Court overturns 2007 Pakistan emergency rule

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top court ruled yesterday that former president Pervez Musharraf’s decision to impose emergency rule and dismiss senior judges two years ago was unconstitutional.

A 14-member Supreme Court bench headed by recently reinstated Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had summoned Musharraf to appear in person or through a lawyer, but the ex-president ignored the notice. “The Proclamation of Emergency issued by General Pervez Musharraf as the Chief of Army Staff on November 3, 2007... (is) hereby declared to be unconstitutional, ultra vires of the constitution and consequently being illegal,” Chaudhry said, reading the court’s order.

Chaudhry also said Musharraf had illegally sacked about 60 Supreme Court and High Court judges and that his appointment of a new chief justice was “unconstitutional.” The Chaudhry-led bench also ruled “to be void” the validation of emergency rule by Musharraf-appointed chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar and declared all constitutional amendments by Musharraf to be illegal.

The court order said the decision would not disrupt the present constitutional system, including the presidency, office of the prime minister and the parliamentary system.