Pakistan Supreme Court resumes Chaudhry hearing

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] reconvened Tuesday to continue hearing petitions filed by suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive] after adjourning Monday when a Supreme Court justice objected to the presence of more junior judges on the high court panel [JURIST reports]. Lawyers for Chaudhry told the court that Chaudhry had been pressured to resign, and had initially been detained at the army office of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official profile] against his will. The government said that it planned to show Chaudry's petitions were flawed when the court reconvened on Wednesday. Presiding Judge Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday said that the whole court had "taken cognizance" of Monday's murder of Supreme Court deputy registrar Syed Hamid Raza, which Chaudhry's lawyers say was committed because of his ties to the suspended Chief Justice [JURIST report]. AP has more.

Chaudhry was technically made "non-functional" [JURIST report] by a March 9 order of Musharraf. No specifics were provided at the time of his suspension but documents subsequently disclosed [JURIST report] suggest he was officially removed on suspicion of misusing his influence to get his son jobs and promotions. Lawyers and opposition leaders critical of the move consider the suspension an assault on the independence of the country's judiciary and an indirect bid by Musharraf to continue his eight-year rule in an election year. Pakistan's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) began an inquiry into Chaudhry's alleged misconduct, but the investigation was suspended [JURIST report] Monday after Chaudhry appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the SJC lacked competence to try him.

 

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