ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly, Wednesday passed a resolution against President Dr Arif Alvi for “taking unconstitutional stance and refusal to adhere to implement the Constitution in letter and spirit and also to follow the norms of Parliamentary democracy.” The House called upon the President to act in a non-partisan manner and perform his functions strictly in accordance with Article 48 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The resolution was presented by an independent Member of the National Assembly in the House for passage. The House passed the resolution with a majority while the members of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) opposed it while criticizing the government.
According to the resolution, “This House resolves under the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan obedience to the Constitution and the law is the invaluable obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for time being within Pakistan.”
The resolution further described that according to the oath of the office of President, “the President will not allow his personal interest to influence his official conduct or his official decisions. He is also bound to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.”
The Resolution said, “This House takes strong exception to the unconstitutional stance taken by the President and refusal to adhere to implement the Constitution in letter and spirit, and also to follow the norms of Parliamentary democracy.” According to the resolution, “This House calls upon the President to act in a nonpartisan manner and to perform his functions strictly in accordance with Article 48 of the Constitution.”
The GDA, led by MNAs GhousBux Mahar and Dr Fehmida Mirza, opposed the Resolution.
Mahar said the Constitution was not clear on the procedure of removing a governor unless he/she tendered resignation himself/herself. He said that the President had discretionary power and he could stop the removal of the governor by setting-aside the advice of the prime minister.
The GDA member and former speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza said that lotacracy(turncoats’ politics) was promoted in the country. She said that the federal government should avoid clash with the institutions. She said that all the institutions including the judiciary, the armed forces, and the Presidency should be respected.
While responding to the GDA’s members, Minister for Law and Justice AzamNazeerTarar said the Punjab governor had been removed in line with the law and the Constitution of Pakistan.
He said, “As per the Constitution of the country, the president is bound to act as per the advice of the cabinet and the prime minister”. He said that on the advice of the then prime minister Imran Khan, when he was facing a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly, the president had removed and appointed governors within no time.
The law minister said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had advised the President twice to remove the Punjab governor, but it was not implemented.
Following which the federal government notified that Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema had ceased to hold office on the advice of the prime minister sent to the president on April 17 and reinforced on May 1.
“If the Parliament and the Constitution are not defended at present, we will be ashamed before the next generation. The House should decide whether it wants a presidential system or a parliamentary system in the country. Small people are sitting on bigger position,” he added.
While speaking on the floor of the National Assembly, Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) AshtarAusaf Ali elaborated the Article 48 (2) of the Constitution and said whenever the matter (governor’s appointment/removal) was taken to the courts they viewed, “it is the pleasure of the prime minister, the pleasure of the federal government and not of the president.”
The AGP said that it was clearly mentioned that only the appointing authority could remove. He said that it could not happen that Prime Minister appointed the governor and be retained by President. The same rule applied for the office of the AGP, he said.
“It (removal of the Punjab governor) is not only in line with the Constitution, the Business Rules and decision of the Supreme Court,” he said. MNA Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said that we want a strong parliamentary system in the country. We should implement on the Constitution in its letter and spirit. Responding to the GDA’s members, dissident PTI member Raja Raiz said, “we are still members of PTI, we did not cast vote and we are sitting on opposition benches. Imran Khan is a turncoat and he ranaway from the Parliament. We will defend the Constitution.”
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022