KARACHI, Nov 8: Deposed chief justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has said he is willing to meet Gen Pervez Musharraf for the cause of the judiciary.

When asked if he would meet President Musharraf to play a role in the restoration of judiciary’s independence, Justice Iftikhar said that before March 9 — the day he was first removed through a presidential reference — he had ‘good relations’ with President Musharraf. He said he often wondered (why the president took that step) because their relations “had never been strained”.

He was talking to a BBC Urdu Service journalist on Thursday.

He said that judges who had taken the oath under the Provisional Constitution Order had no legal or constitutional legitimacy. He insisted that he and other judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts who had been deposed were still in office.

When asked to comment on reports that the president declared the state of emergency because he feared that the 11-member Supreme Court bench hearing challenges to his re-election would rule against him, Justice Iftikhar said it was wrong to read too much into the remarks made by judges during the course of proceedings.

“Supreme Court judges are no ordinary people. They proclaim a verdict only after examining all aspects of a case.”

Responding to the president’s criticism that the Supreme Court had released felons suspected of having committed acts of terrorism, he said: “People were produced in the court. If there was no evidence against them, they had to be released. It is an internationally accepted principle of jurisprudence.”

He declined to ascribe the current judicial crisis to a clash between the judiciary and the armed forces.

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