Pakistan's High Court Reverses Judge's Suspension
NOAH ADAMS, host:
From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Noah Adams.
DEBORAH AMOS, host:
And I'm Deborah Amos. Coming up, New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan defends his record.
ADAMS: But first, a bad week for Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf just got worse. Suicide bombers killed dozens of people in Pakistan this week. Today the Supreme Court reinstated the country's chief justice. The president had suspended that man four months ago. The government has charged the chief justice with misconduct, but some critics of the government say he was fired for challenging the president's plans to win reelection. And the ruling was greeted with enthusiasm by supporters outside the court.
(Soundbite of crowd)
ADAMS: NPR's Philip Reeves is in Islamabad. Philip, it sounds like this was quite of popular decision there?
PHILIP REEVES: Yes, it was. It was very striking. Actually, when the news came through, there was a great shout of joy from the lawyers who'd assembled at the Supreme Court to support the chief justice. And they literally sort of burst out of the main doors of the building and assembled on the steps and started chanting and cheering, and eventually began chanting - go, Musharraf, go - which has very much been the chant that has accompanied all the rallies that they've held for the last four months in cities around the country.
ADAMS: Now, President Musharraf, as we've said, suspended the chief justice. That was his call. What is the official government response or anything from the president?
REEVES: Well, not from the president. But the prime minister has reportedly said that they will accept the verdict. And indeed, Musharraf said some weeks ago when the issue was being much discussed in the media that he would accept whatever the Supreme Court decided. And so we can expect that they will want now to move on from this because it has been quite a serious political blow for Musharraf.
ADAMS: Now, in addition to the court action there, with the setback with the chief justice, President Musharraf is dealing with rising violence, very serious nature in his country. Over 50 people were killed in suicide bombings yesterday. What's he going to do?
REEVES: Well, you know, he has had the most extraordinary period in office - the South Asian earthquake, 9/11, and now this, you know, very serious extremist violence. And a lot of unhappiness too amongst Pakistanis about the storming of the Red Mosque 10 days ago, in which lots of people died. People were very sympathetic in many quarters about the idea of cracking down on extremist there, but then didn't appreciate the force used by government troops in that affair.
So he's got problems on every front. And how he handles them is very much going to be the question of the next few weeks, I think.
ADAMS: Thank you. NPR's Philip Reeves, talking with us from Islamabad.
REEVES: You're welcome.
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