ISLAMABAD: A 13-member
full court Friday restored Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and
declared as illegal and unconstitutional the presidential reference and the
order to send the chief justice on forced leave.
The verdict was announced with 10 judges in favour and three against
it. The three judges who opposed the verdict were not against the
restoration of the chief justice. They differed on the constitutional
point that the president was empowered to file a reference against
the chief justice.
The three judges who differed are Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar,
Justice M Javed Buttar and Justice Saiyed Saeed Ashhad.
The ten judges who handed down the historic judgement are Justice
Khalilur Rahman Ramday, Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi, Justice Mian
Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Nasirul
Mulk, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Ch Ijaz Ahmed, Justice
Syed Jamshed Ali, Justice Hamid Ali Mirza and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.
Earlier at completing the hearing of the constitutional petition
of the chief justice and before retiring for consultations, Justice
Ramday said they are all Muslims and their behaviour should be in
accordance with Islam. He said those who would be hurt by the court
decision should show tolerance. Similarly, he said, those who would
be happy at the court decision should not cross limits in jubilation.
They, he said, should remember God and adopt such behaviour that
is acceptable to all. He said they should offer Nawafil that is
the way of the holy prophet (PBUH). All the parties should follow
in the footsteps of the holy prophet (PBUH) in their reactions,
He said the verdict should not be taken as victory for someone and
defeat for others.
He said the trial was not a battle between army and judiciary. He
also said, "We are judges, not trade unionists."
Justice Ramday thanked counsel for both the parties for assisting
the court. He particularly referred to the assistance provided by
Aitzaz Ahsan and Justice (Retd) Qayyum in this regard.
The security around the Supreme Court was tightened. Although a
large number of lawyers and journalists were present, activists
of political parties did not turn up.
Police were also posted at different sensitive points of the capital.
Earlier, Aitzaz Ahsan summed up his arguments. He stretched his
arguments to one hour though he was allotted 45 minutes by the court.
Aitzaz referred to the flaws in the evidence presented by the government
before the court.
The panel of defence lawyers comprised Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Hamid Khan,
Qazi M Anwar, Munir A Malik, Ali Ahmad Kurd and Tariq Mehmood.
While Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, Wasim Sajjad,
Dr Khalid Ranjha, Raja Abdul Rehman, Arif Chaudhry, Amanullah Kanrani,
Asif Ranjha and Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan presented the
view of the president and the government.
Following is the chronology of events since filing of reference
March 9: President Pervez Musharraf suspends Chief Justice Iftikhar
Mohammad Chaudhry, appoints Justice Javed Iqbal as the acting chief
justice of the Supreme Court and sends a reference to the Supreme
Judicial Council to investigate allegations of misconduct against
March 10: Justice Iftikhar remains incommunicado for the second
consecutive day at his residence.
March 11: Justice Iftikhar demands that the Supreme Judicial Council
should hold open proceedings on the reference against him.
March 12: Lawyers' anger against the action against CJ bursts out
across the country.
March 13: Justice Iftikhar seeks reconstitution of the SJC, police
rough him up as he tries to march up to the Supreme Court.
March 14: The Supreme Court takes suo motu notice of the police
manhandling of CJ Iftikhar.
March 16: Hundreds of demonstrators fight law enforcers along the
March 17: The government changes its position on the issue with
Federal Minister for Law Mohammad Wasi Zafar saying that President
Musharraf sent Justice Iftikhar on "forced leave."
March 18: Acting Chief Justice Javed Iqbal says there is no restriction
on movement of the CJ.
March 19: A Lahore High Court judge and two judicial officers of
Sindh go public with their protest resignations while four more
civil judges also tender resignations.
March 20: The Supreme Judicial Council defers to April 3 meeting
to take up the reference citing the expected arrival of Justice
March 21: Justice Bhagwandas returns after a private visit to India
and refuses to comment on the judicial crisis.
March 22: Justice Iftikhar says he is "entirely innocent"
and calls for an open trial by the Supreme Judicial Council.
March 23: President Musharraf urges lawyers to let the government
meet demands of the constitution.
March 24: Justice Bhagwandas takes oath as acting chief justice.
March 25: Justice Bhagwandas says there will be no change in composition
of the Supreme Judicial Council except for Justice Sardar Raza who
will no more be a member.
March 26: Political parties and lawyer associations hold demonstrations
across the country.
