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Pakistan restores deposed Chief Justice to end political crisis

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, March 16, IRNA - Pakistan’s Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Monday announced that he has re-instated deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to defuse political crisis in the country which had threatened the democratic government.

Chaudhry was first suspended by President General Musharraf on March 9, 2007, when he refused to oblige Musharraf by refusing to resign but was reinstated by an order of the Supreme Court on July 20, 2007.

“My countrymen, I in accordance with my commitment and the commitment made by the President of Pakistan, I declare reinstatement of Mr Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and all other deposed judges on their positions,” the Prime Minister said in a televised address.

“On March 21st, on the retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will assume the office of the Chief Justice,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that a notification is being issued shortly.

After having been elected as President for second term by the elected Parliament, Musharraf in November 2007 pre-empted an impending court decision against his re-election and suspended the constitution and declared a state of emergency.

Justice Chaudhry reacted promptly, convening a seven-member bench which issued an already prepared interim order against this action. But he was again dismissed after he refused to show loyalty to the then President Musharraf.

Soon after, on November 3, the Supreme Court was stormed by a brigade of the Pakistan Army and Chaudhry was arrested along with seven other judges.

Mushararf appointed Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar the new Chief Justice of the country.

On March 24, 2008, the new Pakistani PM, Yousaf Raza Gillani, ordered Chaudhry's release from house arrest. However he was not restored despite two written agreements between President Asif Ali Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif launched ‘long march’ on the capital Islamabad from Lahore on Sunday to press for the restoration of Chaudhry Iftikhar. Sharif, leading thousands of his supporters was set to arrive in the capital on Monday for a sit-in.

The Prime Minister also announced the release of all political activists and lawyers who have been arrested over the past few days. He also announced end to a ban on political activities.

A large number of political activists, lawyers and members of civil society rushed to the residence of the Chief Justice after the news spread in the capital to celebrate restoration of Chaudhry.

The decision came after high level consultations in the President House Sunday night and early Monday.

Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Prime Minister Gilani were also in the consultation process.

The National Flag was hoisted atop the Chief Justice House and walkthrough gates set up as security measures.


End News / IRNA / News Code 400344

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