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Monday, 22 November, 1999, 19:06 GMT
Military takeover challenged in court
Muslim League members after filing the petition

By Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad

Leading members of parliament from the Pakistan Muslim League party of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have filed a constitutional petition in the supreme court challenging last month's military take-over.

Spread over more than 70 pages, the court challenge from 12 MPs has taken into account all the legal and constitutional aspects of last month's military action.

Pakistan in crisis
It describes the military takeover as unjustified, and questions the legal basis for the declaration of emergency in the country by the army chief.

The petitioners have also questioned the move by General Pervez Musharraf to assume the office of chief executive, stating that under the constitution no such position exists.

Unconstitutional

In the words of the petition, there is also no provision to govern the country through a National Security Council, or for the involvement of the armed forces in the affairs of governance.

General Musharraf's actions are questioned
The petitioners note that General Musharraf has not declared martial law in the country, which means it is not clear what form of government he is heading at the moment.

They describe all these issues as being of prime importance for the future of the country, and have asked the supreme court to declare the military takeover and subsequent decisions of General Musharraf as unconstitutional.

The petitioners have also asked the court to restore the government and parliament as they existed before the military action.

The supreme court, at the preliminary stage, will now have to consider if it can deal with this case in the light of the provisional constitutional order, which bars the courts from taking any challenge against the actions of the chief executive.

If the court decides to admit the challenge, a large bench would be set up to take up the case.

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See also:
21 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Sharif's party demands his release
03 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Pakistani 'plunderers' warned
29 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Sharif's wife leaves family estate
14 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Mixed signals from Sharif's party
20 Oct 99 |  South Asia
Sharif's party in disarray
11 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Pakistan's coup: The 17-hour victory
10 Nov 99 |  South Asia
Sharif's party goes to court

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