The Supreme Court of Pakistan July 31 declared that former president Pervez Musharraf violated the constitution when he declared emergency rule in November 2007. The court also found that Musharraf’s removal of many members of the judiciary, including current Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, and subsequent appointment of Abdul Hameed Dogar as chief justice were unconstitutional. Judges appointed in consultation with Dogar were removed from office.
The decision leaves intact judgments rendered by judges whose position has been declared unconstitutional and reverts lower court judges appointed to the Supreme Court and regional High Courts to their prior posts. In an attempt to avoid future political interference with the judiciary, the Supreme Court amended the judicial code to declare that no judge “shall, hereinafter, offer any support in whatever manner to any un-constitutional functionary who acquires power otherwise than through the modes envisaged by the Constitution.” The judgment does not affect the 2008 general election that brought President Asif Ali Zardari to power.
Last August, Musharraf resigned from office in order to avoid impeachment proceedings by the country’s parliament. Earlier that month, the country’s coalition government said that it would push to impeach Musharraf because he had given a “clear commitment” to step down from office after his party was defeated in parliamentary elections. In June 2008, former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif called for Musharraf to be tried for treason, labeling him a traitor disloyal to Pakistan and saying he should be punished for the “damage” that he had done to the country in the years since he led a military coup and unseated Sharif in 1999. (Jurist, July 31)
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