Not judges’ job to build dams, decide on buildings: Bilawal

PPP chief says PTI distanced country from 'essence of democracy’


Rana Yasif February 17, 2022
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing a gathering at the Lahore High Court Bar Association on Feb 17, 2022. Photo: Twitter/PPPMediaCell

LAHORE:

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday maintained that it was not the job of the judges to build dams and decide which building should be demolished or not.

“The judiciary is a place for legal ideas, jurisprudence, for constitutionalism, for the fundamental of human rights and dignity not a place to decide where to build a dam. It [judiciary] is the one source for the shelter of the poorest of the poor,” the scion of the Bhutto dynasty said In Lahore while addressing the city’s legal fraternity. The lawyers of the city had invited him to the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) building.

“Some judges took upon themselves and to busy themselves and the courts on deciding which building should be demolished and which not to be demolished,” he added.

The PPP chief further said the fate of the country’s judiciary and democracy was in the hands of lawyers' community.

“The sweat and blood of generations of lawyers have contributed to the dignity of this profession. There are so many justices who have made mark on history who are respected not only in Pakistan or the region but across the world. We beg you to please save the judiciary and legal system in Pakistan.”

Bilawal claimed that the incumbent PTI government had distanced the country from the "real essence of democracy".

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“Pakistan, in the recent past, had taken a step or two towards democracy and at other times a step or two back, but today, its stands miles away from democracy,” he added.

He noted that democracy would not have been possible without an independent judiciary.

"Without an independent judiciary, no democracy can flourish in the country. [Bilawal’s grandfather and PPP founder] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave the Constitution and democracy to Pakistan. Democracy is just a dream without a constitution.

He added that Pakistan was formed by a lawyer, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and made a constitutional Islamic republic by a lawyer, Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB).

The PPP chairman claimed that the work of the chief justice was to interpret the Constitution.

Shedding light on the existing accountability system in the country, Bilawal said for 30 years his mother, slain PPP chairperson and former premier Benazir Bhutto and his father, PPP co-chairperson and ex-president Asif Ali Zardari, faced persecution at the hands of state and the government of the time.

“But we are eternally grateful because history has given its verdict that ‘Ya Allah Ya Rasool- Benazir Be Qusur’. The courts where these cases used to be heard, in the court of [former chief justice] Iftikhar Chaudhry, they both were exonerated in every case.

 “The PPP has great respect for the judiciary. [But] Unfortunately, "the judiciary did not render its fair role in the past.”

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He pointed out that the Lahore High Court was a part of the history of Pakistan where ZAB was denied a free trial and a conspiracy to institute his judicial murder was orchestrated.

“Those who conspired to murder Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto have been consigned to the dustbins of history.”

Bilawal said this was the time to remove this stain [ZAB’s death sentence] from the country’s judiciary.

“A free and independent judiciary must free itself of the injustices of the past of the historic wrongs of the illegal decisions they endorsed the dictatorship, [endorsing] the rule of General Musharraf [and endorsing] the rule of General Ziaul Haq but condemned Quaid-e-Awam to the gallows.”

The PPP chief said his party had announced a march on Islamabad on February 27 "for protecting democracy, the country, its Constitution and the economy”. He added that his party sought help in the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.

"We are not fighting for a party or a family, but against the whole system which is weakening Pakistan."

He further said Pakistan needed a fair accountability system.

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