Top Pakistan lawyer defends chief justice suspension at high court hearing

[JURIST] Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada [official profile; Wikipedia backgrounder], one of Pakistan's most renowned lawyers, presented the government's case against ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive] Wednesday to a panel of Supreme Court [official website] judges. Dismissing Chaudhry's claims that his March 9 suspension order [JURIST report] was illegal and that Pakistan's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) [governing constitutional provisions] lacked competence to try him, Pirzada cited several Pakistani cases upholding the procedure for investigating judicial conduct. He also cited cases from around the world, including the United States and India, to justify the SJC investigation. The disciplinary probe is currently suspended [JURIST report] pending the outcome of Chaudhry's challenge.

Many Pakistani lawyers and opposition leaders believe Chaudhry's suspension to be an assault on the independence of the country's judiciary and an indirect bid by President Pervez Musharraf to continue his eight-year rule in an election year. Chaudhry is alleged to have misused his influence [JURIST report] to obtain jobs and promotions for his son. AP has more.

 

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