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Pakistan high court issues detailed judgment declaring emergency rule unlawful

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] on Thursday released a detailed judgment [text, PDF] to accompany a July declaration [judgment, PDF; JURIST report] 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 in July 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. Thursday's judgment declared Musharraf's actions illegal, calling him a usurper:

After the acts of 3rd November, 2007 General Pervez Musharraf was as much a usurper as was General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan after the imposition of martial law in 1969. Therefore, as stated by Yaqub Ali Khan, J., in Asma Jilani's case, at the first available opportunity, on the ouster of the usurper, his actions should be nullified and he would be liable to be tried for high treason and punished.

Former parliamentary affairs minister Dr Sher Afgan said he does not recognize the judgment [Dawn report] because he does not believe the Supreme Court to be a rightful institution.

In August, the Supreme Court registrar rejected a petition [JURIST report] seeking treason charges against Musharraf, finding that the applicant lacked standing and that the Supreme Court was not the appropriate forum for such a petition. Earlier that month, Pakistan's Awami National Party (ANP) [party website] said that it would support treason charges against Musharraf, one day after Pakistani police filed charges [JURIST reports] against Musharraf alleging that he illegally detained members of the judiciary after declaring emergency rule [proclamation, PDF] in November 2007. Musharraf resigned from office [JURIST report] in August 2008 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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