In a landmark decision today, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that former President Pervez Musharraf‘s declaration of emergency rule on November 3, 2007 was unconsitutional. GEO News reported,
A 14-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry heard the constitutional petitions regarding PCO judges, appointments of judges of higher judiciary and November 3, 2007 steps. The verdict said that sacking of the judges was illegal and unconstitutional. Article 279 of the Constitution was violated on November 3, 2007...The Supreme Court termed the steps taken on November 3, 2007 as null and void.
Hamid Khan, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association and a lawyer representing a petition filed by the Sindh Bar Association against the emergency order, told reporters after the decision, “All the judges who took the oath under the provisional constitutional order of Nov. 3 were unconstitutional judges, their appointment as judges is canceled.”
Although other leaders of the lawyers’ movement, like Aitzaz Ahsan, noted the decision will have “far- reaching implications,” it is still unclear just what exactly will happen next. According to Al Jazeera, Friday’s ruling “may strengthen the case for bringing treason charges against the former military ruler…” However, as noted by Dawn, “any charges of treason against Musharraf would have to come from parliament. The previous parliament had endorsed Musharraf’s actions.”
Therefore, the ruling, while significant, begs the question – what now? Will the rulings of the PCO judges still stand if their appointments were deemed illegal? Is it contradictory to rule the firing of judges illegal by firing more judges? Finally, what will happen with the National Reconciliation Ordinance? What are your thoughts?