of emergency Nov 3 and suspending the constitution amid fears that the Supreme Court was going to overturn his controversial October re-election.

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