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Pakistan law minister rules out reinstating chief justice

[JURIST] Pakistani Law Minister Farooq H. Naek told reporters [Daily Mail report] Thursday that ousted Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] cannot be reinstated because the current chief justice was legitimately appointed [JURIST report]. Naek said that Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar [official profile; JURIST news archive] should be recognized as holding the office and that the Pakistani Constitution [text] does not permit the appointment of two chief justices. Reacting to Naek's comments, Aitzaz Ahsan [profile], president of Pakistan's Supreme Court Bar Association, said that Dogar had not been recognized as chief justice [Khaleej Times report] by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] before her assassination last year. Associated Press of Pakistan has more.

Lawyers blocked streets throughout Pakistan [JURIST news archive] on Thursday to demand the reappointment of Chaudhry and dozens of other judges removed last year [JURIST report] by former President Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive]. The protests follow Wednesday's reappointment of eight ousted judges [JURIST report] to the Sindh High Court [official website] in Karachi, a development that leaders of the nationwide lawyers' movement [AHRC backgrounder; PBS report] described as a "conspiracy" to undermine support for total reinstatement. Pakistan's coalition government dissolved [JURIST report] Monday after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif [party profile; JURIST news archive] withdrew his Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) party [party website] over the failure to reach an agreement with the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) [party website] that would reinstate the ousted judges.

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