Pakistan retires '37 judges opposing Musharraf'

Pakistan's government has formally retired 37 judges, including the former chief justice, who refused to approve President Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule.

Pakistan retires '37 judges opposing Musharraf'
Pakistan's government has formally retired 37 judges, including the former chief justice, who refused to approve President Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule, the attorney general said Wednesday.

The judges declined to take a fresh oath of allegiance after Musharraf imposed the state of emergency on November 3, citing as one major factor the judiciary's "interference" in government.

Pakistan's opposition parties, including those led by ex-premiers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif have called for the judges, led by outspoken chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, to be restored.

"Thirteen judges of the Supreme Court and 24 judges of the high courts of Lahore, Peshawar and Sindh stand retired with the issuance of notification by the law ministry," Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum said.

Qayyum said the judges were not entitled to any post-retirement benefits.

"However, the government will soon enact a law to enable these judges to get these benefits," he added.

He said the retired judges would also have to vacate their official residences for their successors.

Many of the judges however say that they remain under effective house arrest in their residences, where they have been kept under heavy police guard since the state of emergency began.

Only four of the Supreme Court's former total of 17 judges agreed to be sworn in under emergency legislation brought in by Musharraf.

Musharraf has been at loggerheads with the judiciary since he tried to sack former chief justice Chaudhry in March, a move that led to massive street protests and sent his popularity plummeting.

Chaudhry was finally dispatched when he refused to take the oath.

Critics say Musharraf's main motivation for imposing the emergency was to purge the Supreme Court of hostile judges amid fears that they would overturn his victory in an October 6 presidential election.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Aralık 2007, 15:30
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