Pakistani Supreme Court Declares Emergency Unconstitutional

In a case followed earlier on this blog, a 14 judge bench of the Pakistani Supreme Court yesterday declared the Emergency under Musharraf unconstitutional. The order can be found here. It is not long.

The order is unanimous and by Chief Justice Chaudhry, which seems appropriate, but is also somewhat awkward to foreign eyes, such as when the Chief Justice finds, referring to his own saga: “it is declared that the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan never fell vacant on November 3, 2007 and as a consequence thereof it is further declared that the appointment of Mr. Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar as the Chief Justice of Pakistan was un-constitutional.”

It will take some time to digest all the implications of the order. Overviews can be found in the Hindu here, the Dawn here, and the Jurist here. It declares the appointment of all judges made in consultation with Chief Justices Dogar unconstitutional, and according to this article that aspect of the judgment will effect some 110 judges of the Pakistani higher judiciary. The Islamabad High Court will also cease to exist because it was set up unconstitutionally, although the Supreme Court order makes clear that such a court could be set up later following proper procedures.

[updated and edited 2/8/09]
Written by
Nick Robinson
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