Reinstated chief justice returns to work in Pakistan

The Pakistani chief justice whose ousting sparked tremendous political turmoil made a celebrated return to his office today following calls for reconciliation and a strong judiciary by the country's president, who had long blocked the judge's reinstatement.

The Pakistani chief justice whose ousting sparked tremendous political turmoil made a celebrated return to his office today following calls for reconciliation and a strong judiciary by the country's president, who had long blocked the judge's reinstatement.

Meanwhile, the capital Islamabad remained tense after a suicide bombing killed an officer at a police station housing intelligence facilities.

Supporters of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry threw rose petals on his car as it entered the Supreme Court compound. Mr Chaudhry had technically resumed work on Sunday, the day after the justice who had replaced him retired.

Political turmoil over Mr Chaudhry's fate following his 2007 firing by former President Pervez Musharraf has riveted Pakistan but worried Western allies who feared it would distract the country from battling al-Qaida and Taliban militants.

President Asif Ali Zardari, in a message on Pakistan's national day yesterday, urged feuding factions to put aside their differences.

"I urge everyone to work in the spirit of tolerance, mutual accommodation, and respect for dissent and invite every one to participate in the national effort for national reconciliation and healing the wounds," Mr Zardari said.

Mr Zardari's message was one of several in recent days from the ruling party urging peace with the opposition, which had demanded that Mr Chaudhry be reinstated.

The prime minister even visited the home of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif in a goodwill gesture.

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