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Pak Supreme Court reinstates suspended chief justice
K J M Varma in Islamabad
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July 20, 2007 17:10 IST
Last Updated: July 20, 2007 17:44 IST

In a major blow to President Pervez Musharraf [Images] in the midst of other troubles for him, Pakistan Supreme Court on Friday reinstated suspended chief justice Iftikhar M Chaudhry after quashing the presidential reference of charges against him.

In a 10-3 verdict, the full bench of the apex court headed by Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday held as "illegal" the presidential reference against Justice Chaudhry, who had emerged as a rallying point for the political opposition besides lawyers.

Chaudhry's chief counsel Aitzaz Ahsan told reporters that the case alleging misconduct by Chaudhry has been "quashed".

He has been restored and its a victory for the entire nation, Ahsan said.

During the period, the campaign launched by Justice Chaudhry and his supporting lawyers in various cities saw serious street violence especially in Karachi that claimed many lives.

Shortly after the reference that alleged that Chaudhry abused his position, notably to obtain a top police job for his son and other privileges for himself, was made, he was suspended on March 9 and the only Hindu judge in the Supreme Court Rana Bhagwandas was made the acting chief justice.

The verdict came after a two-month hearing into Chaudhry's petition challenging his suspension and constitution of a Supreme Judicial Council that started hearing charges against him.

As Chaudhry's supporters burst into immediate celebrations outside the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the government accepted the judgment and would implement it.

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