–Outgoing Senate chairman says unfortunate that supremacy of parliament was facing an end in Pakistan
–Babar says CJP Saqib Nisar had promised that he had no political agenda; concerned to see judges leaning on ‘contempt of court’ powers for their integrity
–Other state institutions impinging upon parliament’s authority, says Babar
ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani and Senator Farhatullah Babar on Tuesday stated that they do not want ‘any further rift between institutions or departments working through or under the Constitution’, in an apparent reference to parliament-judiciary standoff that has taken the country’s political scene into its grip for the past few weeks.
The Senate chairman added, in a statement published here on Tuesday, that he would like to retire from the post without creating any difficulties.
The two while delivering their farewell speeches in the upper house of the parliament said that it is unfortunate that the supremacy of the parliament was facing an end in Pakistan. They insisted that the judiciary and parliament should avoid ‘entering into controversy’.
The outgoing Senate chairman said that the Supreme Court in the past had decided that it would not intervene in the matters of the parliament.
“In its verdict of the Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta vs Federation of Pakistan case, the chief justice of Pakistan had shown constraint in going beyond the veil of ‘internal proceedings’ of the Parliament in terms of Article 69 of the Constitution,” he remarked while adding that the last few days had compelled his conscience to draw the attention of the chief justice to it.
He said that with the judgment being authored by the chief justice himself, such restraint needed to be exhibited by all other courts and judicial as well as quasi-judicial tribunals functioning under the Constitution.
“The aim of both the judiciary and the parliament is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” he said.
Expressing disappointment over the issuance of notice to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker, Rabbani said that a contempt notice being issued to the speaker of an assembly was regrettable. “Similarly, information being sought by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also infringes upon the well-established concept of internal proceedings of the parliament,” he added.
Rabbani said he would have met the chief justice to ‘iron out these intra-institutional and intra-judicial issues’ but time restrictions did not permit him to do so.
“The office of the Senate Chairman nevertheless is one that operates in perpetuity and seeks an amicable settlement of these jurisdictional issues,” said the Senate chairman.
He expressed confidence that his successor would carry on this torch ‘even if it means calling on the chief justice of Pakistan’.
‘OTHER STATE INSTITUTIONS IMPINGING UPON PARLIAMENT’S AUTHORITY’:
Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Senator Farhatullah Babar in his address said that other state institutions were impinging upon the authority of the parliament. Politicising the judiciary and vice versa had endangered the parliament, he added.
“This is concerning because the Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had promised that he had no political agenda,” he said.
Farhat further said that it was a concerning development to see judges leaning on ‘contempt of court’ powers for their integrity. The senator also said that due to the constantly expanding sphere of influence of other state institutions, the parliament was failing.
‘FATF FIASCO SHOULD FORCE A RETHINKING OF STATE POLICIES’:
Separately, Farhat said that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) fiasco should force a national debate on the foreign and security policy formulation as well as on the wisdom of continuing pre 9/11 policies.
Speaking at a discussion on FATF and human rights organised by the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) in the federal capital, he said that it was not important how much Pakistan would be impacted by the grey list.
“What is important is Pakistan’s strategic partners China and Saudi Arabia have finally signaled that enough is enough and they cannot be counted on to rescue Pakistan unconditionally,” he added.
Even the sending of additional 1000 troops to Saudi Arabia around the time of FATF moot proved too little too late, said the Senator while adding, “this should worry us more than Trump’s New Year tweet of ‘lies and deceit’ or the suspension of $1 billion of assistance including the CSF payments.”
“We have not been serious. Massod Azhar continued to be protected from UN sanctions through China and Hafiz Saeed was released. We don’t investigate how Mullah Mansoor Akhtar secured Pakistani identity documents because we are not serious to expose their patrons and protectors,” he said.
The JuD and FIF were declared a terrorist front group by the Security Council in 2008. But it took us a decade and only after strategic partners raised their hands that they were placed on the banned organisations list last month.
“Worse still, the militant organisations were being mainstreamed without debate and without serious thought. The Milli Muslim League (MML) was launched last year as Hafiz Saeed declared to enter into electoral politics and the mysterious Labbaik sprung from nowhere to cut to size mainstream political parties,” Farhat added.
“The self-confessed murderer of 150 APS children was enjoying state protection instead of prosecution. The surrender document to lift the siege of capital by militants recently in Faizabad was a testimony of legitimising militants and de-legitimising the government and political parties,” he concluded.