'Supreme Court gets too 'free', steps out of constitutional domain': Aitzaz

Published: August 8, 2012
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Ahsan says PPP will win elections. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Ahsan says PPP will win elections. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

LONDON: Senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan has said that, in some matters, the judiciary is stepping out of the domain of the constitution and is getting ‘too independent.’

In an interview with the BBC Urdu on Tuesday, he said that the Supreme Court’s activism is one sided and not equal for all aspects.

“Judiciary is independent, it is too much independent, actually it is getting ‘free’ of the constitution in some matters,” stated Aitizaz.

Pointing towards the supremacy of the Parliament, he said that the parliament can make amendments in the Constitution with a two-third majority, and this cannot be challenged in court.

Commenting on the role of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Ahsan said that the fromer’s gallant role against former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf had served to strengthen the democratic setup in the country, but subsequent actions had prompted people to question the judiciary.

Some judgements passed by the Supreme Court recently eliminated any possibility of the country returning to martial law and, therefore, there is no chance of the military taking over in the future, Ahsan noted.

On former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s disqualification by the SC, the Barrister said that he believed dismissing Gilani was a wrong decision, adding that the case was not a matter of disqualification, rather it was an issue related to the jurisdiction of the judiciary.

He questioned that how could the court ask to open a case against the President in a foreign court while the Constitution clearly granted him immunity?

Ahsan said that the stance taken by the Chief Justice in a speech that the judiciary can stop the Parliament from a Constitutional amendment clashes with the Supreme Court’s own decisions. He added that the apex court can review the amendments made through simple majority for any discrepancy within existing articles of the constitution, however, an amendments passed with a two-third majority cannot be challenged in the court.

Talking about the controversial Arsalan Iftikhar case, he said that the proceedings against the CJ’s son had raised questions about the court’s impartiality. He said that the present the judiciary is diverting from the prevailing principles of investigation into Arsalan’s alleged dealings with Malik Riaz Hussain.

On his movement for the restoration of judges, Ahsan said he had no regrets and that it was a movement for the victory of the people.

PPP to win next elections

Speaking on the upcoming general elections, the Barrister said that the PPP would not only win but also be able to form a government since President Asif Ali Zardari has now the experience of forming a hung parliament.

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Reader Comments (62)

  • salman
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:28AM

    pack of lies

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  • Fahad Raza
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:29AM

    Gross distortion from the barrister as expected. The laws can be challenged that is why are being heard. PPP just wants another sympathy vote now the performance is at the rock bottom after 4 years.

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  • M@ni
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:30AM

    Aitzaz Sb what you are doing, you were once the most respectable, honourable and prestigious person of pakistan, you are swinging in the opposition directions very fast. Please justify with yourself.

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  • Farrukh khan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:33AM

    He is absolutely right

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  • Asad Shah
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:36AM

    Well said aitzaz. Its just sad that how the leaders who fought for this judiciary are now against it. I dont blame them. The SC is to be blamed.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 12:36AM

    of course free as from constitution too as the 7 member bench has got authority to out law the parliament (more than 150) pass bill.

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  • Orphan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:37AM

    They say too many Heynas can kill a Lion and Heynas have started gathering.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 12:38AM

    Absolutely correct on amendment of constitution.

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  • Sarah
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:42AM

    He lost all his respect from me and everyone else. I hate him so much today! just too much hate for him.

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  • karma
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:45AM

    Freedom from Constitution indeed! Rule in favor of military takeover when it suits you then use Constitution for dismissing PMs!!

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  • MA76
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:47AM

    Dear Express Tribune you should at least translate urdu in to English properly. In his interview Aitezaz never said any thing about a hung parliament. He said that President Zardari has good experience of running a coalition!

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  • Cyma Khan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:01AM

    Aitzaz Ahsan is a sell-out. He sold his soul to Zardari.

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  • KiJ
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:08AM

    The key word is 2/3 majority, not simple majority….

    “Pointing towards the supremacy of the Parliament, he said that the parliament can make amendments in the Constitution with a two-third majority, and this cannot be challenged in court.”

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  • Waqar
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:10AM

    Time for Chief Justice to resign.

