Pak court overturns 07 emergency

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's top court ruled on Friday that former President Pervez Musharraf's decision to impose emergency rule and dismiss dozens of senior judges two years ago was unconstitutional

A 14-member bench of Supreme Court, headed by recently reinstated Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, had issued notice to Musharraf to appear in person or through a lawyer, but the ex-president ignored the summons.

"The Proclamation of Emergency issued by General Pervez Musharraf as the Chief of Army Staff on November 3, 2007... are hereby declared to be unconstitutional, ultra vires of the Constitution and consequently being illegal," Chaudhry said, reading the short order of Supreme Court.

Chaudhry said Musharraf had illegally sacked about 60 Supreme Court and High Court judges and his appointment of a new chief justice was also "unconstitutional".

Musharraf was replaced last year as Pakistan's president by Asif Ali Zardari, whose party won general elections and who reinstated Chaudhry and his fellow judges in March following a protracted political crisis.

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and lawyers organised a march on the capital Islamabad, demanding that Zardari reinstate Chaudhry during mass protests last March that risked further destabilising the nuclear-armed country.

Under Western pressure Zardari conceded to defuse the standoff with Sharif, who had urged the masses to rise up against the government.