Chief Justice Chaudhry had become a symbol for pro-democracy and anti-Musharraf forces since he was ousted from office on March 9 on charges of judicial misconduct and nepotism.
Chaudhry opposes President General Musharraf’s efforts to run as president while maintaining control of the army. He has criss-crossed Pakistan, making campaign-style speeches against dictatorial rule.
Last Tuesday, a suicide bomber attacked a rally he was to address at the Islamabad bar association. More than 15 people were killed.
Today’s ruling by the 13-member Supreme Court reinstates Chaudhry and drops all charges against him. Musharraf has said he will accept the court’s decision. APTN recorded Chaudhry as he celebrated his victory at home with supporters, many of whom later marched in the streets shouting slogans including “Musharraf is a dog.”
Reinstated chief justice, Pakistan
AITZAZ AHSAN, CHAUDHRY’S CHIEF COUNSEL: It will have a positive impact for the independence of the judiciary, for the strengthening of institutions, and for democracy. It’s a big blow to the Musharraf regime and government, and it’s a big blow to dictatorship. It’s something that we were looking forward to. The people of Pakistan have joined in a long and arduous struggle.
TASNEEM ABASSI, LAWYER: The whole nation is very, very happy. Today, our judiciary is so much stronger that we can say that we are independent now.
Chaudhry supporters with armed escort
Streets of Islamabad
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.