Judicial crisis has ‘damaged’ Pakistan: Supreme Court

By Indo-Asian News Service

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Supreme Court has said that the crisis over the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry has caused “huge damage to the country”.

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“This is not a case but a crisis. This has caused huge damage,” said Justice Khalilur Rahman Ramday, who heads a 13-member bench hearing Chaudhry’s petition that challenges the presidential reference against him.

Justice Ramday observed that “a judge of the superior court should have the right to appeal against his removal”, Daily Times said Thursday.

The observations came as Chaudhry’s chief counsel Aitzaz Ahsan concluded his arguments after 11 working days.

Ahsan submitted that Chaudhry was ready to testify in court and, if restored, would ignore all grievances and strengthen the judiciary.

Chaudhry, whose suspension on March 9 by President Pervez Musharraf has triggered a nationwide stir, has sworn an affidavit alleging that the president and his military staff humiliated him.

He has denied the charge that he misused his office to get a posting for his son.

In response, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his staff, Balochistan chief minister and a number of top officials in the government have filed counter-affidavits against Chaudhry.

Among other things, Chaudhry is alleged to have “pressured” the prime minister’s aide to get himself a Mercedes car he was not entitled to.

Ahsan said the affidavits submitted by the president’s chief of staff and chiefs of intelligence agencies were “full of contradictions”.

Justice Faqir Khokhar said that had Chaudhry not filed his affidavit, the government officials would not have submitted the counter-affidavits.

Ahsan argued that the government affidavits were not meant to give a reply but to malign the CJP. “It was an executive attack on the judiciary,” he said.

Thereupon, Justice Ramday said that the court would not take cognisance of the counter-affidavits.