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Lawyer: Pakistan Judge's Ouster Legal

Discussion in 'Strategic & Foreign Affairs' started by HAIDER, May 17, 2007.

  1. HAIDER

    HAIDER ELITE MEMBER

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    Wednesday May 16, 2007 11:46 PM

    AP Photo MUL101

    By SADAQAT JAN

    Associated Press Writer

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - A veteran government lawyer dug into national and international legal history Wednesday to defend the Pakistani president's move to suspend the chief justice, a decision that has provoked a growing political crisis.

    Sayed Sharifuddin Pirzada laid out the government's legal arguments in the case for the first time in public since President Gen. Pervez Musharraf ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry on March 9 for alleged misconduct.

    Lawyers and opposition parties have protested the ouster, leading to weekend clashes that killed 41 and a national strike on Monday.

    Government officials say Chaudhry abused his office, such as by pulling rank to seek favors for relatives and using government aircraft for himself. But critics suspect Musharraf, a U.S. ally who seized power in a 1999 coup, of sidelining the independent-minded judge because he considers him an obstacle to staying on as president.

    Pirzada, 83, appeared before a Supreme Court bench considering more than 20 petitions, including one filed by Chaudhry, challenging the legality of the suspension order.

    The court has halted the proceedings of a closed-door judicial complaints panel examining the allegations against the judge while it considers the petitions.

    Pirzada argued the proceedings against Chaudhry were legal, citing four cases dating back to 1951 where inquiries were instigated against Pakistani judges or where they were suspended. He also cited cases where judges were investigated in Oklahoma and the Indian city of Mumbai.

    ``It is an administrative proceeding conducted by a domestic forum to examine the professional fitness of a judge,'' said Pirzada, who has served a series of Pakistani governments as a minister and attorney general.

    However, he provided few details of the cases and the presiding judge appeared skeptical of their relevance to Chaudhry's case.

    ``Yes, it is history. But I don't know how much we can benefit from these cases,'' said Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday.

    Pirzada also said that Chaudhry's complaint should not have been addressed to the president because the head of state enjoys immunity in the courts.

    Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan urged the court to reject the petitions and let the judicial complaints panel reconvene. ``All the constitutional issues raised here'' can be dealt with before the panel, he said.

    However, Ramday pointed out that the panel ``is not a court. Therefore it does not have inherent powers.''

    The weekend violence resulting from opposition to the judge's ouster has raised the stakes for Musharraf. Opposition parties are expected to ask the country's Supreme Court to quash Musharraf's plan to ask lawmakers for a new presidential term this fall
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6638415,00.html
     
  2. Awesome

    Awesome RETIRED

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    Ah you beat me to it, I was just about to post the same.
     
  3. Awesome

    Awesome RETIRED

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    I can't believe the judge replied to these solid arguments with "Yes, it is history. But I don't know how much we can benefit from these cases,''... Ridiculous. Ever heard of precedence?
     
  4. HAIDER

    HAIDER ELITE MEMBER

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    interesting twist in case.....