Ousted Pakistan chief justice says constitution supreme after February vote

[JURIST] Ousted Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] has characterized Pakistan's February parliamentary elections which resulted in the victory of opposition parties now joined in a coalition government as a popular verdict in favor of the country's constitution, abrogated in November when President Pervez Musharraf proclaimed emergency rule in the country and deposed its superior court judges. Speaking Thursday by phone to a meeting of the Lahore Bar Association, Chaudhry said that Pakistan's judiciary is no longer under pressure since "the people have rejected the dictatorship and supported independent judges." According to a report [text] Friday by Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Chaudhry went on to say that the former Supreme Court's November 3 decision against the declaration of emergency rule [proclamation, PDF; JURIST report] and the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) [text as amended] is still authoritative.

A decision violative of the Constitution, neither has constitutional and legal significance nor required a fiat for setting it aside. It should be ignored completely... the SC in its decision had restrained superior court judges from taking the oath under the PCO. Therefore, the judges who took the oath under the PCO on Nov 3 could not undo the verdict of the seven-members bench against the Nov 3 emergency."
Chaudhry also used the call to pay tribute to those who did not take oaths under the PCO, by saying that had remained true to the Constitution. UPI has more.

The new coalition government formed by the Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League has vowed to establish a fully independent judiciary, saying that they will work together to reinstate the ousted judges [JURIST reports].


 

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