March 27: A civil judge in Azad Kashmir resigns in protest against
the treatment meted out to the CJ.
March 28: The CJ tells an assembly of lawyers that no organ of the
state has the authority to cross its prescribed constitutional limits.
April 02: A three-member bench of the Supreme Court directs the
court office to club the two petitions regarding composition of
the Supreme Judicial Council.
April 03: As the Supreme Judicial Council reserves judgment on holding
an open hearing, the atmosphere outside the Supreme Court forces
a senior government counsel, Senator Khalid Ranjha, to excuse himself
from pursuing the reference.
April 04: The Supreme Court indicts senior administration and police
officials of Islamabad for roughing up the CJ.
April 05: Barrister Zille Huma moves the SC to seek an authoritative
declaration not to use the term "non-functional" for Justice
April 06: President of the Supreme Court Bar Association Munir A
Malik hopes the reference against Justice Iftikhar will eventually
be withdrawn unconditionally.
April 11: President Musharraf says he will take the nation into
confidence on the reference after the Supreme Judicial Council verdict.
April 13: The counsel defending Justice Iftikhar describes two members
of the council as "distinctively hostile."
April 14: Justice Iftikhar addresses lawyers at the Sukkur bench
of the Sindh High Court.
April 15: Justice Iftikhar addresses the Hyderabad chapter of the
High Court Bar Association and the Hyderabad District Bar Association.
April 16: The government concedes before the Supreme Court that
it still considers Justice Iftikhar to be the chief justice.
April 18: Justice Iftikhar files a petition in the Supreme Court
challenging the reference against him.
April 19: The focus of the legal battle shifts from the Supreme
Judicial Council to the Supreme Court as a bench of the court serves
notices on President Musharraf and other respondents.
April 20: Former Advocate General of Sindh Raja Qureshi refuses
to represent the government against Justice Iftikhar.
April 21: Justice Iftikhar addresses the Peshawar High Court Bar
April 23: The cause for judiciary's independence resounded loudly
but briefly in the NA.
April 24: Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan declines to head a bench
hearing a petition filed by Justice Iftikhar, challenging his
suspension, for being a signatory to the Supreme Judicial Council
endorsement of the presidential reference.
April 26: Justice Iftikhar requests for constitution of a full court.
April 27: Justice Iftikhar pleads the Supreme Court to decide his
request to stay the Supreme Judicial Council proceedings.
April 28: Justice Bhagwandas constitutes a five-member larger bench
to hear from May 7 a number of identical petitions
challenging the Supreme Judicial Council and the presidential reference.
April 30: On behalf of Rasul Bakhsh Paleejo, Advocate Muhammad Ikram
Chaudhry prays to the Supreme Court to initiate contempt of court
proceedings against the president and prime minister for summoning
Justice Iftikhar to the president's camp office in Rawalpindi and
restraining him from leaving for over four hours to force him to
May 01: The Supreme Court directs the local administration to allow
into the Supreme Court premises only people holding appropriate
cards issued to attend the hearing of the reference.
May 02: The government requests the Supreme Court to expand the
five-member bench into a full court.
May 03: Justice Iftikhar requests the court to dismiss the government's
application seeking expansion of a five-member bench into a full
May 04: Police pick up over 1,000 political activists across the
May 05: Police action fails to stop public from welcoming Justice
Iftikhar during his journey to Lahore.
May 06: Justice Iftikhar addresses a reception of the Lahore High
Court Bar Association.
May 07: The Supreme Court stays the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial
Council against Justice Iftikhar but accepts the government's plea
and proposes a full court to decide the petitions.
May 08: The court reserves judgment in the case of roughing up of
Justice Iftikhar by the Islamabad administration and police.
May 09: The Supreme Court imposes a series of restrictions on entry
to the court and cautions the media.
May 10: The house of Munir A Malik comes under a gun attack.
May 11: The Sindh government declares a public holiday on May 12.
The Sindh High Court says Justice Iftikhar will be free to choose
his route during visit to Karachi and directs the Sindh government
to ensure security for him.
May 12: At least 34 people die and over 140 others receive injuries
as Karachi turns into a battlefield.
May 13: No respite from violence in Karachi and another seven people
die, raising the death toll in two days of mayhem to 41.
May 14: The 14-member full court formed to rule on a set of identical
petitions against the removal of Justice Iftikhar but Justice Falak
Sher declines to sit on the bench.
