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Miscarriage of Chief Justice: Judicial Power and the Legal Complex in Pakistan under Musharraf


Shoaib A. Ghias


University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program

July 20, 2008

Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 35, No. 4, p. 985, 2010

Abstract:     
This article explores the struggle for judicial power in Pakistan under Pervez Musharraf focusing on two questions. First, how did pro-Musharraf regime judges expand judicial power, leading to a confrontation with the regime? Second, how did the bar and the bench mobilize in the struggle for judicial power? The author shows how, instead of blindly supporting economic liberalization in a period of economic growth, the Supreme Court expanded power by scrutinizing questionable urban development, privatization, and deregulation measures in a virtuous cycle of public interest litigation. The author also describes how a politics of reciprocity explains the social mobilization of lawyers as the bench protected the bar from regime penetration, and the bar protected the bench from regime backlash. The Pakistani case questions some of our assumptions about economic liberalization and courts in authoritarian regimes; and the study invites scholars to explore the role of courts in developing judicial support structures and the role of lawyers in social movements.

Keywords: Pakistan, lawyers movement, economic liberalization, public interest litigation, judicialization of politics, judicial independence, constitutional crisis, authoritarianism, democratic transition, NRO, bar, bench, media, chief justice, Musharraf, Iftikhar M. Chaudhry, Aitzaz Ahsan

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: August 5, 2008 ; Last revised: October 9, 2011

Suggested Citation

Ghias, Shoaib A., Miscarriage of Chief Justice: Judicial Power and the Legal Complex in Pakistan under Musharraf (July 20, 2008). Law & Social Inquiry, Vol. 35, No. 4, p. 985, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1163642

Contact Information

Shoaib A. Ghias (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program ( email )
2240 Piedmont Ave
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-759-1494 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/jsp/people/viewProfile.html?id=43
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