Friday, January 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak ex-CJ faces graft charges

ISLAMABAD, Jan 27 (ANI) — Reliable sources in the Pakistan Government have confirmed that ousted Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and his wife may be investigated for corruption charges.

Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui started his career as a judge of the Sindh High Court in 1980. After a year, he again took oath as judge under the PCO, proclaimed by then chief martial law administrator. Two years ago, according to these sources, when Justice Siddiqui was appointed Chief Justice, the procedure adopted for the removal of his predecessor had no provision in the Constitution. He was thus appointed Chief Justice on a vacancy that was created unconstitutionally.

The sources claimed that Justice Siddiqui was not invited to take oath under the PCO despite his frequent requests to the administration for participation in the function as a common guest.

The sources further said on the change of government on October 12, the armed forces and the judiciary had affirmed to work selflessly for the country’s reconstruction. It was thus agreed to maintain a system of accountability to check those who had penetrated in the judiciary through political corruption and other “misdeeds”.

As Chief Justice, he had assured that he would take effective action against corrupt elements in the judiciary. But soon it was noticed that there was no change in the system of dispensing justice. There were visible indications to show that speedy justice and accountability promises were ineffective.

A former Chief Minister of NWFP was fined Rs 10 lakh only despite substantial evidence regarding embezzlement of crores of rupees against him. Later, he disappeared. “It was a blatant collusion.”

In some other cases, delaying tactics were allowed to be adopted. The sources further claimed that soon the government came to know that people who “purchased” power in the past would now open their coffers to buy “justice”.

A highly placed person of the judiciary received Rs 125 million in cash while his other colleague received Rs 50 million. “The government has solid proof of these cash deals. When these persons were interrogated about the deals, they failed to give any explanation.”

PTI adds: Justice Siddiqui, meanwhile, has defended his decision not to take an oath anew.

“To me it is like breaking the oath we took under the 1973 Constitution,” justice Siddiqui, who declined to take the oath along with five other judges of the Supreme Court, all of whom stood dismissed immediately, told English daily The News in an interview published today.

“At least it will help create an impression that it is not possible to make the judiciary subservient. A majority of the judges do not like to be subservient,” he said.

He said he had no regrets and that it was his declared policy from day one not to take any oath under the provisional constitution and there was no ambiguity about it.

About his meeting with military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf at his residence a day after the October 12, he said he had been assured that there would be no change to the Constitution and no pressure on courts.

In another interview to ‘The Nation, he said he was informed about taking a new oath on Tuesday and “cleared his position” immediately.

He said the provisional constitution promulgated two days after the coup “is an extra-constitutional document and has no connection with the Constitution”.

Justice Siddiqui’s wife complained that the authorities cordoned off their residence for some time and did not allow them to step out.

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