Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry


Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

Infobox Officeholder
name = Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
افتخار محمد چودھری
nationality = flagicon|Pakistan Pakistani
order = 20th Chief Justice of Pakistan
term_start = 30 June 2005
term_end = 3 November 2007
predecessor = Nazim Hussain Siddiqui
successor = Abdul Hameed Dogar
birth_date = Birth date and age|1948|12|12|df=y
birth_place = Faisalabad, Pakistan

Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (Lang-ur|افتخار محمد چودھری) (born 12 December 1948)in a village of Faisalabad and belonging to the Ghorewaha clan of Rajputs, was the 20th Chief Justice of Pakistan. He was appointed as Chief Justice by Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on May 7, 2005. [cite web|url=http://www.dawn.com/2005/05/08/top4.htm|title=Chaudhry Iftikhar named new CJ|date=May 7, 2005] He was suspended by President General Musharraf on March 9, 2007, on corruption charges but was reinstated by an order of the Supreme Court on July 20, 2007. [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/07/20/pakistan.chaudhry/index.html|title=Pakistani court reinstates top judge|date=July 20, 2007]

After having been elected as President for second term by his hand picked Parliament, Musharraf pre-empted an impending court decision against his re-election and suspended the constitution and declared a state of emergency. [cite web|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/03/world/main3448594.shtml?source=mostpop_story|title=Musharraf Suspends Pakistan's Constitution|date=November 4, 2007] Justice Iftikhar reacted promptly, convening a seven-member bench which issued an already prepared interim order against this action. [cite web|url=http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C11%5C04%5Cstory_4-11-2007_pg7_3|title=Justice Iftikhar declared proclamation of emegency,suspension of constitution and provisional constitution order illegeal, PCO|date=November 4, 2007]

Subsequently, 111th brigade of the Pakistan army entered the supreme court building and removed Chaudhry and several other judges from the Supreme court. [cite web|url=http://merabsp.com/UrNews.aspx?News=0000523|title=Emergency in Pakistan - Custody for Chief Justice and 7 other judges of Supreme Court|date=November 3, 2007]

Career in Law

Chaudhry Iftikhar has a Bachelors in Arts and Bachelors in Law (LLB). He joined the bar in 1974. Later, he was enrolled as Advocate of the High Court in 1976 and as an Advocate of the Supreme Court in 1985. In 1989 he was appointed as Advocate General, Balochistan, and later got elevated as Additional Judge, Balochistan High Court in 6 November,1990 until 21 April, 1999. [http://www.scp50.gov.pk/cj.htm Supreme Court of Pakistan Official Website] ]

Besides remaining as Judge of High Court, he discharged duties as Banking Judge, Judge Special Court for Speedy Trials, Judge Customs Appellate Courts as well as Company Judge. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also remained President of High Court Bar Association, Quetta, and was elected twice as Member, Bar Council. Later, he was appointed as Chairman, Balochistan Local Council Election Authority in 1992 and thereafter for second term in 1998. He also worked as Chairman, Provincial Review Board for the province of Balochistan. He was twice appointed as Chairman, Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Balochistan.

At present, Justice Iftikhar is also functioning as Chairman, Enrollment Committee of Pakistan Bar Council and as Chairman, Supreme Court Building Committee. He was appointed as Chief Justice High Court of Balochistan on 22 April,1999.

In January 2000 Chief Executive General Musharraf dictated that all superior court judges swear a new oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order No.1 issued on October 15, 1999, which had suspended the Constitution of Pakistan. After swearing an oath on the PCO Justice Iftikhar was elevated to the Supreme Court on 4 February, 2000. He was appointed as Chief Justice of Pakistan on 7 May,2005 by President General Pervez Musharraf. [cite web|url=http://www.dawn.com/2005/05/08/top4.htm|title=Chaudhry Iftikhar named new CJ|date=May 7, 2005] Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is the senior-most judge among the sitting judges of the Court after the outgoing Chief Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry assumed the office of Chief Justice on 30 June,2005.

Important considered rulings

Pakistan Steel Mills Privatization

In 2007, the Supreme court ruled against the government, saying that the selling of Pakistan Steel Mills to a group including Arif Habib, former client and friend of PM Shaukat Aziz, was done in "indecent haste".

Hasba Bill case

The Hasba bill also proposed powers for the police to ensure observance of Islamic practices and values while curbing palm reading and other superstitious customs deemed un-Islamic by the legislators.

