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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Pakistanis 'dismayed' with courts
Pakistan's new chief justice has said that the general public is "dismayed and disillusioned" with the country's judicial system.

"There is a serious crisis of confidence between the people and the judiciary," Chief Justice designate Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry said.

Pakistani courts have often come under criticism from the media and rights bodies for their judgements.

Senior Pakistani judges have also been critical of the country's judiciary.

Justice 'elusive'

"Let there be candid admission that the man in the street is disillusioned with the judiciary's role," Chief Justice Chaudhry told a gathering in the capital, Islamabad, held in the honour of the outgoing Chief Justice, Nazim Hussain Siddiqui.

"Proper justice has become elusive in our society," he said.

Chief Justice Chaudhry drew the attention of the participants to repeated calls in Pakistan's media for accountability of the judges.

"This reflects a serious crisis of confidence that can shake the very foundations of the country's judicial hierarchy," he warned.

He said that Pakistan had lost its "moral moorings" and that "people craved high offices and exalted positions just to demonstrate their superiority over others".

His views were endorsed by the outgoing Chief Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui who warned that "societies without justice were bound to vanish".

Mr Siddiqui condemned frivolous litigation, saying that as many as 30,000 cases were currently pending before the Supreme Court.

Addressing the function, Pakistan Bar Council chairman Hafiz Ansari said the superior courts had "protected usurpers" and their approval of military rulers' unconstitutional actions had "irreparably damaged" their credibility.

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