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  • PTI Mardan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:15AM

    Mr Aitizaz is the current govt working with in the constitution?They have stalled every probe of supreme court into their corruption and have destroyrd the country in the process.Enough of this perpetual victimhood and sindh card.Recommend

  • Jibran
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:15AM

    Judiciary cannot be “madar-pidar aazad”. It has to function under the constitution. And currently, the PCO CJ, who is also tainted with allegations of bribery, seems to be above the law. There is no accountability for him. And this is against the constitution, as well as against the argument of the people who use religion as an argument.

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  • Imran
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:20AM

    What Musharraf did was monstrous, but then we created another monster!

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  • Khalid Aziz
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:23AM

    When Aitzaz says something, of course it carries weight. He has always been an upright and principled person.Recommend

  • SSM
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:25AM

    He is right… judicial activism is on full boom

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  • Mirza
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:30AM

    Dr. Ahsan is a Titan among lawyers and his fame is second to none. He has an unblemished track record of standing with the truth against heavy odds. The history of Pakistani SC is rather dark with wrong decisions whenever it came to dictatorial rule. From Justice Munir to Justice Mushtaq, to Justice Nasim, to now PCO SC they have always sided with the usurpers against the elected govts. They have never failed to endorse each and every act of high treason by the generals and have even hanged the elected PM to please their masters. However, even during the dark times there were some judges who have written historic dissenting opinions and history has proved that those dissents were right.
    Now with the PCO SC being degraded to a low trial court even right of appeal has been taken away. All the decisions are now unanimous first time in the history of modern era. In case of Arsalan there is a two judge SC bench appointed by CJ to hear the case. In most countries it is always odd number to make sure in case of dissent the majority prevails. However, there is no chance of dissent in this PCO SC.
    The assault and ambushes of PCO judges against the executive and legislature has no parallel in history. If legislatures make a law that the SC could not be used as trial court or ruthless use of suo motu is unconstitutional or judges and generals would not get extension, how could SC challenge it?

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  • CrapCutter
    Aug 8, 2012 - 1:42AM

    The president is immune from criminal proceedings, not civil.
    Please put the facts properly in front of people.
    Taking money out of the country illegally is a criminal act. Asking the relevant authorities to bring it back is a civil case; hence no immunity for the president.
    If Ahsan is so confident, he should have appealed for his biggest client Gillani.
    He openly said the court is biased, which in itself is contempt of court – not according to me, but according to the constitution.

    And last but not least, all institutions of Pakistan regardless of being ‘Parliamentary’ in nature have to work in aid of the Supreme Court. I dont say this, but the constituion does:

    Article 190: Action in aid of Supreme Court – All executive and judicial authorities through out Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court.

    So whoever thinks the parliament is supreme is incorrect. No one is above the law, no one can question the decision of the ‘Supreme’ Court, after all it is ‘Supreme’ cause the name says it all :)

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  • Umer
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:05AM

    How can unelected judges be more powerful than an elected parliament in a democracy? That would be dictatorship if it were true. Then might as well send the parliament home and stop calling this country democratic.

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  • Falcon
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:08AM

    There are very few who have lost public respect at such a rapid pace as has Aitzaz Ahsan…how could he defend such a discriminatory law…this is democracy right…tell me how many people on the street support immunity law?….practically none…

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  • suraj
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:11AM

    It seems incompetents heading the key institutions in the country… Nobody bothered about upholding the dignity of the state institutions.. Never seen such a dearth of accountability and mutual respect.. what a nation..

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  • suraj
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:11AM

    It seems incompetents heading the key institutions in the country… Nobody bothered about upholding the dignity of the state institutions.. Never seen such a dearth of accountability and mutual respect..

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  • Umar
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:16AM

    Just one word for him; turncoat.

