ISLAMABAD: The federation’s counsel, Barrister Baachaa, on Thursday said that former dictator General Pervez Musharraf would not have dared to tinker with or disgrace the Constitution had his predecessor the late General Ziaul Haq been punished.
“If General Zia’s body had been hanged, General Musharraf would never have imposed emergency and confined the Supreme Court judges to their homes,” observed Barrister Baachaa in his concluding arguments in the 18th amendment case. He was presenting his arguments before the 17-member Supreme Court bench in light of a constitutional clause dealing with high treason (Article 6).
Article 6, according to Barrister Baachaa, is not a ceremonial part of the Constitution, which is why the Supreme Court ought not to strike down the amendment. Baachaa warned that any such move could create a constitutional crisis.
Then, Justice Jawad S Khawaja asked him to identify the forces that were blocking action against the violators of the Constitution. “You (Mr Baachaa) are the federation’s lawyer, tell us who is responsible,” Justice Khawaja pursued.
Barrister Baachaa replied, “I will inform the court upon receiving instructions from the prime minister and the president.”
Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday asked as to why the parliament was proceeding on such assumptions when the Article 175-A was not considered by the parliamentary committee.
On this point, Baachaa said that since “the 18th Amendment has been passed unanimously by parliament, there is no harm if there is indulgence of the legislators on the appointment of judges in the superior judiciary.”
Justice Ramday remarked that in the previous mechanism, parliament was involved in the shape of prime minister, in his or her capacity as head of the parliamentary system and leader of the house.
He also questioned clauses of the 18th Amendment which gloss over the key role of the PM in the judicial commission that deals with the appointment of judges.
Baachaa replied that the PM’s role had not been excluded while the president was also a part of the parliament.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2010.
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