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LEGAL FRAMEWORK ORDER (LFO)

LEGAL FRAMEWORK ORDER (LFO) OF 2002 The LFO was promulgated by the administration of President Pervez Musharraf after the general had assumed the title of president, replacing Abdul Rafiq Tarar who had stayed in that position even after the military’s removal of Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif Until this change in the country’s leadership, General Musharraf was called the chief executive This step by the general created some legal and constitutional problems, since President Tarar had provided legal continuity to the government even after the dismissal of the prime minister The Supreme Court had already passed a judgment requiring that the military government hold a new set of elections no later than three years after its assumption of political control This meant that elections to the dissolved National Assembly had to be held no later than October 2002 The military government, therefore, needed a quasi-constitutional framework not only to govern but also to hold elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies There was precedent available to create a temporary legal structure pending the return to a constitutional form of government This had done by the previous martial law administrations as well The LFO was designed to address these issues It laid down the legal boundaries within which the military could operate; prescribed a new set of rules for holding elections; and introduced a number of changes in the constitution, the most important of which was to create once again a powerful presidency



The president, as was the case under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of 1973, was given the authority to dismiss the prime minister and dissolve the national legislatureThe LFO had to be made a part of the constitution once the elections were held, and a new National Assembly came into existence The opposition led by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) directed the fight against giving the LFO provisions permanent status by incorporating them into the constitution A compromise was reached in the closing days of 2003, but only after General Musharraf gave his word that he would retire from the military a year later, on 31 December 2004 With this promise, the MMA supported the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment that incorporated most LFO provisions However, President Musharraf failed to keep his promise and extended his period of service in the military His reason for reneging on his word was that the MMA had also not stuck to its part of the agreement by withholding its vote on a number of critical pieces of legislation that the government had moved in the national legislature

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