ISLAMABAD: After contradictory signals, and mounting pressure from the country’s lawyers, the new democratic government appears poised to reinstate the Supreme Court chief justice who was dismissed by President Pervez Musharraf last year and recently freed from four months of house arrest, says New York Times.
The newspaper says the restoration of the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, a judge with a penchant for popular causes that have rankled Pakistan’s political establishment, has become the first real test of the new leaders’ democratic principles and something of a political land mine here.
“The government seems likely to restore the chief justice, but with conditions aimed at blunting Mr Chaudhry’s independence, hoping to finesse his return while not antagonizing the thousands of lawyers and many Pakistanis who have rallied around the hugely popular judge.”
The papers says his possible return threatens to reopen the issue of whether Musharraf is now in office illegally, lawyers and politicians say. “Mr. Chaudhry could also revisit the cases of hundreds of Pakistanis missing in secret detentions, or decide to overturn a recent amnesty for politicians accused of corruption.”
It says a prime beneficiary of that amnesty is the leader of the major party in the new governing coalition, Asif Ali Zardari, widower of the slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, who has appeared ambivalent about Mr. Chaudhry’s return.-SANA