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Chronology of political crisis in Pakistan
March 16, 2009 14:51 IST
Following is the chronology of events leading to the reinstatement of sacked Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges in Pakistan:
February 25: Pakistan's Supreme Court delivers verdict barring Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Nawaz Sharif [Images] from contesting polls and declares as null and void the election of his brother Shahbaz, the chief minister of Punjab, triggering violent protests across the country. President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] imposes governor's rule in Punjab province.
February 26: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani [Images] says he is 'saddened' by the Supreme Court's order and expresses desire for reconciliation with the opposition.
March 2: Smaller parties in Pakistan launch efforts to patch up differences between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. Sharif rules out any reconciliation and asks the people to rise up and join him in a 'revolution' against the government.
March 3: PML-N offers talks to resolve differences with the ruling Pakistan People's Party, demands removal of governor's rule in Punjab, restoration of the PML-N government in the province and reinstatement of judges sacked during the 2007 emergency.
March 4: Nawaz Sharif says Pakistan is presently being ruled by 'opportunist judges and generals'. Protests against the Zardari-led government continue across the country.
March 9: Political tension rises as Nawaz Sharif openly asks people to come to the streets and the government warns the former prime minister that his anti-government speeches amount to sedition.
March 10: The PPP offers to resolve its differences with the PML-N in a 'spirit of reconciliation' but the main opposition party says it would back a protest to press the government to reinstate judges sacked during the 2007 emergency. The government imposes restrictions on Sharif.
March 11: Nawaz Sharif vows to defy restrictions and go ahead with massive 'Long March'. Authorities arrest hundreds of politicians and activists to thwart the protests.
March 12: The PPP-led government launches countrywide crackdown to derail the PML-N supported mass rally. Nawaz Sharif accuses the government of plotting to kill him. United States' Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke asks Pakistan's top leadership to resolve differences with the PML-N. The government again offers talks with Nawaz Sharif but he rebuffs the plea. Authorities detain scores of opposition activists and lawyers at the start of 'Long March'.
March 13: President Zardari lifts governor's rule in Punjab and allow the main opposition PML-N to form government in the politically-crucial province. Information Minister Sherry Rehman, a close aide of Zardari, resigns from her post. The government asks army to be on standby.
March 14: Pakistan government says it will challenge the disqualification of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz from contesting elections, in a move to defuse the crisis. Sharif remains defiant.
March 15: Pakistan's government puts Nawaz Sharif under house arrest for three days to prevent him from leading the 'Long March'. Sharif defies order and joins thousands of supporters in Lahore [Images] to march towards Islamabad [Images] for the mass demonstration in front of the Parliament. Senior police and other officials resign and join the 'Long March' for restoration of the Constitution.
March 16: Prime Minister Gilani announces reinstatement of deposed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges. Nawaz Sharif calls off the Long March and terms the government's decision as a victory.