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‘Passports of CJP’s family members taken away’

March 11, 2007

ISLAMABAD, March 10: Passports of family members of the suspended Chief Justice, Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had been taken away and officers of Intelligence agencies were putting pressure on the CJP to resign, Acting Parliamentary Leader of PML-N Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Saturday.

He was speaking at a press conference flanked by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan.

Mr Nisar said that Gen Musharraf had sought resignation of Justice Iftikhar after unconstitutionally summoning him to the Army House. He claimed that the suspension order came after the chief justice refused to obey the order. He claimed that two important leaders of PML had also gone to the CJP house and asked him to resign but he refused.

He further said that PML-N, on the initiative of Mr Imran Khan, had decided to hold a meeting of leaders all political leaders in two or three there days to discuss the issue.

"The objective of the meeting is to bring and unite the opposition on one platform on the issue, he added.

Mr Nisar termed the suspension of the CJP a desperate action by what he called a faltering dictator. He said: “The confusion of the dictator is obvious from the fact that he is not allowing judges to perform their duties freely; the judges who had taken the oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order.”

He said the Chief Justice House was swarming with intelligence officials and the CJP, along with his family members, were confined to one room. He said even his home in Quetta had also been sealed.

He said that allegations against the CJP were baseless, and urged the Supreme Judicial Council, the lawyer community, bar associations and all people to stand by the CJP.

He said the government had presented the Article 209 of the Constitution in favour of the decision but the president or the army chief had no power to remove the chief justice under this article.

Mr Imran Khan said that motive behind the CJP suspension was to take control of all institutions by what he called a dictator.

Mr Khan said that it was against the dignity and sanctity of the office of the CJP to summon its head in the Army House to be told to resign, as no president or general had powers to summon an in-service CJP.

He said Gen Musharraf had levelled false allegations of corruption against the chief justice as corruption was not an issue for the government because all the people joining the government had gross charges of corruption against them.

Mr Khan said that Chairman Public Accounts Committee Malik Allah Yar had acknowledged in a recent TV programme that he had detected a corruption of five billion rupees that had been misappropriated by district nazims, and had demanded of the government to postpone local bodies elections, but the government ignored his advice and held LB elections, paving the way for the re-election of the corrupt people.

Commenting on reasons behind the suspension of the CJP, the PTI chief said that Justice Iftekhar had tried to be independent and not to toe the government line on many issues.

"An important reason for his suspension is that he had summoned officials of intelligence agencies to submit lists of the missing people and asked them to produce them before the court. Such a CJP was not suitable for a government which has plans to rig coming elections,” he claimed.