After a wait of nearly three months we have at last received - through an affidavit submitted to the full bench of the Supreme Court - the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s account of what took place on that fateful day of 9 March 2007, along with a list of the characters involved.
For my readers I have prepared a readable (I hope) synopsis of the document submitted in the Supreme Court. For those interested in reading the complete affidavit, here is the link in the Daily Times
In his affidavit, the Chief Justice of Pakistan said he arrived about 11:30 a.m. at the military headquarters in Rawalpindi for a meeting with the General Musharraf. The General (accompanied with his Military Secretary and ADC) met the CJ wearing military fatigues. Soon after a number of TV cameramen and photographers entered the room and proceeded to take photos and video footage of the small gathering.
After the media men left the General promptly informed the CJ that he had received a complaint against him by a judge from the Peshawar High Court. The CJ responded by saying these allegations against him were baseless.
Then as the New York Times reports:
"General Musharraf then told Mr. Chaudhry that there were a few more complaints and directed his staff to summon Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who came into the room.
The most important military and intelligence chiefs in the country also entered the room:
Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani, the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence;
Maj. Gen. Nadeem Ijaz, the director general of Military Intelligence and a close relative of General Musharraf;
Aijaz Shah, a retired brigadier who is director general of the Intelligence Bureau;
and Hamid Javed, a retired lieutenant general who is the president’s chief of staff."
With the exception of Shaukat Aziz and the two retired military officers ( Lt. General Hamid Javed and Brigadier Aijaz Shah) everyone facing the CJ was dressed in military uniforms.
Musharraf then proceeded to read out allegations against the CJ from ‘small pieces of paper with notes on them’ which he held in his hand. All these allegations were unoriginal, as they had been acquired from the now infamous (and supposedly agency-initiated) letter written by Naeem Bukhari.
All these charges were vehemently denied by the CJ as baseless and defamatory.
Musharraf now began to insist that the CJ resign, saying that if he did, he would “accommodate him”, but if he refused then a reference would be filed against him.
When the CJ ‘resolutely’ refused to resign, Musharraf stood up angrily and marched out of the room along with his staff and Shaukat Aziz, leaving the three intelligence chiefs behind to show the CJ the so-called evidence that had been ‘gathered against him.’
According to the affidavit all this drama has so far taken only 30 minutes.
So around 12 pm the story from the affidavit continues…
Incredibly other than accusing the CJ - during his period as a judge of Balochistan High Court - of securing a seat for his son in Bolan Medical College, the all-powerful Intelligence Agency troika could come up with nothing else. Nevertheless the two leading Pakistani symbols of coercive clout – DG ISI and DG MI – insisted that the CJ resign immediately.
Faced with a determined refusal, these worthy officials then began a game of cat and mouse. While making it clear that the CJ could not leave the room, they would leave him alone for a while under the scrutiny of a close circuit camera before returning to badger him once again. Every time the CJ attempted to leave he would be confronted by ‘an officer’ who would ask him to wait. Needless to add, the CJ’s request to meet with his protocol officer was denied, as was his demand to have his car brought to the front porch in preparation for his departure.
According to the affidavit the CJ was kept at the Army camp ‘absolutely against his will’ till past 5pm, when the head of MI, told him that he could finally go home.
“This is a bad day — now you are taking a separate way,” said the MI chief, according to the affidavit. Further, the CJ was now informed by the MI chief that he was no longer able to function as a justice of the Supreme Court or as chief justice of Pakistan.
When the CJ went out to his car, he discovered that the flag and emblem had been removed and his escort was missing. Furthermore he was now told that Justice Javed Iqbal had taken oath as acting chief justice and it had already been shown on TV. His driver also then informed him that he had been instructed not to take the CJ to the Supreme Court but instead directly drive him to his residence.
As the rest of the story is too well known, I’ll stop here.
Having read the complete text of the affidavit, all your Blogger can say is that never before in the history of Pakistan has there been a public disclosure of such unbridled arrogance of uniformed power.
Whatever claims Musharraf may make about his 'dismissal' of the Chief Justice, he did not even remotely act in accordance with the Constitution. Instead he acted as a military dictator, as is his wont, by directing his army subordinates to carry out his wishes. Unluckily for him, the Chief Justice possessed the courage to resist them.
Chief Justice of Pakistan