Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry confident of another comeback

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Islamabad, Nov 5: Deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry exuded confidence that he would stage a comeback, reiterating that the present set up was ''illegal and unconstitutional''.

''Everything that is happening today is illegal, unconstitutional and against the orders of the Supreme Court,'' Justice Chaudhry, who was earlier sacked by President Pervez Musharraf in March and reinstated by an apex court order in July, told The News. He said the all the judges appointed to Provincial and High Courts after the imposition of emergency have no legal bearing as a seven-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by him, had restrained the Judges from taking oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).

''God has blessed me with success last time and I am sure that He would again bless me and other respected judges, who had refused to take fresh oath under the PCO, in a similar manner this time too,'' Justice Chaudhry said.

Without referring to General Musharraf's address to the nation, the deposed top judge said it was wrong to conclude that the judiciary had been lenient towards terrorists. But it was not possible for the judges of the Supreme Court to start punishing people without substantial evidence against them, he explained.

The sacking of Justice Chaudhry in March had triggered countrywide protests by the lawyer community, who since then were in the forefront of the campaign against the rule of Gen Musharraf.

Justice Chaudhry said despite being confined by the government his morale was high. ''These are testing times for me from Allah and I will react to this situation in the same manner as is desired by the Creator of all,'' the deposed Chief Justice said.

He asserted that he had no ''no skeletons in the cupboard'' and thus was not afraid of anyone. ''Those fighting for the rule of law would emerge victorious,'' he said.


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