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  • Marc
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:17AM

    It deminishes democracy each time bureaucrat(s) appropriate the “will of the people” to dismiss member(s) of a parliament; who by default are the the only ones who can speak on behalf of the people in any civilised nation. It simply does not matter if these bureaucrat(s) wear Khakis Or Black gowns. Democratic leaders should only be penalised for personal crimes committed by them and not for letter-writing skills, bad judgement, or interpretation of their duties. If Pakistan wants to reign in activist judges she must amend this “SUO MOTO” business otherwise chaos will reign.Recommend

  • Rahman
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:22AM

    Unfortunately, we have become very polarized society. Not only educated middle class but our intelligentsia is also suffering from this social evil. Any just man, with little common sense cannot deny the fact that our judiciary has become very bias when it come to PPP. I have no love for PPP and I openly accept that their present government in one of the most incompetent government I have ever seen in my life but I am not blind that I do not see the unjust attitude of our just judiciary toward PPP. Only a naïve person may not see the abuse and misuse of power by respected Iftikhar Choudary otherwise any God fearing person can easily see the one-sided and bias attitude. If you want to keep on living in a state of denial, go ahead, be my guest. Otherwise, call a spade a spade, a small step toward the betterment of our socially, morally and ethically bankrupt society.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:25AM

    Aitizaz . . . the whole country and every nation on this planet knows how corrupt Zardari is and how corrupt PPP is . . . and yet you choose to support them.
    .
    What does this say about you?
    .
    I rest my case your lordship.

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  • Ghufran
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:30AM

    A person speaking that the PPP will win the next election can not be in his senses and at least can not be called a Pakistani bcoz these 5 years of so called democratic govt of PPP are the darkest among 65 years of independance.

    NO ELECTRICITY, NO GAS, NO PROGRESS only thing this govt has given inflation, rising corruption, and one can still support this govt saying PPP will win the next election. one can not be in his senses and impartial

    Dear Ahsah you should challenge the verdict in the court not on the media

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  • Kamran
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:46AM

    Might be at wrong place, wrong decision , wrong time and with a wrong people.

    What if parliament legalise killing by two third majority can’t it be challenged , what about laws against fundamental principle in the Quran can’t it be challenged , lets talk civilised nation in UK court strikes down laws passed by UK parliament.

    I think country needs PPP but not those have stolen PPP.

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  • Jamshed
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:50AM

    Wah jee wah. Mr. “riasat ho gee maa kay jaisee” is not treating the riasat very nicely. Shame on you Aitzaz. Nobody has lowered themselves to the levels you have after the respect and fame you got. Shame on you!

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  • liberal_pak
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:57AM

    All these distinguished lawyers of PPP opposed PPP high commad’s decision of no reinstating current CJ and Judiciary. They were against PPP leadership but today Zardari’s stance proved true about partisanship of Judiciary and they are compelled to distance from current Judiciary.

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  • Qaiser K.Ahmed
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:58AM

    Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, shame on you for choosing a non-Pakistani forum to run down Pakistan’s image. Your pathetic interview has the potential of doing more damage to Pakistan’s image than the damage done to our judiciary by Musharaff, when he put CJ under house arrest.

    If you think that the Chief Justice is stepping beyond his mandate then have the decency and the manhood to challenge his actions, rather than go over to our past colonial masters voice to spout off your self conceived importance.

    You should apologize to our Chief Justice for your unprofessional comments and ask the nations forgiveness. Short of this you should perhaps stay in London, as in the opinion of many, even your shadow falling on our dear land is a travesty.

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  • Moulvi Nawaz Shareef
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:13AM

    Another “Bongy” by Aitizaz Ahsan

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  • liberal_pak
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:15AM

    @Ghufran:
    True,, PPP may not win central Punjab and some parts of Karachi. But I think it as better chance to win rest of Pakistan. PMLN has hardly any place in other provinces. PTI has only vote bank focused on Punjab and some parts of KP. It is game of simple statistics, not emotional outburst. Seeing the division in vote bank and poor performance of PMLN in Punjab. One can predict that PPP will use Zardari’s manipulative and reconciliation tactics to bring all diverse parties to form new government. There is no doubt that one can dislike Zardari but he is smart politicians, knows well how to deal with other political figures.

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  • lalai
    Aug 8, 2012 - 3:41AM

    From zero to hero and back to zero! How amazing. The CJ went through complete cycle at a remarkable pace. HE couldn’t resist the temptation of the absolute power and end up in history’s dustbin.

