Pakistan justice minister sacked after Chaudhry debacle

[JURIST] Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has dismissed Law and Justice Minister Wasi Zafar [official profile] and moved him to another cabinet portfolio in the wake of the reinstatement of suspended Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive]. State television announced the move Saturday. Chaudhry's July reinstatement [JURIST report] by order of the Supreme Court was a major embarrassment to the Musharraf regime, and Zafar did not defend the controversial government position during the crisis.

Many Pakistani lawyers and opposition leaders alleged that Chaudhry's March suspension was an indirect bid by Musharraf to forestall any legal challenges if Musharraf sought to extend his eight-year rule by another five years later this year. Musharraf's ability to do this successfully was further complicated earlier this week by a Supreme Court order allowing former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to return to the country [JURIST report], effectively ending the 10-year exile imposed on Sharif after he was deposed by Musharraf in a 1999 military coup. PTI has more.

 

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