Pakistan: Christians welcome reinstatement of judges

 Christians in Pakistan have welcomed the government's decision to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and ten other judges, UCAN reports.

Father Jacob Dogra, vicar general of Islamabad-Rawalpindi diocese said: "We congratulate our leaders for taking a timely decision. Amid a crumbling economy and prevailing terrorism, the move is really praiseworthy. Getting justice in courts (now) has increased for all citizens, including Christians."

Father Arthur Charles, vicar general of Karachi archdiocese, said: "The Church is part of society, and free and fair institutions will benefit the minorities," such as Christians.

All Supreme Court and High Court judges sacked two years ago by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf have been returned to their posts by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Over the past two years, the Catholic Church demanded an independent judiciary. It issued several press statements to this effect and held seminars in collaboration with civil society groups to voice its concerns.

Christian lawyers also took part in the recent protests. Ten of them staged a hunger strike in front of the Lahore High Court from March 9 to 11. Joseph Francis, national director of Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement, a Christian NGO, organized the event.

"We are very grateful to God for the success of justice. It is a historic achievement," said Francis, a Catholic lawyer, whose organization largely works for the legal defense of Christians accused of blasphemy against the Qur'an or Prophet Muhammad, a verdict that could lead to the death penalty.

Source: UCAN/AN

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