Pak CJ seeks PM’s explanation on ‘plans’ to remove top judges

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry sought a signed explanation from Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani  in the wake of reports that the government was planning to remove key members of the superior judiciary, deepening the rift between the two sides.The drama began late last night after several TV news channels reported that the PPP-led government was contemplating the withdrawal of a notification issued in March last year to restore the Chief Justice and dozens of members of the superior judiciary, who were sacked by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf during the 2007 emergency.The Chief Justice and all judges of the apex court, who were in their homes when the channels beamed the news, returned to the court and held a meeting that continued well past midnight.A statement issued to the media at about 1 am local time said the Chief Justice had constituted a 17-member full bench to take up the government’s alleged intentions to de-notify the restoration of judges.

When the full bench convened this morning, Chaudhry told Attorney General Anwar-ul-Haq to submit a statement signed by Prime Minister Gilani giving the government’s viewpoint.The bench told Haq that the court wanted to fully understand the government’s stand on the matter.The apex court issued the order despite a statement issued by Gilani last night in which he said that the media reports about withdrawing the notification for the restoration of the judges were “baseless.”Gilani said “certain elements” were trying to create a “bad taste among the institutions but these conspiracies will fail.””We respect judiciary. The government will take every possible step for strengthening of institutions. The Pakistan People’s Party’s leadership has sacrified their lives for the independence of judiciary,” he said.

During today’s proceedings, Chief Justice Chaudhry observed that reports about the removal of key judges were seen in the media whenever the apex court took up any important case against the government.He said the apex court had been showing tolerance despite abusive language being used against the judiciary. “Why is the government getting into a confrontation with the judiciary?” the Chief Justice asked the Attorney General.Chaudhry agreed with the Attorney General’s observation that there should be an inquiry into yesterday’s media reports about the withdrawal of the notification restoring the deposed judges – Timesofpakistan