Partymen caution Nawaz against blindly supporting judiciary

Published: July 15, 2012
Several central party leaders caution Nawaz to be calculated in his backing for judiciary, warning of slippery slope. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Several central party leaders caution Nawaz to be calculated in his backing for judiciary, warning of slippery slope. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have begun to advise party chief Nawaz Sharif against blind support for judicial activism.

The main opposition party has sided with the higher judiciary in the standoff between the government and the apex court, which has begun to reach a crucial point once again – however, recent developments have led to a reconsideration among the PML-N’s hierarchy.

PML-N insiders told The Express Tribune that several central party leaders had cautioned Nawaz to be calculated in his backing for the judiciary, warning of a slippery slope.  “A significant number of people in the party feel the judiciary in its decisions recently, and [Chief Justice] Iftikhar Chaudhry in his statements, have crossed certain red lines. This is not a good omen for the democratic system,” said an official.

Many top leaders have questioned the rationality behind supporting a decision to send an elected prime minister home and possibly overrule laws enacted by parliament. According to insiders, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Ayaz Amir, Tehmina Daultana, Ahsan Iqbal and many others are among those who want Nawaz to take a calculated approach. Officials said even Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was “not positive” about recent statements by Justice Chaudhry that the Constitution and not parliament, was supreme.

Sources said Nawaz heard these concerns from party associates at a meeting he chaired immediately after Yousaf Raza Gilani was removed from office by the apex court. “There is a limit to everything, whether good or bad … if all this continues in the same way, I tell you nobody will be able to rule Pakistan. What if we come to power tomorrow and this happens to us?” a top leader told Nawaz and his colleagues.

Though Sharif did not give any final word on his party members’ concerns, a slight change in the PML-N’s vocal support for the judiciary has been evident since that meeting. Some leaders have openly said that limits for institutions should be defined.

Insiders said this new chain of thought was instrumental in bringing the PPP and PML-N close enough to agree on Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim as the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).

And, more importantly, they added, both the government and the opposition are beginning talks to bring in a caretaker setup for holding fresh parliamentary polls – because they believe if they don’t decide now, somebody else will, as a PPP leader stated.

While Nawaz remains undecided, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and some of his associates disagree with these emerging concerns. They believe the party benefited hugely from supporting Chief Justice Chaudhry ahead of the 2008 general elections – and that they can bet on the same for the upcoming polls.

The more cautious camp is of the opinion that, while backing the apex court might give the party a comparative advantage in central Punjab, it would not gain the same in the rest of the country.

The chief justice’s controversial questioning of parliament’s supremacy came in the backdrop of the Contempt of Court Act, a new law which protects holders of high public offices from contempt charges. Legal experts suggest the Supreme Court may declare it contradictory to the Constitution.

The court has already accepted for hearing petitions challenging the law which could save Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf from a possible disqualification.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (32)

  • Ch Allah Daad
    Jul 15, 2012 - 10:10AM

    A sane advice to Mian Sahib. The concern of PML(N) leaders is genuine because its the only party which will form next government.

  • Abid Khan
    Jul 15, 2012 - 10:19AM

    I support judiciary as well but I doubt NS leadership. He has sailed a very comfortable journey during Zia regime and couldn’t resist Musharaf. Thanks but no thanks. Recommend

  • Arman
    Jul 15, 2012 - 11:30AM

    let seeRecommend

  • Akhtar Khan
    Jul 15, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Telling mian Sb to do something!

    Well its better to bang head in wall.


  • Falcon
    Jul 15, 2012 - 11:52AM

    Of course, why would PMLN blindly support judiciary when they themselves have skeletons in the closet? However, if they do take up this approach, it will be a final nail in their political coffin since the judicial guns may as well get turned against them with the sleeping Mehran Gate scandal coming back to life.


  • Ali q
    Jul 15, 2012 - 11:56AM

    PML-N concerns summarized in one line from this article.

    What if we come to power tomorrow and this happens to us?

    4 years of cheerleading this court, and a shameless change in stance as power seems imminent. May your (now obvious) political expediency in matters such as the supremacy of law be reflected in the ballots cast in the next elections.


  • Jul 15, 2012 - 12:08PM

    So much PML N’s support for judiciary!!!


  • Not me
    Jul 15, 2012 - 12:11PM

    Judiciary is to be trusted and fully supported.This is last hope of people of Pakistan


  • Aftab
    Jul 15, 2012 - 12:16PM

    wo kia kehtay hein ” dair aaiy per drust aaiy “


  • Khalid Munir
    Jul 15, 2012 - 12:24PM

    PML (N) protests in NA and senate against contempt of court bill proves the the news item wrong


  • Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik
    Jul 15, 2012 - 12:38PM

    Suppose if not the Constitution, then who should decide which is the Supreme? I sincerely believe that the Constitution is Supreme as marked by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhannad Chaudhary. By saying the Constitution is Supreme, does not mean that Judiciary is Supreme. One should understand the difference between the Constitution and Judiciary.The Parliament gave birth to the Constitution but it can not suspend it but amend it under the framework. Both Parliament and Judiciary are great but in their own rights and both have to upheld the Constitution, which means that the Constitution is the Supreme. In this background, as reported, PML (N) advisers have wrongly advised their leader, Nawaz Sharif. He has taken the right path. All leaders must understand this situation.


