Pakistan’s political crisis has been defused – for now at least.
Oppostion leader Nawaz Sharif has called off a mass protest due to culminate today, after a major concession from the government. It has agreed to reinstate sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Sharif, a former prime minister, told supporters this was “a great day which will change the country’s destiny.” He had backed calls to restore the top judge who was dismissed by then President Musharraf in 2007. Chaudhry’s reinstatement marks a victory for Sharif and the lawyers and opposition activists who championed his cause. They had been heading to Islamabad, joined by Sharif, who defied an apparent attempt to put him under house arrest. Scenes of jubilation followed news that Chaudhry would return as chief justice later this month. President Asif Ali Zardari had originally promised to reinstate him but feared the judge could wage a vendetta against Musharraf that could also threaten his own position.