Pakistan changes tack on top judge

Islamabad now says chief judge has been put on compulsory leave, not removed.

    The judge's removal angered many and triggered violent protests on Friday and Saturday [AFP]
    Free to leave
     
    Barricades set up around Chaudhry's official residence were also removed by the police on Sunday and officials said he was free to leave his home.
     
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    Zafar had said on March 9 that Chaudhry had become "non-functional", following the president's order to the Supreme Judicial Council to look into allegations that he had abused his authority.
     
    On Saturday, the government announced that Rana Bhagwan Das, the Hindu judge next in line, would be made acting chief justice on his return from India.
     
    The clarification and the announcement, a key demand by Chaudhry, were seen as an attempt by the government to defuse the situation.
     
    The judge's removal angered lawyers, retired judges and opposition leaders, triggering violent protests on Friday and Saturday.
     
    Critics said the move was an effort to remove a strong-willed judge before parliamentary and presidential elections due within a year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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