Pakistan fought the Law and the Law Won

 pakistani-lawyers-protesting

To avert a dangerous situation from becoming more volatile, the government of Pakistan announced Monday morning to reinstate the fired chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to the top seat at the country’s highest court.

Justice Chaudhry had been suspended by then President Pervez Musharraf on March 9, 2007 as the justice was preparing a court decision against Musharraf’s re-election for President for a second term. After suspending Chaudhry, Musharraf then promptly suspended the constitution and declared a state of emergency. Lawyers across the country rallied against the sacking of the chief justice and the judiciary went to war against the government by organizing protests all across the country. This caused Musharraf’s popularity to plummet across Pakistan and after six weeks of protests, Musharraf was forced to restore the constitution and ended emergency rule.

 

A weakened Musharraf announced his resignation from office on August 18, 2008 under impeachment pressure from the opposition coalition government and stepped aside. After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Zardari had become the head of her party Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Musharraf was succeeded on September 6, 2008 by Asif Ali Zardari as Pakistan’s President. Zardari had promised to restore Justice Chaudhry to his seat at the head of the Supreme Court but had not done so due to his fear that corruption charges against him may be brought by Chaudhry’s court as Justice Chaudhry is famous for his anti corruption rulings against the government and other powerful institutions.

Pakistani lawyers and political activists had coordinated a long political march to culminate in a huge rally at the parliament building in the capital Islamabad on Monday to protest the government not having restored the judiciary in Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of people had taken part in the anti-government procession and there was fear that the protests could turn violent and lead to further instability and possibly a coup by the military to restore order and an end yet again to democracy in Pakistan.

Perhaps fearing both the people’s sentiment against him as well as possible moves by the army against his rule due to the unstable situation, the government of Zardari announced Monday morning that Justice Chaudhry will be restored to his office of the chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

 

We at Pakistanis for Peace believe that this is a good decision by the Zardari government and they must realize what even past President Musharraf came to realize and that is that no government or entity of Pakistan will be able to overcome the mobilization and public support for the lawyers and judges of the country. Also they are seen by the common man as supporters of the people’s rights against powerful institutions and individuals and going against the judiciary is seen as going against the interests of the people of Pakistan as they are the last institution before a ruler assumes absolute power. Having a strong and independent judiciary is needed for a thriving democracy which Pakistan hopes to become one day like India has proven itself to be the last 60 years. The reinstatement of Chief Justice Chaudhry is a necessary step in the right direction towards bringing political stability back to Pakistan, a nation already facing so many internal and external threats.

 

Reported by Manzer Munir for www.PakistanisforPeace.com

iftikhar-mohammad-chaudhry

 

 

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