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Reconstituted Pakistan high court strikes down anti-emergency order

[JURIST] The newly-reconstituted Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] officially ruled Tuesday that the order [text] against President Pervez Musharraf's declaration of emergency rule issued Saturday by a seven-person Supreme Court bench led by now-dismissed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was "void, quroum non judice and passed without lawful authority," saying it "shall be deemed never to have been passed as Proclamation of Emergency and the Provisional Constitution Order were already issued by the President." Newly-installed Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar said Sunday that the order had never been given by the court [JURIST report], as its power had ended with the declaration of emergency which effectively dismissed the country's judges pending new oaths of office. APP has more.

The new Supreme Court, which has yet to reach its new reduced complement of twelve justices, is likely to revisit several politically-charged cases which had been pending before the former high court, most notably a challenge to the eligibility of President Pervez Musharraf to run for re-election while still Army Chief of Staff, and a challenge to the validity of a recent amnesty agreement [JURIST reports] reached between the Musharraf government and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, which allowed her to return from exile last month. The declaration of emergency [PDF text] issued by Musharraf Saturday contended that the country's judiciary had been a source of "increasing interference" in executive political affairs.

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