Constitutional Law

Sacked Pakistan Appellate Judges Could Be Restored to Office Soon

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Updated: Dozens of Pakistan appellate judges removed from office in November by the country’s president could now be restored to their former seats by the end of April.

Leaders of a new coalition government that has come to the fore after recent parliamentary elections say they plan to put the judges back in office soon, possibly by April 30, reports Agence France-Presse.

President Pervez Musharraf “sacked the country’s chief justice and dozens of other judges under a state of emergency in November, when it appeared that the Supreme Court was about to overturn his re-election as president the month before,” the news agency recounts.

The situation is clearly unusual, and hence the proper procedure for dealing with it is uncertain, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reported in an earlier article.

“Legal experts differ about whether the reinstatement can take place through a parliamentary resolution or needs a constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament and may be much harder for the government to secure,” the WSJ explains.

As discussed in previous posts, lawyer-led protests have been in the news in Pakistan throughout the past year, as attorneys clad in black business suits sought to support the power of the courts and the rule of law under their country’s constitution. Musharraf’s removal from office of a large number of appellate judges and jailing of many lawyers last November (some judges were until recently held under house arrest) also sparked sympathy marches and other protests by bar associations internationally, including the ABA.

Additional and related coverage:

Reuters: “Pakistan coalition to talk more on judges”

Associated Press: “Pakistan Supreme Court strikes down bachelor’s degree requirement for lawmakers”

Wall Street Journal (sub. req.): “Bhutto’s Widower Clears a Hurdle to Office”

Updated at 7 p.m., central time, to include additional coverage.

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