General Pervez Musharraf petitioned the top court for an opinion after the Hasba bill was passed through North West Frontier Province's assembly.

"The governor of the province of NWFP may not assent to the Hasba bill in its present form," Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, head of a panel of nine judges, told the court before listing several clauses in the bill deemed unconstitutional.

Missing people

Many people in Pakistan had been allegedly kidnapped by the American agencies (FBI, CIA) and Pakistani agencies (ISI, MI, IB) in pursuance of the "War on Terror." These actions were challenged in the Supreme Court and a bench under the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had directed the Ministry of Interior and the representatives of the military agencies to appear in the court and answer the issues raised. On his orders, hundreds of accused were released, many of whom have been allegedly found involved in the spate of suicide bombings which were taking place in Pakistan.

The case is being pleaded by Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim and Asma Jahangir from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.Fact|date=August 2007

Cases for 2007

Some very important cases were heard in the supreme court in the 2007. Decisions have already been taken in some:
*The case whether Nawaz Sharif (twice the former PM of Pakistan) could come back to Pakistan. "Decision:" Sharif can come back. [ [http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C08%5C29%5Cstory_29-8-2007_pg7_16 Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan ] ]
*The case on whether or not the President Pervez Musharraf could run in the election for the next Presidency term.

uspension and reinstatement

On March 09, 2007, Chaudhry was suspended by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf also filed a Presidential reference against Chaudhry for misconduct.

The suspension of Chaudhry was the first time in the 50-year history of the Pakistani Supreme Court that a Chief Justice was suspended. The court under Chief Justice Chaudhry had made rulings against governmental corruption, including the Pakistan Steel Mills case. The court had started taking suo moto notice in all walks of governance starting from prices of vegetables, song's lyrics to traffic congestion and made the executive totally ineffective.

After the event, there was unrest in the country with regard to the validity of the allegations against Chaudhry, as well as doubt as to whether Musharraf actually had the power to suspend the Chief Justice under the circumstances. [cite web|url=http://www.dailyindia.com/show/140656.php/Suspended-Pak-CJ-arrives-in-Karachi-amid-violence-and-tight-security|publisher=Daily India|title=Suspended Pak CJ arrives in Karachi amid violence and tight security|date=May 12, 2007]

On May 5, 2007, Chaudhry traveled from Islamabad to Lahore to address the Lahore High Court Bar Association. Demonstrations of support along the route slowed his motorcade to the point that it took him 25 hours to reach the dinner the Association was holding in his honor. [http://www.dawn.com/2007/05/07/top1.htm States cannot survive under dictatorship: CJ] , May 7, 2007. DAWN Newspaper. Accessed August 27, 2007.] This journey usually takes 4-5 hours on average.Fact|date=August 2007 Demonstrators chanted not only slogans supporting Chaudrhy, but also openly called for Musharraf to step down. In his speech he criticized dictatorship and emphasized on the important of the rule of law. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNv91uM6wgs YouTube - Chief Justic of Pakistan blasts 'dictators' ] ]

On July 20, 2007, Chaudhry was reinstated to his position as Chief Justice in a ruling by the thirteen-member bench of Pakistani Supreme Court which also cleared him of the misconduct reference filed against him by Musharraf without even considering or investigating the allegations leveled against the Chief Justice. The ruling combined 25 constitutional petitions filed by Chaudhry and other interested parties, but referred most of the issues raised by the 24 petitions not filed by Chaudhry himself to lower courts for extended adjudication. All thirteen of the sitting justices agreed that Musharraf's action had been illegal, and ten of the thirteen ordered Chaudhry was to be reinstated and that he "shall be deemed to be holding the said office and shall always be deemed to have been so holding the same." The judges actually gave the ruling in violation of Article 209 of the Constitution of Pakistan. [http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk//sub_links/pr-1/Chief%20Justice%20Press%20Release.htm Short Order Press Release] July 20, 2007, Supreme Court of Pakistan. Accessed August 27, 2007.]

