India Chief Justice Warns Of Punishment

Pakistan’s deposed chief justice warned offiicals who had allowed President Musharraf to maintain his power faced possible punishment by the laws of the country. Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry told a meeting of lawyers and activists the Supreme Court had issued a decision shortly before being fired by Musharraf that declared his emergency rule was illegal. He promised that anyone who violated the court’s order “will be punished no mater how big he is and whatever position he is attaining.” At this point, the chief justice has not been returned to his former position so it is unlikely he can punish anyone.

The current government has been locked in a conflict over how best to restore the former justices. Asif Ali Zardari, co-chair of the Pakistan People’s Party which is the center of the present government wants to move slowly in restoring justices in order to avoid another constitutional crisis while its ally, Nawaz Sharif wants immediate action not only to restore the justices but to remove Musharraf as president. Zardari says his party has “never accepted Musharraf as a constitutional president but always said that we will keep a working relationship. We intend to walk him away rather than impeach him away.”

At this point in tme, Pakistan must deal with violence in northwest territories and work slowly to get rid of Musharraf. Everyone is agreed he must go, but haste might result in wasted opportunities to deal with immediate problems.