PCO, PE signed by ‘General’ Musharraf, not by ‘President’ Musharraf

November 14th, 2007 - 8:25 am ICT by admin  
Analysing the emergency imposition, Najam Sethi, the Editor of the Daily Times, pointed out that the Proclamation of Emergency (PE) and the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) have been signed by the “Chief of Army Staff”, General Pervez Musharraf, and not by “President” Musharraf or Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, a PCO is an extra constitutional deviation and only an army chief can order it.

Sethi pointed out that any further departure from the Constitution apart from what is contained in the PCO and the PE would be at the behest of the “President” and not the COAS.

“In other words, General Musharraf’s presidency has been confirmed and upheld by the PCO.”

The PCO further prohibits the courts from holding or issuing any decree against the President, the Prime Minister or anyone exercising powers under their authority.

With the nomination of Justice Hameed Dogar as the new Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry will now be referred to as a former Chief Justice of the country.

Sethi said that we should expect a host of other judges from the four High Courts and possibly Federal Shariat Court to be excluded from the new oath taking ceremonies.

“If this manoeuvre is accomplished by General Musharraf relatively quickly and the high courts are sufficiently revamped, then we shall have a pro-executive judiciary soon,” he wrote.

Pointing out that all ordinances promulgated by the President prior to this PCO remain valid, the analysis said that in other words, the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) is “alive and kicking,” and that Benazir Bhutto would be pleased.

Among the several reasons cited by Musharraf while declaring emergency, the judiciary has been held to be a major culprit in log-jamming the executive and undermining the war against extremism.

In fact, out of 11 effective clauses in the PE, eight refer to the negative role played by the judges and the judiciary in undermining the war against terrorism, the executive functioning of government and the economy.

By opting for not dissolving the assemblies or the provincial and federal governments, Sethi said, this means that Musharraf intends to allow these parliaments and governments to finish their terms on November 16 (National Assembly) and November 24 (provincial assemblies), followed by general elections within a stipulated time frame.

The daily said that the emergency move may result in a spirited protest on the streets and boycott of the courts by the lawyers, civil society groups and most, but not all, the opposition parties.

However, with the electronic media “blinded,” the police and paramilitary forces would be used to arrest opponents and crush the protest movement, it added.

Sethi predicted that the role of Benazir’s Pakistan People’s Party and the JUI of Maulana Fazalur Rehman would play a critical role in what happens next.

“We should also expect a surge in terrorist activities and bomb blasts by Taliban and Al Qaeda elements to take advantage of the situation,” he added.

He further said that in all probability, Benazir would oppose the PCO and PE, as supporting it would “incur the wrath of Pakistanis who generally don’t like what General Musharraf has done.”

Sethi went on to say that writ petitions would fly against the PCO, and the new SC would agree to hear them.

“But no judgment will be forthcoming until such time the elections have been held and a new Parliament is in place to indemnify the PCO and confirm President Musharraf as the legitimate President of Pakistan,” he wrote. (ANI)

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