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June 29, 2012

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf faces new challenges in first week of premiership

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Pakistan
Other stories from Pakistan
  • 23 May 2012: Twitter restored in Pakistan after block over Muhammad images
  • 17 April 2012: Supreme Court of Pakistan criticizes authorities over Bhutto murder
  • 17 April 2012: Taliban raids Pakistan prison, 384 escape
  • 9 March 2012: Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton present 2012 International Women of Courage Awards
  • 16 January 2012: Dozens killed, injured after blast hits Shias in Punjab, Pakistan
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Friday, June 29, 2012

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, the recently-appointed Prime Minister of Pakistan, chaired his first cabinet meeting as premier Tuesday, using it to discuss ongoing power supply problems. The new PM is also coming under pressure from the Supreme Court to reopen a corruption probe into the President.

During the meeting, Ashraf directed the Ministry of Water and Power to recover outstanding dues pertaining to WAPDA from all federal and provincial government departments. He assured the cabinet that the current power cuts being enforced in the country would be taken to a manageable level within a time span of three months.

Following the disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gillani from premiership by the Supreme Court of Pakistan over a contempt of court conviction, Ashraf was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan in a National Assembly session. Gillani had been discharged from office for failing to open investigations over fraud and corruption charges associated with President Asif Ali Zardari.

Wednesday, just days into his first week in office, the Supreme Court has asked Ashraf to reopen corruption cases against President Zardari, a request which was previously placed upon Ashraf’s predecessor Gillani. The court has requested Ashraf’s response by July 12. The three-judge bench said it expected Ashraf would comply. However, Ashraf had earlier maintained the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had decided not to open the cases and commented that his stance on the issue was the same as Gillani’s. According to the PPP, the judiciary has not acted impartially in the matter.

Raja Pervez Ashraf was born in 1950 in the town of Sanghar in Sindh, where he was brought up. He graduated from the University of Sindh and was involved in agriculture before entering the field of politics. He is originally from Gujar Khan, a small town located in Rawalpindi district in northern Punjab province. Ashraf enjoys the reputation of being regarded as a senior politician of the PPP in the Rawalpindi region.

Prior to being elected as Prime Minister, Ashraf was the federal minister for Water and Power. His term in office oversaw a collapse and inefficiency in the country’s electricity supplies, for which he has been criticized. He has earned the nickname “Raja Rental” due to allegations of his involvement in receiving kickbacks from private rental power plants.

In his first address to the parliament as Prime Minister, Ashraf said “We are standing at a critical juncture. We can either move forward or lapse backward.” Within 24 hours of being elected into office, Ashraf convened a meeting to resolve and discuss the ongoing energy crisis in the country and directed the Ministry of Petroleum to ensure the supply of 28,000 tonnes of fuel daily to power plants, so as to add 1200 mega watts to the national grid system.



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April 17, 2012

Supreme Court of Pakistan criticizes authorities over Bhutto murder

Supreme Court of Pakistan criticizes authorities over Bhutto murder

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court yesterday criticised official handling of the murder of politician Benazir Bhutto.

Benazir Bhutto in 2004.
Image: IFaqeer.

Since her death, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which she led, has gained control of the nation. A number of high-profile politicians are suspects in the killing but nobody has been convicted. Bhutto’s former protocol minister Chaudhry Aslam petitioned the court to ensure a new First Information Report (FIR) was issued against a number of suspects, allowing them to be investigated.

Cquote1.svg How can a sub-inspector have enough courage to probe someone at the helm of affairs? Cquote2.svg

—Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

The court approved his request and questioned the PPP’s opposition to a new FIR. It also questioned Aslam’s failure to approach the court earlier. Twelve suspects are named, including ex-President Pervez Musharraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, ex-Intelligence Bureau director general Ijaz Shah, former acting Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz and ex-Chief Minister of Punjab Pervaiz Elahi.

The court further asked all suspects to relinquish positions of authority. “How can a sub-inspector have enough courage to probe someone at the helm of affairs?” asked Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, sitting on a bench of three alongside Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain. They said a fair investigation could not be carried out as long as suspects were in power.

The court also had questions concerning a report into the murder compiled by the United Nations: “Why did the government not publish the UN Commission report on which Rs60 million of the taxpayers’ money was spent? Why have no steps been taken in the light of the report? Why was the murder of an internationally acclaimed leader not been taken up in the assemblies and relevant parliamentary forums?”

Interior Minister Malik, named on the new FIR, and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, another PPP minister, had opposed another FIR. Malik had claimed it was needless as other suspects had been charged. The court rejected this, saying the implication was the case should therefore cease to be heard. Malik’s lawyer sought a week to for his client to lodge a reply, to which Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry retorted “You want to create obstacles in the proceedings? How much longer do you want to linger?”, adding Malik should appear in person before the court.

