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Central & South Asia
Zardari urges reconciliation
Pakistan's president calls for reconciliation on occasion of Pakistan Day.
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2009 09:48 GMT
Pakistani lawyers celebrated after the government announced it would restore Chaudhry [AFP]

Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's president, has called for national reconciliation among the country's political parties following the recent restoration of the nation's top judges.

In an address marking Pakistan Day on Monday, Zardari said his government's decision to restore the judges could mark the end of a cycle of dictatorship.

The rule of law and constitutionalism have at times been "trampled by dictators", Zardari said.

But he said the restoration of Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and other top judges had raised people's expectation that the cycle was ending.

"On this day I urge everyone to work in the spirit of tolerance, mutual accommodation and respect for dissent and invite everyone to participate in the national effort for ... reconciliation and healing the wounds," Zardari said.

Chaudhry was removed in 2007 by Pervez Musharraf, the former president, after he began examining cases that could have threatened Musharraf's legitimacy as he sought a new term in office.

Zardari agreed last week to reinstate the chief justice, after activist lawyers and opposition supporters began a march toward Islamabad, the capital, where they planned to stage an indefinite sit-in at parliament.

Zardari had repeatedly stalled over the issue, apparently due to fears that Chaudhry would examine a deal that granted him immunity from prosecution over corruption claims.

Source:
Agencies
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