Judge Chaudhry to be reinstated in Pakistan

Amnesty International has welcomed the announcement by President Asif Zardari of Pakistan that Iftikhar Chaudhry will be reinstated as a Supreme Court judge. Amnesty International has called for Mr Chaudhry to be allowed to take up his post as soon as possible. The government has been urged to ensure that Pakistan’s judiciary can operate independent of political interference. ““This announcement is a step in the direction of restoring the Pakistani judiciary’s independence, and improves the prospect of resuming the judiciary’s efforts to resolve the enforced disappearance of hundreds of people in Pakistan since the launch of the so-called war on terror,” Amnesty International’s Asia Director, Sam Zarifi. Iftikhar Chaudhry and 60 other judges were dismissed by the former President, Pervez Musharraf, in 2007, triggering a political crisis. There has been widespread unrest and protests organised by lawyers and supporters of the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, backing Mr Chaudhry’s re-instatement. The Pakistani prime minister, Youssef Raza Gilani, has said opposition supporters detained in recent days would be freed and a ban on demonstrations in the capital, Islamabad, and in several provinces would be lifted.