Cases post-reinstatement

On August 20 2007 Ifikhar Mohammad threatened Tariq Pervez (the director-general of Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency) with jail if he did not produce ghost detainee Hafiz Abdul Basit. Chief Justice Chaudhry ordered "He must be produced today or you will be sent to the lock-up." Under this threat he was released by the intelligence agencies. Hafiz Basit was later implicated in the assassination of Ms Bhutto.cite news
date= August 20, 2007
title=Security chief gets jail warning
author=Syed Shoaib Hasan
publisher=BBC News
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6955329.stm
accessdate=2007-08-23
]

2007 State of Emergency

General Pervez Musharraf, who used to hold the office of the President and Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, on Saturday Nov 3rd 2007 declared a state of emergency and suspended the nation's constitution and parliament at the same time. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7077136.stm|title=Text of Pakistan emergency declaration|date=November 3, 2007] . According to the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan the President of Pakistan can impose a state of emergency in the country, if he believe that circumstances exist that warrant it and has to get it validated from a sitting Parliament within 30 days. [cite web|url=http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part10.html|title=Section of Constitution on Emergency Provisions] However the proclamation of state of emergency was announced, according to the proclamation, by him as the Chief of Army Staff and not the President of Pakistan and as per legal scholars this is tantamount to martial law, as there is no provision present in the Constitution of Pakistan for an Army General to declare a state of emergency.

Further according to the constitution the state of emergency only suspends certain fundamental rights of citizens and all other structures and functions of the state remain functioning as normal under the constitution, but through this proclamation the government had suspended the constitution itself and issued a provisional constitution order (PCO) in its place, this action is not allowed by any provision of the constitution and is thus tantamount to martial law.

After the imposition of emergency and suspension of constitution, Chaudhry constituted an 8 member bench of supreme court judges duly headed by himself, and immediately quashed the provisional constitution order, declaration of emergency and the suspension of the constitution, and ordered all civil and military personnel to ignore the order. He also ordered all the chief justices of high courts and judges of supreme court and high court not to take oath under the PCO. Soon after, the supreme court was stormed by the 111th brigade of the Pakistan Army and chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry along with seven other judges of the of the Pakistan supreme court were removed from office and kept under house arrest. Musharraf replaced Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry with Abdul Hameed Dogar as the de facto chief justice of Pakistan and also administered the oath of office to three other judges of the supreme court under the PCO, Justice Dogar later took a fresh oath on the constitution after it was restored and the PCO withdrawn.

Activities after arrest

He was under strict house arrest and no one met him officially since he was arrested on 3 November, 2007 until the new Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani ordered to uplift the house-arrest on his first day of premiership. However he continued to denounce Musharraf's declaration of emergency and vowed to push for a return to the rule of law. [cite web|url=http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/001200711051821.htm|title=Iftikhar Chaudhry vows fresh struggle against Musharraf|date=November 5, 2007] .

On 7 November his personal guard was arrested and taken away. [ [http://www.pak-times.com/2007/11/07/more-restrictions-on-iftikhar-chaudhry-his-family/ Pakistan Times! » Blog Archive » More restrictions on Iftikhar Chaudhry, his family ] ]

On 15 November Geo News reported that Chaudhry had ordered the Islamabad Inspector General of Police to take action against his and his family’s house arrest and their possible removal to Quetta. According to the channel, Chaudhry held the interior secretary, the commissioner, the deputy commissioner and the assistant commissioner responsible for his house arrest. He said he was still the chief justice of Pakistan and the official residence was his by right. [ [http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C11%5C15%5Cstory_15-11-2007_pg7_7 Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan ] ]

On 18 November in a letter to prominent English-language newspaper "The News" he wrote:"I will fight till the last drop of my blood to save the Constitution of Pakistan and so will resist any move to deport me to some far-flung area with the intention to separate me from the lawyers and the Pakistani citizens". [ [http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=11099 Deposed CJ praises PPP chief ] ]

On 21 November the law enforcement agencies stopped the deposed Judges, including Chaudhry, from leaving their houses in Judges Colony. Meanwhile retired Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed came to the Judges Colony, accompanied by a large number of lawyers, to meet the deposed Judges. However, he too was prevented from proceeding further to the Judges' residences.

Justice Rana Bhagwandas, the next most superior Judge in Pakistan, also tried to leave his house but the law enforcement agencies personnel stationed at his gates did now allow him to, maintaining that they had not had orders from their superiors allowing it. [ [http://nation.com.pk/daily/nov-2007/22/index2.php The Nation ] ]

On 24 November members of the delegation visiting Munir A. Malik in Pakistan institute of medical sciences conveyed greetings and inquired about his health on behalf of deposed CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. [ [http://nation.com.pk/daily/nov-2007/25/index16.php The Nation ] ]

HLS Medal of Freedom

In the wake of the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan, on November 14, 2007, the Harvard Law School Association [cite web|url=http://www.law.harvard.edu/news/2007/11/13_pakistan.php|title=HLS News: Pakistani chief justice to receive Harvard Law School 'Medal of Honour'|date=November 14, 2007] decided to award its highest honour, the Medal of Freedom to Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, following the military crackdown the previous week. He becomes the first Pakistani to be presented with such honour.

Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom is given to selected personalities for their contributions to freedom, justice, and equality. Former South African President Nelson Mandela is one of the previous recipients of this award.

As Iftikhar Chaudhry was under house-arrest at that time, the school planned to hold a grand ceremony to award the medal hoping that its recipient will soon be released and allowed to attend.The same statement announcing the award, identifies Chaudhry as Pakistan’s chief justice and not as a deposed or former judge. [cite web|url=http://www.dawn.com/2007/11/15/top14.htm|title=Dawn: Harvard to award Medal of Freedom to Justice Iftikhar|date=November 15, 2007] [ [http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=80649 Harvard Law School to honour Iftikhar ] ]

Lawyer of the Year Award

The National Law Journal picked Mr. Chaudhry as the lawyer of the year for 2007 and earlier Mr. Siddiqui was picked as the lawyer of the year 2000, the only two non-Americans in the history of the Journal. On December 15, 2007 emergency was lifted and Musharraf's crafted lawyers reinstated the Constitution. Musharraf made it clear that reanactment of the Constitution does not mean renistatements of Justices including Mr Chaudhry. To Mr. Chaudhry and rest of the world this step also remains unconstitutional, a duly elected Parliament can only alter the manuscript of the constitution with a two-third majority. The act of 'emergency' has done nothing but purged judiciary of dissenting justices and instalment of Musharraf friendly supreme court. The dejure Chief Justice is correct that the Constitution of Pakistan is in shreds and has been mutilated with despotism being the order of the day or days to come. The upcoming elections are feared by the independent media to be rigged, since the Constitution is unalterable by any one individual, Musharraf will be hard-pressed to find 2/3rd majority to make his changes(unlawful) legitimized.

An Open Letter in February-2008

While imprisoned in Chief Justice Residence - Islamabad, Justice Iftikhar wrote an open letter in response to President Musharraf's act.

AN OPEN LETTER TO:

His ExcellencyThe President of the European Parliament, Brussels.

His ExcellencyThe President of France,Paris.

His ExcellencyThe Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,London.

Her ExcellencyMs. Condaleeza Rice,Secretary of State,United States of America,Washington D.C.

