Judiciary, not parliament, will decide who should rule the country!
19 June, 2012
LAHORE: Holding the Supreme Court verdict disqualifying Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani a political than a judicial decision, the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has decided to leave the matter aside for a while and concentrate on the formation of a new government headed by a party member with the help of allies.
Informed sources in the PPP told on Tuesday that the PPP has accepted the short order on the speaker's ruling as it was left with no other option but to save the system. The sources said the PPP leadership has also decided to imply utmost restraint while reacting to the short order and wait for not just the detailed verdict but also the accomplishment of the most pressing job of getting an elected party member as the next prime minister.
A senior PPP parliamentarian and member of the outgoing Gilani cabinet told on the condition of anonymity that with or without "Arsalangate" the government was bound to face the situation in hand keeping in view the hostile attitude of the judiciary towards the party-led coalition government. He was of the view that Arsalangate may have put the disposal of the speaker's ruling case on a fast track as was evident from the day-to-day proceedings despite objections from the attorney general of Pakistan and other defence counsel.
The party leader conceded that the cautious PPP reaction to the judgement was also because of the staged protest demonstrations particularly in Punjab on power outages being led by none other than Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif himself.
The PPP leader complained that the SC verdict is the culmination of the judicial activism it had been made to face from the forced restoration of the deposed judiciary led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Asked about the possible reaction of parliament to the Supreme Court verdict, particularly when it chooses to set aside speaker's ruling on the matter of prime minister's disqualification and a recently approved resolution in this regard by the party and the allied parties in parliament, the PPP leader said, "The time is not ripe for confrontation between the institutions." Parliament, said the PPP leader, would apply safeguards to protect its members from disqualification by any institution other than parliament itself at an appropriate time holding that the Supreme Court verdict amounts to rewriting of the constitution than its mere interpretation.
The PPP leader said the crux of the party's Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting called in anticipation of a harsh SC judgement has been to show utmost restraint and avoid provocation to help the political and democratic process continue.
The sources said the PPP at present was focusing on three names - Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Makhdoom Shahabuddin and Khursheed Shah, which had already been in the media for the post of the premier, however, there can be surprises as well since a lot is going on behind the scenes and any proposal from allies, the PML-Q, the MQM and the ANP, would be well-taken in the current tumulus political situation.
The sources believe that a session of the National Assembly is most likely to be convened sooner than the later once the allied parties reach consensus on the future course of political action in the wake of the SC ruling. The political observer sees the judgement as most likely keeping in view the recent low in relationship between the government and the judiciary. They, however, also see a dangerous trend in the assumption of power of disqualification of elected members by the judiciary than parliament itself.
The SC verdict has disturbed the constitutional equilibrium by sending away an elected government through the disqualification of a prime minister, the observer said, and added no parliament can be independent and sovereign when its leader can be thrown out of the House in a fashion as the SC did through its judgement.
The observer said the judgement has put a question mark on parliament being mother of all institutions and SC becoming the ultimate power broker is an unwelcoming concept in the parliamentary form of government.
The political opportunism on the part of the opposition parties, who had been benefiting from the judicial activism, would have to survive under the thumb of same powerful judiciary on their turn in power which is not so good an omen for democracy, said the observer. The observer said though it appeared unlikely at the moment yet the political forces have to assert to reestablish the supremacy of parliament rather than making it weaker against power brokers like the judiciary and the establishment.