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User Name: josh
Full Name: Salman Tanwir
User since: 18/Sep/2006
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Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (born December 12, 1948) was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan from 2005 to 9 March 2007. Famous for taking suo moto actions, especially against the Government, he became first Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan to be suspended on charges of misuse of power.

Before his suspension an open letter by Supreme Court lawyer / TV Host Naeem Bokhari was circulated in the media accusing Justice Chaudhry of misuse of power and taking undue benefits for himself and his family.

Corruption at higher ranks is nothing new in Pakistan. A nation rotten by corruption, nepotism and other felonies, corruption is the currency of the day. It is next to impossible to find someone who is something in this setup and is not minting money.

According to Daily Times, the reasons for Justice Chaudhry's downfall could be:

  • He worked hard while pursuing his efforts to clear the backlog of cases and burnt the midnight oil in literal sense while taking up the additional responsibility of the human rights cases under his suo moto jurisdiction. A separate human rights cell was set up at the Supreme Court that received thousands of complaints from poor victims across the country.

  • Lawyers had a grudge that Mr Chaudhry was wasting his precious time while hearing cases which actually came under the jurisdiction of civil courts.

  • The entire police hierarchy, bureaucracy, politicians from the ruling as well as opposition parties, feudal lords and several incumbent rulers directly or indirectly came in the line of fire when Mr Chaudhry either gave decisions against them or passed stern directions for them to comply with.

  • He admonished the former inspector general of Punjab police, Maj (r) Ziaul Hasan, when the Punjab police was accused of not implementing 90 percent of the SC directives. Hasan might have felt that he was humiliated in an open court so he retaliated and broke the court decorum by exchanging words with the judge. At the time, the judge told journalists not to report that part of the proceedings.

  • In the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) case, Mr Chaudhry headed a larger bench and ruled that the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) grossly violated the law in the PSM sell-off. Certainly, the government would not have liked this judgement because none other than the prime minister was heading the CCOP.

  • While pursuing the case of missing citizens, who were allegedly picked up by the intelligence agencies, the judge fixed responsibility on the government and observed that it was the duty of the state to protect people's lives and ensure their safety. This case might have annoyed the government.

  • In the public interest cases, he also went off the government line and issued directions for the authorities to benefit the common man.

So, what made the President sack the CJ now? Daily Times has a valid point:

The repercussions of the ouster of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry are going to be far-reaching and ugly. The president should have deliberated further if he thought the charges against the judge were serious enough to warrant a confrontation. From a purely political point of view, however, he might have considered taking action against Justice Chaudhry after the 2007 general election. After all, what was the big hurry? Unless, of course, one believes what the opposition is now saying: the government feared that judgements in the constitutional cases relating to the dual office of the president and his re-election by the current assemblies inevitably due before the court might go against it if Justice Chaudhry was CJP.

Justice Chaudhry should be thankful that he is only suspended and not made another number in the list of Missing Persons.

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