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Chaudhry lawyer alleges intimidation by Pakistan government

[JURIST] Aitzaz Ahsan, a lawyer on the defense team for suspended Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive] complained Wednesday before the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] that his legal team was under "enormous government pressure" meant to discourage it from arguing its case. Ahsan accused the government of tapping the legal team's telephones, and said that members of the team were receiving anonymous threats. He also referred to the murder of a witness who was a Supreme Court official [JURIST report] and the arrest of another witness. Presiding Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday described the circumstances as "extraordinary," and said he hoped the situation would improve for the legal team.

Also on Wednesday, Pakistan government prosecutors concluded their arguments that the high court lacked jurisdiction [JURIST report] to hear Chaudhry's petition, arguing for the third-straight day that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) which initially heard the disciplinary case against Chaudhry was a constitutional body and its proceedings could not be challenged in any court of law. Prosecutors also argued that Chaudhry's petition before the Supreme Court, which led to the suspension of the SJC proceedings [JURIST report], could not be heard by the court because it was an individual grievance. Government lawyers are seeking to end the suspension so that the SJC can resume its investigation into the alleged misconduct by Chauhdry as well as the legality of Chaudhry's suspension [JURIST report] on March 9. PTI has more.

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