Freed Iftikhar pledges rule of law.

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By Sohail Khan & Khalid Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday congratulated the nation for its untiring efforts for the restoration of the judiciary, rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution and pledged to continue the struggle till the untimate destination was reached.

“I don’t have words to congratulate and express my thanks to you the way you have launched the movement for the restoration of judiciary and stood united against unconstitutional measures adopted by the military government,” Justice Chaudhry said, waving to the jubilant crowds from the balcony of his official residence in the Judges Enclave after his release from some five months of house arrest.

After imposition of the emergency and proclamation of the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) on November 3, 2007, around 60 judges of the superior courts, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, were placed under house arrest, made incommunicado and deprived of meeting any one even his family members.

After his election as prime minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani during his inaugural speech as the Leader of the House in the National Assembly announced releasing all detained judges of the superior courts.

Soon after the announcement, thousands of members of the civil society, lawyers, workers and leaders of different political parties and general public thronged the Judges Enclave and went straight to the official residence of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

After the announcement of the prime minister, authorities removed all barricades and blockades to the Judges Enclave. The jubilant crowd chanted slogans in favour of Justice Chaudhry, rule of law and release of the deposed judges and chanted anti-Musharraf slogans.

“We should continue working towards the rule of law, supremacy of the Constitution and for the independence of judiciary,” Justice Chaudhry added. Flanked by his youngest son Balaaj Iftikhar popularly known as Baba, the most darling of the family, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Athar Minallah and other lawyers, Justice Chaudhry was in high spirit of happiness and appeared to be more determined after appearing before the public.

During his half an hour appearance from the balcony of his residence, Justice Chaudhry kept waving to the crowd gathered at the lawn of his official residence. As people were anxious to catch glimpses of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, his younger son Balaaj Iftikhar appeared on the balcony and waved to the crowd.

A large number of local and international media persons gathered outside the official residence of Justice Chaudhry and were taking photographs and making footage of the young detainee. Earlier, Supreme Court Bar Association president Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan arrived in a huge gathering and asked the crowd that he would take out the Chief Justice from his room provided the crowd abstain from shouting slogans.

Meanwhile, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry appeared on the balcony of his official residence and the jubilant crowd sprayed him with rose petals, besides clapping for a long time. Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan thanked Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani for his pledge to restore deposed judges. He also paid rich tributes to the legal fraternity for launching vigorous movement for the restoration of judiciary, deposed judges and rule of law.

Earlier, Athar Minallah, after meeting the deposed chief justice, requested the jubilant crowd, who were raising slogans in favour of the chief justice, to abstain form chanting slogans in order to keep the sanctity of the Judges’ residences.

Some political leaders, including PML-N Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, addressed the gathering. APP adds: The Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, Amir Ahmed Ali, said that Monday’s order of the Prime Minister-elect Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani regarding release of deposed judges was immediately implemented.

Talking to APP at the residence of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, he said, “Order of the prime minister has been implemented and all deposed judges are free to move.”

The house arrest of five deposed judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has been ended following directives of Prime Minister-elect Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani here on Monday evening. These judges included Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, Justice Falak Sher, Justice Syed Jamshed Ali, Justice Ejaz Ahmed and Justice Tassadaq Jillani.

Police contingents who had been posted at the houses of deposed judges including Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday and Justice Falak Sher were removed and now the deposed judges are free to go anywhere.

Deposed Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday soon after the removal of police contingents from his residence offered evening (Maghrib) prayer in the nearby mosque and also met with the people and lawyers who gathered to see him.

link: http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=13734

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