- Asif Ali Zardari - Islamabad - justice - Nawaz Sharif - Pakistan
AFP - Pakistani judge Ifitkhar Muhammad Chaudhry resumed his post of chief justice Sunday, 16 months after he was ousted under emergency rule and a week after protests flung the nation into political chaos.
"Chaudhry assumed the charge of office here after midnight (Saturday 1900 GMT)," the supreme court said in a statement.
The chief justice immediately approved the court roster for the coming week -- assigning different benches to hear pending cases.
Chaudhry and 60 other top judges were sacked in 2007 by military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who feared the supreme court would disqualify him from contesting a presidential election while wearing military uniform.
In a dramatic climbdown, following months of broken promises and years of protests from lawyers, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced Monday that the government had decided to reinstate the deposed chief justice.
It was a move calculated to end political turmoil after a three-week showdown between opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, demanding Chaudhry's reinstatement, and the hugely unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari.
Gilani made the announcement on television at dawn after a government crackdown failed to thwart opposition activists and lawyers from heading towards the capital Islamabad as part of a mass "long march" protest.
The government pledge to reinstate Chaudhry defused a crisis that had pushed the nuclear-armed Muslim nation to the brink of chaos.
Jubilant lawyers and members of civil society are expected to gather outside his official residence to celebrate Chaudhry's return.
A flag hoisting ceremony will be held at his residence to fulfil the pledge made by slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007 that "we will unfurl the national flag at Chaudhry's house".