Pakistan PM's First Move Flouts Musharraf

Gilani takes office, orders judges jailed by president freed
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2008 4:01 PM CDT
Pakistan's deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry waves to his supporters from the balcony of his residence after his release, Monday, March, 24, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
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(Newser) – Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered the release of 60 judges detained by Pervez Musharraf only minutes after being elected Pakistan's prime minister today, CBS reports. The president replaced the judges with a friendlier crop after imposing a state of emergency in November. If the freed justices are reinstated, a renewed legal challenge to Musharraf's election could ensue.

Dismissed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was hearing a suit challenging Musharraf's election while still army chief of staff. “If this release of judges is the first step towards their eventual rehabilitation, it is possible that Chaudhry will return to hear the case," says a leader from Gilani's Pakistan People's Party. A mass return to the bench remains "a distant prospect," one official said.