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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ousted Pakistan chief justice claims continued constitutional authority
Devin Montgomery at 10:15 AM ET

[JURIST] Ousted Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] declared Saturday that he is still the chief justice [News report] of the country's Supreme Court [official website] under Pakistan's constitution [text]. Chaudhry made the statement during a lawyers' convention in Lahore organized by the Punjab Bar Council [official website]. Addressing attendees, he maintained his position that the removal of himself and other judges following the November 2007 declaration of emergency rule [JURIST report] by then-Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf had been constitutionally invalid. He also criticized some members of the country's current judiciary for allowing his removal to stand even though they had invalidated other actions taken by Musharraf during the emergency.

In December, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) voted down [JURIST report] a challenge to the constitutionality of current Pakistan chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar's [official profile] appointment. The challenges to Dogar were introduced by recently-elected president of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association Ali Ahmad Kurd, who has taken up the charge to reinstate Chaudhry [JURIST report] as the "constitutional" chief justice of Pakistan. In November, members of the Pakistan lawyers' movement [NYT backgrounder; JURIST news archive] renewed their demands for the reinstatement [JURIST report] of all superior court judges dismissed by Musharraf's emergency rule. Although Pakistani officials have now reinstated most of the over 60 judges ousted by Musharraf, law minister Farooq Naek has repeatedly insisted that Chaudhry will not be reinstated [JURIST report] because Dogar was legitimately appointed [JURIST report].

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