The Benazir Bhutto case is back before the Supreme Court on April 24.



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November 21, 2008

Harvard Law School gives its highest honour to Pakistani judge

Harvard Law School gives its highest honour to Pakistani judge

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Pakistan
Other stories from Pakistan
  • 18 February 2015: Pakistan releases 173 Indian prisoners at Wagah border
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  • 24 July 2014: Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan
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Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry
Image: Law & Justice Commission of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s embattled Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was conferred with Harvard Law School’s “Medal of Freedom” for his struggle for the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary on Wednesday in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the past, this award has been given to the team which litigated Brown v. Board of Education, and to Nelson Mandela.

The New York City Bar Association granted him an honorary membership at a ceremony attended by Chaudhry on Monday, recognising him as a “symbol of the movement for judicial and lawyer independence in Pakistan.”

In 2007, Chaudhry received the “Lawyer of the Year” award from New York-based periodical The National Law Journal.

On November 3, 2007, then-president Pervez Musharraf imposed a state of emergency and suspended the constitution. Soldiers of the Pakistan Army entered the Supreme Court of Pakistan and arrested Chaudhry along with seven other judges.

Musharraf replaced Justice Chaudhry with Abdul Hameed Dogar as the Chief Justice of Pakistan under Musharaff’s Provisional Constitutional Order issued that day. Chaudhry then spent several months under house arrest.

Harvard Law School established its “Medal of Freedom” as its highest honour, to recognise individual efforts “to uphold the legal system’s fundamental commitment to freedom, justice, and equality.”



Related news

  • “Pakistan opposition parties form coalition” — Wikinews, February 21, 2008
  • Wikinews’ overview of the year 2007” — Wikinews, December 31, 2007
  • “Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry reinstated as Chief Justice of Pakistan” — Wikinews, July 21, 2007

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November 3, 2007

Musharraf declares emergency rule in Pakistan

Musharraf declares emergency rule in Pakistan

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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pakistan
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Pervez Musharraf has invoked emergency rule in Pakistan according to state television. Independent stations have gone off the air.

Pervez Musharraf has ruled Pakistan since 1999

Reports say that police have surrounded the Supreme Court of Pakistan, while the judges are still inside. The court is deciding whether Musharraf was eligible to run in last month’s election, which he won. The Supreme Court has stated that Musharraf does not have the authority to declare the state of emergency, which includes a suspension of the Constitution.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who recently returned home, is currently out of the country, visiting family in Dubai.

Dawn News, a private television station in Pakistan had stated that sources said that a declaration of emergency rule was imminent. Dawn News and other private news organizations then went off the air. Some reports are also saying that land and cell lines into the capital are not functioning, but it is not clear if this is deliberate or is due to high traffic or some other concern.

Most other countries have responded negatively to this news. The United States said that it was “disappointed” by the move while the United Kingdom’s foreign secretary said that it was vital that Pakistan “abides by the commitment to hold free and fair elections on schedule”.



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July 21, 2007

Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry reinstated as Chief Justice of Pakistan

Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry reinstated as Chief Justice of Pakistan

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry
Image: Law & Justice Commission of Pakistan..

The 13 member larger bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan reinstated Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as Chief Justice of Pakistan on Friday through a short order. The verdict was reached 10 to 3 in favor of Justice Chaudhry.

Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry through a panel of senior lawyers headed by Barrister Aitezaz Ahsan filed a constitutional petition challenging his suspension as Chief Justice of Pakistan by President General Pervez Musharraf on March 9 this year. Musharraf has indicated that he will accept the court’s decision.

The Pakistani lawyer community hailed the decision of the court. The Peshsawar High Court Bar Association organized even organized a procession as a mark of celebrations.

Chaudhry, an opponent of Musharraf, had been accused of abuse of power but the charges were quashed by the court’s decision, seen as a blow to Musharraf’s government.

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March 14, 2007

Chief Justice of Pakistan manhandled, gag order issued by government

Chief Justice of Pakistan manhandled, gag order issued by government

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was manhandled by capital police and the Federal Investigation Agency’s personnel yesterday at his official residence in Islamabad, when he refused to ride in the police personnel vehicle and insisted on a civilian automobile.

The acting Chief Justice of Pakistan in an early morning statement confirming the incident said, “Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is our responsibility and the persons will be taken to task who have misbehaved with him.”

The Chief Justice of Pakistan was removed from his office last Friday in an extrajudicial move by Pakistan’s President General Pervez Musharraf for charges of alleged misconduct and corruption which have yet to be disclosed to the public and to the defendant.

The Chief Justice has taken a strict stand against the government’s human rights abuses and abductions.

