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Pakistan chief justice swears in 4 more ousted judges

[JURIST] Pakistani Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar [official profile] swore in four previously ousted judges as new members of the country's Supreme Court [official website] Saturday, bringing the number of the judges on the reconstituted court to 29. Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan and Justice Nasirul Mulk were members of the top court when they were effectively dismissed in November last year under former President Pervez Musharraf's proclamation of emergency. Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Sarmad Jalal Osmany were previously members of the Sindh High Court and were ousted from their positions by the same measure. Given existing rules of seniority, Khan will succeed Dogar when the latter is required to leave office on March 21, 2009. In the wake of this latest reinstatement, only six of the pre-emergency Supreme Court justices remain unrestored, most notable among the former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive]. After Saturday's reinstatements Law Minister Farooq H. Naek reiterated that under the Pakistan Constitution, only one Chief Justice could sit at any one time. The current Pakistan People's Party government has made no move to replace Dogar. From Pakistan, Dawn has local coverage.

Three other judges ousted from the Pakistani Supreme Court were reinstated [JURIST report] earlier this month. Critics of the government have described the piecemeal reinstatements [JURIST report] as evidence of a "conspiracy" to undermine support for total reinstatement. Last week lawyers in Islamabad and other centers boycotted legal proceedings [JURIST report] and held protests calling for the restoration of all judges ousted by Musharraf last November.

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