Judiciary-parliament clash will lead to constitutional breakdown: SAFMA
13 July, 2012
LAHORE: Clash between parliament and the judiciary will lead to constitutional breakdown and as a result, the unconstitutional and undemocratic forces will come into power.
This was the consensus of opinion at a discussion 'Judiciary-Executive Showdown: Where Would It Lead To', organised by South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) on Thursday.
SAFMA Secretary General Imtiaz Alam, Dr Muhammad Waseem of LUMS and renowned journalist Khaled Ahmed were the key speakers on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Waseem said that the judiciary-executive clash was not the issue of Pakistan alone, as India and Sri Lanka had also been experiencing the same situation. He said first it started in India when judiciary refused to obey the orders of erstwhile premier Jawaharlal Nehru regarding land reforms. He said the middle class was the most powerful class in Pakistan and India but it did not have legitimacy. He said the country was moving towards 'judicialisation of democracy' as the unelected institution – the judiciary - was trying to penetrate into politics setting aside the legislature.
"The judiciary is legislating by giving verdicts," Dr Waseem said, adding that now the judiciary was not accountable to anyone.
He said the chief Justice's remarks were very strange when he said that the concept of parliament's sovereignty was ages old so it was not applicable now. He said the judiciary thought that the constitution was its last refuge so it was using it as an instrument to undermine parliament. He said that it was a radical development that law was defining the constitution.
Khaled Ahmed said that in Pakistan only the army was supreme and sovereign that was why some undemocratic institutions were trying to overpower the democratic institutions. He said every institution should stay in limits. He said that Taliban, army and some external forces have weakened parliament. "We believe in an independent judiciary but not a powerful judiciary," he said, adding that nowadays everyone was raising voice for judiciary and the justice, which has become a trend and the judiciary was using this trend as a tool for weakening parliament. He said this trend would change after bloody occurrence.
Imtiaz Alam said that the judiciary-executive clash was a transition. He said Pakistan got its 1973 Constitution after losing half of the country, adding that the Pakistani society witnessed two major changes during the last few years. First Asif Ali Zardari, after becoming the president, refused to be a tool of the army as the president has been an instrument of the establishment to dislodge the elected government, and secondly the sacked chief justice got reinstated through the massive public support. He said that the judiciary was the custodian of constitution rather it was undermining the will of the people by thinking and doing so.