Chaudhry is Pakistan’s ‘constitutional’ chief justice: SCBA president

By Muhammad Najeeb, IANS,

Islamabad : Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who was sacked by Pakistan’s former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf last November, is the “constitutional” chief justice and would be back in the chair soon, says the Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) newly elected president.

Support TwoCircles

Ali Ahmed Kurd said Wednesday, a day after defeating the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party’s candidate (PPP) Muhammad Zafar: “Pakistan’s constitutional chief justice is Justice Iftikhar and let me assure you he will soon be restored.”

The firebrand Kurd, who replaces former minister Aitzaz Ahsan and bagged 1,052 out of 1,724 votes, said the elections were a referendum against the present government, which was dithering over restoring Chaudhry to the post.

“I thank and pray to god to give me the vigour, courage and strength to lead the movement in a similar fashion like my predecessors, Munir A. Malik and Aitzaz Ahsan,” Kurd told reporters.

“The overwhelming and landslide victory is reflective of the fact that people want to see Justice Iftikhar as their chief justice,” Ahsan added.

“It’s a nasty blow to the government whose popularity graph is already on the decline,” said an advocate Tasneem Khan after the election result. This was the time, she said, for the PPP regime to restore Chaudhry or face an “aggressive lawyers’ campaign”.

Kurd had been at the forefront of the powerful campaign by lawyers to restore Chaudhry, sacked on Nov 3 last year by then president Musharraf who imposed emergency in the country to get himself elected in controversial presidential elections. However, he had to resign in August this year under national and international pressure.

Since then, Musharraf has been living in strict security in nearby Rawalpindi and has not given any statement.

The lawyers have refused to accept the present chief justice, Abdul Hameed Dogar, as “constitutional” head of the judiciary in the country.

All the four provinces take the president’s office of SCBA in rotation and this year it was Balochistan’s turn. Chaudhry also belongs to Balochistan.