Pakistan’s judges get their salaries for last seven months

June 17th, 2008 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, June 17 (IANS) In another move towards restoration of judges, Pakistan’s ruling coalition Tuesday paid salaries for the last seven months to judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf in November 2007. All the judges have accepted their salaries, government sources said.

“The cheques have been delivered to the judges at their residences who are in Islamabad and sent by courier to those are not living in the capital,” a Supreme Court official told IANS. He said that all those who are in Islamabad including former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had accepted the salary cheques.

On Nov 3 last year Musharraf had sacked over 50 judges of the high courts and 13 of the Supreme Court for not showing allegiance to him. Since then these judges were not being paid.

However, on Tuesday the government paid their outstanding salaries. Justice Chaudhry’s lawyer Athar Minallah confirmed to media persons that the salary cheques have been handed over to the judges of the Supreme Court.

“In all cheques the word Justice has been written before the names … this shows that the government accepts them as judges,” Minallah told reporters while denying Musharraf’s statement that the sacked judges are no longer judges and cannot be restored.

Lawyers, with support of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz that shares power with Pakistan Peoples Party, have started a movement for restoration of the judges. Last Friday they concluded their four-day long march to Islamabad with a strong message to the ruling coalition that judges should be restored; otherwise they could resort to violent protests and agitation.

Minallah said Secretary Law Agha Rafiq came to the judges colony himself to hand over the cheques. He said that he briefly met all the judges and gave them the cheques which they accepted because the word ‘justice’ was written on the cheques before each name.

One of the sacked judge, Sardar Raza Khan, however pointed out that these salaries have not been paid from the Supreme Court funds. The money had been paid from the prime minister’s discretionary funds, he said.

The Secretary Law had told the judges that the finances would be adjusted once the judges were restored to their posts, Khan said.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani had ordered last week that all judges must be paid their outstanding salaries.

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