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November 4, 2007
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Majority of judges refuse to take oath under new PCO

November 4, 2007

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ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, the symbol of judicial activism in Pakistan, was removed from office on Saturday but a majority of the superior court judges in the country rejected the PCO of General Musharraf and refused to take oath under the new quasi-martial law emergency set-up.

The Sindh High Court judges rejected the new order overwhelmingly as only four out of 28 judges took oath under the new PCO.

In Punjab, 16 out of 31 judges refused to join the new set-up while only 13 judges took oath. The decision of the remaining two was not known.

In the Supreme Court in Islamabad, only four judges took oath, including Justice Hamid Dogar who was inducted at a special ceremony as the new Chief Justice. Three others who joined him were Justice Abbasi, Justice Khokhar and Justice Buttar.

Though all the five judges of the Balochistan High Court, including its Chief Justice, took oath under the PCO, six judges of the NWFP High Court, including the Chief Justice, refused to do so.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, who replaced Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, administered the oath to Justice Nawaz Abbasi, Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar and Justice M. Javed Buttar.

In Quetta, Justice Imanullah Yaseenzai took the oath as the Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court under the Provincial Constitution Order. Governor Balochistan Awais Ahmed Ghani administered the oath.

Justice Muhammad Afzal Soomro took the oath as the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court in place of Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed under the PCO. Governor Ishratul Abad administered the oath.

In Lahore, Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry also took the oath as the Chief Justice of Punjab High Court. The Governor Punjab, Khalid Maqbool, administered the oath.

In the NWFP, six honourable judges of the high court, including Chief Justice Tariq Pervez Khan, refused to take oath under the PCO. Other judges of the high court who

refrained from taking oath under the PCO are Justice Shahjehan Khan Yusufzai, Justice Ijazul Hasan Khan, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Jehanzeb Raheem.

The ousted Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Rana Bhagwandas and Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday were not invited to take oath under the new PCO for obvious reasons.

The surprise decision was of Justice Javed Iqbal who was approached by the authorities but he refused to become the new chief justice. He was heading the 11-member larger bench of the Supreme Court, whose decision it is generally believed was pre-empted by Saturday’s imposition of emergency and the suspension of the 1973 Constitution.

All the four justices, who took oath under the PCO, were members of the 11-judge bench. Those who did not take oath include Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Rana Bhagwandas, Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, Justice Falak Sher, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jillani, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Ch. Ijaz Ahmed, Justice Syed Jamshed Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.

Never before has there been such a huge forced exodus of judges from the superior courts.

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