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Pakistan bar rejects challenge to new chief justice but denounces emergency

[JURIST] The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) on Saturday voted down a challenge to the constitutionality of Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar's [official profile] appointment, as Pakistani Law Minister Farooq H. Naek defended Dogar as the lawful chief justice. The PBC unanimously adopted a measure denouncing as illegal the November 2007 declaration of emergency rule [JURIST report] by then-Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf that led to the ousting of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive]. Despite the condemnation, the PBC voted 6-12 against [Dawn report] a call to reinstate Chaudhry as chief justice. Also defeated was a resolution to take action against Dogar for allegations that he abused his position to secure his daughter's admission to medical school. Following the vote, National Assembly Standing Committee on Education Chairman Abid Sher Ali sent a letter [News report] to President Asif Ali Zardari urging him to seek Dogar's resignation.

The challenges to Dogar were introduced by recently-elected president of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association Ali Ahmad Kurd, who has taken up the charge to reinstate Chaudhry [JURIST report] as the "constitutional" chief justice of Pakistan. Last month, members of the Pakistan lawyers' movement [NYT backgrounder; JURIST news archive] renewed their demands for the reinstatement [JURIST report] of all superior court judges dismissed by Musharraf's emergency rule. Although Pakistani officials have now reinstated most of the over 60 judges ousted by Musharraf, Naek has repeatedly insisted that Chaudhry will not be reinstated [JURIST report] because Dogar was legitimately appointed [JURIST report] and the Pakistani Constitution [text] does not permit the appointment of two chief justices.

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