Justice Chaudhry moves SC on Presidential ref

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

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

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

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

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

Justice Chaudhry appeared before the council for the fifth time to face the Presidential reference. His lawyers gave arguments on the biases, he has 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 20,'' Mr Malik said.

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

President Musharraf had removed Justice Chaudhry on March 9 and sent a 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), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) rallied in 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 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 President Musharraf to step down for triggering a Judicial crisis in the country.


UNI

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