Ordinances give cover to Musharraf’s eligibility
* Required age of High Court judges reduced by five years
* Sacked SC, HC judges to receive all retirement benefits
ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf on Friday amended the constitution by promulgating a set of ordinances that remove all challenges to his eligibility, and change certain rules for Supreme and High Court judges.
A ban preventing government servants from contesting elections for two years has also been removed for President Musharraf.
Clause (2) of Article 44, which restricts the contesting of general elections of any civil servant for at least two years after his retirement, has been amended so that it would not affect President Musharraf. Similarly, Clause (3) of Article 41, which guaranteed the doffing of uniform, now stands dissolved. Dr Sher Afgan Niazi, former parliamentary affairs minister, told Daily Times that this absolves the president from all disqualification clauses that could have applied to him.
Judges’ age: Article 193 of the Constitution has been amended to reduce the required age of High Court judges from 45 to 40 years old. It has also been amended to allow the appointment of judges at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) without seeking approval from a governor, as Islamabad has no governor. According to Article 194, the president or his representative would administer oath to any appointed CJ of the IHC, while Article 270C announces the termination orders for three judges who refused to take oath under the PCO. An additional Section 2 validates the legitimacy of all those judges who took oath under the PCO.
The amendment clarifies that the judges who have ceased to hold office would not be re-instated once the constitution is restored.
Retirement benefits: The president has also promulgated the Supreme Court Judges (Pensionary Benefits) Order, 2007, and the High Court Judges (Pensionary Benefits) Order, 2007, which extend retirement benefits to the judges of the Supreme and High Courts who did not take oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007. irfan ghauri/online