Pakistan's new chief justice sworn in after Chaudhry's retirement

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's new chief justice took his oath of office on Thursday after his outspoken predecessor retired, ending an eight-year turbulent and at times controversial era.

Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain swore in Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani after Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry stepped down a day earlier.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry and other top government officials including ministers attended the ceremony.

Chaudhry, originally appointed in 2005 during the military rule of Pervez Musharraf and who came to be one of the architects of the former general's downfall, has divided opinion.

Some have praised him for fearlessly taking on politicians and security agencies, while others have criticised him for exceeding the proper authority of the chief justice and interfering in political matters.

In June last year he chaired a Supreme Court bench that sacked the then-prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after convicting him of contempt of court.

The move, likened by some observers to a "judicial coup", marked the culmination of a long-running tussle between the judiciary and the government led by the Pakistan People's Party over corruption allegations against the then-president Asif Ali Zardari.

Chaudhry has also taken on Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies, which are often seen as untouchable, demanding they explain the fate of missing persons believed to have disappeared into their custody.

Legal circles see the 64-year-old Jillani to be a far quieter presence.

Jillani has been a Supreme Court judge since 2004 and, like Chaudhry, was sacked when Musharraf imposed emergency rule in November 2007.

Faced with growing protests led by lawyers furious at the treatment of the judges, Musharraf stepped down as army chief later the same month and lost a general election in February 2008.

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