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Pakistan high court halts disciplinary inquiry into suspended chief justice

[JURIST] The Pakistan Supreme Court [official website] on Monday suspended an investigation into misconduct charges against Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive]. Pakistan's Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) [governing constitutional provisions] has been conducting an inquiry into Chaudhry's alleged misconduct, but Chaudhry appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the SJC lacked competence to try him. Chaudhry's lawyer told AFP Monday that the court decided that the case should instead be heard by the full Supreme Court. The high court will begin considering Chaudhry's suspension May 8. AFP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

Chaudhry was technically made "non-functional" [JURIST report] by a March 9 order of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. No specifics were provided at the time of his suspension but documents subsequently disclosed [JURIST report] suggest he was officially removed on suspicion of misusing his influence to get his son jobs and promotions. Lawyers and opposition leaders critical of the move say, however, that the suspension was an assault on the independence of the country's judiciary and an indirect bid by Musharraf to continue his eight-year rule in an election year.

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