The Regime’s feeble allegations against Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice of Pakistan have been publicised to death.
Today’s Daily Times carries details of the CJP’s legal rejoinder to Musharraf ‘’s nonsensical reference.
What Justice Chaudhry has to say before SC
The Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (CJP), in his constitutional petition filed by Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, has pleaded the following:
- That the reference filed against the CJP is mala fide (‘in bad faith’)
- That Article 209 of the Constitution does not allow the president to file a reference against a sitting CJP, nor does it permit a Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) to inquire into his conduct.
- It was unlawful to restrict the CJP from performing his functions by sending him on forced leave and appointing another judge in his place as acting CJP.
- That an in camera (secret) trial was not only a violation of the Constitution and the fundamental rights of the CJP but it also amounted to a travesty of justice and fair play. The CJP contends that a trial in camera can take place only with the consent of the petitioner.
- That the SJC has no validity without a permanent CJP and that an acting CJP cannot preside over the council meeting. (This law has been established in The Al-Jehad Trust case).
- That the appointment of an Acting CJP was illegal.
That the SJC must, at all times, be presided over by the CJP and that he was not only the lawful CJP but was also 'the integral and unavoidable' chairman of the SJC
That no person, harbouring a bias against the CJP (or against whom the CJP had sufficient allegations of bias), could not become a member of a SJC.
In more precise terms the CJP contends that there are ‘three controversial judges’ who are disqualified to sit at the SJC for having personal interest, bias, and prejudice against him. The CJP, as a petitioner, neither expects a fair trial nor does he expect any justice at the hands of these three judges as long as they remain members of the SJC.
About Justice Javed Iqbal
The removal of the CJP from his office will open up the prospect of Justice Javed Iqbal becoming the permanent CJP for a term of more than four years. “Can he escape then the temptation of voting to oust the petitioner,” the petition has questioned.
“He rushed to take an oath as the acting chief justice and celebrated the occasion despite [the fact that] the CJP was still detained in Rawalpindi in the office of the referring authority,” the petition says.
The petition also states that Justice Javed Iqbal obtained admission for two of his daughters – Ayesha Javed and Qaiser Javed – in the Bolan Medical College despite they failed to qualify for admission on merit. They were adjusted against a “special quota” in 1995 and latter against an “Azad Jammu and Kashmir quota” in 1998.
The CJP has maintained that Justice Javed Iqbal, got his son-in-law – a civil judge – transferred and posted him as the deputy secretary at the Home and Tribal Affairs Department, Balochistan, against the rules.
About Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar
The petition alleges that he too rushed to administer oath to Justice Javed Iqbal as acting chief justice despite the fact that CJP (the petitioner) was still detained in Rawalpindi by Musharraf.
That a reference/complaint is pending against him concerning the alleged misappropriation of funds of the Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai University, Khairpur. That is already on the record of the SJC.
About Justice Iftikhar Hussain, Chief Justice of the Punjab High Court (CJP)
That there several references/complaints pending against him.
That Justice Iftikhar Hussain had developed ‘a strong and settled hostility’ towards the CJP, which was widely known to the members of the bar and the bench.
That Justice Iftikhar Hussain was not even on talking terms with the CJP. Nor do they even shake hands. Such was the open display of hostility by him that even when the petitioner, as CJP, visited the Punjab Bar Council at its invitation, Justice Iftikhar Hussain instructed all Lahore High Court judges not to attend the function
The petition says that the Justice Iftikhar Hussain was actively involved in the conspiracy to disable the CJP. “His recommendations for elevation of advocates and judicial officers to the high court were not approved by the CJP and his elevation to the Supreme Court was opposed by the CJP in August 2005."
The petition says that Justice Iftikhar Hussain’s brother is in the federal cabinet and has been severely critical of the CJP.
Then there is also mention in the CJP's petition of the main player and his purported adviser:
About General Musharraf
The petition says that the General’s impugned action to file the reference against the CJP, and the manner in which it carried out, is an attempt by the General to humble, humiliate, subjugate the judicial organ of the state, especially at a time when the judiciary was just beginning to assert its constitutional authority by giving relief to the common man.
The reference is also rendered invalid by malice as it was brought about as a direct response to the fact that the CJP refused to resign after being pressurised by General to do so.
About Shaukat Aziz
The petition says that the Prime Minister, on whose advice the reference was purportedly filed, was himself found, in a judgement authored by the CJP, to have been engaged in some ‘serious omissions and commissions’ in the Pakistan Steel Mills case. It was a case in which the attorney general had himself admitted that the whole process of sale was ‘convoluted’. On the basis of this judgment, the PM had to face no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
Supreme Court of Pakistan