Pakistan judge gets court boost, faces new charges
PAKISTAN: Pakistanâ€™s top judge won the first round of his
legal battle with President Pervez Musharraf Monday, but the government
hit back by threatening new misconduct charges against him.
The Supreme Court formally allowed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry to contest his suspension by military ruler Musharraf on March
9 â€” a challenge that government lawyers have argued against strenuously.
Chaudhry has fought his ouster both in the courts and also in the
streets, leading rallies and sparking an opposition movement that
presents key US ally Musharraf with the biggest crisis of his eight
years in power.
The Supreme Court in May suspended an inquiry by a panel of judges
into the charges against the chief justice, after he alleged that it was
biased and that he should not be suspended during the process. The court
has been listening to legal arguments for the past month about whether
to admit some two dozen petitions including Chaudhryâ€™s. The others have
been filed by lawyers.
â€śWe will right now only hear and decide the petition of Justice
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry,â€ť presiding judge Khalilur Rehman Ramday
â€śIn a sense it is a victory for us that they have started hearing the
petition. We were 99.9 percent sure that they would not reject it,â€ť
Tariq Mahmood, senior counsel for the chief justice, told AFP.
Law Minister Wasi Zafar however said that the government would file a
second set of allegations against Chaudhry, because the judgeâ€™s lawyers
had politicised the issue instead of going through the courts.
The minister said in a statement the new charges would include â€śacts
and eventsâ€ť after March 9.
Islamabad, Tuesday, AFP