Stamping out corruption main task: Iftikhar Chaudhry

March 24th, 2009 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez Musharraf Islamabad, March 24 (IANS) Following the reinstatement of the Supreme Court judges sacked in 2007, the main tasks before Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry are restoring the dignity of the judiciary and stamping out corruption.
“There is rampant corruption in this institution. This cannot be eradicated without the help of lawyers. You should come forward to point out such cases,” Chaudhry said in a packed courtroom on his first working day in office after getting his job back.

“At Room # 1 of the Supreme Court during hearing of a case, the chief justice said irregularities would not be tolerated in dispensing justice and added that the stories of corruption from civil judges to the Supreme Court were common,” The News said.

Any complaints of irregularities should be filed in the registrar’s office, he added.

Chaudhry assumed office on the retirement Saturday of Abdul Hameed Dogar who had replaced him Nov 4, 2007, a day after then president Pervez Musharraf sacked Chaudhry for refusing to take fresh oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) that was imposed along with an emergency.

Chaudhry had fought a bruising 18-month battle for his reinstatement and had led a lawyers’ ‘long march’ that raised a lot of din but without results.

It took a second ‘long march’ earlier this month led by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif to goad the government into action and reinstate all the 60-odd Supreme Court and high court judges Musharraf had sacked.

Musharraf had appointed Chaudhry the country’s 20th chief justice May 7, 2005 but fell out with him less than two years later and suspended him March 9, 2007.

This was after Chaudhry refused to go slow on his judicial activism by taking up issues like rising prices and privatisation.

Musharraf also made a presidential reference against Chaudhry on grounds of misconduct but the latter fought back and was reinstated July 20, 2007.

In October that year, Musharraf won a controversial re-election and the Supreme Court opened a hearing on its validity.

It was on the point of delivering a verdict that was expected to go against the president when Musharraf imposed an emergency to prevent this.

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