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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

State of emergency

Staff Correspondent

The High Court on Monday held a hearing on a writ petition that challenged the imposition of the state of emergency, suspension of fundamental rights and legality of the Emergency Powers Ordinance and Rules.

Supreme Court lawyers M Salimullah, Mohsin Rashid, Nahid Sultana Juthi and Abdul Mannan Khan filed the public interest litigation Sunday with the bench of Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Mashuk Hossain Ahmed.
The HC set the next hearing for Tuesday.
"The constitution gives the president power to promulgate the state of emergency, but the power is not absolute," the petitioners' counsel MI Faruqui told the court.
"The president will have to be objectively satisfied that there are dangers of foreign attack and threats to state security and economic life. The president can promulgate a state of emergency in such cases."
Faruqui claimed that there was no sign of "objectivity" in how the state of emergency was promulgated on Jan 11 last year.
"The way the president suspended fundamental rights was not constitutional."
Assistant attorney general Mahfuza Begum represented the government.

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