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PCO Judges Case, SC reserves verdict

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in the contempt charges against superior court judges for taking oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), DawnNews reported.

A four-judge SC bench comprising Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez heard contempt cases against Justice (retd) Abdul Hameed Dogar, former chief justice of the Supreme Court; Iftikhar Hussain Chaudhry, former chief justice of the Lahore High Court; and eight sitting judges — Justice Sayed Zahid Hussain of the Supreme Court and Justices Khurshid Anwar Bhinder, Hamid Ali Shah, Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry, Hasnat Ahmed Khan, Syed Shabbar Raza Rizvi, Yasmin Abbasey and Jehan Zaib Rahim of different high courts.

They are facing contempt charges for taking oath under the PCO in defiance of a restraining order issued by a seven-judge bench on November 3, 2007, moments after the proclamation of emergency by former president Pervez Musharraf.

Justice Zahid Hussain’s lawyer Zafar Ali Shah and Dr Abdul Basit, counsel for Justice Shabbar Raza Rizvi and Justice Hasnat Ahmed, concluded their arguments on Wednesday.

The two counsels argued that under the constitution contempt proceedings could be conducted against judges.

However, Justice Jawwad Khwaja remarked that judges were also required to follow a certain code of conduct.

If judges had constitutional immunity then that could have been pointed out, Justice Khwaja said.

The court then reserved its verdict on initiating proceedings against PCO judges and issuing contempt notices to generals involved in the implementation of the November 3 emergency.

The court also reserved its decision on employing the assistance of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and presidents of the provincial bar associations in contempt proceedings.

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