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Pakistan president appoints justices selected by Supreme Court

[JURIST] Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari [official website] on Wednesday appointed 34 new judges [press release], including three to the country's Supreme Court [official website], after Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [official profile; JURIST news archive] blocked Zardari's original selections. The court blocked [JURIST report] the selections last week because Zardari did not consult with the Supreme Court prior to making the nominations, as mandated by section 177 [text] of the Pakistani Constitution. Among the new Supreme Court justices are Saqib Nisar and Asif Saeed Khosa. Nisar's appointment raised questions within Pakistan [Dawn op-ed], as Chaudhry had previously blocked his nomination to the Lahore High Court. Chaudhry administered the oath of office [Dawn report] to the new Supreme Court justices on Thursday, ending a week of controversy over judicial appointments. Within Pakistan, the resolution of the situation was seen as a victory [News editorial] for preservation of an independent judiciary.

Earlier this week, lawyers in Pakistan boycotted the courts [JURIST report] in protest of both Zardari's attempt at bypassing constitutional measures and at the Supreme Court's actions. The latest clash between the judiciary and the executive in Pakistan continues their history of disputes. Last month, the Supreme Court released a detailed judgment [JURIST report] in the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance [text] case, striking down [JURIST report] an ordinance granting immunity to Zardari and 8,000 other government officials from charges including corruption, embezzlement, murder, and terrorism between January 1986 and October 1999.

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