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Musharraf ready to meet opposition demands except on judges: Pakistan AG

[JURIST] Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official website] has indicated that he may accept most of the demands put forth by opposition parties in the face of his November 3 declaration of emergency rule but that he will not reinstate ousted Supreme Court justices, Pakistan's News daily reported Tuesday. Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum and former railways minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad also told the newspaper that Musharraf will step down as head of Pakistan's army on Wednesday, a move originally announced [AFP report] by a spokesperson on Monday. The officials said that he may additionally lift the state of emergency [PDF text; JURIST news archive], withdraw his Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) [text as amended] and restore the constitution within a few days. In regard to demands by the opposition Pakistan People's Party [party website] that Musharraf reinstate former Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and other ousted superior court judges, Qayyum told the News that the recent ruling [judgment text; JURIST report] by the current Supreme Court validating emergency rule had held that all judges who refused to take the oath of allegiance under Musharraf's PCO were no longer judges and could not be reinstated. The News has more.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) meanwhile unanimously voted Monday to cancel Qayyum's membership, blasting Qayyum for his role in promoting an amendment [text] to Pakistan's Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act which the bar association described as unconstitutional. The amendment promulgated by Musharraf Friday enhances the power of superior court judges appointed by the government to discipline and even disbar lawyers for "professional or other misconduct", and many Pakistani lawyers are concerned that it will be used against lawyers boycotting PCO judges. The LHCBA said that a lawyer who did not have the proper respect for the constitution should not be allowed to remain a member. The Daily Times has more. Zeenews has additional coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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