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Pakistan government delaying chief justice appeal: lawyer

[JURIST] Ali Ahmed Kurd, a senior lawyer on the defense team for suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive], accused Pakistani government lawyers Tuesday of "wasting the time of [the Supreme Court of Pakistan] and the entire nation" by stalling judicial proceedings in his case. Kurd made the statement before the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] after government lawyers spent a third straight day trying to deny the court's jurisdiction [JURIST report] in the Chaudhry investigation by citing precedents. Government lawyers denied the accusations, and presiding Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday said he will not dictate how arguments will be presented on either side. Kurd suggested that the government is hoping to weaken opposition to President Pervez Musharraf and distract public attention from the case, which has culminated in violent confrontations [JURIST report] between government and opposition supporters.

Government lawyers are seeking to end the Supreme Court's suspension [JURIST report] of the Supreme Judicial Council's (SJC) inquiry into the alleged misconduct by Chaudhry as well as the legality of Chaudhry's March 9 suspension [JURIST report] from office. On Monday, Ramday refuted arguments made by government lawyers that the court should not "interfere with SJC proceedings or assume jurisdiction" of the inquiry, saying that if the SJC was a fully independent court it would render Pakistan's constitutional provisions [text] governing the SJC superfluous. AFP has more.

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