‘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 Chaudhry.”
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.”