PPP lawmakers raise voice against judiciary, CJ

Published: August 8, 2012

This is judicial martial law, says Sindh Information Minister.

KARACHI: 

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon led the charge of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) angst at their treatment at the hands of the judiciary on Tuesday in a strongly worded speech trying to show critics that at the end of the day, it was the people who were in charge.

Memon spoke on a point of order at a hastily called session of the Sindh Assembly chaired by Speaker Nisar Khuhro. Memon likened the current situation in Pakistan to that of “judicial martial law which only [exists] during PPP tenures.”  “We have never received justice,” he said.  Memon quickly turned the dramatic speech into a critique of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, referencing the Bahriagate saga. He questioned how a man who takes ‘suo motu notices’ can be forgiven for allegedly violating the constitution. “As a Pakistani, I have not forgiven the chief justice. He should appear in court and if he gets a fair trial, then we can say he has been cleared.”

“How can he not have seen that his son has a BMW and is staying at five-star hotels in London? Have you [addressing the speaker] ever stayed at a five-star hotel on your own expense? I haven’t. He did not see that his son Dr Arsalan used the Chief Justice’s address for his business, but he did see the two bottles Atiqa Odho had and took suo motu notice of it,” Memon said, referring to the episode where TV actor and political activist Odho was detained at the airport for allegedly bringing in alcohol.

He also critiqued the Sharifs for their refusal to appear in court. “Why are there no notices for them? There cannot be anyone’s ‘reign’.” “There is a separate law for the PPP, and another one for everyone else,” he said.  The role of the assemblies and the question of who is ‘supreme’ were also discussed by Memon and other Sindh Assembly MPAs discussing the issue.  “What is the job of the assemblies?” Memon asked. “We are being prevented from our job of legislation as elected representatives.”

Addressing Khuhro, he said that “In the same way that you and I cannot sit here and pass judgments, no one else can make laws. We did not come here through a Provisional Constitutional Order; we are here because the people voted us in.” Sindh Senior Education and Literacy Minister Pir Mazharul Haq tried a different tack, linking his points to a speech made by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Monday evening. “We need to heed what he is saying and not repeat the mistakes of the past,” Haq said. Hussain, in his speech, had also questioned the purpose of the assemblies as lawmaking bodies and had called for an end to the confrontation between the judiciary and the executive. “This is the beginning of the end,” Haq warned.  But while Haq and Memon believe that it is the people of Pakistan, via their elected representatives, whose job it is to uphold the constitution, MQM’s parliamentary leader in the assembly and senior minister Syed Sardar Ahmed had a different approach. “There is all this talk of whether the judiciary is supreme or the parliament is. It is the constitution that is supreme. And if there is a law that is against the constitution, the judiciary can call for a judicial review.” Sindh Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah rebutted him by quoting from the Objectives Resolution and the preamble to the constitution to make his point: the power, he said, is with the people who elect their representatives. “They will be the ones to dismiss us.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Aug 8, 2012 - 12:29AM

    If any enactment is against the spirit of Constitution the apex court can treat it as void in toto or
    specifying the clauses for modification/alteration/modification/deletion.Supreme court will also give reasons/rationale giving justification for their decision.

    Recommend

  • Raza Qasim
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:40AM

    before baqar eid, zardari will sacrifice many political goats. this is the fourth one, i guess. But nothing will happen, and all these are useless.

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  • Syed Rizvi
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:31AM

    I complete agreed with the view point of mr sharma but the issue with the superme court of Pakistan is bit different here the main objection is regarding the misuse and disproportionate use of discretionary powers and as of now it seems that the judiciary is more in favour of right wing propenents as recently we have seen the action taken by cj on the petition filed by former head of JI and we should not overlook mr ansar abbasi a somewhat right wing journalist who has raised this issue through his writing in a newspaper. Anyway still the balance can be maintain if the jon’ble court start focussing the grievances of common litigants instead of indulging itself in more of political cases.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:05AM

    It is about time the provincial assemblies pass resolutions against the selective justice by the PCO judges.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:30AM

    Sharjeel . . . it is only you and your so called leaders who are responsible for making the judiciary so active.
    .
    Start working for Pakistan and its people . . . or else be prepared to face the music.