  • Usman
    Jul 15, 2012 - 12:41PM

    @Ch Allah Daad: Save us the jokes. PML-N knows the judiciary is completely impartial towards all parties, and the army. They know they themselves are not angels and indeed their time will come to stand in front of the courts.


  • suraj
    Jul 15, 2012 - 1:28PM

    Any institution crossing its lines chalked out by constitution never be good for the country..
    There should be some restrainment while coming out against other institution as the consequences may be harmful for the people as well as the future of the country..


  • Said
    Jul 15, 2012 - 2:18PM

    I think PMl n is eying the government next elections. That is why they want to be cautious now. As much fun it was to see the judiciary suffocating ppp government, they wouldn’t want the same thing happening to them, when they supposedly get the gov in next elections.


  • Naeem
    Jul 15, 2012 - 2:50PM

    One should only be afraid if they have caused loss to his/her nation! PMLN know that their hands are not clean either and their neck will be on the line too!


  • Adam Malik
    Jul 15, 2012 - 3:05PM

    If this is true report then it reflect political maturity


  • aasma
    Jul 15, 2012 - 4:42PM

    well ofcouse they would give him this advice..
    what if pml n would want to attack the courts again in the future


  • Schabboo Khan
    Jul 15, 2012 - 4:54PM

    @Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik:
    Well said Dr. Sahib. The Supreme Court and the Parliament are “supreme” in their own domains. The Supreme Court can (and must) stop the Parliament from passing laws that are counter to the constitution, while the Parliament should change the constitution, albeit not so easily as passing a law, if it feels some of its articles make it easy for some pillars of the state to create chaos.Recommend

  • Very 1
    Jul 15, 2012 - 6:08PM

    @Ali q:
    You hit the nail on the head. Excellent comment. You journalist bro?
    Regardless, thanks for highlighting tola’s ” lack of sincerity with principles”


  • Very 1
    Jul 15, 2012 - 6:15PM

    @Ch Allah Daad:
    “will form the next government”
    A view through the rosy glasses.


  • LoveSC
    Jul 15, 2012 - 8:03PM

    It means Imran is rightly saying that Zardar and Sharif are partner and making deal to get rid of PTI. It means WikiLies were right that PML-N did not want free judiciary. It means they will contest elections against PTI jointly. PML-N should clear the air, otherwise will bite the dust.


  • The Truth
    Jul 15, 2012 - 8:36PM

    Civics lesson begins now: Pakistan has 3 branches of Govt.:Executive, Legislative and Judicial. This is also known as trias politica principle.The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic. Under this model, the state is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no branch has more power than the other branches Legislative writes and enacts the laws, Executive executes the laws, and Judiciary interprets the legality, scope and application of the laws. Within our legislative branch we have a bicameral legislature or 2 houses of parliament, lower house (National Assembly) represents the needs and desires of the people as they are directly elected and Senate that represent the needs and desires of the Provinces since they are elected by provincial assembly members. We are referred to as a Parliamentary system not because Parliament is supreme but because our Executive branch is elected by our Legislative branch. Put away your partisan political flags for a minute and learn how and why things are they way they are.

    the Truth hurts


  • sartaj hussain
    Jul 15, 2012 - 10:46PM

    Iftekhar M Chaudhry saheb is nobody to decide that parliament is not supreme Constitution is a political system under which a state is governed and Parliament is the mother of all Institutions and judiciary bigger than parliament where the elected members are sitting by the vote of the people and judges are paid by the state but judicial adventurism is seen more in the country because of the extra support of such parties whether in parliament in opposition and out side the parliament and media and this issue needs a debate sartaj hussain


  • Jul 15, 2012 - 11:42PM

    Is PMLN drama over yet?


  • amin
    Jul 16, 2012 - 5:37AM

    as somebody already said over here, PMLN is scared because an impartial judiciary might trap noora league also.


  • Very 1
    Jul 16, 2012 - 6:54AM

    “judiciary might trap noora league”. Delusional, wishful thinking.


  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Jul 16, 2012 - 8:39AM

    constitution can also be changed by the elected members of the society and hence the parliament is supreem . Judiciary has to work according to the law passed by the parliament .


  • Asad Shah
    Jul 16, 2012 - 9:35AM

    I hope this sense prevails in the party as it is much needed. No matter how incompetent the government is, the judiciary has right to send it packing. Its our right (the people). And for the pti trolls, why didnt the judiciary acquit any one of the general? Serving or retired. Independent judiciary is the biggest joke now. All the flaws they see are in civilians. Judiciary thinks itself as above the law. They didnt had the guts to investigate their own judges when the list about plots came out. Open your eyes people, dont just criticize for the sake of criticism.


  • Kashif
    Jul 16, 2012 - 10:17AM

    @Ch Allah Daad: This is the only party invaded SC and many party leaders Tariq Aziz, Akhtar Rasool convicted in this case. Akhtar Rasool served Q league and Mush and now welcomed back by PMLN. What a great party.


  • Naveed Javed
    Jul 16, 2012 - 12:18PM

    So some sane men in PMLN too?


  • M@ni
    Jul 16, 2012 - 12:58PM

    Judiciary is the last hope, please don’t destroy it for your own means. NS and his party are only afraid because what if their cases are taken up.


  • amin
    Jul 16, 2012 - 7:55PM

    delusional and wishful? or your living in denial bro? asghar khan cases are being heard already


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