PRESIDENT Musharraf of Pakistan looked glum and uneasy during the swearing-in ceremonies of the country's new prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani. He had good reason to be worried because Mr Gilani's first act was to order the release from house arrest of the former chief justice Lftikar Chaudry who had been under detention for five months following his dismissal by Musharraf when it seemed likely that the Supreme Court would rule his bid for re-election as President to be illegal. One of the commitments made by the new government coalition led by Mr Gilani is to restore the former membership of the Supreme Court and to repeal legislation that enables the President to dismiss a government. The long time spent by the two leading parties following Pakistan's elections in January has obviously been time well spent. Mr Gilani is an experienced and respected politician; after taking office he said: “My past experience in parliament has shown me that if you want this country to work , the parliament must be supreme, the constitution must be sacred and the rule of law enforced.” It is truly remarkable that after a decade of virtual dictatorship Pakistan has returned peacefully to parliamentary democracy.

Many determined and brave people have contributed to this change, among them Benazir Bhutto who lost her life as a result of her determination to fight the election for the Party that now leads the government.