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Pakistan lawyers press call to reinstate judges on emergency anniversary

[JURIST] Members of the Pakistan lawyers' movement [NYT backgrounder; JURIST news archive] Monday renewed their demands for the reinstatement [News report] of all superior court judges dismissed last November 3 following then-Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule [JURIST report], and threatened more anti-government protests if their demands are not met. At a mass rally of lawyers in Rawalpindi held to mark the anniversary, ousted Chief Justice Chaudhry called the declaration of emergency law last year "martial law" [Dawn report]. In a statement released Sunday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) [party website; JURIST news archive], led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, pledged its continued support [Daily Times report] for the lawyers' movement and their protests. The PML-N split with the ruling Pakistan People's Party earlier this year, claiming the PPP government was acting too slowly on the reinstatement issue. Reuters has more.

Last week, Ali Ahmad Kurd, the newly-elected president [Daily Times report] of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), called [JURIST report] Chaudhry the "constitutional" chief justice of Pakistan, and said Chaudhry would "soon be restored" to his former post. Although Pakistani officials have now reinstated most of the over 60 judges ousted by Musharraf under the emergency, the Law Minister of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has repeatedly insisted that Chaudhry will not be reinstated [JURIST report] because current chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar was, according to him, legitimately appointed [JURIST report] and the Pakistani Constitution [text] does not permit the appointment of two chief justices. Chaudhry was the prime mover in the Pakistan Supreme Court's pre-emergency bid to constrain the country's executive, a role which brought about his initial suspension [JURIST report] by Musharraf in March 2007. He was subsequently reinstated [JURIST report] after months of agitation by Pakistani lawyers. After the November declaration of emergency rule he was put under effective house arrest and was only freed after several months.

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