=> LONDON: President Pervez Musharraf distributed a 1
LONDON: President Pervez Musharraf distributed a 15-page letter against the detained chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry among 30 top journalists of London on an exclusive breakfast meeting here last Monday, to convince the western media that the top judge was corrupt and was rightly dismissed on March 9 followed by his detention on November 3.
President Musharraf took this unprecedented step after the media challenged his democratic credentials for sacking a chief justice and then putting him under house arrest. It was an attempt to counter what the official camp claimed “sheer propaganda” and false claims by the camp of CJ in foreign press.
The major allegations leveled against the detained chief justice in the president’s letter handed over to the foreign journalists before his departure to Pakistan, claimed that CJ Iftikar Chaudhry had triggered judicial activism, indulged in nepotism, had frequent interaction with Pakistani media, intelligence chiefs, military officers, president, prime minister, politicians, and most importantly, he was fond of protocol and harassing the respectable civilian bureaucracy.
One source said the letter contained the same allegations that were made part of the judicial reference that was sent to the supreme judicial council on March 9 which was later thrown out by a full bench of the court on July 20, last year on the basis of lack of evidence against the CJ Iftikar Mohammad Chaudhry.
Earlier, when the top British journalists came to meet President Musharraf on his invitation on Monday on the last day of his trip to Europe, they were shocked to receive a long charge sheet against the chief justice of Pakistan who was under detention and did not have the right to explain his side of the story or defend himself against those charges levelled in the letter.
President’s press secretary, Maj General(r) Rashid Qureahi confirmed to The News from Islamabad that the copies of the judicial reference were distributed to apprise them of the real situation on judicial crisis in Pakistan. General Qureshi said, the judicial reference was now a public document and there was no harm in distributing it among the Western journalists to inform them that why the action against the judges was taken by the president.
He said, a lot was being said and written in the Western press about the judicial crisis of Pakistan, so an attempt was made to apprise them of the real causes of the whole crisis. To a question whether this was not a wrong precedent to distribute the copies of the judicial reference against the detained judges of the Pakistan among the foreign journalists, General Qureshi replied that there was nothing wrong in it as the judicial crisis had already become an international issue and every body was talking about the crisis both at home and abroad. He said, the pro judges lobbies had already taken up this issue beyond the borders of Pakistan and President Musharraf had only given his side of the story.
Meanwhile, according to available documents a four-page copy of a personal profile of the chief justice was also handed over to the British media in addition to a four-page letter President Musharraf had written to William Neukon on December 26, 2007 to explain why he had to take action against the country’s chief justice.
Source: The News