Sacked chief justice can serve as ordinary judge: PPP

June 5th, 2008 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, June 5 (IANS) In yet another twist to the saga involving sacked Pakistani Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, it has been suggested that he be restored - but as an ordinary judge. The constitutional amendment package prepared by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that leads the country’s ruling coalition gives the option to Chaudhry to continue as an ordinary judge till he attains the new superannuation age of 68 years set for Supreme Court judges.

Chaudhry “will have the choice of assuming the office of a judge of the apex court and to continue receiving the same salary he was getting while holding the position of the top judge,” The News reported Thursday.

“The second option for him will be to retire from his office and receive the pension to which he would have been entitled if he had retired on attaining the age of 68 years,” it added.

The proposal “is obviously specifically designed” for Chaudhry and the enhancement of the retiring age is aimed at current Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar.

President Pervez Musharraf had sacked Chaudhry and the entire Supreme Court bench after declaring an emergency last November. Their reinstatement has now become a bone of contention between the PPP and its alliance partner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The PPP had originally agreed to simultaneously restore the sacked judges and introduce the constitutional amendments in parliament but later backtracked.

At present, Article 179 says that a judge of the Supreme Court shall hold office until he attains the age of 65 years, unless he resigns earlier or is removed from the office in accordance with the constitution.

The package seeks to omit this and bring a new provision that enhances the retirement age of a judge to 68 years. It leaves blank the space where the fixed tenure of the apex court chief justice was to be mentioned.

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