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In reading about Pakistani politics I got the impression that the judiciary is closely associated with the military. However, I remember that Musharraf's fall from power began by his confronting the Supreme Court and trying to fire its head. How do these two points square?

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migrated from history.stackexchange.com Jan 16 '13 at 19:12

This question came from our site for historians and history buffs.

I think this was part of a power play between then President Perez Musharraf and chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in 2007 over Musharraf's attempt to get an extraordinary prolonged mandate as his predecessors had also done, but as Chaudhry would not support.

Here's an excerpt from the Aug 16th 2007 edition of The Economist:

In 2002 General Musharraf amended this clause to grant himself a one-off dispensation [from the constitutional rule whereby the president may not hold a second office]. He would like to do so again. But constitutional change requires the support of two-thirds of parliament, which he does not have. Alternatively, General Musharraf could try to get re-elected as a civilian. He would then quit the army, either before his tenure expires on November 15th (though he says December 31st), or else he would hope to be re-elected by the next parliament. Either way, he will be at the judges' mercy. The constitution says the president must have held no other public office for two years.

As to the root causes why the opinions were not fully aligned between the Pakistani judiciary and military in 2007, I think these were mainly attributed to Chaudhry as a personal actor, who had considerable popular support as well as support in the resulting lawyers' movement. I've also heard complaints from inside Pakistan that Western media tend to simplify and portray Chaudhry as a blameless hero: but as always, there must be interesting shades of gray, which I'd also be curious to learn about.

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That "gray" link more or less blew my mind. And I do like complicated court intrigues (pun unintended). – Felix Goldberg Jan 16 '13 at 12:14

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