Participants of a seminar on Wednesday demanded the formation of a federal constitutional court, warning against the attempts to undermine parliament and calling for the expansion of the Supreme Judicial Council’s membership.
The seminar, organised by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), also adopted a resolution calling for bringing to parliament details on national expenditure on spy agencies and the nuclear programme. Observing that the use of torture was becoming endemic, the gathering asked Pakistan to become part of the UN Torture Convention’s optional protocol.
Those who participated in the panel discussion included Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Parliamentary leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Farooq Sattar, Awami National Party leader Senator Haji Adeel, author Ahmad Rashid and The Express Tribune Executive Editor M Ziauddin among others.
Among the resolutions adopted, the judiciary was advised to exercise restraint so that the government could help the Election Commission start the election process without any distractions. Another resolution asked the legal fraternity to stop taking sides for or against the judiciary and to retain its independence.
The resolution said constitutional reforms should continue, stressing that the fundamental rights chapter in the constitution needs to be strengthened. It also called for doing away with strict qualifications and disqualifications inserted in Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution during the days of General Ziaul Haq’s tenure.
Political parties were urged to declare zero tolerance for all forms of militancy and a high profile parliamentary commission was demanded to open doors for political negotiations to resolve the Balochistan issue.
It was also demanded that the politicians contesting the next general polls should declare they would not support any military dictator in future.
Senator Adeel alleged that there was collusion between the army and the judiciary. He recalled that the judiciary had a record of validating martial laws. He said the judiciary surrenders before the army but took a tough stance with civilian governments. “This attitude must be changed,” he remarked.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2012.