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Musharraf sets no time limit on emergency, insists ousted CJ is 'gone'

[JURIST] Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf [official website; BBC profile] said Sunday that Pakistan would hold anticipated parliamentary elections before January 9, but set no time limit to the emergency rule [JURIST report] he declared a week ago. At a press conference in Islamabad Musharraf claimed the state of emergency was necessary to ensure a fair election and for fighting Taliban and al Qaeda linked terrorists. International critics have expressed dismay [JURIST report] at the government's dismissal of top judges, its detention of hundreds of lawyers and opposition activists, and its restriction of independent television programming. Musharraf nonetheless said he expects no foreign sanctions for his recent measures.

On Sunday, Musharraf also accused former Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry [JURIST news archive] of corruption and illegal interference in government affairs, vowing that he and his dismissed high court colleagues would never return to the court. Chaudhry is one of seven Supreme Court judges who refused to retake the oath of office under Musharraf's emergency rule [JURIST report]. Musharraf originally suspended Chaudhry from the court [JURIST report] in March, hoping to forestall legal challenges to extending his eight-year rule by another five years. After massive protests led by lawyers across Pakistan, Chaudhry was reinstated in July [JURIST report]. He and the other dismissed judges have been under virtual house arrest since last week, as the government continues to arrest lawyers and senior bar leaders in an attempt to end protests. AFP has more.

Musharraf issued his proclamation of emergency rule [PDF text; JURIST report] on November 3rd, ahead of a much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling on whether Musharraf had been eligible to run for re-election [JURIST reports] for president while remaining chief of the army. Media reports suggested that the court had already prepared a ruling against Musharraf, but Musharraf's Provisional Constitution Order [text] barred the high court and any court from making "any order against the President or the Prime Minister or any person exercising powers or jurisdiction under this authority." AP has more.

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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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