[JURIST] Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Saturday lifted emergency rule over the country as anticipated [JURIST report], issuing an order [official version, PDF; HTML text] reviving the suspended constitution, entrenching members of the country's post-emergency judiciary, and insulating actions taken under the emergency from any future legal challenges. The Revocation of Proclamation of Emergency Order 2007 also provides that the parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8 will take place as scheduled. In a televised ceremony afterwards, Musharraf personally swore in [Straits Times report] Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan under a new oath under the revived constitution replacing the one he had originally taken to the regime under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) promulgated when the emergency was declared on November 3. Dogar then reswore the other PCO top court judges.
Rights groups expressed ambivalence about the lifting of the emergency, criticizing Musharraf's self-accorded impunity, his refusal to reinstate ousted members of the pre-emergency Supreme Court and provincial High Courts and his unilateral addition of restrictive amendments [JURIST report] to the restored constitution. In a statement [text] Saturday, a spokesman for Human Rights Watch said that:
Musharrafs so-called return to constitutional rule provides legal cover to laws that muzzle the media and lawyers and gives the army a license to abuse. A genuine restoration of Pakistans constitution would require Musharraf to return to the constitution and judiciary that existed before November 3.HRW added:
Since November 3, Musharraf has repeatedly and arbitrarily amended the constitution to enshrine the legality of various laws and provide himself and the military blanket immunity for all actions taken during emergency rule. The executive order to amend the constitution includes a number of amendments that would normally require a two-thirds majority in parliament to become law. Among them, Musharraf has withdrawn from Pakistans courts the power to review all governmental actions for which he, his government or the military may be responsible, since the imposition of emergency rule on November 3.AP has more. The News has additional coverage.