Chief Justice Dogar declares seven-judge verdict against emergency void

Islamabad, Nov.4 : The newly-appointed Chief Justice of Pakistan, Abdul Hameed Dogar, has declared the verdict issued by the seven judges against the emergency as null and void.

A statement issued by the Supreme Court said that the decision against the emergency was not given by the present court. It further said that those judges who were not called for taking new oath would not be allowed to work or take any court action.

Chief Justice Dogar also removed the apex court Registrar Dr. Faqir Hussain from his office and sent him to the Law Commission. He has appointed Additional Registrar Sara Saeed as the acting Registrar of the Supreme Court, The News reported.

The decisions taken this morning came hours after President-General Pervez Musharraf took the extraordinary step of declaring an emergency through a Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), which many termed as supra-constitutional and equated with martial law.

Musharraf promulgated a proclamation of emergency and in pursuance of it issued a PCO holding the 1973 Constitution in abeyance.

He said that he took the step to arrest the worsening law and order situation and intensification of violence to unprecedented level which posed a grave threat to the life and property of citizens.

He justified the taking of such extraordinary measures by pointing out to the "working of some members of the judiciary.

He charged the judges with working at cross purposes with the executive and the legislature in the fight against terrorism and extremism, and of interfering in government policy.

Some judges were also accused of overstepping their limits of judicial authority, making the Supreme Judicial Council entirely irrelevant, and of treating government officials in a humiliating manneron a routine basis.

Despite the declaration of emergency,the Parliament and provincial assemblies will continue to function.

According to prominent dailies such as The News, Dawn, the Daily Times etc., Pakistani citizens have reacted with dismay to the emergency declaration.

According to The News, the supra-constitutional step was taken at a time when the 11-member Supreme Court bench was to announce its verdict on the nomination of President General Pervez Musharraf as candidate for re-election in a week's time.

The PCO has taken away powers of the superior judiciary — the Supreme Court, the Federal Shariat Court and the High Courts — and any tribunal or other authority to call in question the order of PCO, the Proclamation of Emergency, the Oath of Office (Judges) Order 2007 or any order made in pursuance thereof.

"No judgment, decree, writ, order or process whatsoever shall be made or issued by any court or tribunal against the president or the prime minister or any authority designated by the president," said Section 3(2) of the PCO, though the seven-member Supreme Court bench issued a two-page counter order restraining the COAS, corps commanders, staff officers and all concerned civil and military authorities from acting under the PCO. They were also restrained from undertaking any such action, which was contrary to the independence of the judiciary.

With the Islamic provisions of the Constitution to remain in force, the fundamental rights as enshrined in Article 9 (security of person), 10 (safeguard as to arrest and detention), 15 (freedom of movement, etc.), 16 (freedom of assembly), 17 (freedom of association), 19 (freedom of speech, etc.) and 25 (equality of citizens) shall remain suspended.

Enforcing the emergency at once, Musharraf ordered and proclaimed that the "Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance". It put Pakistan under one-man rule to govern it through the PCO.

The PCO's Section 1(3) says: "Subject to clause (1) above and the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007, all courts in existence immediately before the commencement of this Order shall continue to function and to exercise their respective powers and jurisdiction, provided that the Supreme Court or a High Court or any other court shall not have the power to make any order against the president or the prime minister or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under their authority."

According to the proclamation of emergency, "the situation has been reviewed at meetings with the prime minister, the governors of the four provinces, and with the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, the vice chief of army staff and the corps commanders". (ANI)

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