ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani early Monday morning has announced reinstatement of the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges.
“I restore the deposed chief justice and others according to the promise made by me and the President,”
Gilani said in a televised address to the nation.
The announcement, in light of the directive of President Asif Ali Zardari, met the main demand of the political parties and the lawyers community. He said “a notification to this effect is being issued now. Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry will replace Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who retires on March 21.
Gilani said and pledged to “continue the politics of reconciliation.” The deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was removed from service by former President Pervez Musharraf on March 9, 2007, sparking a wave of protest that led to his resignation from his office on August 18, 2008.
The prime minister also announced reinstatement of the two remaining judges of the Supreme Court and said the number of judges for the Supreme Court has already been increased through legislation to accommodate the reinstated judges.
The Prime Minister also announced that the federal government would file a review petition in the Supreme Court seeking reversal of the order of disqualification of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, and addressing all issues in light of the Charter of Democracy.
“I invite them to move forward along with all political forces for the implementation of the Charter of Democracy,
He asked the provincial governments to lift the Section 144 immediately and release the arrested persons. He said the PPP had made a lot of contribution to the lawyers movement and rendered numerous sacrifices. He said shaheed Benazir Bhutto had pledged to reinstate the deposed Chief Justice.
Gilani said President Asif Ali Zardari also pledged to do the same. Gilani recalled that soon after securing a heavy mandate from the parliament he had announced the release of the detained judges and also restoration of their emoluments. Prime Minister Gilani’s address followed a flurry of activities at the PM House and the Aiwan?e?Sadr. Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani also held meetings with the two leaders.
The Prime Minister said the decision was taken in consultation with the allies. Gilani also greeted Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, lawyers, political workers, and civil society on this auspicious occasion and asked them to celebrate the occasion in a befitting manner.
Earlier Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani had a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari late Sunday night that lasted over two hours at the President House. They discussed the prevailing situation and agreed on the restoration of the judiciary as per the commitment to the nation.
It was decided that Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry will replace Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who is retiring on March 21 and will assume the office of country’s next Chief Justice from March 22, 2009. The President said that the remaining judges of the superior court will be also reinstated.
President Zardari said that he has always maintained that the judges sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf will be reinstated, without disturbing the present judges. In the same spirit the number of judges for the Supreme Court were increased through legislation to accommodate the reinstated judges, without disturbing the present judges.
After the meeting with Prime Minister President also summoned a meeting of his political advisors to discuss the political situation. President said he will hold separate meetings with the party Central Executive Committee, the PPP candidates nominated in the previous election and the youth wing of the party for dialogue.
He also telephoned MQM leader Altaf Hussain, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali and JUI?F leader Maulana Fazalur Rehman and took them into confidence on the decisions to restore the deposed Chief Justice.
The meeting was attended by Senior PPP leader and Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister for Defence Ahmed Mukhtar, Advisor on Interior Rehman Malik, Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Minister for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Kazmi and President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar.
The federal capital in the past few days witnessed hectic activity as the US and British ambassadors and politicians including JUI?F leader Maulana Fazalur Rehman and ANP Leader Asfandyar Wali met the PML?N leader Nawaz Sharif and played a key role to end the crisis.
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was appointed as the 20th Chief Justice of Pakistan by former President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on May 7, 2005. However he was suspended by Musharraf onMarch 9, 2007 and was reinstated by order of the Supreme Court on July 20, 2007.
On November 3, 2007, Chief of the Army Staff General Musharraf suspended the Constitution and declared a state of emergency. Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Pakistan and Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was put under house arrest.-APP