07/20/2007, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Case against Chaudhry thrown out of court, sacked chief justice to be re-installed

Supreme Court found no evidence for the charges, ruling the suspension “illegal.” Crowds celebrate in the streets. For experts outcome is a blow to Musharraf, already weakened by terrorist wave.

Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled ten to three to quash all charges against Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and reinstate him, calling his suspension "illegal". President Pervez Musharraf had suspended him on March 9, triggering mass protests across the country with clashes between police and demonstrators that left some dead.

Critics of the president say the suspension was an attempt to undermine the judiciary's independence in an election year.

Presiding judge Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday simply said that there was no evidence and that the judiciary was neither rival nor monitor or superior to other institutions.

Chaudhry’s attorney Aitzaz Ahsan told reporters that the decision was “a victory for the entire nation,” whilst his supporters burst into immediate celebrations outside the Supreme Court

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz stated that the government accepted the court’s decision and will implement it.

For experts this outcome represents a major blow to Musharraf. The president’s position is already weak as a result of the mass political mobilisation his decision provoked and of the wave of bomb attacks that has swept over the country in the last few weeks.

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