Bilawal wants judicial activism scaled down

Amenable to judicial oversight of upcoming general elections

Z Ali April 01, 2018
Amenable to judicial oversight of upcoming general elections. PHOTO: FILE

HYDERABAD: Apparently perturbed by the judicial commission on water and sanitation's proceedings, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said "the judicial activism should be scaled down".

"The judiciary should do their own work and let the politicians do theirs," he suggested while talking to the media in Hyderabad on Sunday at late leftist leader Jam Saqi's residence where he had gone to condole his death with the family.

"If we fail, the people have the power to oust us through vote."

He underscored that the separation of powers is a significant component of democracy and added that an institution becomes weak if it starts doing the work of other institutions.

"I think 'judicialisation of politics' is not only happening in Pakistan, but in other countries as well. [But] it isn't good for democracy."

The PPP chairman pointed out that around 1.8 million cases are pending in courts in Pakistan.

Gap between rich, poor increased due to PML-N policies: Bilawal Bhutto

He maintained that since Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's conviction the PPP has been trying to institute judicial reforms.

He said during the last PPP's federal government, the party attempted to undertake reforms but the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz opposed their bid. “Even during the present government we wanted to bring an amendment but that was also opposed.”

But in contrast to his stance against the judiciary's alleged intrusion in the executive's realm, Bilawal did not object to the judicial oversight of the upcoming 2018 general elections.

"... they [the Election Commission of Pakistan] should hire their own staff who should be able to conduct the elections. But if at present it is not practicable and the law gives them the authority to take people from the bureaucracy or the judiciary, then it’s their legal right and they can do," he replied when questioned with reference to PPP-Parliamentarians chairman Asif Ali Zardari's public criticism of the 2013 general elections.

He said the PPP ideally wants a strong and empowered ECP that is itself capable of conducting the whole process of the elections.

Bilawal reiterated his criticism over the recent meeting between Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar.

"Nawaz Sharif has complete right to talk about the right to vote, the civilian supremacy and judicial reforms. But when the PM goes to meet the chief justice that argument is evaporated."

He also refuted Sharif's assertion that he has become an ideologue and that he has also learnt from the past mistakes.

"He was never an ideologue yesterday, he isn't today and will never be one tomorrow," he emphasised, quoting the saying that a tiger never changed its stripes.

Watch: Bilawal kissed on the cheek by PPP worker in K-P

He objected to the naming of DG Khan airport after former president Farooq Laghari.

Commenting over Saqi's association with the Bhutto family and his endeavours for the leftist politics, Bilawal credited the PPP for being the only party in Pakistan that delivered according to the communist ideology.

He pointed out land reforms during the Bhutto era, Benazir Income Support Programme and Benazir stock options programmes as some of those ideologically motivated measures.

"If the stock options programme wasn't stopped, workers in all [government] organisations would have owned shares of their organisations."


Tulla | 3 years ago | Reply Good to hear a valid and principled stance by Bilawal. Judicial or military activism always creates more problems. He is correct in saying that politicians can be removed via ballot box. PPP itself is a good example of this fact as it was nearly wiped out in the last election due to its very bad performance in government.
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