Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers sharply criticized Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in a Monday address to the Indian Supreme Court and its bar, saying that Musharraf’s ouster of Pakistani Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and other superior court judges in November after proclaiming emergency rule was “a serious blow to the rule of law” in Pakistan. Phillips praised Pakistani lawyers and the public for protesting the ousters, and said that judicial independence and the rule of law are essential elements of democracy. He said that an independent judiciary must be able to review government actions “without fear or favor.”
Pakistani lawyers renewed their protests against the regime earlier this month to mark the one-year anniversary of Chaudhry’s ouster. The coalition government newly formed by the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League has vowed to establish a fully independent judiciary, saying that they will work together to reinstate the judges dismissed by Musharraf last year.