Musharraf fails to appear in Pakistan Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD - Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has cocked a snook at the Supreme Court, failing to appear before it to defend his Nov 3, 2007 decision to impose an emergency and sack the apex court judges.

I dont know what the apex court will do, but it can initiate high treason proceedings on its own, Musharrafs top legal adviser Malik Qayyum told The News Wednesday outside Court No 1, where a 14-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the arguments of petitioner Hamid Khan against the former president’s actions.

Qayyum was present in court when Chaudhry asked if counsel was representing Musharraf. He remained seated as he did not have any instructions from the former president, who is currently in London.

The Supreme Court has full authority to declare the Nov 3 proclamation and the subsequent acts unconstitutional, Qayyum maintained.

The Supreme Court had July 24 issued summons to Musharraf to appear in person or through his counsel on Thursday after the federal government refused to defend him in court.

“Determining responsibility for the steps taken on Nov 3, 2007 is necessary,” Chaudhry observed before issuing summons.

Chaudhry, who was one of the 80-odd Supreme Court and high court judges judges sacked, had been reinstated in March after a bruising lawyers’ agitation.

Musharraf had sacked the higher judiciary after it refused to take fresh oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) he promulgated along with the emergency Nov 3, 2007.

The emergency had been declared just as the Supreme Court was to deliver its verdict on the constitutionality of Musharraf’s re-election in October 2007.

It had been contended that the same parliament and provincial assemblies that had elected Musharraf in 2002 had re-elected him in 2007 and this was unconstitutional.

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