Lahore/Islamabad/ Gujranwala, Mar.16 (ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister and chief of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), Nawaz Sharif, on Monday congratulated the whole nation over the reinstatement of the deposed judges.
Addressing a charged “Long March” rally in Gujranwala, Sharif termed the restoration of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry as a big success and a prelude to positive change in Pakistan.
Praising Chaudhry for not bowing down to the dictator (Musharraf), Sharif said the decision to call off the “Long “March was made after consultations with Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chief Imran Khan and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Ali Ahmed Kurd.
Senior PML-N lawmaker Jehangir Tareen was quoted by the New York Times as saying that the events in Lahore showed the depths of resentment in Punjab against the national government, and had no decision been taken, it would proved dangerous to President Asif Ali Zardari and his government.
“This (Long March) showed the people resent the arbitrary action of the national government, and the fact that it has no respect for the mandate the people of Punjab gave to the P.M.L.-N,” Tareen said.
Eminent journalist and former Pakistani ambassador to the United States and Britain Maleeha Lodhi said: “This is uncharted territory, there’s great uncertainty, no one knows what is around the corner.”
Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that the decision to reinstate Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as chief justice of Pakistan was taken after consultation with the leaders of coalition parties.
The Daily Times quoted him as telling a private TV channel that President Zardari had taken MQM chief Altaf Hussain, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman and ANP President Asfandyar Wali into confidence about his decision.
When asked if any other leader was consulted, Babar said he was not aware of it.
PML-N leader Javed Hashmi was quoted by the same paper as saying that the decision to reinstate Chaudhry should be seen as a victory for the entire nation.
He told a private TV channel that not only was it a victory for the PPP, but also for Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, President Asif Ali Zardari and the entire nation.
He said all the political parties; lawyers and civil society activists deserved credit for the CJP’s reinstatement.
Chaudhry’s spokesman Athar Minallah, however, warned that it would be detrimental for democracy if the government tried to curtail Chaudhry’s term in office.
Talking to reporters after the prime minister announced Chaudhry’s reinstatement, Minallah said the lawyers would stage 10 more `Long Marches’ if they found the decision dishonest in any respect.
He said the country’s problems could not be resolved without the supremacy of law, demanding the doctrine of necessity be buried for good.
The reactions came after the Pakistani Government agreed early on Monday to reinstate the independent-minded former chief justice of the Supreme Court, a stunning concession to the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who was heading toward the capital in a convoy threatening to stage a mass protest over the issue after he broke free from house arrest at his residence near here.
Earlier, police officers clashed with supporters of opposition parties on Sunday in Lahore, Pakistan.
The concession, broadcast on national television by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, came after a tumultuous weekend in Pakistani politics in which a dispute between President Asif Ali Zardari and Sharif had escalated into a major crisis that was destabilizing nuclear-armed Pakistan, already under pressure from a growing Islamic insurgency and severe economic troubles.
The decision to restore Chaudhry, came after calls to Zardari and Sharif, including from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, asking them to ease their differences.
The Obama administration’s special envoy to Pakistan, Richard C. Holbrooke, said the United States applauded “the statesmanlike act by President Zardari and hoped that it would help defuse a dangerous confrontation so that Pakistan, with the help of its many friends, can address the nation’s pressing and urgent needs.” (ANI)