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Pakistan's Top Court Asks Musharraf to Explain Emergency Rule


Pakistan's top court is asking former President Pervez Musharraf to explain his 2007 decision to impose emergency rule and fire several independent-minded judges.

The 14-member Supreme Court panel, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, is calling for Mr. Musharraf to appear in person or through counsel on July 29.

Petitions have been filed challenging Mr. Musharraf's decision to declare a state of emergency, suspend the constitution and dismiss several top judges in November 2007, weeks after a controversial presidential election.

In other news, the Pakistani military said troops killed 27 militants during ongoing operations against Taliban fighters in the northwest over the past 24 hours. Several militants died after jets pounded suspected hideouts of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan.

Mehsud is blamed for scores of attacks against government and civilian targets, and is believed to be a key ally for al-Qaida fighters in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, the military said more than 56 militants were killed during a two-day operation in the northwestern Lower Dir district.

Pakistan has been fighting Taliban militants throughout the country's northwest for more than two months. The campaign originally focused on the Swat Valley and surrounding areas, but has recently shifted to tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

The military said around 1,700 militants have been killed in the offensive, but reporters have had little access to the battle zone and have not been able to confirm the casualty figures.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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