Suspended Pakistani Chief Judge Files Affidavit

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Suspended Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry filed an affidavit Tuesday which for the first time makes public his account of a March 9 meeting with the country’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

According to Chaudhry’s account, which was filed with the Pakistan Supreme Court, the president and senior officials detained him for hours and pressured him to resign his seat on the bench, reports the New York Times. But Chaudhry refused to do so, telling the president “I have not violated any code of conduct or any law, rule or regulation; I believe that I am myself the guardian of law,” the affidavit says. “I strongly believe in God, who will help me.”

When he refused to resign, Musharraf suspended him and political turmoil resulted. The country’s judiciary has been viewed as something of a rubber stamp for the country’s military-based government, and Chaudhry’s support of civil rights reportedly has led to huge demonstrations in his favor since March 9 by thousands of Pakistani lawyers and judges. A Supreme Court oversight panel is currently reviewing Chaudhry’s suspension. Musharraf claims Chaudhry committed official misconduct, but the justice contends the president’s action was politically motivated.

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