ISLAMABAD: In his letter to the world leaders, the deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has expressed his enormous faith that constitution and justice will soon prevail in Pakistan. The letter, some parts of which published in newspapers on Wednesday has been written to the President of the European Parliament, the President of France, the Prime Minister of Uinted Kindom, Ms Condaleeza Rice, Secretary of State United States of America and Professor Klaus Schwab of World Economic Forum. Copies of the letter were released at a press conference here on Wednesday by senior advocate of the Supreme Court Athar Minallah.
Also present at the press conference were President Islamabad bar Association Haroon ur Rashid and senior advocate Taufeeq Asif. In his letter Justice Iftikahr Muhammad Chaurdhry has rebutted the allegations leveled in a document “profile of the former Chief Justice of Pakistan” distributed by President Pervez Musharraf during his recent visit to Brussels, Paris, Davos and London.
Iftikhar has stated in his letter that Musharraf’s constitutional term ended on November 15, 2007 and his claim to a further term thereafter was the subject of active controversy before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. He said it was while this claim was under adjudication before a bench of 11 learned judges of the Supreme Court that the General arrested a majority of those judges in addition to him on November 3, 2007.
He said that he and his colleagues were in illegal detention and his wife and three of his young children, all school-going and one special child were also detained with him. They could not even step out on the lawn for the winter sun because that space was occupied by police pickets. Barbed wire barricades surrounded the residence and all the phone lines were cut. Even the water connection to his house had been periodically tuned off. He was being persuaded to resign and to forego his office which was what not prepared to do.
Justice Iftikhar recalled that General Musharraf first ousted him from the Supreme Court on March 9 last year while filing an indictment against him. He had challenged that reference and his ouster in the Supreme Court. On July 20, a 13 member bench unanimously struck down the action of the General as illegal and unconstitutional. He was honourably reinstated. The reference was thus wholly shattered and all the charges contained therein thrashed. These cannot now be regurgitated except in contempt of the Supreme Court.
While rebutting the allegations against him, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that these allegations were of two categories: those allegations which were in the reference and those which were not. He said those that were repatition from the reference held no water as these had already been held by the Supreme Court to not be worth the ink they were written in.
Responding those allegations which were not in the reference, Justice Iftikhar while referring to the allegation of retaining political lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan and Zammurrad Khan and giving political colour to his defence, said that both of these were lawyers and surely he was entitled to his choice of lawyers not that of the General.
About the allegation of riding in Zafarullah Jamali’s car, he said that he had been stripped of official transport on 9 March. While walking to Supreme Court, he was molested and manhandled, his hair were pulled and neck craned. He took refuge with Jamli and went the rest of the journey on his car. About creating a political atmosphere, he said he never addressed the press or any political rally. Responding to the allegation of countrywide touring and politicizing the issue, he said the constitution guarantees to all the citizens free movement throughout Pakistan.
About the allegation of political leaders calling in CJP residence, he said as he was detained, the only persons allowed to meet him were those cleared by the government. The deposed chief justice reassured in his letter that he continued in his resolve not to preside any bench which would be seized of matters pertaining to the personal interest of General Musharraf after the restoration of the constitution and the judges.
He asked was there a precedent in the history, all history, of 60 judges, including three chief justices (of the Supreme Court and two of Pakistan’s four high courts), being dismissed, arrested and detained at the whim of one man. He said he had failed to discover any such even in the medieval times under any emperor, king or Sultan, or even when a dictator had had full military sway over any country in more recent times.-SANA