Pakistan’s new-look Supreme Court has, as expected, dismissed the last challenge to President Pervez Musharraf’s re-election.
He is now expected to step down as head of the army and be sworn in as a civilian leader by next week at the latest.
Musharraf sacked the chief justice and judges who he thought may have ruled against him when he declared a state of emergency three weeks ago.
Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto welcomed the release of thousands of her supporters but said she remains “deeply concerned about the state of Pakistan”, which she described as a “dictatorship”.
She is continuing talks with another former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Some 5,000 people detained post-emergency have been released but the arrests continue.
Former Chief Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed, the only candidate who stood against Musharraf in October, led a protest march of about 100 lawyers yesterday. He was later taken into custody.