May 15, 2008

Deposed high court judges reject fresh oath offer

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 2:45 am
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MAY 15, 2008

By Syed Faisal Shakeel
LAHORE, May 13: In another twist to the ongoing controversy over the restoration of the pre-emergency judiciary, the federal government has offered fresh oath to the deposed judges of the high courts.

“We have reservations about the offer. Our conscience does not allow us to accept any offer to return to our offices without Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry,” said Justice Khwaja Mohammad Sharif.

Justice Sharif said Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool had extended the offer through one of his colleagues.

He said an Islamabad-based judge had also received the same offer.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, a deposed judge of the LHC, said he saw no rationale in taking a fresh oath because the deposed judges were still judges.

“We have told them that it could have been done through an executive order. In other words, we turned down the offer,” said Justice Nisar.

The offer seemed exclusive to the judges of the high courts and an effort to resolve the ongoing tussle over the issue in and outside parliament.

“I have not heard about such an offer,” deposed Supreme Court judge Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday told Dawn.

Pakistan Bar Council member Hamid Khan said similar offers had been made to judges in Sindh and the NWFP.

He said he had spoken with PBC vice-chairman Rashid A. Razvi and a judge in Peshawar on the issue.

Mr Khan confirmed that the deposed judges had met in Karachi and Lahore after the offer.

He said he had gathered from his discussion with lawyers’ leaders that Law Minister Farooq Naek and Justice Fakir Mohammad Khokar were behind the move.

At least eight judges met in Lahore and decided that they would not accept the offer, said SCBA media adviser Azhar Siddique.

Our Staff Reporter in Karachi adds: Two deposed judges of the Sindh High Court said they would not accept any government offer for their reappointment.

“We want reinstatement, and not reappointment… and we want restoration of all judges,” deposed Justice Faisal Arab told Dawn.

He, however, said he had not received any offer of reappointment. “I don’t have contact with anyone,” he said when asked whether any of his colleagues who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order had contacted him.

Justice Salman Ansari also rejected the idea of reappointment. He also said he had not been contacted with the offer.

“There should be restoration, and not reappointment,” he said.


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