May 15: The Supreme Court maintains the order of one of its benches
staying the proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council against
Justice Iftikhar until the full court decides on the petition.
May 16: The Supreme Court wonders if the Supreme Judicial Council
can interpret constitutional issues other than examining the conduct
of a judge and suggesting his removal.
May 17: The Sindh High Court issues notices to interior secretary,
Sindh chief secretary, home secretary and others to appear before
the court on May 22 to explain their position on a contempt application
filed by bar representatives.
May 18: Relatives of Awami Tehrik leader Mohammad Nawaz Kandrani,
a victim of the May 12 Karachi mayhem, refuse to receive compensation
from the government saying those offering compensation were involved
in the murder.
May 19: A Karachi police station registers case against the Sindh
government and MQM leaders in compliance with a court order with
regard to May 12 mayhem.
May 20: The Supreme Court Bar Association and Pakistan Bar Council
announce Justice Iftikhar will address lawyers at the Supreme Court
premises on May 26.
May 21: The Supreme Court observes that the Supreme Judicial Council
is not above the apex court enjoying "blanket protection."
May 22: Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday observes that the court judgment
will not meet fate of the Maulvi Tamizuddin case verdict.
May 23: Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan tells the Supreme Court that the
Supreme Judicial Council acted to safeguard tenure of superior court
judges rather than removing them as adjudicators.
May 24: Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday suggests opening of the "closed
alley" for superior court judges removed by the Supreme Judicial
May 25: Justice Ramday acknowledges the public importance of the
case and says when there is disquiet in the land and blood is being
spilled into the streets, how can one say it is not?
May 26: Justice Iftikhar addresses a seminar on 'Separation of Powers
and Judicial Independence' at the Supreme Court.
May 28: Justice Ramday says the court will decide the case without
giving a thought to consequences. Justice Javed Iqbal takes oath
as the acting chief justice of the Supreme Court and says nobody
can pressurise judges.
May 29: Justice Iftikhar narrates in his affidavit his version of
March 9 events at the president's camp office.
May 30: Senior advocate Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, representing the Balochistan
High Court Bar, tells the Supreme Court that time has come to rectify
the past mistakes of legalising unconstitutional measures, including
the validation of the October 1999 military coup.
May 31: Justice Ramday observes that no state functionary, not even
the president, can claim "absolute immunity."
June 01: Justice Ramday stresses the need for creating an appellate
forum to review rulings of the Supreme Judicial Council.
June 02: Justice Iftikhar gets an unprecedented welcome at the Abbottabad
June 04: Akram Sheikh requests the Supreme Court to quash the reference
because it has been filed after making the chief justice non-functional.
June 05: Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan disagrees with a petitioner who
feared imposition of another martial law if the present turmoil
surrounding the suspension of the chief justice is prolonged.
June 06: Justice Ramday asks a senior counsel to intervene and ponder
why judges who quit the judiciary get warm acceptance by the people
as well as the bar.
June 07: Heads of two intelligence agencies and the president's
chief of staff file affidavits in the court and claim the chief
justice kept regular contact with them and even suggested that Parliament
should be dissolved and fresh elections held under him.
June 08: The Supreme Court puts off its verdict on the maintainability
of identical petitions challenging the reference against Justice
Iftikhar to let the parties complete their arguments.
June 10: Federal Minister for Law Muhammad Wasi Zafar says a new
reference against Justice Iftikhar is ready and will be filed at
an "appropriate time, if needed."
June 11: The Supreme Court defers ruling on the maintainability
of a petition filed by Justice Iftikhar against the reference but
commences regular hearing on his plea.
Justice Ramday hints at devising a law by interpreting carefully
the judges' compulsory leave order under which superior court judges
can be sent on forced leave.
June 13: The Supreme Judicial Council surrenders its records relating
to the reference to the Supreme Court after the court overrules
the government lawyer's plea that the record is "protected."
June 14: Barrister Aitzaz asks the court to frustrate attempts to
remove the chief justice from his post through an "institutional
reaction" like the armed forces did in 1999 when the government
tried to remove the chief of army staff.
June 15: Justice Rana Bhagwandas dispels the impression that the
judiciary is under pressure, saying the courts are functioning independently
and in accordance with the constitution.
June 16: Talking to office-bearers of the Chakwal District Bar and
prominent journalists in Chakwal, Justice Iftikhar praises lawyers
and journalists for their struggle for the independence of judiciary
and the rule of law.
