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Friday, March 09, 2007

Pakistan chief justice suspended for unspecified 'misconduct'
Michael Sung at 10:48 AM ET

[JURIST] Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [official website; BBC profile] suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [profile] Friday "after receiving numerous complaints and serious allegations for misconduct, misuse of authority and actions prejudicial to the dignity of office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan." Musharraf has directed the Supreme Judicial Council [governing constitutional provisions], the oversight body of Pakistan's judiciary, to investigate the allegations against Chaudhry. The details behind the allegations are uncertain, although various private media outlets have recently reported that Chaudhry used his influence to help his son, Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry, obtain the position of an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Media reports allege that Arsalan have failed to pass the highly selective Central Superior Services (CSS) exams, and is therefore unqualified for his position. Musharraf has appointed Justice Javed Iqbal as acting chief justice.

Chaudhry assumed the position of chief justice in 2005. He developed a reputation during his tenure on the supreme court for being willing to investigate alleged government abuses involving the illegal detention of political activists. In December last year, he blocked Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) from enacting a strict Sharia law bill - the so-called Hasba bill [BBC report] - after the issue was referred to the Supreme Court by Musharraf. AFP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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