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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Legal Reforms and Accountability, Irfan Qadir, Monday, while dispelling any differences among the state organs including the parliament, the Supreme Court (SC), and the government has stressed the need for all the state institutions to perform their duties as per constitutional guidelines.

Addressing a press conference here, he said that all the state organs are under the constitution and no individual has the authority to control Pakistan. He asserted that parliament is the “mother of all institutions” and suggested that a “constitutional court” be set up.

The SAPM’s presser came as the SC adjourned indefinitely a case related to holding polls in Punjab after the Supreme Court Review of Judgements and Orders Bill, 2023 came into effect.

Qadir asserted that as per Article 184/3, the Supreme Court could take the so-moto notice, not the chief justice of the honourable court.

He said as per the Constitution, no one but the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was empowered to announce the date of elections. To a question, he said constitutional courts should be established to hear political cases as such a practice was being followed across the globe.

He said that uncontroversial members of parliament, media persons, lawyers, judges and people from different walks of life should be appointed to the constitutional court.

“Institutions are bound to follow the Constitution. No one person can control the country. We have to make the Constitution supreme,” Qadir emphasised.

Special Assistant to PM Irfan Qadir resigns

The SAPM said that the SC’s decision regarding the fixation of the election date in Punjab was wrong, saying first the bench was constituted of nine judges in this case, of which, two judges excused and four judges declared the appeal inadmissible, while three judges considered the appeal admissible. He said that the Parliament or the government is not against the judiciary at all, saying both institutions stand by the judiciary.

He said the resolution of conflict within the judiciary and upholding the principle of seniority-cum-fitness in the appointment of judges is the panacea to end the present crisis in the country.

He said judges should be elevated on the basis of seniority as it seems hard for a junior judge, who got out of turn promotion, to maintain his independence.

He added that the judiciary should also resolve its issues with understanding, as he being part of the government wants to show the nation that the government wants to strengthen the judiciary, if there is any difference in the judiciary, the judges themselves get it over with and settle the matter.

He said that the SC does not need to build dams, run railways and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), saying that institutions stayed within their domain of authority in every democratic country.

The SAPM while referring to the SC’s verdicts that removed two premiers, Yousaf Raza Gilani and Nawaz Sharif from office said, “There was a time political engineering was done in Pakistan. There is no mention of lifetime disqualification in the Constitution yet Nawaz Sharif was disqualified for lifetime.”

Highlighting the issue of “judicialisation of politics”, Qadir mentioned specific cases where the judiciary seemingly encroached upon political matters. Qadir also pointed out that the judiciary played a role in disqualifying Nawaz Sharif as the party head.

“Justice Saqib Nisar, along with the bench, disqualified Sharif for life,” he said. He continued that the top court had charged Gilani with contempt of court, which was “a clear violation of the law”.

Referring to the matter of polls in the Punjab and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces which has brought the government and the judiciary at odds, Qadir said the president and the governor were not authorised to decide the date for elections to the provincial assemblies.

“We will not give anyone the right to rewrite the constitution. Every institution’s limit is defined in the Constitution. Any verdict that is against the law is not implemented,” he stated.

The SAPM clarified; however, that he was standing with the Supreme Court. “Parliament or the government is not against the Supreme Court in anyway.”

“Constitution safeguards self-respect of individuals and should be given priority,” he said.

The special assistant stressed that it is not a constitutional requirement for an individual to exercise “unilateral control”.

He raised concerns about the formation of arbitrary benches and their impact on the political landscape. In addition, Qadir mentioned a case related to the rejection of a no-confidence motion.

He claimed that the same individuals were involved in the bench formation, and the decision included a controversial ruling that discounted the votes of dissenting members.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Shariq May 30, 2023 07:39am
Where is constitution?
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KU May 30, 2023 10:02am
It is more important to establish a court to inquire the source of money earned by politicians and elite of Pakistan. The crimes committed against the economy of Pakistan must be exposed. Legislation to bring back criminals will spell doom for already devestated economy of country.
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