[JURIST] Pakistan state television announced Saturday that President Pervez Musharraf [official website] has appointed a new chief justice for the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] after dismissing Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] in the wake of suspending the country's constitution and declaring emergency rule [proclamation, PDF] earlier in the day. Media reports said Chaudhry had been told his services were "no longer required." Previous declarations of emergency rule in Pakistan have required judges to take a new oath of office before continuing in their positions. Chaudhry had instructed his Supreme Court colleagues not to take any oath [order, PDF] under the new Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) [text], but Musharraf is reported to have personally administered the oath of office to Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar [official profile]. Representatives of lawyers groups who supported Chaudhry after he was suspended by Musharraf in March denounced the new appointment as illegal, saying Dogar was already the subject of a corruption probe. DPA has more. AFP has additional coverage. The Pakistan Tribune has local coverage.
Musharraf made the emergency declaration
Saturday as the country anticipated a Supreme Court ruling
[JURIST report] on whether Musharraf had been eligible to run for re-election as Pakistan's president while still army chief. Media reports suggested that the court had already prepared a ruling against Musharraf but had not yet released it. The Provisional Constitution Order issued by Musharraf bars the high court or any court from making "any order against the President or the Prime Minister or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under this authority." Earlier Saturday Pakistan's Dawn
newspaper reported the high court judges, quarantined in their building by Pakistan security forces immediately following the declaration, had derided the PCO as “illegal and unconstitutional”. Dawn
opined, however, that
under the circumstances chances of a major rebellion on part of the superior judiciary appeared highly unlikely. In any case, legal experts said, the government must have contemplated such a resistance, and as has been the past practice during military rule, some of the judges will not be invited to take oath, some will refuse, and a few will accept the new order to provide legitimacy to the this kind of emergency rule. Dawn
has continuing local coverage
5:02 PM ET – Also taking oaths of office as Supreme Court judges under the new PCO were Justices Nawaz Abbasi, Faqir Muhammad Khokhar and M. Javed Buttar [official profiles], who with newly-sworn Chief Justice Dogar now make up the newly-constituted court [official website]. APP has more.