01 August 2009

Supreme Court of Pakistan declares imposition of emergency rule and removal of 60 judges by Pervez Musharraf in 2007 "unconstitutional" and "illegal"

ISLAMABAD: In a landmark judgment delivered in the petition titled Sindh High Court Bar Association vs. Federation of Pakistan, a 14-member Full Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan (http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk/) has declared the November 3, 2007 imposition of Emergency Rule in Pakistan and removal of 60 Supreme Court and High Court judges by then President General Pervez Musharraf in his capacity as the Chief of the Army Staff as "unconstitutional", "illegal" and of "no legal effect".

The Supreme Court has further declared the following actions as unconstitutional and of no legal effect:

(i) the appointment of Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar as the Chief Justice of Pakistan on November 3, 2007;

(ii) the appointment and elevation of 110 judges of the superior courts between November 3, 2007 and 22 March, 2009;

(iii) the increase in the number of permanent Supreme Court judges from 17 to 27 through the Finance Act, 2008;

(iv) the establishment of the Islamabad High Court through a Presidential Ordinance.

It may be pertinent to recall that, on November 3, 2007, President Musharraf, who was unconstitutionally simultaneously holding two offices - that of President and Chief of Army Staff - had declared emergency to remove the Chief Justice of Pakistan and 59 other Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts as he feared that the Supreme Court would disqualify him from standing for a second term as President. In a move that was unprecedented in Pakistan's and the world's judicial history, Musharraf moved to impose emergency to remove 60 judges of the Pakistan's superior judiciary to pre-empt the Supreme Court from disqualifying him.

The judgment will affect 110 judges of various superior courts: 15 judges of the Supreme Court; 41 of the Lahore High Court; 27 of the Sindh High Court; 10 of the Peshawar High Court, all 5 of the Balochistan High Court; 8 of the Islamabad High Court; and 4 of the Federal Shariat Court.

This historic judgment of the Supreme Court has been well received by the people of Pakistan and widely acclaimed by the legal community as it seen to strengthen constitutional rule, the rule of law, accountability and democracy in Pakistan.