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MARCH 9, 2007, will be remembered as the blackest day in our judicial history. It was the day when Gen Pervez Musharraf summoned Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to his camp office in the Army House and arbitrarily removed him.

The lawyers’ community struggled with the legal battle in the apex court for months. It ended with a historic and landmark judgment that dismissed the presidential reference by Pervez Musharraf and honourably restored the Chief Justice to his rightful position.

An artificial political atmosphere was created for imposing emergency to once again strike at the superior judiciary on Nov 3, the same year, to achieve on Nov 3, 2007 what was misfired on March 9, 2007.

The only difference was that on March 9 the target was only Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry while on Nov 3 the institution of the judiciary and over 60 independent judges of the Supreme Court and high courts of all the four provinces were wound up.

The sole purpose of that exercise was to pre-empt the anticipated judgment of the 11-member bench of the apex court against the alleged claim of the commando president for being a valid candidate under the constitution for his re-election as president of the country.

The idea was to obtain a favourable judgment from the PCO judges of a newly-constituted Supreme Court under Justice A.K. Dogar.

He, of course, succeeded in getting a favourable verdict from the Dogar court and subsequently got himself elected on Oct 6, 2008.

The members of the bar associations again threw in their lot with Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other deposed judges and started their massive campaigns, including the two long marches.

However, the second long march by the lawyers’ community, supported by political leaders and workers, woke up civilian rulers from their deep slumber on the midnight of March 15/16, 2009, and restored the pre-Nov 3 judiciary allowing the Chief Justice and his companion judges to resume their functions.

SYED IQBAL AHMAD Barrister-at-Law Karachi

Comments (6) Closed

observer Mar 09, 2013 09:44am
I think worst day of Pakistani judicial history was when they passed their verdict of hanging an elected Prime Minister.
Agha Ata (USA) Mar 09, 2013 03:10pm
Sometimes, I wonder that all those years in the Military Academy, and all those years in service where importance of knowledge is emphasized on every step, the Chief Executive Officer, the head of the army didn't learn anything about the status and the importance of a Cheif Justice in a governemnt and in democracy. And whats more? He didn't even have an inkling to consult a lawyer before taking that drastic fulfill his ambitions that shook the history! It terrifies to think of the state of a dictator's mind, at times.
pathanoo Mar 09, 2013 03:46pm
Well, from 9th March, 2007 to 9th March, 2013 today - how has it helped Pakistan? Not that the agitation to reinstate Justice Iftikhar Choudhary was wrong. It was the correct thing to do. the problem is that Justice Choudhary and most all other justices are either corrupt or cowards or political hacks or, in worst case, all of the above. Pakistan, unfortunately, did not benefit much, if at all.
Dr.Sohaib Abdi Mar 10, 2013 12:53am
The movement was a gift for Nation from lawyers.
Naseer Mar 10, 2013 02:12am
I think we shouldn't vilify any of the judges. Lets not forget that Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry also took oath under Musharraf's first PCO.
khanm Mar 10, 2013 11:56am
. It is impossible to tell where the law stops and justice begins. Unfortunately, what many people forget is that judges are just lawyers in robes..... unless they prove it otherwise.......