Musharraf and the Judges

As everyone will know, Gen. Pervez Musharraf yesterday proclaimed a state of emergency in Pakistan and suspended the constitution. Whatever his purposes may be, his explicit complaint is largely against the judiciary, alleging that the judges have overstepped their bounds and eroded the “trichotomy of powers.” The Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges have been “removed” and imprisoned, and a new Chief Justice, Abdul Hamid Doger, “installed.” According to the BBC all of the nearly 30 TV news channels in Pakistan have gone off the air.

I thought readers of Slaw might like to have access to a number of documents and websites relevant to the current challenge to the rule of law in Pakistan. Please feel free, of course, to add links or information via comments.

  • The text of the Proclamation of Emergency
  • BBC News on “Musharraf” (search results) web | feed
  • Supreme Court of Pakistan website
    The site currently has these notices:


    N O T I C E
    It is notified for the information of all concerned Advocates/Advocates-on-Record/litigant public that the Court Programme issued by Dr. Faqir Hussain, Former Registrar on Orders of Former Chief Justice on 03.11.2007 conveying sitting of the Hon’ble Judges stands cancelled and withdrawn. The Revised Court Programme of Hon’ble Judges will follow.

    2. This issues with the Order of Chief Justice.


    It is notified for the information of all concerned Advocates/Advocates-on-Record/litigant public that all the cases in which the Court has given a date of hearing during week commencing 5th to 8th November, 2007 stand cancelled due to changed circumstances.

    2. The next date of hearing of the cases will be communicated later on in due course.

  • The Supreme Court of Pakistan 50th anniversary theme song “Justice for All.” [WMV movie]
  • The Pakistan Policy Blog run by Arif Rafiq, based in New York — web | feed
  • The Pakistani Spectator blog — web | feed
  • The News, Pakistani online newspaper in English — web | feed

image from Supreme Court of Pakistan 50th anniversary theme song video


  1. One of the on-line Globe & Mail’s articles, for the Nov 5 edition, opens:

    ISLAMABAD — It was the near certainty that Pakistan’s Supreme Court would rule against General Pervez Musharraf’s eligibility to remain President that appeared to propel him to tear up the constitution.

    The 11-member bench looked set to decide 7-4 against the President in the next few days, according to legal sources. The government is likely to have learned of the position of the court through the four sympathetic judges – who on Saturday took an oath of allegiance to Gen. Musharraf, after Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and the remaining judges were fired.

    The caption to a picture on the Globe & Mail home page is: “Police use teargas against lawyers protesting against President Pervez Musharraf’s emergency rule”. The picture is here. Shades of Shakespeare, Dick the Butcher to Cade: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers”. (Henry VI, Part 2, Act 4, Scene 2)

  2. The news section of Yahoo!’s India portal has a resource page, “SPOTLIGHT: PAKISTAN’S TRYST WITH DEMOCRACY“, which contains links to recent headlines and a number of news items on the events in Pakistan.

    As well, two Indian newspapers, The Times of India and Hindustan Times, have some information in special sections on their respective sites.


  3. See also the ousted Chief Justice’s message to the citizens and the legal community urging defiance.

  4. The Canadian Bar Association yesterday issued a press release condemning the imposition of emergency rule and the arrests of lawyers, and calling for reinstatement of the judiciary and “return to the rule of law”.