Focus on the judiciary?... By Hussain
23 July, 2012
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has been asserting that state organs should work within the parameters described in the constitution. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has also said on many occasions that each institution should strictly work according to the constitution as it is the supreme law of the country. The relevant question here is which state organs they are talking about — executive, parliament or the judiciary — all of which have crossed multiple red lines in the past four years.
The contempt law that was promulgated in 2003 by General Pervez Musharraf has been applied by the superior court to remove prime minister Gilani. In which other democratic country of the world has an elected prime minister been sent home on a contempt of court charge despite the former prime minister's claim that he cannot obey an order that will result in his breaching the constitutional oath? Article 248 extends immunity to the president while in office. How then can the prime minister write a letter against the president to reopen a case by the Swiss authorities that the Musharraf government requested the Swiss authorities to be considered a closed case as far as the government of Pakistan was concerned. Why are we so keen to look like a fool in front of another country's government and people? Why has this corruption case been allowed to linger for over a decade? Why was a former judge of the Lahore High Court forced to resign after it was proved that he was asking the government what verdict he should give on the case and later, the same judge became an attorney general and wrote a letter to close the Swiss case? President Asif Ali Zardari had spent over a decade in jail without being found guilty of cases against him. What further punishment should he undergo for his sins?
Considering the PPP's stated arguments for not writing to the Swiss, why has the Supreme Court not set up a commission to send a letter directly to the Swiss authorities and avoid unnecessary fighting with the former on this issue? President Zardari is not the only president in the world who has assets in a foreign country with an unknown source of income. Then there is rampant corruption in the judiciary as well, which among the primary ten institutions of the country has been ranked number three in 2010's International Transparency Report. Is there any judicial accountability system working that has punished any judge involved in corruption?
I think a great error has been committed by the apex court to disqualify and remove Yousaf Raza Gilani from the post of prime minister who did not ridicule or defame the Supreme Court at any time. He took the stand based on the immunity given to the president under Article 248(2) of the Constitution. In a parliamentary form of government, the prime minister holds office as long as he has the confidence of parliament, not the Supreme Court. Article 63(1) g cannot be utilised by the court to oust the prime minister.
S T HUSSAIN
Consumer Awareness and Welfare Association