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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Pakistan Supreme Court lashes out
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry leaving from Karachi from Islamabad
Mr Chaudhry was suspended from his post in March
Pakistan's Supreme Court has thrown out evidence that government lawyers wanted to use to dismiss the ousted chief justice, describing it as "scandalous".

The judge also banned intelligence officers from the court and ordered the building and the homes of senior judges to be checked for bugging devices.

The evidence in question is said to concern judges' personal lives.

President Musharraf alleges abuse of office by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who denies the allegation.

No unauthorised persons including from intelligence agencies shall enter the offices of this court
Supreme Court order

Justice Chaudhry went to the Supreme Court to challenge both his suspension and the powers of a judicial panel originally tasked with investigating his alleged wrong-doing.

Protests over his suspension have been gathering pace since March, presenting the president with what observers say is the biggest challenge to his authority since he seized power.

'Despicable'

Supreme Court presiding judge Khalil-ur-Rahman Ramday did not reveal the nature of the government evidence which he called "vexatious and scandalous".

Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad, 12-5-2007
Gen Musharraf accuses the judge of abuse of office

But Mr Chaudhry's lawyers had said documents put before the Supreme Court last week by government lawyers contained photographs taken inside the ousted chief justice's home.

There were also anonymous complaints and derogatory remarks about senior judges, the lawyers said.

Justice Ramday said not even the most despicable of appellants would have tried to use the material that the state apparatus had filed in evidence on behalf of President Musharraf.

He reprimanded Chaudhry Akhtar Ali, the government lawyer responsible. Mr Ali was also charged with contempt of court and had his legal licence suspended.

"What message will you convey to the world about the president, about the head of state, because you have maligned him?" Justice Ramday asked, the AFP news agency reports.

Chief Justice Chaudhry's lawyers have also repeatedly complained that intelligence officials were present in the Supreme Court building and spying on judges.

Justice Ramday said he had no option but to ban unauthorised people, including intelligence officials, from the court.

The head of one security agency, the Intelligence Bureau, was given a week to ensure that the court and judges' homes were free from bugs.




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