Pakistan said to give in to protesters’ demands
by Laura King,
Courtesy and Thanks: LA Times
March 15th, 2009
Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan – Wild rejoicing erupted in the Pakistani capital early Monday amid news reports that the government would capitulate to protesters’ demands to reinstate the popular chief justice fired by former President Pervez Musharraf. Word of the reversal by the government of President Asif Ali Zardari came as a huge caravan led by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif bore down on the capital in defiance of a government ban. Police resistance had melted away hours earlier as the convoy left Lahore, a center of Sharif’s power, with the crowd that accompanied him dismantling barricades along the 200-mile stretch of road to the capital. As the night wore on, thousands of followers flocked to the slow-moving convoy’s route, throwing rose petals and dancing by the roadside.
Leaders of Sharif’s party, together with two senior sources within the government, confirmed before dawn that a deal had been struck, averting what could have been a bloody confrontation at the gates of the capital. A crowd of chanting, flag-waving lawyers and their supporters converged on the Islamabad residence of the fired chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry.
“The judiciary is being restored,” said Siddiqul Farooq, a spokesman for Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party. He said Sharif’s party would work with Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party.