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:06AM

    He has already become a Senator as a reward and now he has to tow Zardari’s line, he lost his respect in my eyes and millions of others but it does not matter, it is so easy for these people to sell out for power and prestige. Shame on you Mr.Ahsan. You turned out to be no statesman either.

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  • Azim
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:11AM

    None of the comments have anything to do with issues being faced by people of Pakistan, power games, power politics, is all that counts! Guess professionally this person could have been a better legal aid then a politician

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  • Ibrahim
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:21AM

    Atizaz has lost his respect in the eyes of public with supporting a corrupt pm.
    Thanks CJ u really deserve Harverd Medal!

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  • Umar
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:22AM

    So tomorrow if the parliament decides too make alcohol legal, extra marital seed legal using two third majority using Zardari’s bought individuals that should be fine.

    The fact that the wast majority of people and the fundamental core of the constitution is against it should not matter!

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  • Mohni
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:42AM

    @Sarah:
    Hate is a negative feeling and it impair you objectivity. so may be Aitazaz is right but you cannot see his correctness because of being blinded by the hate.

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  • Ahmad khan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:43AM

    You were my hero. Now i hate you. My uncle told me once he is not a good person but i couldnt believe him.Recommend

  • Siddiqui
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:50AM

    Whether 2/3rd majority or a unanimous law, all can be challenged on the basis of “natural law” and fundamental rights. You cannot make a law to deny a person of his rights or grant him illegal rights even if the whole world is with you.

    Pakistan is not a “pure democracy”, its a republic. Neither the people nor the parliament is supreme. Stop misguiding people.

    President enjoying immunity is NOT the right of president. Its just a functional requirement for the office.

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  • Karachiite
    Aug 8, 2012 - 5:24AM

    Completely agree with him.

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  • PakistaniCanadian
    Aug 8, 2012 - 5:55AM

    The saddest thing about this whole affair is how long it has taken this guy to figure out that the Judiciary is out of control. Congrats Aitzaz, you were played by the establishment and you fell for it hook, line and sinker! The only question in my mind is what you offered. The presidency, most likely. Perhaps it’s time for some more of that lame poetry that you used to lead rallies for this ‘great CJP’.

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  • Wellwisher
    Aug 8, 2012 - 6:04AM

    @Asad Shah:
    Not SC, CJP is to be blamed

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  • Khan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 6:07AM

    Mr Aitzaz is absolutely right…this chief justice has gone completely out of bounds, trashing our Constitution and laws, and illegal dismissing the PM of the country. Ch Iftikhar should be dismiised and held accountable for the massive corruption of his family…Enough is enough… This is for the good of country and democracy…Whether PPP Govt is good or bad is besides the point. CJ has become a complete politician instead of an honest and learned judge..

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  • malik
    Aug 8, 2012 - 6:48AM

    his opinions are 100% correct.

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  • Naeem Siddiqui
    Aug 8, 2012 - 6:50AM

    Aitzaz Ahsan is absolutly right, SC is not violating the constitution.

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  • gp65
    Aug 8, 2012 - 7:58AM

    @Umar: “o tomorrow if the parliament decides too make alcohol legal, extra marital seed legal using two third majority using Zardari’s bought individuals that should be fine.”

    Alcohol WAS legal in the ‘Islamic republic of Pakistan until Zia made it illegal. So clearly reverting to a state that the country has seen before should be possible.

    If, as you say people are overwhelmingly against some law, they should protest adequately against that law. Politicians who after all want to be re-elected will surely be influenced by that. IT is also upto the people to elect people that reflect their own will – so that the situation where 2/3 majority passes a law against will of people – does not arise.

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  • faizan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 8:31AM

    Getting quota of LPG is within framework of 1973 Constitution?

