Languages
Page last updated at 11:05 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 12:05 UK

Explain emergency, Musharraf told

Pervez Musharraf
An adverse ruling may put pressure on Mr Musharraf

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has asked former president Pervez Musharraf to explain his decision in November 2007 to impose emergency rule.

The notice was issued after hours of debate in the courtroom over whether it was appropriate to make him a party to a case challenging his actions then.

He imposed emergency rule, suspended the constitution and dismissed about 60 judges after challenges to his power.

Mr Musharraf does not have to appear in person in court and can send a lawyer.

Politically sensitive

The court took the view that anybody whose actions were being discussed in a case had the right to be represented.

"This is the first time in Pakistani history that the court has taken cognisance of such action. In the past, the courts have tended to condone military takeovers," a former chief justice of Pakistan, Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, told Dawn News TV.

The BBC's Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that the court apparently issued the notice to Mr Musharraf following the refusal on Tuesday by the attorney-general, who represents the government, to defend the former president's position in the case.

However Malik Qayyum, a former legal aide of Mr Musharraf, told the media outside the courtroom on Wednesday that he would consider representing him.

Correspondents say the notice comes at a sensitive time in Pakistani politics, as Islamabad is under increasing US pressure to eliminate the Taliban and al-Qaeda along the Afghan border.

Mr Musharraf - who is currently on a lecturing tour abroad - imposed emergency rule on 3 November 2007 when faced with growing challenges to his rule as president and weeks after his controversial re-election for a second term.

The judges who replaced the 60 who were dismissed may also lose their jobs if the court declares the presidential action illegal.

At the time of their appointment, they were asked to take a fresh oath of office under an interim constitutional order issued on 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.

Treason possibility

This will require the court to determine the legality of the president's action, 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 who were sacked in 2007 for refusing to take the fresh oath.

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



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Musharraf to face Pakistan probe
21 Jul 09 |  South Asia
Profile: Pervez Musharraf
16 Jun 09 |  South Asia
Clouded details of Pakistan deal
16 Mar 09 |  South Asia
Musharraf resigns: Pakistanis react
20 Aug 08 |  South Asia
UK accused of Musharraf exit deal
20 Aug 08 |  South Asia
'No deal yet' in Musharraf talks
19 Aug 08 |  South Asia

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific