Pakistan’s newly elected prime minister this week ordered the release of top judges who had been under house arrest since last year, a dramatic challenge to the US-backed president, Pervez Musharraf. Moments after being confirmed as prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani declared, before a raucous Parliament now controlled by the president’s opponents, that the judges would be freed immediately. The move was a step toward reinstating the country’s once-independent judiciary, whose silencing by Musharraf fueled the opposition’s pro-democracy campaign. Hundreds converged on the home of detained former chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry as police began removing barricades and barbed-wire fences. (Washington Post)

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