Judicial 'activism' needs parliamentary review: PPP
21 June, 2012
LAHORE: With the resolve that the conduct of judges particularly in the speaker's ruling case would be debated in parliament, the PPP has hinted at not letting the pro-active 'independent' judiciary to undermine the supremacy of parliament.
Dubbing a judgement to destabilise the elected PPP-led coalition government, the PPP parliamentary party meeting decided not to get provoked by the judiciary but check it through parliament and question the conduct of judges at an appropriate time, sources in the PPP told our sources.
"We are being provoked to react and confront the judiciary through this judgement at the behest of undemocratic forces to pave the way for an interim set up comprising so-called technocrats,' said a PPP leader from central Punjab who wished anonymity keeping in view the sensitive nature of the matter.
"We will protest over this highly politicised and PPP-specific judgement, the way the democratic forces should protest yet will desist from taking it to a point of no return for the continuation of the current system and ensure a democratic transition," the PPP leader said.
Asked about seeking the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) support to protect the system and for democratic transition given his expressed feared to the democratic system in the country, the PPP leader said, "It appeared that the PML-N is in complete control of team of hawks led by the Punjab chief minister, and PML-N President Nawaz Sharif was simply following their dictates unlike in the past when he played his role to rescue the political system put in danger by the moves of the deep state."
The PPP leader said that the top party leadership was of the view that the Arsalan Iftikhar saga, involving property tycoon Malik Riaz, has much to do with the fast track disposal of the petitions against the speaker's ruling despite the fact that the PPP government has avoided playing any role in the matter.
The PPP leader said the parliamentary party of the PPP was infuriated over the judgement like those of its allies but all are on the same page as far as the question of showing patience against high-handedness of the judiciary to the present government is concerned.
The PPP leader said the parliamentary party was of the view that some fundamental changes in the constitution are need of the hour, including the obsolete suo motu powers of the chief justice, which existed nowhere in modern democracies yet being applied in Pakistan as a tool to put the government on notice all the time.
The PPP leader said the party government would like to debate the matter in the existing parliament and would like to make it part of its election manifesto since the conduct of the judiciary under the existing laws is being used to undermine the authority of parliament.
"This will be for the benefit of all the democratic forces in the country as democracy cannot flourish and take roots in the presence of a judiciary hostile to the evolution of democratic culture and hostage to the undemocratic forces," the PPP leader said.
The political observer sees political maturity on part of the parties engaged in the process of formation of coalition government for not confronting the judiciary instantly after the verdict and engaging themselves in the formation of a new government following what they termed as a judicial coup against an elected government.
The PPP leader said the judicial coup is far more dangerous than a military coup since it operates in the façade of champion of civil and political rights. The PPP leader termed the judgement not so different from the one passed by the judiciary of mid-50s when Maulvi Tamizuddin, the speaker of then assembly was denied justice and made to move from pillar to post at the behest of autocrat ruler of the time governor general Ghulam Muhammad.
"Parliament needs to rectify the damage inflicted to the parliamentary form of democracy in the country by the judgement in the speaker's ruling case as no parliament can survive when its decisions are over-ruled by a set of judges in the judiciary," the observer said. However, the observer added, political forces need to evolve a consensus on the role of the judiciary vis-à-vis its conduct with parliament since a pro-active judiciary would not let the parliamentary system thrive if it was made to exist under a hostile judiciary.
The observer said that with general elections mostly likely to be held this year, political forces need to do soul searching on the conduct of the judiciary and come up with a constitutional plan in their election manifestos where there is no threat to the parliamentary system, including the highly assertive and politicised judiciary.