June 17: Thousands brave rain and wait all night to welcome Justice
Iftikhar in Faisalabad. Advocate Amir Rana, nephew of Justice Iftikhar,
alleges that some armed persons entered his house after overpowering
the watchman, scaling the boundary wall and breaking the main door.
June 18: Barrister Aitzaz informs the court that contents of the
reference and subsequent events are enough to prove personal "malice"
on part of the president.
June 19: Barrister Aitzaz requests the Supreme Court to rein in
intelligence agencies used by the executive authorities to "control"
independent judges otherwise every "judge of conscience"
will feel threatened.
June 20: Justice Ramday observes that nobody can manipulate the
court to seek judgment of his liking.
June 21: Aitzaz says the events of March 9, appointment of the acting
chief justice and convening of the Supreme Judicial Council in an
"unholy haste" amounts to a coup in the Supreme Court
and an extension to "conspiracy" of the executive to topple
the chief justice.
June 22: Justice Iftikhar gets a warm welcome at the Lahore airport
when he arrives for an overnight stay before leaving for Multan.
June 23: Seventeen hours after its departure from Lahore, the Multan-bound
caravan of Justice Iftikhar reaches Sahiwal after
midnight, covering only half journey.
June 25: Aitzaz denies claims that there was an atmosphere of cordiality
during the chief justice's March 9 meeting with President Musharraf
and heads of three intelligence agencies.
June 26: Justice Ramday deplores that it is judiciary that is blamed
for all the ills, whereas everyone bears responsibility for the
poor state of affairs.
June 27: Aitzaz calls off a get-together planned to be hosted in
honour of the chief justice to offset a government excuse for seeking
June 28: The federal government places the entire material relating
to the reference against Justice Iftikhar before the Supreme Court.
July 02: The court severely criticises the government lawyers and
suspends licence of the state-appointed advocate-on-record after
finding some highly "scandalous" material against the
chief justice as well as judges placed before the apex court by
the federation's counsel.
July 03: Justice Ramday observes that it is for the first time since
1973 that the executive has invoked the Supreme Judicial Council
instead of butchering unwanted judges arbitrarily.
July 04: A counsel for the federal government, Malik Mohammad Qayyum
tells the court that no mala fide can be attributed to the president
since the opinion for filing the reference is not his but that of
the prime minister.
July 05: Justice Ramday hints that the verdict, whenever came, will
July 07: The court declares the security arrangements for its judges
and the building as inadequate and directs the authorities to make
it comprehensive and foolproof.
July 10: The court pulls up Malik Qayyum for implying that the chief
justice lacks the qualities that inspire confidence among people.
July 11: The court says it will wind up by July 20 the hearing of
the petition of Justice Iftikhar.
July 12: Malik Qayyum requests the court to allow him rely on the
material submitted along with the reference and he withdrew after
the bench found some of its parts "scandalous and vexatious."
July 13: The court rules that the constitution does not bar a non-Muslim
judge from becoming the country's chief justice.
July 14: Residents of Lahore accorded a warm welcome to Justice
July 15: Justice Iftikhar says that any change in the prevailing
situation in the country depends on restoration of the constitution.
July 16: The government withdraws the charge of judicial misconduct
against Justice Iftikhar.
July 17: The court grapples with the question why the Supreme Judicial
Council restrained Justice Iftikhar ex parte in the dead of night.
July 18: Sharifuddin Pirzada tells the court that the right time
to check whatever wrong may have been done to Justice Iftikhar is
when the acting chief justice is appointed twice.
July 19: Aitzaz stresses the full court to quash the presidential
reference filed on the statements of intelligence agencies' chiefs
and says if it is not cancelled it will prove as roots of evils.
CJ chamber cleaning begins
ISLAMABAD: The cleaning of the Supreme Court chamber of Chief Justice
of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry began Friday morning, revealed
Supreme Court sources. According to a TV channel the overhauling
of the seized vehicles of the chief justice was also completed.
The protocol staff of the chief justice have also been asked to
Lawyers to bring
CJ to his chamber
ISLAMABAD: Ali Ahmad Kurd, a counsel for the chief justice in the
petition against presidential reference, told Geo News shortly before
the Supreme Court judgement that in case the verdict is in accordance
with the aspirations of the people, lawyers planned to bring the
chief justice to his chamber. He said after that they would have
no contacts with the chief justice.