Pakistan emergency to end today

Greater Kashmir

Islamabad Dec, 14: Before wrapping up the emergency, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is likely to announce five presidential orders on Saturday to bring the country back to pre-November 3 position.
 After taking oath as a civilian president for next five year term, Musharraf, during his speech to the nation had promised to withdraw emergency and to restore the constitution before December 16.
 Shedding his military uniform and restoration of the constitution have been the key demands of the mainstream opposition parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party led by Benazir Bhutto and Pakistan Muslim League (N) headed by Mian Nawaz Sharief whose government was ousted by president Musharraf after a bloodless coup in 1999.
 According to Justice (retired) Malik Abdul Qayyum, the attorney general of Pakistan, the constitution would be restored completely with a few minor changes tomorrow (December 15) and all the arrangements have been made in this regard.
 The orders including the revocation of Provisional Constitution Order, repealing of Proclamation of Emergency Order 2007, and restoration of Constitution Order, grant of pension benefits to retired judges and establishment of Federal High Court would be issued on the same date.
 Moreover he said that the appointment age of the judges has been reduced from 45 to 40 years so as to provide an opportunity to young and energetic lawyers to become judges of the high court.
 However, the attorney general said that no power is being given to president in the constitution to sack judges and the press reports in this regard were totally baseless and devoid of facts.
 He also made it clear that the judges who did not take oath under the PCO would not be reinstated at any cost. There would be certain amendments to give perks to these judges after their retirement.
 Talking to a foreign news agency, Malik Qayyum said once the emergency is lifted basic rights would be automatically restored but no legal challenges to the emergency order would be allowed.
 “All fundamental rights of the citizens will stand restored with the lifting of emergency on Saturday,” he maintained.
 Musharraf imposed the emergency on November 3, suspended the constitution and purged the Supreme Court to fend off challenges to his re-election, which new hand-picked judges have since rubber-stamped.
 Under international pressure, including from his ally the United States, Musharraf said he would restore the constitution.
 “The lifting is just an ornamental thing,” said Khawaja Harris, a senior lawyer working with opposition leader and former prime minister Nawiz Sharif.