Justice Chaudhry moves SC on Presidential ref

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Islamabad, Apr 18: Pakistan's suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad &13;Chaudhry today challenged his suspension and a Presidential reference against &13;him in the country's supreme court.

Chaudhry's Chief Counsel Aitzaz Ahsan filed the petition as hundreds of &13;lawyers, Islamists and activists of secular political parties gathered outside &13;the Supreme Court to express solidarity with the top judge.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz have been &13;made a party in the petition, which raises 132 legal points.

''The petitioner is filing the titled petition wherein as many as 132 &13;questions of great public importance have been raised and need to be settled by &13;the Supreme Court,'' the petition said.

''We have informed the Supreme Judicial Council about filing of the &13;petition,'' Chaudhry's lawyer Munir A Malik told reporters here.

Justice Chaudhry appeared before the council for the fifth time to face the &13;Presidential reference. His lawyers gave arguments on the biases, he has &13;towards three member judges of the council.

The Council will meet again on April 24.

''We hope that the Supreme Court will hear petition of Justice Chaudhry on May &13;20,'' Mr Malik said.

This is for the first time in Pakistan's Judicial history that a Chief Justice &13;has moved the Supreme Court.

President Musharraf had removed Justice Chaudhry on March 9 and sent a &13;reference against him to the SJC for misuse of power.

However, Chaudhry denies the charge.

Meanwhile, activists of the Islamic alliance, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), &13;Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) rallied in &13;front of the Supreme Court and shouted slogans of 'Go Musharraf go'.

The turnout, however, remained low this time as only roughly 1,500 people came &13;to the Supreme Court as compared to 3,000 during the last protest on April 13.

Speaking to protestors, top MMA leaders including Qazi Hussain Ahmad urged &13;President Musharraf to step down for triggering a Judicial crisis in the &13;country.


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