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US welcomes Pakistan move to reinstate chief justice

world Updated: Mar 16, 2009 08:38 IST
AFP
US welcomes Pakistan move to reinstate chief justice

The United States on Monday welcomed Pakistan's decision to reinstate its top judge as a move to "defuse a serious confrontation" and a "substantial step towards national reconciliation."

"This is a statesmanlike decision taken to defuse a serious confrontation, and the apparent removal of this long-standing national issue is a substantial step towards national reconciliation," said the US embassy in Islamabad.

"Now is the time for all Pakistanis and their political representatives to work together, with the support of their friends and allies, to peacefully strengthen their democracy and ensure a positive dialogue," it added.

Pakistan's government earlier said it would reinstate the country's chief justice, sacked under emergency rule in 2007, and end a crackdown on the opposition in a bid to end a damaging political crisis.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had come under massive US pressure to defuse a standoff with opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, who urged the masses to rise up against the government to demand that sacked judges be reinstated.

The turmoil could not have come at a worse time for the nuclear-armed Muslim nation, a central front in US President Barack Obama's fight against Islamist militancy and facing a wave of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked violence.