A noted Pakistani jurist on Wednesday said President Pervez Musharraf has no authority to suspend the Chief Justice, as he is not a constitutionally elected leader.
Arguing for the suspended top judge in the Supreme Court, Fakhruddin G Ibrahim also cited the Indian judiciary as a role model for the firmness with which it upheld its independence.
He also said that it was time for Pakistan judiciary to decide once for all whether to bid 'farewell' to army rule or say goodbye to the Constitution.
Referring to the 2002 referendum that kept the military ruler in power, he said the Constitution has no provision for such a referendum. Therefore, Musharraf has no legal power to suspend chief justice Iftikar M Chaudhry, he said.
"Constitution is a soul of a republic and its heart is the independence of Judiciary. Time has come to say 'farewell to arms', (army rule) otherwise, it will be a farewell to the Constitution", Ibrahim, a former high court judge who had resigned while refusing to take oath under Zia ul Haq, told the full bench of the apex court hearing Chaudhry's petition.
Interestingly, Ibrahim cited the Indian judiciary as a "role model" and referred to the recent observations of Pakistan's Ambassador to Washington, Muhammad Durrani that "in democracy, it (India) is a role model. In economic development, it is a role model. But we hope that some day Pakistan will beat them in both of these things." "If Indian democracy and economy are role models why not their judiciary," Ibrahim said citing a case dealt by the Indian judiciary.