NA passes unanimous resolution seeking delay in LB polls


The National Assembly on Tuesday passed a unanimous resolution seeking delay in local bodies’ (LB) polls.
The lawmakers also urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to fix a suitable date in this regard.
They also rejected a bill seeking constitutional amendment for increasing the retirement age of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP).
The bill was titled as “Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2013” and was moved by independent MNA Jamshed Dasti. The bill asked parliament to increase the age limit of the chief justice from 65 years to 67 years. However, the ruling PML-N rejected the bill with a majority vote.
Though the House had passed a similar resolution last week but the resolution was submitted as the court had directed the ECP to hold elections in December.
Interestingly, the matter was raised by none other than Dr Arif Alvi, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker, reflecting a change of heart and policy of the popular party about the judiciary. The love between Imran Khan and the judiciary was apparently lost when Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had summoned the PTI chairman in a contempt case. However, after some initial grilling and media hype, the charges were dropped.
As Dr Alvi moved the resolution, he was given a unanimous support from across the political divide with charged parliamentarians taking on the judiciary for throwing the unanimously passed resolutions into dustbin – an apparent reference to the court’s orders to the ECP despite the passage of a similar resolution last week.
The resolution termed the holding of polls in a haste and in violation of the Article 140-A (2) of the constitution. It added that the House was fully conscious of the imperative to hold local government elections in accordance with the Constitution but called for appropriate measures and arrangements to ensure transparent and free elections.
Following the resolution, the parliamentarians expressed their anger and used strong language for the ignorance being meted out to the unanimous resolutions passed by parliament.
It was PPP leader Khursheed Shah who spearheaded the narrative, asking the judiciary to shun its attitude. He argued that it was none other than parliament which had reinstated all those judges who had been made dysfunctional.
At a stage, his criticism crossed limits and Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had to expunge his words terming it “non-parliamentary”. Expressing his displeasure to the judgement, Shah said he was more concerned about the contempt of the people rather than that of the court. He added that criticising verdicts was his legitimate right.
Shah reminded the judges that it was parliament that lend a helping hand. He added that the judges also sought the support from parliament on the 19th Amendment for the appointment of judges.
Pashtunkhwa Awami Milli Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai said parliament never wanted a confrontation with the institutions. However, he added, all of them, including the army and judiciary, were subservient to parliament.
“This parliament even amended the constitution,” he said and added that the judiciary was meant to interpret the constitution.
“Whoever refuses to act upon the resolution of parliament is indulged in defying its parliament. If we can’t get our resolutions implemented then there is no need to do this job,” PML-N lawmaker Sheikh Rohail Asghar said.
He pressed the lawmakers to stand united by putting aside their party difference for the supremacy of the parliament, which has been bestowed on it by the 180 million of the country.