President Pervez Musharraf today lifted the state of emergency that he had imposed more than a month ago, reinstating the constitution.
Musharraf said declaring the state of emergency was "one of the most difficult decisions" of his life.
"Against my will, as a last resort, I had to impose the emergency in order to save Pakistan," Musharraf said. "I cannot tell how much pain the nation and I suffered due to this conspiracy."
Though the president said the state of emergency, imposed on Nov. 3, was a necessary response to growing terrorism and extremisim in the country, the suspension of people's rights did nothing to to cut down on violence. There were numerous terrorist attacks, killing more that 100 security personnel, in the 42 days that the state of emergency was in effect.
In a televized address to the nation to announce the end of the state of emergency, Musharraf said that a military operation to rout out militants in the scenic Swat valley in northern Pakistan was a success. He also said that he had to impose emergency to "save the country from grave dangers."
The restoration of the constitution comes as all the major political parties in Pakistan are bracing themselves for a national election scheduled for Jan 8. Two former Pakistani prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, have recently returned to the country and are campaigning for their parties for the upcoming elections.
However, some political parties have boycotted the elections saying that there is no way they will be fair under Musharraf, the current interim government and what they say is a stacked judiciary.
Another reason Musharraf gave for the state of emergency was what he said a conspiracy by leading judges to end his eight-year rule, and he claimed that the Supreme Court, which was about to rule on whether his re-election in October was legal, was going beyond its constitutional rights.
As a result of Musharraf's battle with the country's judges, the Pakistani legal fraternity has boycotted the elections and has called on all lawyers contesting elections to boycott until the restortion of the judiciary. The legal fraternity turned against the president when he suspended Pakistan's chief justice.
Since then, lawyers have been protesting all over the country. The defiant lawyers demand immediate restoration of the deposed judges.
"The lawyers are fighting for the restoration of the judges," lawyer Nadeen Hussain told ABC News. "We won't stop until the judges are restored. This is nothing, the lifting of emergency."
Today new judges took the oath of office under the restored constitution, but the fight between the country's lawyers and Musharrafs government continues.