Brave Thinkers

Illustration by Quickhoney

Name: Iftikhar Chaudhry
Job: Chief Justice of Pakistan
Why he’s brave: His independent thinking got him suspended by the president, and his commitment to the law got him reinstated by the Supreme Court.
Quote: “We should be proud of our citizens who, despite difficult conditions and state of war in the country, are still loyal to the state and cooperating.”


Chaudhry was expelled from Pakistan’s Supreme Court and arrested in 2007 after demanding more government accountability and resisting the growing power of then-President Pervez Musharraf. A historic two-year protest by the country’s lawyers—made famous by televised images of police tear-gassing men in business suits—eventually prompted his full reinstatement in March. Chaudhry has ruled against the crooked privatization of government assets, agitated for human-rights reform, and investigated illegal detentions by Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies. More recently, he has criticized the government’s cowardly and disastrous acquiescence to the Taliban in Swat, the chaotic territory 100 miles from Islamabad. Though criticized for his temper and self-aggrandizement, Chaudhry has come to personify Pakistani hopes for an independent judiciary, the rule of law, and an end to the arbitrary authority exercised, often violently, by the country’s political and military elite.

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