Professor Klaus Schwab,World Economic Forum,Geneva. All through their respective Ambassadors, High Commissioners and representatives.Excellency,I am the Chief Justice of Pakistan presently detained in my residence since November 3, 2007 pursuant to some verbal, and unspecified, order passed by General Musharraf. I have found it necessary to write to you, and others, because during his recent visits to Brussels, Paris, Davos and London General Musharraf has slandered me, and my colleagues, with impunity in press conferences and other addresses and meetings. In addition he has widely distributed, among those whom he has met, a slanderous document (hereinafter the Document) entitled: “PROFILE OF THE FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF PAKISTAN”. I might have let this go unresponded but the Document, unfortunately, is such an outrage that, with respect, it is surprising that a person claiming to be head of state should fall to such depths as to circulate such calumny against the Chief Justice of his own country.In view of these circumstances I have no option but to join issue with General Musharraf and to put the record straight. Since he has voiced his views on several public occasions so as to reach out to the public at large, I also am constrained to address your excellencies in an Open Letter to rebut the allegations against me. At the outset you may be wondering why I have used the words “claiming to be the head of state”. That is quite deliberate. General Musharraf’s constitutional term ended on November 15, 2007. His claim to a further term thereafter is the subject of active controversy before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. It was while this claim was under adjudication before a Bench of eleven learned judges of the Supreme Court that the General arrested a majority of those judges in addition to me on November 3, 2007. He thus himself subverted the judicial process which remains frozen at that point. Besides arresting the Chief Justice and judges (can there have been a greater outrage?) he also purported to suspend the Constitution and to purge the entire judiciary (even the High Courts) of all independent judges. Now only his hand-picked and compliant judges remain willing to validate whatever he demands. And all this is also contrary to an express and earlier order passed by the Supreme Court on November 3, 2007.Meantime I and my colleagues remain in illegal detention. With me are also detained my wife and three of my young children, all school-going and one a special child. Such are the conditions of our detention that we cannot even step out on to the lawn for the winter sun because that space is occupied by police pickets. Barbed wire barricades surround the residence and all phone lines are cut. Even the water connection to my residence has been periodically turned off. I am being persuaded to resign and to forego my office, which is what I am not prepared to do.I request you to seek first hand information of the barricades and of my detention, as that of my children, from your Ambassador/High Commissioner/representative in Pakistan. You will get a report of such circumstances as have never prevailed even in medieval times. And these are conditions put in place, in the twenty-first century, by a Government that you support.Needless to say that the Constitution of Pakistan contains no provision for its suspension, and certainly not by the Chief of Army Staff. Nor can it be amended except in accordance with Articles 238 and 239 which is by Parliament and not an executive or military order. As such all actions taken by General Musharraf on and after November 3 are illegal and ultra vires the Constitution. That is why it is no illusion when I describe myself as the Chief Justice even though I am physically and forcibly incapacitated by the state apparatus under the command of the General. I am confident that as a consequence of the brave and unrelenting struggle continued by the lawyers and the civil society, the Constitution will prevail. However, in the meantime, General Musharraf has launched upon a vigorous initiative to defame and slander me. Failing to obtain my willing abdication he has become desperate. The eight-page Document is the latest in this feverish drive. Before I take up the Document itself let me recall that the General first ousted me from the Supreme Court on March 9 last year while filing an indictment (in the form of a Reference under Article 209 of the Constitution) against me. According to the General the Reference had been prepared after a thorough investigation and comprehensively contained all the charges against me. I had challenged that Reference and my ouster before the Supreme Court. On July 20 a thirteen member Bench unanimously struck down the action of the General as illegal and unconstitutional. I was honorably reinstated.The Reference was thus wholly shattered and all the charges contained therein trashed. These cannot now be regurgitated except in contempt of the Supreme Court. Any way, since the Document has been circulated by no less a person than him I am constrained to submit the following for your kind consideration in rebuttal thereof:The Document is divided into several heads but the allegations contained in it can essentially be divided into two categories: those allegations that were contained in the Reference and those that were not. Quite obviously, those that are a repeat from the Reference hold no water as these have already been held by the Supreme Court to not be worth the ink they were written in. In fact, the Supreme Court found that the evidence submitted against me by the Government was so obviously fabricated and incorrect, that the bench took the unprecedented step of fining the Government Rs. 100,000 (a relatively small amount in dollar terms, but an unheard of sum with respect to Court Sanction in Pakistan) for filing clearly false and malicious documents, as well as revoking the license to practice of the Advocate on Record for filing false documents. Indeed, faced with the prospect of having filed clearly falsified documents against me, the Government’s attorneys, including the Attorney General, took a most dishonorable but telling approach. Each one, in turn, stood before the Supreme Court and disowned the Government’s Reference, and stated they had not reviewed the evidence against me before filing it with Court. They then filed a formal request to the Court to withdraw the purported evidence, and tendered an unconditional apology for filing such a scandalous and false documents. So baseless and egregious were the claims made by General Musharraf that on July 20th, 2007, the full Supreme Court for the first time in Pakistan’s history, ruled unanimously