The hearing of petitions challenging various clauses of the 18th amendment has been adjourned till Thursday. Senior lawyer Hafeez Pirzada said that the present parliament has gone beyond its mandate by including the 18th amendment in the constitution.
He said that the parliament can make amendments, but it does not have the power to change the basic structure of the Constitution. However, he also said that the parliament has abused its power to alter the fundamental framework of the Constitution by adding controversial clauses.
While making his arguments, Pirzada also dispelled the impression that the court does not have the power to scrap the 18th amendment.
Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said that that efforts should be made to save the constitutional provision and asserted that the judiciary is obliged to save the system.
Speaking on constitutional convention, Justice Khosa asked Pirzada to elaborate on whether the court can strike down Article 2-A by terming it as legistlation.
Clause 2A of Article 6 : “An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or (2) shall not be validated by any court, including the Supreme Court and a high court.”
Clause 1 : “Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”
Clause 2 of Article 6 : “Any person aiding or abetting or collaborating the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.”
During yesterday's hearing, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said that it was the parliament which gave permanence to martial laws, not the judiciary.
Justice Ramday also asked senior advocate Hafeez Pirzada why the judiciary is always singled out for backing martial laws and why past parliament have validated the wrong verdicts of courts. Justice Ramday said it was the parliament which validated the court's verdict in Nusrat Bhutto's case, and it was the parliament again which supported the November 3rd action.
Justice Saqib Nisar said that the Constitution is a dynamic document in which amendments need to be made to suit changing circumstances.
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