Pakistan's Supreme Court on Wednesday issued contempt notices to army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, former president Pervez Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and several army officers for their alleged role in imposing emergency and sacking judges Nov 3, 2007.
This is the first time that a serving army chief has been issued contempt of court notice in the country's judicial history.
Musharraf had imposed emergency after developing differences with then chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary, and sacked the judges besides clamping down on opposition protests and banning the broadcast of news channels.
Musharraf had also introduced a provisional constitution order (PCO) for judiciary and only those judges of the apex court and high courts who agreed to take a new oath under PCO were retained.
These judges, including then newly appointed chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, also validated the emergency and the sacking, while others, including Justice Chaudhary, were shown the door and put under house arrest.
Justice Chaudhary, upon his restoration, took suo-motu notice of the Nov 3 directive and declared all actions taken for imposition of emergency as null and void.
The judges, who took oath under the PCO, were made to leave and were also barred from using the title of ex-judge or ex-chief justice with their names.
These judges submitted a written apology and were pardoned by the court, while 11 of them, including Abdul Hameed Dogar, decided to contest the case. The trial has been going on for more than a year and the verdict was announced Wednesday, Dawn TV reported.
"The apex court rejected the plea of the PCO judges and ordered to issue contempt notices to them, as well as Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz, Kayani and other generals serving as corps commanders at that time," the channel added.
The court has called the PCO judges Feb 12 and announced they would be tried under contempt of court charges.
President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Asma Jahangir, however, expressed reservations at the verdict. "This is probably the only instance anywhere in the world where court will try its own judges for contempt," she said.