In a verdict having far-reaching implications, Pakistan's Supreme Court on Friday declared as "unconstitutional and illegal" the emergency imposed by former President Pervez Musharraf in 2007.
A 14-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry also declared as unconstitutional Musharraf's action of sacking over 60 members of the judiciary who did not endorse the emergency imposed on November 3, 2007.
The bench delivered its verdict after holding deliberations behind closed doors for over five hours. The decision came in response to a petition filed on behalf of two High Court judges who were removed from their positions due to the emergency.
The proceedings in the Supreme Court over the past few days triggered a wide-ranging debate on Musharraf's actions, including the sacking of Chief Justice Chaudhry and over 60 other judges.
The apex court issued a notice to 65-year-old Musharraf to appear before it to explain his actions but he chose to ignore it.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar, who was hand-picked by Musharraf to replace Chaudhry in November 2007, was declared a "de facto and unconstitutional" Chief Justice by the bench. It also said most appointments made by Dogar, with a few exceptions, were unconstitutional.