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Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry



Career in Law

Chaudhry Iftikhar has a Bachelors in Arts and Bachelors in Law (LLB). He joined the bar in 1974. Later, he was enrolled as Advocate of the High Court in 1976 and as an Advocate of the Supreme Court in 1985. In 1989 he was appointed as Advocate General, Balochistan, and later got elevated as Additional Judge, Balochistan High Court in 6 November 1990 until 21 April 1999.[7]

Besides remaining as Judge High Court, he discharged duties as Banking Judge, Judge Special Court for Speedy Trials, Judge Customs Appellate Courts as well as Company Judge. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry also remained President of High Court Bar Association, Quetta, and was elected twice as Member, Bar Council. Later, he was appointed as Chairman, Balochistan Local Council Election Authority in 1992 and thereafter for second term in 1998. He also worked as Chairman, Provincial Review Board for the province of Balochistan. He was twice appointed as Chairman, Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Balochistan.

At present, Justice Iftikhar is also functioning as Chairman, Enrollment Committee of Pakistan Bar Council and as Chairman, Supreme Court Building Committee. He was appointed as Chief Justice High Court of Balochistan on 22 April 1999.[7]

In January 2000 Chief Executive General Musharraf dictated that all superior court judges swear a new oath under the PCO No.1 issued on October 15, 1999, which had suspended the Constitution of Pakistan. After swearing an oath on the PCO Justice Iftikhar was elevated to the Supreme Court on 4 February 2000. He was appointed as Chief Justice of Pakistan on 7 May 2005 by President General Pervez Musharraf.[8] Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is the senior-most judge among the sitting judges of the Court after the outgoing Chief Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry assumed the office of Chief Justice on 30 June 2005.[7]


 Important rulings


 Pakistan Steel Mills Privatization

Main article: Pakistan Steel Mills

In 2007, the Supreme court ruled against the government, saying that the selling of Pakistan Steel Mills to a group including Arif Habib, former client and friend of PM Shaukat Aziz, was done in "indecent haste".

President Pervez Musharraf administers the oath of the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in 2005.
President Pervez Musharraf administers the oath of the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in 2005.


Hasba Bill case

Main article: Hasba bill

The Hasba bill also proposed powers for the police to ensure observance of Islamic practices and values while curbing palm reading and other superstitious customs deemed un-Islamic by the legislators.

General Pervez Musharraf petitioned the top court for an opinion after the Hasba bill was passed through North West Frontier Province's assembly.

"The governor of the province of NWFP may not assent to the Hasba bill in its present form," Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, head of a panel of nine judges, told the court before listing several clauses in the bill deemed unconstitutional.


 Missing people

Many people in Pakistan had "disappeared." allegedly kidnapped by the American agencies (FBI, CIA) and Pakistani agencies (ISI, MI, IB) in pursuance of the "War on Terror." These actions were challenged in the Supreme Court and a bench under the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had directed the Ministry of Interior and the representatives of the military agencies to appear in the court and answer the issues raised.

The case is being heard by Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim and Asma Jahangir from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.[citation needed]


 Cases for 2007

It is thought that some very important cases were to be heard in the supreme court in the coming months. Decisions have already been taken in some:

  • The case whether Nawaz Sharif (twice the former PM of Pakistan) can come back to Pakistan. Government had always said that he can but now does not want him to come back. — Decision: Sharif can come back.[9]

Upcoming cases include:

  • The case inquiring the dual nationality of the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his eligibility to be Prime Minister.
  • The case on whether or not the President Pervez Musharraf could run the election for the next Presidency term.
  • The Uniform Issue of President Pervez Musharraf, i.e. whether the President may continue in office without relinquishing his role as the head of the military.
  • Inquest into the validity of the decrees issued by madrassas.


[edit] Suspension and reinstatement

Two secret agents try to force the chief justice to sit in the car. One agent grasps the Chief Justice by the hair.
Two secret agents try to force the chief justice to sit in the car. One agent grasps the Chief Justice by the hair.
Main article: Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry (suspension)

On March 09, 2007, Chaudhry was suspended by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf also filed a "reference" (i.e., legal case) against Chaudhry for alleged misconduct, such as an allegation that Chaudhry demanded an ostentatious Mercedes-Benz for his official car. [10]

The suspension of Chaudhry was the first time in the 50-year history of the Pakistani Supreme Court that a Chief Justice was suspended. The court under Chief Justice Chaudhry had made rulings against governmental corruption, including the Pakistan Steel Mills case.

After the event, there was unrest in the country with regard to the validity of the allegations against Chaudhry, as well as doubt as to whether Musharraf actually had the power to suspend the Chief Justice under the circumstances.[11]

On May 5, 2007, Chaudhry traveled from Islamabad to Lahore to address the Lahore High Court Bar Association. Demonstrations of support along the route slowed his motorcade to the point that it took him 25 hours to reach the dinner the Association was holding in his honor.[12] This journey usually takes 4-5 hours on average.[citation needed] Demonstrators chanted not only slogans supporting Chaudrhy, but also openly called for Musharraf to step down.[12]

Public supporting Chief Justice in capital city of Islamabad.
Public supporting Chief Justice in capital city of Islamabad.

On July 20, 2007, Chaudhry was reinstated to his position as Chief Justice in a ruling by the thirteen-member Pakistani Supreme Court which also quashed the misconduct reference filed against him by Musharraf.[10] The ruling combined 25 constitutional petitions filed by Chaudhry and other interested parties, but referred most of the issues raised by the 24 petitions not filed by Chaudhry himself to lower courts for extended adjudication. All thirteen of the sitting justices agreed that Musharraf's action had been illegal, and ten of the thirteen ordered Chaudhry was to be reinstated and that he "shall be deemed to be holding the said office and shall always be deemed to have been so holding the same." [13]


 Cases post-reinstatement

On August 20, 2007 Ifikhar Mohammad threatened Tariq Pervez (the director-general of Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency) with jail if he did not produce ghost detainee Hafiz Abdul Basit.[14] Chief Justice Chaudhry ordered "He must be produced today or you will be sent to the lock-up."[14]


[Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday Nov 3rd 2007 declared a state of emergency and nation's constitution was suspended.[15] The Constitution of Pakistan has provision for only President of Pakistan to impose emergency, if he believe that circumstances exists that warrants it. However the proclamation of State of Emergency was announced in the name Chief of Army Staff and not the President of Pakistan and as per most legal scholar this tanamounts to Martial Law as the provision is not present in the Constitution of Pakistan for Army General to declare State of Emergency.

Chaudhry Iftikhar after impositions of emergency, suspension of constitution & himself, constituted an 8 member bench of the supreme court judges duly headed by himself, which immediately quashed the provisional constitution order,declaration of emergency and suspension of constitution ordering all the civil and military personnel to ignore the order. He also ordered all the chief justices of high courts and judges of supreme court and high court not to take oath under PCO.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudary has been removed from the Supreme Court and kept under house arrest by the establishment since then, along with 7 other judges.

However Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar has taken oath as the de facto chief justice of Pakistan along with three other judges of the Supreme court.

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Cheif Justice | Judges

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