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Pak SC validates sacking of judges

Pakistan's Supreme Court, comprising judges handpicked by Musharraf, revalidated as "inevitable" the President's controversial actions of imposing Emergency in November last year and sacking judges.
PTI | By Rezaul H Laskar, Islamabad
UPDATED ON JUL 04, 2008 09:23 PM IST

Pakistan's Supreme Court, comprising judges handpicked by Pervez Musharraf, on Friday revalidated as "inevitable" the president's controversial actions of imposing Emergency in November last year and sacking judges who did not endorse the measure.

The apex court detailed its views in a 26-page judgement on a petition seeking a review of its earlier validation of the emergency. A 13-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar refused to take back an earlier judgement in favour of Musharraf.

The judgement also made observations about the deposed judges, the lawyers' movement and the media.

The apex court quoted Attorney General Malik Qayyum's argument that the deposed judges had "transgressed constitutional limits" and brought the functioning of the government to a near standstill. It said Musharraf's actions had become "inevitable" to save the country from "chaos and anarchy".

Referring to speeches made by deposed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the bench said his utterances on the rule of law made a "mockery of the constitution and the law of the land".

Former premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N party, a key partner in the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan People's Party, has been pressing for the ouster of judges of the Supreme Court who were appointed by Musharraf during the emergency. The PML-N has also alleged that members of the superior judiciary owing allegiance to Musharraf were responsible for judgements such as the order barring Sharif from contesting recent parliamentary bye-polls.

The PPP, however, has not committed itself to removing the judges who were sworn in after endorsing the emergency rule.

In its judgement, the apex court said Musharraf's extra-constitutional actions and ordinances issued during the emergency were protected under a constitutional amendment.

It also observed that "yellow journalism had touched new heights" by maligning institutions of the state.

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