Federation’s lawyers ready to defend the 18th amendment

The top legal brains of Pakistan are going to kick off their arguments to defend the 18th amendment.


Zahid Gishkori July 26, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The top legal brains of Pakistan, on behalf of the federation, are going to kick off their arguments to defend the 18th amendment with full force before the Supreme Court (SC) today (Monday).

Representing the government, Advocate Wasim Sajjad, told The Express Tribune that he would focus his arguments on Article 175-A, Article 62, 63, 63-A and 238-9 of the Constitution,  justifying the need for the Judicial Commission, which provides for the appointment of judges to the superior judiciary, under the 18th amendment.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heads the 17-member bench of the SC hearing petitions against the 18th Amendment.

Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Tassauq Hussain Jillani, Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali, Justice Mahmood Akhtar Shahid Siddiqui, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Rahmat Hussain Jafferi, Justice Tariq Parvez, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Ghulam Rabbani and Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday are the other judges of the full bench.

Advocates Wasim Sajjad, Ibrahim Satti, Barrister Bacha, Sultan Muhammad and Attorney-General Anwarul Haq along with other legal advisers will appear before the SC in this case.

“Most of the debate will focus on the membership of the Judicial Commission - federal law minister, attorney-general and the CJ. Power given under the 18th amendment to political party heads to remove the respective party’s parliamentarians from their seats if they try to violate party discipline will be discussed,” Sajjad explained.

He added that “we would focus on Article 239 which deals with amending the Constitution separately by a two-thirds majority in each House.”

Attorney-General Maulvi Anwarul Haq will also support the federation.

Senior lawyer of the SC Ikram Chaudhry told The Express Tribune that articles 62, 63 and 63-A are likely to be discussed in the SC as the Federation lawyers will justify their arguments in light of aforesaid articles.

“The government may also take the stance that the SC has no jurisdiction to set aside the amendments passed by parliament with a two-thirds majority,” clarified Chaudhry, who is also representing the Rawalpindi District Bar Association in the said case.

While another federation counsel Ibrahim Satti was of the view that the federation’s legal brains would justify the 18th amendment in light of the basic structure of the 1973 Constitution.

“The issue of allegedly clinching powers from the higher judiciary to appoint superior courts judges will also be debated during the proceedings,” he added.

Earlier, the court had adjourned the hearing on July 22 when the government’s counsel had completed their arguments before the full bench.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2010.

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