Harvard Law School gives its highest honour to Pakistani judge

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Friday, November 21, 2008

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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.”

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