The Karachi Bar Association has promised to launch massive protests if the government attempts to amend the Constitution to allow dual nationality holders to contest elections and hold public office or change the contempt of court law.
At a marathon general body meeting, the Karachi Bar Association (KBA) opposed any planned amendments. The meeting was held on Saturday at the historic Shuhada-e-Punjab Hall, a venue where strategies for confronting military regimes and democratic governments have long been plotted.
A dozen speakers, including KBA President Mehmoodul Hasan and Secretary Khalid Mumtaz addressed the visibly perturbed association, who were opposed to amendments to the Constitution given the current situation. The KBA opined that amendments to the contempt of court law were aimed to save new Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf from meeting the same fate as that of his predecessor, Yousaf Raza Gilani.
According to the speakers, the present government and its spokespersons although talk of “respecting the judiciary”, but practically disrespect the judiciary and ridicule it by not implementing verdicts by the superior courts.
The amendment to allow dual nationality holders to contest elections was aimed at facilitating a few and was unwarranted, the KBA speakers felt. They believed it was being introduced under pressure from some partners in the present coalition government. The speakers said that the issue will impact the country’s sovereignty.
The Pakistan Peoples Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement have been strong backers of the amendment, given that several of its legislators have lost membership of the national and provincial assemblies after the Supreme Court ruled that dual nationality holders were ineligible to be elected representatives. However, coalition partner Awami National Party opposed the amendment, which is why it has been deferred for the time being.
The meeting adopted a resolution unanimously which “rejected the proposed amendments to the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 saying that it would change the basic features of the constitution. The amendments are unwarranted and brought at this juncture with mala fide intention.”
The resolution also stated that in its considered opinion, the government is bringing amendments in haste to cover up its corruption, to have a stand off with the present independent judiciary and that it wants to ridicule the judiciary by disobeying and not implementing orders of the Supreme Court such as the judgment in the National Reconciliation Order case.
The meeting also warned the rulers that in case it went ahead with its plan for amendments, the lawyers of Sindh, including Karachi, will launch a massive protest movement and the government will not be allowed to carry out its plan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 8th, 2012.
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