Eleven days after Pakistan's Supreme Court invalidated then president Pervez Musharraf's November 2007 declaration of an emergency and sacking of apex court judges, police were on Monday asked to register a case against the former military dictator for ordering the house arrest of the judges.
Additional Sessions Judge Muhammad Akmal Khan passed the order after hearing a petition filed by advocate Aslam Ghuman, who contended that Musharraf had ordered the house arrest of the judges to prolong his rule.
The judge also noted that the federal law ministry had not presented its side of the case despite being asked to do so. Deputy Attorney General Mehfooz Paracha was present in the court but chose to remain silent during the hearing.
The court then directed the station house officer of the Secretariat police station to record petitioner Ghuman's statement and register a first information report against Musharraf.
Holding that Musharraf had acted extra-judicially, illegally and unconstitutionally, the Supreme Court on July 31 termed as null and void the steps he had taken on November 3, 2007.
A 14-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry, however, stopped short of censuring Musharraf as had been demanded in a petition the court was hearing against the declaration of the emergency.
This was not surprising considering that July 31 morning Chaudhry had said while concluding the hearing that the court would not pass a verdict that would trigger chaos in the country.
He made the remark after Attorney General Latif Khosa said the verdict should be such that it did not harm the "system".
On being queried as to what the "system" was, Khosa replied that this included the president, the prime minister, parliament and the provincial assemblies.
The Supreme Court had summoned Musharraf, who is currently in London on a lecture tour, to appear before it July 29 in person or through his lawyer but he failed do so.
"Determining responsibility for the steps taken on Nov 3, 2007 is necessary," Chaudhry observed July 22 before issuing summons.
Chaudhry, who was one of the 80-odd Supreme Court and high court judges sacked, had been reinstated in March after a bruising lawyers' agitation.
Musharraf had sacked the higher judiciary after it refused to take fresh oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) he promulgated along with the emergency.
The emergency had been declared just as the Supreme Court was to deliver its verdict on the constitutionality of Musharraf's re-election in October 2007.
It had been contended that the same parliament and provincial assemblies that had elected Musharraf in 2002 had re-elected him in 2007 and this was unconstitutional.