PTI’s authoritarian streak

  • Disregard for constitution and laws

The  PTI government continues to take actions in violation of the Constitution and law. In August President Arif Alvi issued the appointment orders of two ECP members disregarding constitutional provisions. The CEC refused to administer oath to both, terming their appointments unconstitutional. The IHC set aside the appointments, reminding the government that a presidential order could not overrule constitutional provisions. The court referred the matter to the Senate Chairman and National Assembly Speaker for settlement in accordance with the law. The episode underlined that, instead of applying his mind, the President behaved like a PTI loyalist, blindly signing the papers sent by the leadership which wanted to bypass the Constitution to induct two ECP members faithful to it.

In a move violating basic rights, the Interior Ministry banned the JUI(F)’s Ansar-ul-Islam, who are party members, acting during the Azadi March as guards in uniform without providing the party an opportunity of defend itself. A notification in this regard was urgently issued by the Ministry. As this was against the principle of natural justice, the court declared the ban infructuous. The Ministry’s action underlined the autocratic tendency in the PTI leadership which wants to have its way, irrespective of whether the law allows it.

Pemra could not have gone to the extreme that it did without the approval of the government. While issuing drastic instructions to control the media, Pemra used the court’s name with a purpose. It wanted to bring a bad name to the judiciary which restrains the government whenever it acts in violation of law, something disliked by those in power.

The government is authorised to bail out anyone sentenced by a court on humanitarian grounds. The government neglected Its duty by not providing the facility available under law to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, all the more when the doctors’ team appointed by the government itself had described his condition as highly serious. The issue was left to the judiciary to decide. That all these acts of commission and omission have taken place in a short period of three months indicates the dangers posed by the authoritarian streak to the system.