against a sitting military ruler and reinstated me honorably to my post. Despite having faced these charges in open court, must I now be slandered with those same charges by General Musharraf in world capitals, while I remain a prisoner and unable to speak in my defense?There are, of course, a second set of charges. These were not contained in the Reference and are now being bandied around by the General at every opportunity. I forcefully and vigorously deny every single one of them. The truth of these “new” allegations can be judged from the fact that they all ostensibly date to the period before the reference was filed against me last March, yet none of them was listed in the already bogus charge sheet. If there were any truth to these manufactured charges, the Government should have included them in the reference against me. God knows they threw in everything including the kitchen sink into that scurrilous 450 page document, only to have it thrown out by the entire Supreme Court after a 3 month open trial. The charges against me are so transparently baseless that General Musharraf’s regime has banned the discussion of my situation and the charges in the broadcast media. This is because the ridiculous and flimsy nature of the charges is self-evident whenever an opportunity is provided to actually refute them. Instead, the General only likes to recite his libel list from a rostrum or in gathering where there is no opportunity for anyone to respond. Incidentally, the General maligns me in the worst possible way at every opportunity. That is the basis for the Document he has distributed. But he has not just deposed me from the Judiciary. He has also fired more than half of the Superior Judiciary of Pakistan – nearly 50 judges in all — together with me. They have also been arrested and detained.What are the charges against them? Why should they be fired and arrested if I am the corrupt judge? Moreover even my attorneys Aitzaz Ahsan, Munir Malik, Tariq Mahmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd were also arrested on November 3. Malik alone has been released but only because both his kidneys collapsed as a result of prison tortureFinally, as to the Document, it also contains some further allegations described as “Post-Reference Conduct” that is attributed to me under various heads. This would mean only those allegedly ‘illegal’ actions claimed to have been taken by me after March 9, 2007. These are under the heads given below and replied to as under:1. “Participation in SJC (Supreme Judicial Council) Proceedings”: (a) Retaining ‘political lawyers’: Aitzaz Ahsan and Zammurrad Khan:It is alleged that I gave a political colour to my defence by engaging political lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan and Zamurrad Khan both Pakistan Peoples’ Party Members of the National Assembly. The answer is simple. I sought to engage the best legal team in the country. Mr. Ahsan is of course an MNA (MP), but he is also the top lawyer in Pakistan. For that reference may be made simply to the ranking of Chambers and Partners Global. Such is his respect in Pakistan’s legal landscape that he was elected President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan by one of the widest margins in the Association’s history.All high profile personalities have placed their trust in his talents. He has thus been the attorney for Prime Ministers Bhutto and Sharif, (even though he was an opponent of the latter) Presidential candidate (against Musharraf) Justice Wajihuddin, sports star and politician Imran Khan, former Speakers, Ministers, Governors, victims of political vendetta, and also the internationally acclaimed gang-rape victim Mukhtara Mai, to mention only a few. Equally important, Barrister Ahsan is a man of integrity who is known to withstand all pressures and enticements. That is a crucial factor in engaging an attorney when one’s prosecutor is the sitting military ruler, with enormous monetary and coercive resources at his disposal. Mr. Zamurrad Khan is also a recognized professional lawyer, a former Secretary of the District Bar Rawalpindi, and was retained by Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan to assist him in the case. Mr. Khan has been a leading light of the Lawyers’ Movement for the restoration of the deposed judiciary and has bravely faced all threats and vilification. Finally, surely I am entitled to my choice of lawyers and not that of the General.(b) “Riding in Mr. Zafarullah Jamali (former Prime Minister)’s car”:How much the Document tries to deceive is apparent from the allegation that I willingly rode in Mr. Jamali’s car for the first hearing of the case against me on March 13 (as if that alone is an offence). Actually the Government should have been ashamed of itself for creating the circumstances that forced me to take that ride. Having been stripped of official transport on the 9th March (my vehicles were removed from my house by the use of fork lifters), I decided to walk the one-mile to the Supreme Court. Along the way I was molested and manhandled, my hair was pulled and neck craned in the full blaze of the media, by a posse of policemen under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police. (A judicial inquiry, while I was still deposed, established this fact). In order to escape the physical assault I took refuge with Mr. Jamali and went the rest of the journey on his car. Instead of taking action against the police officials for manhandling the Chief Justice it is complained that I was on the wrong!(c) “Creating a political atmosphere”:Never did I instigate or invite any “political atmosphere”. I never addressed the press or any political rally. I kept my lips sealed even under extreme provocation from the General and his ministers who were reviling me on a daily basis. I maintained a strict judicial silence. I petitioned the Supreme Court and won. That was my vindication.1. “Country wide touring and Politicizing the Issue”: The Constitution guarantees to all citizens free movement throughout Pakistan. How can this then be a complaint?By orders dated March 9 and 15 (both of which were found to be without lawful authority by the Court) I had been sent of “forced leave”. I could neither perform any judicial or administrative functions as the Chief Justice of Pakistan. I was prevented not only from sitting in court but also from access to my own chamber by the force of arms under orders of the General. (All my papers were removed, even private documents). The only function as ‘a judge on forced leave’ that I could perform was to address and deliver lectures to various Bar Associations. I accepted their invitations. They are peppered all over Pakistan. I had to drive to these towns as all