Judges to be reinstated as coalition lands its first blow on Musharraf

In a devastating blow to President Pervez Musharraf, the winners of last month's election yesterday vowed to join forces and reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges sacked during the imposition of the state of emergency last November.

The announcement came as the late Benazir Bhutto's party, now led by her widower Asif Zardari, finalised a coalition government with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The once bitter rivals now hold nearly two-thirds of the National Assembly, raising the prospect of a parliament hostile to the deeply unpopular Mr Musharraf.

"Iftikhar Chaudhry will absolutely be restored [within 30 days of the next government being formed]," said Nadir Chaudhri, Mr Sharif's spokesman. "The restoration of the judiciary is an issue on which the people of Pakistan delivered a mandate. It is important for Pakistan's future as a constitutionally viable state, so that we can block future adventurers from taking reckless decisions."

As the two parties met, lawyers returned to the streets of Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to mark the anniversary of Mr Chaudhry's first sacking in March 2007. The chief justice was reinstated last July after months of protests, led by lawyers and supported by opposition parties. But he was sacked again four months later when Mr Musharraf declared emergency rule and hand-picked a fresh bench of judges.

In the capital yesterday, hundreds of lawyers and opposition activists, bearing black flags and armbands, advanced on the deposed Chief Justice's home – where he has been under house arrest for the past four months – chanting anti-Musharraf slogans. They were beaten back by policemen using tear gas.

The return of Chief Justice Chaudhry and the independent judiciary would be a major setback for the President. He has insisted there was no possibility of their restoration, and called Mr Chaudhry "third rate" and "the scum of the earth".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power