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Pakistan: Order Curtails Supreme Court Powers

(Jan. 2, 2008) On December 4, 2007, the Supreme Court of Pakistan refused to entertain a petition against amendments made to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority Ordinance (PEMRA), on the grounds that the scope of article 184(3) of the Constitution, under which the plea had been filed, had been curtailed under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) issued on November 3, 2007. Article 184(3) empowers the Supreme Court to take cognizance of any matter that involves a question of public importance with reference to the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by the Constitution. It further empowers the Supreme Court to make an order by issuance of an appropriate writ under article 199. The 2007 PCO requires judges to abide by the Proclamation of Emergency and the PCO, which took away powers of judges to issue writs for violations of fundamental rights.

The petitioner's counsel, upon receiving the order on the returned petition, remarked that he would file an appeal against the order. ( Media Curbs Petition Returned, THE DAWN, Dec. 5, 2007, available at http://www.dawn.com/2007/12/05/top1.htm.)