Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reports from the Peshawar High Court

From the Daily Times.\11\08\story_8-11-2007_pg7_27

'Judges taking oath under PCO liable to contempt of court'

* Deposed PHC chief justice calls emergency proclamation martial law
* Says around 70 judges awaiting his instructions to resign

By Akhtar Amin

PESHAWAR: Deposed Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Tariq Pervez
Khan said on Wednesday that all judges of the superior judiciary who
took oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) were liable
to contempt of court, for the Supreme Court had restrained them from
doing so.

During an interview with Daily Times at his residence after the
proclamation of emergency, which he called a full-fledged martial law,
he said those who assumed their charges under the PCO were no longer
judges of the superior judiciary.

Justice Pervez Khan, who still considers himself to be the top
adjudicator of the Frontier, said that after receiving the verdict of
the seven-member Supreme Court bench, which declared the proclamation
of emergency as unlawful and retrained judges from taking oath under
the PCO, I communicated the instructions to all PHC judges, except
Justice Raj Muhammad Khan who was on way to Dera Ismail Khan.

Pervez Khan said, "Assault on judiciary has extremely perplexed the
judges," and added, "About 70-80 judicial officers of the province
have contacted me so far, seeking my go-ahead signal to resign from
their posts. "I've asked them to wait as I don't want to issue them
any directives without consulting Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad

To a query, he said President Musharraf had imposed martial law under
the garb of emergency. "How ridiculous is it that the Constitution is
suspended but the parliament and provincial assemblies are intact;
they are constitutional bodies."

Referring to President Musharraf's speech to the nation on television,
he said, "What justification will he present for the release of 29
militants in exchange for the release of 213 kidnapped troops.

"A court issues release orders for the detainees when the government
fails to prove charges against the accused," he said, while adding
that the courts only bailed out the accused but that the government
released even militants through negotiations, though they were
convicted by the Anti-Terrorism Court.

"The law does not contain any provision meant to negotiate with
criminals. Law and order deteriorated in the country because the
government started negotiations with criminals, rather than dealing
with them in accordance with the law," Justice Khan added. He said
hopefully the future of judiciary was bright and that the civil
society would have to play its role for the establishment of a
transparent judiciary.

Justice Khan also expressed his concern over the role of civil
society, which, he added, did not react to emergency imposition
properly, but "now it should act for suspension of fundamental rights
of the 160 million Pakistanis."

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