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Musharraf lifts Emergency in Pak

The Pak president issues three orders under which the state of Emergency is lifted, reports Kamal Siddiqi

world Updated: Dec 16, 2007 01:44 IST
Kamal Siddiqi

Pakistan’s President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf on Saturday issued a presidential order to lift the state of emergency and to restore the constitution.

A government spokesman said that fundamental rights of the people have been restored with the lifting of emergency. The state of emergency was declared on November 3.

Information Secretary Anwar Mehmood said in a statement, “The emergency has been lifted. President Musharraf has signed the order repealing the state of emergency.”

A Presidential Order was issued on Saturday afternoon under which the state of emergency was revoked and the Provisional Constitution Order-2007 (PCO) repealed with immediate effect.

Earlier, Musharraf amended various articles of the constitution providing protection and continuity to the superior courts judges who took oath under the PCO, and removed those who did not take oath under the PCO.

One amendment lowered the age of appointment of high court judges from 45 years to 40 years. Government officials said that this will facilitate entry of judges into high courts to remain in service for a longer period.

Article 270-C of the Constitution was also amended to provide that the judges who have not taken oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order 2007 shall cease to hold office with effect from November 3, 2007 and the judges who have taken oath under the said Order shall continue to hold office under the Constitution. The move comes at a time when most opposition parties are demanding a reinstatement of those judges removed for not signing the PCO. The amendment has been made to clear doubts about the judges who have ceased to hold office, and the revival of the Constitution will not make them eligible to regain the charge of their offices.

Clauses (2) and (3) of Article 41, which pertain to the office of the president, also stood amended with changes of words “subject to the Constitution”, which will now be substituted as “notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution” and the words of “to be elected after the expiration of the term specified in clause (7)” shall be omitted and shall be deemed to have been omitted with effect from August 17, 1988.

The Pakistan president also issued a constitutional amendment order late Friday which exempts him from getting parliamentary ratification for imposition of November 3 emergency rule.

“Whatever amendments are made in the Constitution do not need ratification from the Parliament,” Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum told local journalists in Islamabad, adding “The emergency will be lifted before 1 pm today (Saturday).”

This is the second time President Musharraf has amended the constitution after declaring a state of emergency.

On November 21 Musharraf issued the first order to amend the Constitution to stipulate that imposition of emergency “is declared to have been validly made” and “shall not be called in question in any court or forum on any ground whatsoever.”

All other decisions made in relation to emergency rule “shall... be deemed to be and always to have been validly made,” added the earlier order.