these are not linked by air. On the way the people of Pakistan did, indeed, turn out in their millions, often waiting from dawn to dusk or from dusk to dawn, to greet me. But I never addressed them even when they insisted that I do. I never spoke to the press. I sat quietly in my vehicle without uttering a word. All this is on the record as most journeys were covered by the media live and throughout. I spoke only to deliver lectures on professional and constitutional issues to the Bar Associations. Transcripts of every single one of my addresses are available. Every single word uttered by me in those addresses conforms to the stature, conduct and non-political nature of the office of the Chief Justice. There was no politics in these whatsoever. I did not even mention my present status or the controversy or the proceedings before the Council or the Court, not even the Reference. Not even once. All the persons named in the Document under this head are lawyers and were members of the reception committees in various towns and Bar Associations.1. Political Leaders Calling on CJP residence: It is alleged that I received political leaders while I was deposed. It is on the record of the Supreme Judicial Council itself that I was detained after being deposed on March 9. The only persons allowed to meet me were those cleared by the Government. One was a senior political leader. None else was allowed to see me, initially not even my lawyers. How can I be blamed for whomsoever comes to my residence? Had I wanted to politicize the issue I would have gone to the Press or invited the media. I did not. I had recourse to the judicial process for my reinstatement and won. The General lost miserably in a fair and straight contest. That is my only fault.1. “Conclusion”: Hence the conclusion drawn by the General that charges had been proved against me ‘beyond doubt’ is absolutely contrary to the facts and wide off the mark. It is a self-serving justification of the eminently illegal action of firing and arresting judges of superior courts under the garb of an Emergency (read Martial Law) when the Constitution was ‘suspended’ and then ‘restored’ later with drastic and illegal ‘amendments’ grafted into it. The Constitution cannot be amended except by the two Houses of Parliament and by a two-thirds majority in each House. That is the letter of the law. How can one man presume or arrogate to himself that power?Unfortunately the General is grievously economical with the truth (I refrain from using the word ‘lies’) when he says that the charges against me were ‘investigated and verified beyond doubt’. As explained above, these had in fact been rubbished by the Full Court Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan against which judgment the government filed no application for review.What the General has done has serious implications for Pakistan and the world. In squashing the judiciary for his own personal advantage and nothing else he has usurped the space of civil and civilized society. If civilized norms of justice will not be allowed to operate then that space will, inevitably, be occupied by those who believe in more brutal and instant justice: the extremists in the wings. Those are the very elements the world seems to be pitted against. Those are the very elements the actions of the General are making way for.Some western governments are emphasizing the unfolding of the democratic process in Pakistan. That is welcome, if it will be fair. But, and in any case, can there be democracy if there is no independent judiciary? Remember, independent judges and judicial processes preceded full franchise by several hundred years. Moreover, which judge in Pakistan today can be independent who has before his eyes the fate and example of his own Chief Justice: detained for three months along with his young children. What is the children’s crime, after all?There can be no democracy without an independent judiciary, and there can be no independent judge in Pakistan until the action of November 3 is reversed. Whatever the will of some desperate men the struggle of the valiant lawyers and civil society of Pakistan will bear fruit. They are not giving up.Let me also assure you that I would not have written this letter without the General’s unbecoming onslaught. That has compelled me to clarify although, as my past will testify, I am not given into entering into public, even private, disputes. But the allegations against me have been so wild, so wrong and so contrary to judicial record, that I have been left with no option but to put the record straight. After all, a prisoner must also have his say. And if the General’s hand-picked judges, some living next door to my prison home, have not had the courage to invoke the power of ‘habeas corpus’ these last three months, what other option do I have? Many leaders of the world and the media may choose to brush the situation under the carpet out of love of the General. But that will not be. Nevertheless, let me also reassure you that I continue in my resolve not to preside any Bench which will be seized of matters pertaining to the personal interests of General Musharraf after the restoration of the Constitution and the judges, which, God willing, will be soon. Finally, I leave you with the question: Is there a precedent in history, all history, of 60 judges, including three Chief Justices (of the Supreme Court and two of Pakistan’s four High Courts), being dismissed, arrested and detained at the whim of one man? I have failed to discover any such even in medieval times under any emperor, king, or sultan, or even when a dictator has had full military sway over any country in more recent times. But this incredible outrage has happened in the 21st century at the hands of an extremist General out on a ‘charm offensive’ of western capitals and one whom the west supports.I am grateful for your attention. I have no other purpose than to clear my name and to save the country (and perhaps others as well) from the calamity that stares us in the face. We can still rescue it from all kinds of extremism: praetorian and dogmatic. After all, the edifice of an independent judicial system alone stands on the middle ground between these two extremes. If the edifice is destroyed by the one, the ground may be taken over by the other. That is what is happening in Pakistan. Practitioners of rough and brutal justice will be welcomed in spaces from where the practitioners of more refined norms of justice and balance have been made to abdicate.I have enormous faith that the Constitution and justice will soon prevail. Yours truly,Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry,Chief Justice of Pakistan,Presently:imprisoned in the Chief Justice’s House,Islamabad.

