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UN rights chief praises reinstatement of Pakistan chief justice

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday praised [UN News Centre report; UN press briefing] the reinstatement [JURIST report] of Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive]. Pillay's spokesman called the move "an important step in the process of restoring the rule of law in Pakistan," adding that judicial integrity is needed if Pakistan is to make progress in upholding human rights laws such as the UN Convention against Torture [text]. Pillay also praised Pakistani pledges to release activists arrested in recent protests, and called for leaders to end bans on public demonstrations.

Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani [BBC profile] announced early Monday that the government would reinstate Chaudhry in response to recent protests by members of the lawyers' movement and opposition politicians and supporters. The news was welcomed [JURIST report] by members of the Pakistani lawyers' movement, who rallied at Chaudhry's home [Geo TV report] Monday, as well as by international groups including the European Union, the UK, and the Association of Pakistani Lawyers. Gilani also ordered government officials to release [Dawn report] anyone arrested during the past week's so-called "long march" [JURIST reports].

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