Ousted Pakistan CJ says acquiescent government officials to be 'punished'

[JURIST] Pakistan officials who ignored a Supreme Court [official website] order and went along with President Pervez Musharaff's declaration of emergency rule [PDF text; JURIST report] in November 2007 will be punished regardless of their position, ousted Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] told a rally of lawyers and supporters in Faisalabad Sunday. Chaudhry told the group supporting his reinstatement that the same day Musharraf made his declaration of emergency rule, the Supreme Court had issued an order [JURIST report] intended to counteract the declaration, and that those who disobeyed the Court's ruling were in violation of the country's constitution [text]. Chaudhry did not say what kind of punishment those officials would face, but Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party website] chief Asif Ali Zardari has said that, at least with regard to the President, his group wants to work with Musharraf rather than impeach him. AP has more. From Pakistan, the Daily Times has local coverage.

Chaudhry's comments come as the PPP is preparing to introduce in parliament a wide-ranging constitutional amendment package [JURIST report] which would forbid the country's President from taking many of the actions Musharraf did last November and would explicitly hold accountable judges who go along with such actions. The new coalition government formed by the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party website] vowed in February to work together to reinstate Chaudhry and the other ousted judges and establish a fully independent judiciary [JURIST reports]. The government has nonetheless failed to meet several supposed "deadlines" to reinstate the judges, prompting leaders of the country's lawyers' movement to call for mass protests [JURIST report] in mid-June.



 

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