Rule of Law

Pakistan to Reinstate Judges, Including Chief Justice

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A series of lawyer-led protests that began two years ago in Pakistan has succeeded: The country will reinstate former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other deposed judges.

The Washington Post calls the concession by President Asif Ali Zardari “an extraordinary victory for Pakistan’s legal community.” The newspaper and the New York Times also characterize the decision as a win for opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who had joined the lawyer movement and was heading to the capital in a planned mass protest.

“It’s the first time in the history of Pakistan that a movement launched by the middle class has proved successful,” according to retired Judge Tariq Mehmud, a protest leader quoted in the Post. Critics had claimed the country’s former president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, had fired Chaudhry in a bid to undermine an independent judiciary.

The United States had pressed for a resolution to the standoff between Zardari and Sharif, with a call placed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Times reports.

After the announcement, jubilant crowds gathered around Chaudhry’s house in Islamabad chanting, “Long live the chief justice.” He will return to the bench on March 21.

Additional coverage:

New York Times: “Pakistanis Rejoice Over Restoration of Justice “

Updated at 6:40 p.m. to add link to subsequent New York Times article.

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