Govt more anti-judiciary than Musharraf, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday

LAHORE: Deposed judge Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday finds the democratically-elected government more hostile towards the judiciary than President Pervez Musharraf.

In his first-ever interview, with Geo TV’s Absar Alam, Ramday said that the then army chief and President Pervez Musharraf felt compelled to impose “martial law” and do away with some 60 judges only to continue in the presidency, but the democratically-elected government of the day had gone farther than that — it wanted to cut the constitutional powers of the judiciary.

He said he rejected the offers and pressure while hearing the deposed CJ case. When asked how he refused to take huge sums of money as bribe and offer to make his son a federal minister, he said what was the guarantee that he would have survived to enjoy Rs 1 billion or his son would have survived to enjoy the ministerial status.

He said he never regretted the decision he gave as the judge. Ramday wondered what the status of the deposed judges was. The then army chief said the judges were gone while the present government told them they were in service, but where they are actually, he asked.

He said the present Supreme Court and its judges had no status as it lacked parliamentary validation. He categorically stated that it was martial law, not emergency, that Gen Musharraf imposed on November 3, 2007 as it was in no way different from what he did in 1999 or Gen Ziaul Haq in 1977, as in both the cases the constitution was set aside.

During the interview, Ramday spoke of the days when his bench was hearing a petition against the presidential reference against the deposed CJ Iftikhar and the immense pressure he and his fellow judges faced.

He said the decision on July 20, 2007 quashing the presidential reference was historic. He recalled the intense chase of the top judges by the secret agency sleuths.

He said that when he visited Dubai, Amsterdam and Geneva after July 20, 2007, a special Pakistani intelligence cell was set up at Amsterdam to monitor his activities. He said his relatives who invited him were later harassed by the intelligence officials.

Without naming Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum, he said a former colleague and friend phoned him in Amsterdam just to verify his presence there for the authorities for whom he was working.

He said he was conveyed by President Pervez Musharraf that he was not behind these acts. He said he could not say whether the pressure on him was put on Musharraf’s orders. He said the CBR has opened the income tax files of his son and then closed them.

Source: The News, 21/7/2008

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