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Pakistani Chief Justice Visits Penn Law

November 24, 2008


Penn Law School Dean Michael A. Fitts welcomes Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.


As part of his first visit outside Pakistan since his detention in November 2007, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of the Pakistan Supreme Court addressed a standing-room only crowd at a special dean's lecture at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Watch the lecture here.

Chaudhry is travelling the east coast talking to lawyers about the "civil revolution" happening in his country ,"a decisive movement in the evolution of Pakistan to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law."

His trip also included a visit to Harvard Law School, where he accepted that school's Medal of Freedom.

During his lecture at Penn Law, Chaudhry refused the label "hero," saying he was simply "a guardian of the constitution." He accepted accolades on behalf of the people of Pakistan who continue to fight for the rule of law, saying: "I represent the thousands of lawyers who have been fighting for an independent judiciary and the rule of law ... I represent the countless Pakistanis who stood alongside the lawyers and have endured all kinds of atrocities... I represent the brave and valiant reporters and journalists of the Pakistani media, who have also experienced every possible hurdle, including not only risking their lives but actually sacrificing their lives because of what they stood for and what they were not prepared to compromise."

In November 2007, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution, and Chaudhry and his family were detained under house arrest for five months. Thousands of lawyers led a "silent revolution" to protect the rule of law, calling for Musharraf to step down. Chaudhry was released after Yousuf Raza Gilani was confirmed as Prime Minister in March 2008.