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Pakistan Supreme Court declares emergency rule unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Friday declared [judgment, PDF] that former president Pervez Musharraf [official profile; JURIST news archive] violated the Constitution of Pakistan [text] when he declared emergency rule [proclamation, PDF] in November 2007. The court found that Musharraf's removal [JURIST report] of many members of the country's judiciary, including current Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry [official profile; JURIST news archive], and subsequent appointment of Abdul Hameed Dogar [JURIST news archive] as chief justice was unconstitutional and, as a result, judges appointed in consultation with Dogar were removed from office. The decision leaves intact judgments rendered by judges whose position has been declared unconstitutional and reverts lower court judges appointed to the Supreme Court and regional High Courts to their prior posts. In an attempt to avoid future political interference with the judiciary, the Supreme Court amended the judicial Code of Conduct to declare that no "Judge shall, hereinafter, offer any support in whatever manner to any un-constitutional functionary who acquires power otherwise than through the modes envisaged by the Constitution." The judgment does not affect the 2008 general election that brought President Asif Ali Zardari [official website] to power on the grounds that the welfare of the country is served by governmental continuity.

Last August, Musharraf resigned from office [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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