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  • Umar
    Aug 8, 2012 - 8:55AM

    @Siddiqui:

    Finally a sane voice bravo to you.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 8, 2012 - 9:05AM

    Dr. Ahsan never surrendered to any military dictator and never took oaths under military rule. He has never endorsed multiple acts of high treason. Dr. Ahsan has been a leader of PPP for decades and remains with PPP. Dr. Ahsan never compromised on principles and even struggled for restoration of judiciary knowing full well its history and love for rightwing fanatics and terrorists.
    The PCO judges have been turncoats, first endorsed Gen Mush’s rule after being fired went against the same person. Nobody in Pakistan has lost respect in public eyes than the PCO judges and their love for releasing every terrorist. Even today the PCO judges rejected new contempt law approved by elected houses and endorsed 2003 law dictated by Gen Mush. Dr. Ahsan is staying with the same party without selling himself to any dictator.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 9:13AM

    It’s nice to hear Aitazaz Ahsan finally speak truth to power.

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2012/06/welcome-judicial-coup-in-islamabad.html

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  • jalal
    Aug 8, 2012 - 9:29AM

    Aitzaz has gone out of mind.lying for the truth that he once fought..i personally feel so sorry for him. P.S why every one with some how any authority so much involved to protect that one man.shame on us

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  • PakistaniCanadian
    Aug 8, 2012 - 10:05AM

    @gp65:

    Actually, Alcohol was not made ‘illegal’ by Zia. Even though he is held responsible for the islamization of the country, and rightfully so, the law restricting alcohol possession/consumption only to non-muslims was brought in by ZAB just before he was removed as PM in 1977. It was a gestures to appease an increasingly violent religious right who Zia would later use to legitimize his rule.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 11:49AM

    Reality is reality must be honored.
    Parliament is sovereign enacting new laws and emending existing laws.
    As for as apex court is concerned,constitution gives it authority to clarify and explain it into its real form.

    But as have seen,there have not any symbolic feel good measures being taken on behalf of any side.
    Spectators has been assembled around,chanting slogans and in this way increasing tension between major institution of the country.

    At the time of restoration of apex court judges including chief justice,army chief played a crucial role and saved the country from further anarchy.

    Time is running out,time never come back,time has no friendship with any one,nation is going through crisis and crisis,shouldn’t create new more.already facing,inflation,load shedding,unemployment,corruption and lawlessness.

    Court deliver decision and executive get implemented on it,if there is conflict,no decision no implementation,unrest total unrest but will be golden chance for boots.

    Some concerned corner are claiming that there are no chances of military intervention ,witness the pages of the history of the country,same elements were screaming with same slogans but what happened ????????

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  • Ali Khan
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:16PM

    @Siddiqui:
    I agree with you Mr.Siddique.
    Corrupt politicains are for sale and if they were bribed into voting for a bad law, should not mean that the law should not be tested and interpretted by SC. All these PPP people sound like Musharraf. I remember Musharrf use to say very dissrespectful crap about CJ because CJ would not allow him to let his corrupt PM sell steal mills for pennies. Now This special interest has started a smearing campaign against CJ. They have even brought in a guy who is openly calling CJ bad names right on TV.
    I hope people wont be impacted by this false smear campaign against CJ and reject this gang of corrupt politicians who are looting the country because Zardari is sitting there with a constitutional power to pardon all criminals.

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  • Devilz Advocate
    Aug 8, 2012 - 12:54PM

    Well you like it or not it is 100 true that in any democratic structure after Almighty the supreme power belongs to the parliament and it is written therein. Mr Ahsan is write absolutely.

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  • Peace Seeker
    Aug 8, 2012 - 4:37PM

    Aitzaz says the Supreme Court is “too independent,” yes not of the Constitution but of the Executive Branch of this present Government and it should be. The Presidency and the Parliament, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, and the bureaucracy they head have let many important national issues slide and have not tried to improve them. These issues include, lawlessness, inability to resolve/and or calm or control the Baluch insurgency—not to mention excessive power outages, lack of concern for building hydroelectric power generation facilities. And, again there is no use mentioning inflation and rising poverty and massive and rising unemployment. Given such a ‘governance deficit,’ either the Generals would have to fill in the void or in the interim the Supreme Court is stepping in, particularly in the gray areas where there is Constitutional leeway, so as to correct the deficiency of governance with the hope to save democracy and the present system but not necessarily the present Government.

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  • Aug 8, 2012 - 7:15PM

    Judiciary is a balance wheel of whole system,
    where is balance where is wheel,I don’t know.

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