Chief Justice Iftikhar rejects eviction notice.

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By Nasir Iqbal, ISLAMABAD, Jan 12:
The government on Saturday served a notice on the deposed chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, asking him to vacate the official residence, but he refused to entertain the letter, saying “I am not a retired judge”.Justice Iftikhar also said the rules did not permit the authorities to force a retired judge to leave government accommodation within six months of retirement.Strange as it may sound, the notice was served not through the law ministry or the registrar of the Supreme Court, but through the Public Works Department. It bore the signatures of an executive engineer.The deposed chief justice returned the notice with a hand-written message, challenging the government’s position.Since the imposition of emergency on Nov 3, a number of deposed judges, including Justice Iftikhar, have been under detention inside the Judges Enclave, near the Margalla hills.“It is informed that Chief Justice House, under your occupation, is required to be vacated for handing over to the present Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, as he is facing great inconvenience in his present residence due to non-availability of office facility in the residence,” the order, dated Jan 12, said.“It is, therefore, requested to kindly vacate the said house within a week’s time so that the Honourable Chief Justice is shifted to the house at the earliest,” the government’s order said. It addressed Justice Iftikhar as a retired judge.Copies of the order were sent to the registrar of the Supreme Court, secretary of housing and works and the director general of PWD.Justice Iftikhar said in his reply that he was still the chief justice under the 1973 Constitution and was entitled to retain the government accommodation till superannuation (Dec 2013).He recalled a decision made at a meeting of the full court, comprising all the then judges of the Supreme Court, on May 21 last year, allowing judges or the chief justice six months to vacate any government house.He also said that he was under house arrest since Nov 3 and had no idea what was going on “against my interests”. “Therefore, in these circumstances, I cannot be pressed to vacate this house within a week’s period,” Justice Iftikhar said.

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