The judiciary of Pakistan recently took a big step. On the 31st of July, Friday, it ruled that the previous president of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf‘s actions on 3rd of November, 2007, i.e. declaring an emergency and sending the entire supreme court first home and then under house arrest, are unconstitutional and illegal. By this action, the 110 judges who took oath under the PCO (Provisional Constitution Order) will now have to either return to their previous jobs or go home as the orders to appoint them have summarily been declared void. This shows that the lawyers movement which so galvanized the opinion of the people of Pakistan has at last reached its ultimate goal. Lawyers have been seen distributing sweets outside courts across the nation and some of them were seen dancing with joy.
However, many ambiguities still remain in this verdict, as far as the NRO and issues of how legal the elections were held under its premise. Regardless of that, it seems that the civil society has welcomed this verdict.
Dr Awab at Teeth Maestro concludes that Musharraf should go into hiding now:
All said – its now a forgone conclusion that we are about to have an entertaining 120 days, but we must contend with the fact that our Supreme Court has done us proud it has restored belief that What goes up, Must come down – Musharraf from his hay days of 2000 has literally been shoved to an embarrassing halt, he should now contend to remain hidden within his Edgeware Road flat in London where it might be best that he shall stay.
Kalsoom at CHUP – Changing Up Pakistan! asks some relevant questions:
Therefore, the ruling, while significant, begs the question – what now? Will the rulings of the PCO judges still stand if their appointments were deemed illegal? Is it contradictory to rule the firing of judges illegal by firing more judges?
Saesnag at Roznamcha – Bach opines the verdict is a political one:
With this order, Pakistanis get to bash Musharraf, letting off steam and officially confirming what every Pak watcher on the globe has known for almost two years. But he may well never be tried under this chief justice – who was somewhat compromised himself by his own record, having sworn in Mushy in 1999 – and the wisdom in pardoning an individual with outstanding corruption allegations against him will never be questioned either.
Umar toor talks about the historical nature of this verdict at his blog:
People are in Pakistan are saying that this verdict by Supreme Court may actually change the course of flow of its constitutional and judicial history
The months ahead will be quite eventful as the various issues in this verdict will be sorted out. Obviously this will take a lot of political wrangling as well as legal battles, but the repercussions of this order will resonate in Pakistan's halls of power for some time. A Ruling like this has no precedence in the history of Pakistan and I hope if nothing else it can be a harbinger of a future change.