Friday, March 09, 2007

Not Sacked, but "Removed" - the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Developing Story

There is confusion while it is widely believed that Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has been "sacked" from his office of Chief Justice of Pakistan.

The media is hurrying to understand what the Constitution of Pakistan says on the matter. Meanwhile it is becoming clear that the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has not been "sacked," but "prevented from the office of CJ of PK."

Why? To prevent conflict of interest while investigation are underway on whether he misused authority.

The prime allegation, in the ironic lament of lawyer Naeem Bokhari is:

I am not perturbed that Dr. Arsalaan (your son) secured 16/100 in the English paper for the Civil Services Examination, that there is a case against him in some court in Baluchistan, that from the Health Department in Baluchistan he has shifted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), that he has obtained training in the Police Academy, that he reportedly drives a BMW 7-Series car, that there is a complaint against him with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

My grievances and protests are different.

I am perturbed that the Supreme Court should issue a clarificatory statement on his behalf. I am perturbed that Justice (Retd.) Wajihuddin Ahmed should be constrained to advise you on television that “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others”. I am perturbed that the Chief Justice should summon Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to his chambers on Dr. Arsalaan’s account.

I am appalled that you announce decisions in Court, while in the written judgment an opposite conclusion is recorded.

It is indeed tragic if true - for Justice Iftikhar has been shining as a beacon of hope to the civil society of Pakistan for his numerous suo-moto actions on the behalf of citizens.

One of suo-moto recent actions has been about "Missing Persons" - Pakistani citizens, particularly journalist and those involved with political action or activism, mysteriously disappeared.

This is indeed a disappointing news for the citizens of Pakistan who, until recently, had been relieved that at least there was one supreme institution in Pakistan with its ears open to the pleas of the common citizen.

Photo: Screen shot from Geo TV - Chief Justice (removed) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry explains his position in meeting with President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf on the morning of March 9, 2007. His explanations on the investigation of "misuse of authority" against him were unsatisfactory, and he has been "stopped from" acting as the Chief Justice.

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