As parliament and the judiciary fight for supremacy, the government and opposition senators on Tuesday decided to hold a debate on the issue of each other’s conduct in an apparent bid to settle their disputes once and for all.
Chairman Nayyar Bokhari proposed to hold the debate when a number of senators once again brought the conduct of the judges under discussion.
The lawmakers were speaking on points of order during a debate on the annual address of President Asif Ali Zardari to the joint sitting of the parliament that was delivered on March 17 this year.
The Awami National Party (ANP), a key coalition partner of the Pakistani Peoples Party (PPP), refused to participate in the debate on the presidential address as a mark of protest against power cuts. All the ANP senators staged a walkout till the debate concluded.
It was PPP’s Saeed Ghani who again questioned the conduct of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry during the hearing of the suo motu notice on the alleged graft scam involving his son Arsalan Iftikhar and real-estate tycoon Malik Riaz. He blamed Justice Chaudhry for violating his oath by sitting on the bench hearing his son’s case.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Syed Zafar Ali Shah tried to block attempts by the PPP lawmakers to hold debate on the role and powers of the judiciary and conduct of judges but ultimately agreed with the proposal when the chairman overruled his objections.
Though Senator Zafar agreed to holding debate on the judiciary, he said the Constitution did not bar the judges from giving their observations on the proceedings of parliament. He insisted that under the Constitution legislators could not discuss the conduct of judges on the house floor.
Resolution proposed on Myanmar killings
Senators from the PML-N and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) proposed the house adopt a resolution to condemn what they called the massacre of Muslims in the Arakan region of Myanmar.
Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML-N and Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the JUI-F also said the resolution must ask the government and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to also take note of the situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2012.