Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 15:08 UK

Musharraf to face Pakistan probe

Pervez Musharraf
An adverse ruling may put pressure on Mr Musharraf

Pakistan's Supreme Court is set to evaluate the legality of a 2007 presidential order which imposed emergency rule in the country.

A ruling in the case may put pressure on the government to take legal action against former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.

About 60 judges of the higher judiciary were sacked under emergency rule.

Those judges who replaced them may also face the axe if the court declares the presidential action illegal.

President Musharraf imposed emergency rule in the country on 3 November 2007, weeks after his controversial re-election for a second term.

The higher judiciary, which was then hearing a petition challenging Mr Musharraf's election and was widely expected to rule against it, was sacked.

The judges who replaced them were asked to take a fresh oath of office under an interim constitutional order issued the same day.

Petitioners have now challenged that order, and are pleading that judges who took the fresh oath be stopped from sitting on the bench.

This will require the court to determine the legality of the president's action of 3 November 2007, experts say.

Any decision which upholds the challenge will put pressure on the government to start legal action against Mr Musharraf for alleged high treason, they say.

The Supreme Court has constituted a 14-member bench to hear the case.

The bench comprises judges that are among the 60-odd judges who refused to take the fresh oath under emergency rule and were sacked.

Most of them were reinstated by the newly elected government after August 2008, when Mr Musharraf resigned as president to avoid impeachment by the parliament.

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