While it’s still early to say what the long term implications would be of the Supreme Court (SC) verdict, one outcome that is clear — former President Musharraf would not be returning to Pakistan any time soon.
Leading lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan told reporters that while he would want Musharraf to be put on trial, “I don't see him coming back to Pakistan any time soon.”
Ahsan and other legal figures are also of the opinion that the SC decision would also make other dictators “think twice” before they try and subvert the constitution of Pakistan.
What is significant, however, is that under this decision all 37 ordinances passed during Musharraf’s tenure have been declared illegal.
These includes the National Command and Control Ordinance and more important, the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), under which President Zardari was granted indemnity.
But legal experts say that this is not so. Analyst Shamim Ur Rehman pointed out that the NRO was promulgated on October 5, 2007 while the court judgement declares all judgements made after November 3, when emergency was declared, as unconstitutional.
At the same time, the SC is already hearing a number of petitions filed by supporters of the PML-N party challenging the NRO.
The verdict said all the appointments of judges on and after November 3, 2007 under PCO were unconstitutional. The case of PCO judges will be referred to the Supreme Judicial Council, it said.
Justice Shaiq Usmani, a former senior judge, said there will be a lot of confusion in the coming days. The PML-N will continue to focus on the NRO, under which a number of politicians facing criminal proceedings were pardoned and allowed to stand for elections.
“It may be recalled that Mian Nawaz Sharif did not ask for a pardon under the NRO and instead cleared his name through the judiciary after the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry,” pointed out another political analyst.
One immediate impact of the decision is: it could result in a vacuum in the justice system in provinces like Balochistan where most judges had taken oath under the PCO. Judicial activity could come to a standstill till new judges are appointed.
The SC ruling also opens the doors for Pakistan's parliament to take action against President Musharraf’s decisions.