Pakistan’s Chief Justice sacked by Musharraf assumes office


Islamabad : Pakistan’s deposed Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Caudhry, sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf in his emergency rule in 2007, assumed his office again on Sunday.

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Chaudhry was sacked with around 60 top judges after they refused to show allegiance to Musharraf, the action prompted strong reaction from lawyers and opposition parties.

Coming under mounting pressure, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani last week announced in his televised address that he has restored the deposed Chief Justice to end political tension.

Abdul Hameed Dogar, the chief Justice appointed by Musharraf retired on March 21st and Chaudhry assumed the office with hoisting of national flag atop his official residence by lawyers, political activist and members of civil society.

Lawyers and political parties had a long struggle for the restoration of the deposed Chief Justice and other judges which led to a long-march on Islamabad.

Hundreds of political activists clashed with the police in the eastern city of Lahore last week and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led the long-march.

The police in Lahore failed to stop the marchers in Lahore and they marched for 60 kilometers to the city of Gujranwala.

But Sharif called off the long-march at Gujranwala after Prime Minister Gilani announced restoration of the judges.

Besides internal pressure, external pressure also forced the Pakistani government to restore the judges to defuse political tension.

Few hundreds lawyers and political activist gathered outside the official residence of the deposed Chief Justice Sunday morning and hoisted National Flag at his residence.

Naheed Khan, politial secretary to slain leader Benazir Bhutto, and Israr Shah, a leader of the ruling Peoples party, who lost his two legs in a suicide bomb attack in late 2007 in Islamabad, hoisted the flag.

The people played national anthem and celebrating the restoration of the Chief Justice. They were chanting slogans for independent judiciary.

Restoration of Chaudhry has raised hopes among the people that they will get cheap justice after the restoration of the judges.

The role of judges in Pakistan has always been questioned as they have on many occasions delivered verdicts in favour of the rulers and had in the past also validated the rule of military dictators.

But Chadhry and other judges of the Supreme Court gave verdicts against the military President Musharraf and also cancelled some deals of the government, which led to his sacking.