McClatchy Newspapers - ISLAMABAD, Pakistan— With U.S. encouragement, Pakistan's new civilian government is set to cut the powers of the country's chief justice even as it prepares to reinstate the man who challenged President Pervez Musharraf and then was fired by him, according to two knowledgeable officials in the dominant Pakistan People's Party.
The plan now under consideration would slash the authority of deposed chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry , a move that may allow President Pervez Musharraf to survive the reinstatement of the jurist he has described as the "scum of the earth".
Lawyers who have campaigned vigorously for Chaudhry's restoration say intense U.S. pressure is driving the government initiative. The lawyers, who have had many contacts with U.S. officials, say the U.S. drive is based on a fear that a restored chief justice would attempt to unseat the president, a close ally of President George Bush . Deposed from office, Musharraf could face treason charges for suspending the country's constitution for a six-week period in November.
Lawyers said U.S. ambassador in Islamabad , Anne Patterson , even floated a plan to send Chaudhry abroad. Tariq Mehmood , a retired judge and leader of the lawyers, told McClatchy Newspapers that Patterson raised the possibility at a meeting with him and other legal campaigners in early March. She is said to have asked what they thought of the possibility that Chaudhry could be appointed a judge at the International Court of Justice in the Hague instead of returning to his old job.
RLCC Comment: The Bush administration is trying to prop up it's puppet dictator in Pakistan by meddling with Pakistan's judiciary, one of Pakistan's better aspects, relatively speaking.
, obtained via: , April 17, 2008, 2:59pm