THE nerve-racking drama that had gone on in the country for nearly two years is finally over with a happy ending expected by few. This should provide a sense of relief to all and sundry. Prime Minister Gilani has restored through an executive order all deposed judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. His government would also file a review petition to seek the reversal of the Supreme Court judgment disqualifying the Sharif brothers from holding public office. To overcome legal difficulties arising out of a Chief Justice still holding office, Chief Justice Chaudhry would take over his responsibilities after March 21 when sitting CJ Dogar is scheduled to retire. Section 144 has been lifted from all over the country and orders issued for the release of those arrested in connection with the march. The move has been hailed by Mian Nawaz Sharif, who called off the march at Gujranwala, which he had reached at the head of a big procession comprising hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people on foot. Earlier on Sunday, he had come out of his Lahore residence in defiance of the government's orders and was joined on his way by highly charged protesters. The jubilant leadership of the lawyers community has also announced it was calling off the protest. The two-year-long struggle conducted by Pakistan's legal community for an independent judiciary has finally been crowned with victory. The defiance of a military ruler by Chief Justice Chaudhry, the first such occurrence in Pakistan, added a bright chapter to its otherwise inglorious judicial history, marked by justifications for military takeovers and subsequent violations of the Constitution. The defiance electrified the nation, which took to the streets in defence of the Chief Justice, another event in Pakistan without a precedent. One High Court judge and numerous subordinate judges resigned in protest, while many refused to take oath under the PCO and were promptly sent home. For two years, the lawyers braved the wrath of the police, went to jail and suffered economic losses. The lawyers movement weakened Musharraf, led Washington to gradually withdraw support given to the dictator and facilitated the return of the exiled leadership. Initially, the lawyers were supported by all major political parties except those who were a part of the Musharraf administration. When the PPP officially withdrew support from the struggle after forming the government, many PPP lawyers continued to actively back the movement, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan being at the forefront as President SCBA. The hitherto dormant civil society made its debut in politics as a part of the movement. Private media threw its weight behind the deposed judiciary, facing the wrath of the government and of the mob in Karachi. For the electronic media, it was virtually a baptism of fire. The recent long march acted as a catalytic agent, breaking the monolithic unity of the PPP. Two federal ministers belonging to the party resigned during the movement. It goes to the credit of Prime Minister Gilani that he persuaded President Zardari to restore the judges. His contribution has been duly recognized by the opposition. That President Zardari finally agreed to soften his stand goes to the PPP Co-Chairman's credit. The lawyers, opposition parties and the civil society at large have wrested victory out of the jaws of defeat. This would not have been possible without backdoor attempts by the military establishment and the new US Administration, which had reasons to be wary of increasing polarization in the country. It is now for the government to fulfill the promises it has made in letter and spirit, and work together with the opposition to restore stability which is badly needed for the resolution of the momentous problems facing the country, that include an ailing economy, extremism and terrorism. The opposition in the form of the PML(N) should go an extra mile to reach a consensus on major issues facing the nation today.