IN OTHER WORDS:Quick fix
Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, made the right choice on Monday in agreeing to reinstate the independent-minded former SC justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Unfortunately, it took huge street protests and the threat of chaos to persuade him to do it. Zardari will have to do a lot more to calm the political turmoil and confront the extremists who threaten Pakistan’s survival.
Zardari made a major concession in agreeing to Chaudhry’s return and is weaker as a result. Nawaz Sharif, the opposition leader, was already the country’s most popular politician, and he gained even more by championing the cause of the chief justice, who was ousted by Pervez Musharraf, the former president. Zardari and Sharif led a coalition government after Musharraf was pushed out last year but broke up ostensibly over the Chaudhry issue.
One of the biggest questions is how Chaudhry, now a national symbol of democracy and the rule of law, will use his influence and his restored powers. Zardari supposedly opposed his return out of fear that the jurist would revive a corruption charge against him. We hope Chaudhry opts to advance the cause of justice, not political retribution. Pakistan’s leaders have walked the country back from the brink. They must go further before it reaches solid ground.