Judge accuses Musharraf of 'malice'

Pakistan court is told president had suspended chief justice illegally detained.

    Aitzaz Ahsan told the court that the president holds "personal  malice" against Chaudhry [AFP]

    The Supreme Court is hearing a petition, brought by Chaudhry, that challenges his suspension by Musharraf.
     
    Separate proceedings by the Supreme Judicial Council on whether the judge should be sacked over his alleged misconduct or reinstated have been suspended until the Supreme Court decides on Chaudhry's petition.
     
    'Pressured to resign'
     
    Ahsan filed a written affidavit in which Chaudhry described his March 9 meeting with the president, saying Musharraf and the bosses of his intelligence services pressured him to resign over allegations that he secured cars for his family from the Supreme Court.
     
    Chaudhry was quoted as saying he rejected Musharraf's offers of another job and told him: "I wouldn't resign ... I am innocent."
     
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    The ousted judge said he was detained for more than five hours at Musharraf's office and was allowed to go home only after an acting chief justice was sworn in.
     
    He said that as he left Musharraf's office, a military intelligence chief, who was not identified by name, told him: "This is a bad day, now you are taking a separate way."
     
    Chaudhry also said he believes his official residence in Islamabad had been "bugged".
     
    Political motives
     
    Analysts and opposition parties claim Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, wanted to sideline Chaudhry, fearing legal challenges to his quest to remain head of the armed forces and seek a new five-year presidential term this autumn.
     
    But the government denied any political motive, with Musharraf saying he suspended the chief justice after receiving evidence that Chaudhry had abused his office.
     
    While Musharraf still appears to have the backing of his Western allies, his suspension of Chaudhry has prompted mass protests across Pakistan.
     
    It is unclear when the court will reach a verdict.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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