The Supreme Court has issued a gag order and has asked all Pakistani electronic media to show restraint and caution in airing programs. The acting Chief Justice of Pakistan Javaid Iqbal said, “the advice of the Supreme Judicial Council will be strictly enforced from today and no government official or media will be allowed to comment on it [the case].”

Related

  • “Protests in Pakistan as Chief Justice appears before judges’ panel” — Wikinews, March 13, 2007
  • “Pakistan’s military ruler sacks Chief Justice” — Wikinews, March 9, 2007

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March 13, 2007

Protests in Pakistan as Chief Justice appears before judges\’ panel

Protests in Pakistan as Chief Justice appears before judges’ panel

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iftikhar Chaudhry was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan from 2005 to 2007, when he was suspended.

Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry arrived to court to appear in front of a panel of previously subordinate judges to answer charges filed against him by the President General Pervez Musharraf.

The Chief Justice’s motorcade was surrounded by thousands of well wishers and lawyers who have come out on the streets of Pakistan’s capital to express their solidarity as Pakistan observes a nation wide partial strike and black day.

In a brief statement to the press, the Chief Justice said, “I am appearing in front of junior judges who are under investigation for corruption.”

The Chief Justice has been held incommunicado without access to the outside world since Friday when he was suddenly removed from his office by Pakistan’s military government. Telephone, Internet, and mobile phone service has been suspended to his house which is under “high security” according to government officials.

Chief Justice Iftikhar is well respected by his colleagues and international community for taking a firm stand against government’s human rights abuses and abductions.

New York based Human Rights Watch has issued a statement demanding an immediate release and reinstatement of the Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar. “By brazenly and unlawfully dismissing, detaining and humiliating the chief justice of the Supreme Court, President Musharraf has created a constitutional crisis at the judiciary’s expense,” said Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights watch.

Ikram Chaudhry, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, told a British news service: “General Musharraf is trying to bulldoze the judiciary. He wants to leave no stone unturned.”

Reporting yesterday’s wide spread strike by the bar associations across Pakistan two major private news channels were forced to go off air for reporting and showing “anti-government” protests.

Tensions are high and the police and other security personnel have been placed on high alert. Military government’s information minister has however categorically denied that the government is considering a declaration of emergency.

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  • “Pakistan’s military ruler sacks Chief Justice” — Wikinews, March 9, 2007

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March 9, 2007

Pakistan\’s military ruler sacks Chief Justice

Pakistan’s military ruler sacks Chief Justice

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has suspended the country’s top judge, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry under section 209 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan for “misuse of authority”, the country’s information minister Mohammed Ali Durrani has announced. Justice Javed Iqbal, the next in line has been sworn in as acting Chief Justice.

In a public statement issued on national television, Mr. Durrani said that the chief justice is being investigated and the exact details of charges will be made public once the initial investigation is complete.

Chaudry was controversial for taking up investigations into the highly sensitive issue of the disappearance of political activists allegedly detained illegally by the security forces.

Former justice of the supreme court Justice Abdul Qayyum expressing his shock to the entire situation said, “”He (Chaudhry) was an upright person, and the action against him has surprised me,” said Abdul Qayyum, who now works as a lawyer.

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May 2, 2006

Blogspot ban lifted in Pakistan

Blogspot ban lifted in Pakistan – Wikinews, the free news source

Blogspot ban lifted in Pakistan

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Saturday, May 6, 2006

As of 6th May, 2006, the Pakistani government has once again put a ban on Blogspot. This has been confirmed by numerous bloggers across Pakistan.

The banned blogs can now be accessed through an alternative sites such as PKBlogs.com – Blogspot Proxy and other proxy servers.Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Since the morning of May 2, 2006, the blanket ban on the blogspot.com blogs has been lifted. This has been confirmed by various people on the ‘Action Group Against Blogspot Ban In Pakistan’ mailing list. The six baloch and plenty of Indian sites are still blocked.

The website was originally blocked because some of the blogs it hosted, reportedly contained “sacrilegious” content, mostly in the form of cartoons that were earlier published by Jyllands-Posten, and republished in some Blogs. The Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the government of Pakistan to block all websites that contained such content on March 1, 2006.

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December 10, 2005

Pakistan bans kite flying

Filed under: Archived,Crime and law,Pakistan,Pakistani Supreme Court — admin @ 5:00 am

Pakistan bans kite flying – Wikinews, the free news source

Pakistan bans kite flying

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has extended a ban on making, selling and flying kites. The ban, which was imposed on Oct. 25th, has been extended until the court meets again on Jan. 26th

Officials claim the ban is due to injuries resulting from people using metal kite strings, and due to deaths resulting from kite flyers falling off rooftops.

Basant, a kite-flying festival, where tens of thousands of people fly kites from rooftops and sports fields, takes place in Lahore, Pakistan every February. Hardline Muslims oppose Basant as wasteful and a Hindu festival.

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