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Pakistan high court summons Musharraf to explain emergency rule declaration

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Wednesday summoned former president Pervez Musharraf [JURIST news archive] to appear before the court and justify his November 2007 declaration of emergency rule [JURIST report] in the country. Under the rules, Musharraf had dismissed [JURIST report] many members of the country's judiciary, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [official profile; JURIST news archive]. Musharraf had argued that the courts had interfered with his ability to combat extremist rebels in the country and that his action was permissible under Article 232 of Pakistan's constitution [text]. That claim was rejected by the Supreme Court at the time, but was later upheld [JURIST report] by a court reconstituted by Musharraf after the dismissal of the existing justices. The order calls for Musharraf to appear before the court on July 29. Legal experts from the country say that the order is not binding [Daily Times report] on Musharraf, but that it may signal possible further action against the former leader.

Last August, Musharraf resigned from office [press release; JURIST report] in order to avoid impeachment proceedings by the country's parliament. Earlier that month, the country's coalition government said that it would push to impeach Musharraf because he had given a "clear commitment" to step down from office after his party was defeated in parliamentary elections [JURIST reports]. In June 2008, former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif [JURIST news archive] called for Musharraf to be tried for treason [JURIST report], labeling him a traitor disloyal to Pakistan and saying he should be punished for the "damage" that he had done to the country in the years since he led a military coup [BBC backgrounder] and unseated Sharif in 1999.

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