“"This letter goes without any claim of source or authenticity."″

Confusion between Dejure & Defacto

There has been several instances where certain people have marked and/or referred to the current Chief Justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar as the Illegal or Defacto Chief Justice of Pakistan, and referred to Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the legal and/or current Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Justice Dogar was elevated to the position of Chief Justice of Pakistan on 3 November 2007 and he was offered to take an oath on the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) which replaced the Constitution like Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who took a similar oath on the PCO in 2000 and was elevated to the Chief Justice position.

As with Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Dogar later took a fresh oath according to article 178 of the Constitution on 15 November 2007, thus making him the legal and dejure Chief Justice of Pakistan.Under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan a state of emergency can only be declared by the president. Instead of the president the emergency was declared by the army chief, thus there was no emergency declared at all. The president cannot oust the chief justice of his office, thus Chaudhry was not ousted of his office at all and he still holds his office and finally no fresh oath is necessary after declaration of emergency as such Chaudhry couldn't have been asked to take oath.

Views of people in Pakistan:Large majority of people still consider him as real chief justice of Pakistan and would like him to be re-instated on his position.

See also

* Chief Justice of Pakistan
* Supreme Court of Pakistan
* List of Pakistanis
* Karachi Riots
* Syed Hammad Raza
* Muttahida Qaumi Movement
* Jinnah International Airport
* Ali Ahmad Kurd
* Aitzaz Ahsan
* Muneer A. Malik
* Hamid Khan

References

External links

* [http://abclive.in/abclive_global/muhammad-chaudhry-free.html Former Pak’s CJI family sets Free to Move]
* [http://www.newsline.com.pk/NewsApr2007/cover1apr2007.htm Justice Courageous By Syed Talat Hussain]
* [http://www.aitzazahsan.com AitzazAhsan.com]
* [http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1003662 Nine Notes on the Pakistan Chief Justice Story]
* [http://www.pakcrisis.com/ Pakistan: A consolidated site / blog containing links to different news about Chief Justice of Pakistan's Crisis]
* [http://paki.in/wtf/2007/03/16/pakistan-justice-crisis/ Pakistan: Justice Crisis]
* [http://pakistaniat.com/2007/03/12/pakistan-judiciary-supreme-court-chief-justice-musharraf-iftikhar-police-brutality-beating-lawyers-protest/ Government Reaction to Lawyer's Protests on CJ Removal]
* [http://micropakistan.org/blog/2007/03/14/chief-justice-chaudhrys-email-to-advocate-ather-minallah/ Chief Justice's first communication: An email sent to Advocate Ather Minallah]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/default.stm Pakistan's top judge is suspended]
* [http://www.geo.tv/geonews/details.asp?id=3190&param=1 CJP suspended on misconduct charges, Justice Javed Iqbal takes oath]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2007/03/070319_presidents_reference_sq.shtml Urdu: Contents of Govt Reference against CJP]
* [http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C12%5C02%5Cstory_2-12-2006_pg1_1 Daily Times Report on Missing Person Case]
* [http://geo.tv/important_events/president_interview19march2007/english_news.asp Presidents Interview to Kamran Khan on GEO]
* [http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk//profile-hcj.htm CJP Profile on SCP Official Website]
* [http://www.law.harvard.edu/news/2007/11/13_pakistan.php Pakistani chief justice to receive Harvard Law School 'Medal of Freedom']
* [http://pakistaniat.com/2007/11/13/chief-justice-iftikhar-chaudhary-to-receive-harvard-law-school-medal-of-freedom Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary to receive Harvard Law School Medal of Freedom]
* [http://free-pakistan.blogspot.com/2007/11/pakistani-chief-justice-to-receive.html Democracy & Freedom - blogspot]


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