• Bench says former president’s allegations of judges’ bias against him are unfounded
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Tassaduq Hussain Jillani has remarked “All the institutions should work within their parameters set by the Constitution and if any organ will go dysfunctional, the Supreme Court (SC) will have to intervene”. He further remarked “Judges are being accused of biasness but this matter was not taken up before these judges”.
A 14-member larger bench of the SC, presided over by CJP Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, resumed the hearing of review petition filed by Pervez Musharraf against the apex court July 31, 2009 decision on Wednesday.
The CJP observed, “The former army chief has accepted that he has imposed an emergency and he has also accepted that the former prime minister had not sent any summary for clamping it. He has also accepted that the order passed by him was unconstitutional”. He questioned what, in such circumstances, was left to be taken up for hearing.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja has remarked “No judge gives decision by deviating from the Constitution. A judge is trained not to be biased.”
He further remarked that the army chief was not entitled to slap emergency. Musharraf wants a bench of his own sweet will to be constituted and the decision of his own choice so that and he could trample the Constitution once again.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked “If a single judge is biased, it cannot be generalised for all the judges. The court can give benefit to Musharraf like a criminal case wherein an individual says that he had murdered only in self-defence or I was forced to do so”. He asked if the judges had threatened Musharraf.
“We can commute capital punishment to life imprisonment,” he said.
Resuming his arguments, Ibrahim Satti said the lives of citizens were put at stake. Miscreants were arrested in large numbers but they were released by the court. Running the country had become difficult; therefore, the action was taken, he argued.
Reading out contents of former prime minister Shaukat Aziz’s letter, he said the institution of Supreme Judicial Council had become dysfunctional. Unnecessary suo moto notices had affected the performance of institutions. The organs of the State were not functioning within their ambit.
In response, Justice Ejaz Chaudhry remarked “The letter was written to the president but the question remains as to why the army chief took the action”.
The CJP remarked “The prime minister had not given advice as he had only analyzed the situation of the country. Later, the army chief took the action by expressing his reservations”. Addressing Satti, he inquired if he was accepting that Musharraf imposed emergency. Ibrahim Satti said this was not a legal advice and the PM had written the letter after reviewing the situation.
Justice Khilji remarked “It was accused in the letter that the court released the terrorists. Even then, you called those judges to take oath who had set free terrorists”.
Ibrahim Satti said “Musharraf was holding dual offices at that time. He was the chief of army chief and the president as well. He imposed emergency as the army chief. The government was not functioning as per the Constitution. The Constitution had no solution to the situation which was prevailing at that time. Due to which, all senior military officers forged a consultation process and the decision was taken to impose emergency.
Justice Jawwad asked “Where does the Constitution empower the army chief to impose emergency?”
Ibrahim Satti argued that it was not there in the Constitution but whenever such a position prevails in the country, the courts have given permission of it. The government and judiciary of today think that the step was taken by Musharraf alone. But the reality is different”.
Satti said the court has ruled in five decisions that such steps can be taken. This step was taken at several times including 1958 and 1962.
Justice Ejaz Chaudhry remarked “You want to say that such actions should be let go on and on and without being stopped”.
The hearing of the case was adjourned till today (Thursday) and the decision on maintainability of this petition is likely to be announced after the completion of arguments.
Locals say that the aerial operation was one of the heaviest bombardments seen in recent years in North Waziristan which is considered hub of al-Qaeda affiliated militants after 2007 peace deal
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