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  • liberal_pak
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:18AM

    Supreme court cant invalidate 2/3 majority passed constitutional amendment by Parliament. Full Stop!

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  • Siddique Malik
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:32AM

    First the SC distanced itself from the matter of Arsalan-Malik Riaz. Then it hindered NAB to the extent that NAB had to virtually jettison the matter. It is obvious what is going on. Meanwhile, Malik Riaz is facing contempt of court proceedings for spilling the beans. What’s the point of these proceedings? Is the SC telling Pakistanis that one should keep quiet in case one has evidence of wrongdoings by relatives of those in power? If what Riaz said was so bad that he was charged with contempt, why not look into the matter deeply? Why not assure the nation that what Riaz said was untrue? But that can only happen through a proper investigation. Once it has been proved to be untrue, then Riaz should face defamation proceedings, but still not contempt proceedings. Saying something about the judges cannot be the basis of contempt. This law is not there so judges could pretend to be above criticism and above law. It is not there to service judges’ egos. Or is there a special reason for pressuring Riaz so he cannot further spill the beans? Meanwhile, the CJ keeps talking about the rule of law and supremacy of the constitution. Does he think people are stupid?
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

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  • Gill
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:35AM

    Who likes justice in this country? Altaf, PML (Q), PPP? These are a gathering of currupt people who cannot see beyond their noses.

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  • bilal
    Aug 8, 2012 - 9:11AM

    .“We have never received justice,” government leaders who killed BB?

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Aug 8, 2012 - 10:44AM

    Sharjeel Inam Memon did PPP ever support,respect,honor and obey the Supreme Court and its decisions within last 4.5 years????
    Would you like to explain truly,sincerely and honestly??????

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  • Introspection
    Aug 8, 2012 - 11:37AM

    Of course, any ‘constitutional incrimination’ of PPP, will be conveniently termed as ‘judicial martial law’ by them…a brain-dead issue!

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  • Muhammad
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:22PM

    This is judicial martial law which is worse than military martial law

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:42PM

    Sharjeel when raised his voice against judiciary he becameProvincial Information Minister.

    Now he is again raising his voice against the judiciary, this time there are chances that he may become Chief Minister of Sindh.

    The more Sharjeel will speak against the judiciary, the high official positions will be waiting for him to fill.

    Unfortunately, the political leaders of the ruling party does not have any respect against the judiciary. The another case is of another Jiyala Faisal Raza Abidi is that he has been stopped from entering into President House and have also been expelled from the core committee.

    The simple theory is: Goverment against Judiciary = Martial Law.
    Judiciary against the Government = Martial Law

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  • Ex-PPP
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:25PM

    @liberal_pak:

    And how many years did you practice law?

    So PPP has come by the vote? Don’t forget that there was a large portion of the people who didn’t vote for PPP and they still don’t like PPP. We knew that PPP is a corrupt party and we knew that this is exactly how PPP would fare in governing the country.

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  • khan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:25PM

    they should pass a law saying corruption is legal..that will remove all the legal issuess..

    da..you cant make a law a against COMMON law, so its obvious that law which PPPP wants to make is irrationalRecommend

  • A. Khan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:10PM

    I wish they would raise the same level of noise against the ineptitude of PPP government in resolving the issues facing Pakistan, which is what t`heir job really is meant for.

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  • Democrat
    Aug 8, 2012 - 6:06PM

    @Ahmer Ali:
    obeying whom? you meant to say PPP should accept unconstitutional, biased and wrong decisions of SC? Its not that simple.. Judges at one hand are talking about supremacy of constitution and on the other are violating the very constitution. If a person like Aitzaz can say that court is doing things, extra constitutionally, it cant be wrong..
    Regardless of whether Zardari is corrupt or not, if we allow dominance of greedy, biased and power hungry judges, our future generations are going to suffer. This is now about Zardari vs Judges, this is now about who is going to represent the will of the people.. either we are willing to represent us through our elected representatives or allowing corrupt judges to become self assumed representatives of people?

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