General

Judiciary, parliament should avoid ‘entering into controversy’, advises Rabbani

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Tuesday lauded the Supreme Court for demonstrating restraint and not “entering into controversy”, and assured that the judiciary and parliament both aim to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
Rabbani, while addressing the House on Tuesday, said that following the situation that has developed over the past few days he was compelled to draw the attention of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) “in a spirit of understanding”.
The Senate chairman remarked that while the Supreme Court had demonstrated restraint in the matter of Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta vs Federation of Pakistan and refrained from “entering into the controversy”, other courts and judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals under the Constitution, or any other law, must exhibit the same example.
The chief justice had, in a self-authored decision, shown constraint in going beyond the veil of ‘internal proceedings’ for the Bhutta case, Rabbani said, adding that the “judiciary and parliament do not serve separate interests and the aim of both is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”.
Rabbani expressed disappointment over the issuance of notice to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker. He was referring to a hearing in the Peshawar High Court on March 2, in which Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Mohammad Ayub Khan had issued a notice to KP Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar, asking him to explain why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him.
The notice was issued over a petition filed by imprisoned MPA-elect Baldev Kumar, who claimed that despite the court’s order, he was not allowed to take the oath of his office.
Similarly, Rabbani sought to draw attention to another case for which he said, “Information sought by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) also infringes heavily upon the well-established concept of ‘internal proceedings’ of the parliament.”
IHC judge Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had directed the National Assembly and Senate Secretariats to submit a report providing details regarding exactly who took the decision to enact the Election Act, 2017 and when the decision was made.
Also, details were sought for who prepared the draft, the particulars of the committee involved and who gave approval for the draft bill.
Rabbani said he would have met the chief justice to “iron out these intra-institutional and intra-judicial issues” but time restrictions did not permit him to do so.
“The office of the Senate Chairman nevertheless is one that operates in perpetuity and seeks an amicable settlement of these jurisdictional issues,” he remarked.
He was confident that his successor will carry on this torch, “even if it means calling on the Chief Justice of Pakistan.”
Babar warns against ‘judicialisation of politics and politicisation of judiciary’
PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar on Tuesday, in what was his last speech in Senate before his tenure expires, warned against the “judicialisation of politics and politicisation of the judiciary”, the existence of a “state within state” and the utter helplessness of the parliament to arrest the downslide.
The veteran lawmaker said he neither enjoyed the chief justice swearing he had no political agenda nor was he a fan of judges quoting poetry instead of the Constitution and the law.
Babar said he was distressed that all political parties, including PPP, initially demanded across-the-board accountability but suddenly backtracked on it.