Chaudhry’s case is of public importance: Pakistan Supreme Court


Islamabad : The unrest in the country and bloodshed on the roads have made suspended Pakistan chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry's case a matter of public importance, the Supreme Court has held.

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Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, who is heading a 13-member bench of the Supreme Court hearing petitions challenging a reference against Chaudhry, Friday acknowledged the importance of the case.

He said: "How can we say these petitions are not matter of public importance when there is disquiet everywhere and blood is being spilt on the roads."

Ramday was referring to the May 12 violence in Karachi that had resulted in 48 deaths. Chaudhry had sought to visit the port town on that day but was flown back to Islamabad from the airport itself.

The government and opposition parties have accused each other for the Karachi killings. President Pervez Musharraf, who suspended Chaudhry March 9, said the judge had fuelled the violence by insisting on visiting Karachi.

The court is hearing the petitions on a day-to-day basis after being approached by Chaudhry, suspended by Musharraf for allegedly misusing his office to promote his son.

"Blood is being shed on the roads, while efforts are being made to convince the court that Chaudhry's petition is not maintainable," Ramday said.

The judge said so in response to a debate within the court on whether the chief justice could move the court under Article 184(3) of the constitution, which allows only matter of public importance and fundamental rights to be taken up.

Pleading Chaudhry's case, lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan recalled various judgments to establish that the court had always guarded judges against security and tenure threats.