19
Mar
07

Musharraf rules out emergency/army deployment

Pakistan’s president Gen Pervez Musharraf has ruled out the possibility of emergency rule or the deployment of the army to deal with the nationwide protests by lawyers and opposition politicians to his decision to suspend Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on 9 March on charges of “misuse of authority and misconduct”. In an interview with Geo TV, Musharraf “admitted that his government committed some mistakes” following the decision to suspend the chief justice and he said that the charges could not be disclosed because of “the sensitivity of the matter”.

According to a report on the website of Geo TV, Musharraf described last week’s “attack” by the riot police on the offices of Geo TV in Islamabad as “stunning”. Footage on Friday showed Pakistani riot police storming Geo TV’s offices and tear-gassing employees after its editors refused to stop broadcasting pictures of protests in Islamabad over moves to sack the country’s top judge, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. In his interview with Geo TV, Musharraf said that the raid was a “conspiracy” and that the inspector who led the attack on the Islamabad Geo office was “mysteriously missing.” Reports say that 14 policemen were suspended for carrying out the raid.

Musharraf also said that a lawyer, Sharifuddin Pirzada, made the first complaint against the chief justice but that he was not appearing in the reference due to technical reasons.

Chaudhry, who became chief justice in 2005, has a reputation for taking a strong stance against human rights abuses and government wrongdoing. On Monday, a number of judges reportedly resigned as part of the continuing protests against the suspension of the chief justice which they is say is unlawful.

Chaudhry has so far made two appearances in front of the Supreme Judicial Counci, a panel of judges who are investigating the charges.

Source: ADNKronons International

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