You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Musharraf lambasted by Chief Justice of Pakistan

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (file photo)
Mr Chaudhry says that he is the victim of 'an outrage'
The (original and legal) chief justice of Pakistan has described President Musharraf as an "extremist general" for sacking him and 60 other top judges.

Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry also criticised the president for keeping him and his family under house arrest for the last three months.

Mr Chaudhry had a reputation for taking a firm line on government misdemeanours and human rights abuses.

He was sacked when President Musharraf imposed emergency rule in November.

His dismissal came as the court was preparing to rule on the validity of President Musharraf's re-election.

Earlier he had gained a reputation for taking up investigations into the highly sensitive issue of the disappearance of political activists allegedly detained illegally by the security forces.

A spokesman for the president said that he could not comment on Mr Chaudhry's complaints, which have been delivered to diplomatic missions of the US, the European Union, Britain and France.

'Corrupt and inept'

"What the general has done has serious implications for Pakistan and the world," Mr Chaudhry said in a statement.

"Some western governments are emphasising the unfolding of the democratic process in Pakistan. That is welcome, if it is fair".

"But how can there be democracy if there is no independent judiciary?"

The former chief justice said that his wife and three children - one of them a special needs child - were not allowed even to go onto the front lawn of their Islamabad home, because it was occupied by police.

"Barbed-wire barricades surround the residence and all phone lines are cut,"

he said in the seven-page statement, which was made public by lawyers who support him at a press conference in Islamabad.

Mr Chaudhry also complained that comments made by President Musharraf during a recent tour of Europe that he was "corrupt and inept" were slanderous.

"Is there a precedent in history, all history, of 60 judges including three chief justices being dismissed and arrested at the whim of one man?" he asked.

He described his treatment at the hands of President Musharraf as an "incredible outrage" committed by an "extremist general" who is supported by the West.

You can download the complete letter of Chief Justice of Pakistan here.

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