It was no ordinary reception for no ordinary judge. His car strewn with rose petals, Pakistan’s reinstated Chief Justice has gone back to work in Islamabad amid scenes of jubilation.
Iftikhar Chaudhry urged lawyers at the Supreme Court to root out corruption in the judiciary. But today those who had gathered to greet him were simply eager to celebrate his return. “I feel that today our dreams have come true and the dark clouds of injustice that have enveloped this country for the past 60 years have evaporated,” said lawyer Malik Shahzad Ahmed. Another lawyer, Niazullah Khan Niazi, added: “People power has forced the current leaders to realize that the true Chief Justice of this country is Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry.” Lawyers had mobilised massively in support of the judge. Amid an unrelenting protest movement, street agitation and a political crisis, he was finally reinstated earlier this month. The Chief Justice was dismissed in 2007 by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. His successor, President Asif Ali Zardari, had originally promised to give Chaudhry his job back. But Zardari feared the judge could wage a vendetta against Musharraf that could also threaten his own position.