Sacking of Pakistan Chief Justice condemned

Fali Nariman

Fali Nariman  

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: Fali S. Nariman, president of the Bar Association of India, and Soli Sorabjee, former Attorney-General, have expressed serious concern over the sacking of Pakistan's Chief Justice Ifthikar Chaudhary.

In a statement, Mr. Nariman said: ``The summary sacking [or suspension] of the Chief Justice of Pakistan is a matter of grave concern for all who believe in the rule of law. What has happened in Pakistan is most distressing. The BAI strongly urges the SAARC law delegation, scheduled to visit Pakistan on March 22, to forbear from attending the SAARC Law Conference."

"No meaningful law conference can take place in an atmosphere that shows contempt for the highest judiciary. Besides, the reported lathicharge on lawyers who voiced their protest against this blatant act against the highest judiciary does not augur well for the creation of a congenial atmosphere of regional cooperation, which is what SAARC stands for."

Mr. Sorabjee said: "The onslaught on judicial independence anywhere should be a matter of deep concern to every person and particularly the legal fraternity in every country which prizes judicial independence and is committed to the rule of law. The un-ceremonial and summary manner by which the CJ of Pakistan has been suspended and made non-functional is outrageous. It is not for the executive to sit in judgment over the judicial conduct of the Chief Justice or any other Judge."

"Without an independent judiciary, human rights of the people become meaningless. Bad examples are infectious and transmit bad signals and should be unreservedly condemned. The courageous lawyers in Pakistan who are opposing this frontal assault on the judiciary deserve our praise and encouragement. It is hoped that wiser counsel will prevail and the authority and independence of the Pakistan judiciary are restored forthwith," he said.

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