CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

May 2, 2008

Presidency set to block return of judges (ROGUE MUSHARRAF IN ACTION)

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 8:20 pm
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THE NEWS

MAY 02, 2008

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Updated at  
Friday, May 02, 2008

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: The presidency will seek a stay order from the Supreme Court if the deposed judges were restored through an executive order issued on the basis of a resolution passed by the National Assembly.

“President Pervez Musharraf will not watch such a development as a silent spectator. He will act firmly to block the return of the sacked justices,” an official told The News. He said there was also a strong possibility that the Supreme Court was going to take a suo motu notice of the restoration of the dismissed judges on the way the issue was being pressed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). A petition that was already pending in the apex court, seeking a stay order against any such parliamentary resolution or executive order may be taken up moments after such reinstatement.

The official said that the president’s principal legal aide Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, who had frequently briefed him on the constitutional position of the non-binding parliamentary resolution and any subsequent executive order, would represent him in the Supreme Court.

He said that the mass ouster of the superior court judges on the force of the November 3, 2007 martial law (emergency rule and the Provisional Constitution Order or PCO), issued by Musharraf in his capacity as the chief of the Army staff, was a “past and closed chapter” in the words of two judgments of the Supreme Court.

The official referred to a ruling of the present apex court headed by Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, which held that after the ouster of the present deposed justices, the judges who had not taken oath under the PCO were gone.

Likewise, he said a larger Supreme Court bench, headed by the then Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan, which had also included Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Rana Baghwandas, had handed down a similar verdict in the famous Zafar Ali Shah case on the exit of Justice Seeduzzaman Siddiqui and four other judges, all hailing from Sindh, after the introduction of a new oath for the justices. The recent apex court decision was also based on this ruling, he said.

Not only the attorney general but also other mouthpieces of the president have repeatedly declared that the deposed judges could be restored only through a constitutional amendment in which even the rulings of the Supreme Court on this kind of exodus of the justices could be overturned.

They have been drumbeating that the dismissed justices could not be brought back through an executive order after the passage of the resolution in the National Assembly. All along, they have taken this stand since the eruption of the issue.

These drumbeaters have held the view that the Nov 3 actions had become part of the Constitution after their validation by the Supreme Court. They claimed that there was no need of their endorsement by parliament.

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