Judge's return raises hopes for missing Pakistanis
With Pakistan's top judge back at work, Zahida Sharif has new hope that her husband will be found, her toddler son will know his father and justice will be served.
Abid Sharif is among several hundred Pakistanis who have gone missing believed detained by security agencies since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
The inquiries by Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry into their whereabouts helped prompt former President Pervez Musharraf to sack him in 2007.
The judge's reinstatement last weekend after two years of lawyer-led protests has energized relatives and human rights activists trying to trace the disappeared. Chaudhry returned for his first full day of work Tuesday as supporters showered him with rose petals.
"I just want him to be fair," Zahida Sharif said "If somebody has done something wrong, he should be brought to the courts. If he has to be punished they can punish him if he has done something wrong. But we should know what's going on."
Many of the missing are believed to have been detained or handed over to the US as part of anti-terror crackdowns.
Musharraf and officials in his government acknowledged some had been detained, saying it was necessary to combat terrorism. Others, they said, had probably joined militant groups or were fighting or had been killed in Afghanistan.
However, rights workers said many of the missing were nonviolent political activists.
Sharif says her husband, a physician who vanished in September 2005 in the northwest city of Peshawar, had no political or militant connections she knew of.