A day after his farewell speech in Senate lambasting his party for backing off from upholding the supremacy of parliament, the outspoken senator of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Farhatullah Babar, has been ‘removed’ as the party’s spokesperson.
In a statement issued on Twitter, the party on Wednesday night said his resignation as spokesperson of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has been accepted by the latter.
“Farhatullah Babar is a PPP senior and an asset of the party. He is and will remain the secretary general of the PPPP,” it added.
In his farewell speech on Tuesday, Babar had warned against what he said ‘judicialisation of politics and politicisation of the judiciary’, the ‘state within state’ and the utter helplessness of parliament to arrest the downslide.
Babar said he could not applaud the chief justice swearing that he had no political agenda or the judges quoting from poetry instead of the Constitution and the law.
“When my village elder Baba Rehamte tells me that the Constitution is supreme I accept it. But when he goes on to also tell me that Constitution is what he says and not what is written in it then I am appalled,” he said in a reference to the CJP.
Babar said when dignity of courts is upheld by brandishing the contempt law rather than by the force of arguments it is time to ponder. “It would be a disaster if the election year was allowed to become the year of referendum on the judiciary,” he said.
He said he was also pained to see two states – one de facto and the other de jure – often working at cross purposes. The de facto calls the shots but refuses to submit to accountability, he said, lamenting the failure of the parliament to bring legislation for accountability of all including judges and generals.
Babar said he was distressed that all political parties including his own, demanding accountability of all, suddenly backtracked on the demand. ”We must resolve this contradiction of a state within state if Pakistan is not to be devoured by it”.
The senator also warned against attempts to roll back the 18th Amendment and provincial autonomy.
“Smaller provinces may demand parity in the National Assembly as we had also demanded parity with East Pakistan before it broke up. Soon I will be a stranger to this house and unable to speak here. But the voice will not be stilled and fight for the cause will not be abandoned,” he said.
Reacting to the news, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif used strong words against the PPP co-chairman on Twitter.
“Farhatullah Babar sacked as spokesperson, recommendations to nominate Raza Rabbani as Senate chairman refused: The ideological face of Bhutto and Benazir’s party doesn’t match with Asif Zardari’s commercial interests. For Zardari Bhutto’s name is just a franchise,” he tweeted in Urdu.