In his written testimony before the Supreme Court, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri reiterated his commitment to the supremacy of the Constitution, human rights, morality, rule of law, and the strengthening of institutions.
He also pledged that the party would act in accordance with the Constitution and would be guided by the principles set out by the SC in its judgments in this regard.
On Friday, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan submitted their replies to a petition claiming that their protest sit-ins are violating fundamental rights. The Supreme Court five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, asked the PAT counsel about his client’s response to the Constitution, as the PTI submitted its commitment to its supremacy. Earlier, Qadri’s counsel Ali Zafar submitted a preliminary reply, stating that the judiciary should not take over the executive’s role in monitoring, allowing, curtailing or stopping political demonstrations. “Any entry by the judiciary in this political arena, howsoever respectful, at this stage could result in more damage than good,” the reply stated.
On Saturday, Barrister Ali Zafar provided a written commitment to the Constitution on behalf of Dr Qadri and also presented nine demands before the court.
PAT’s first demand states that the people of Pakistan wish for the privatisation of state assets to be carried out transparently. The party asked, What are the people to do if they find state assets are being sold to ‘people in power and to their cronies’? The party expressed concern that valuable assets are being divided among the ruling parties and their allies.
The party says that even though the SC prescribed that heads of many institutions should be appointed by independent bodies in a transparent manner, the government has acted contrary to this.
Article 3 of the Constitution as well as articles 9 and 38 have never been effectively applied for the last 41 years, the party claims, and many clauses remain ‘principles of policy’ as they may not suit the ruling party at the time.
The party has also demanded the enforcement of human rights in the country, saying the government has failed to achieve this.
Article 140-A, which states that political, financial and administrative authority should be devolved to grass roots level through local bodies has not been adhered to, the party stated. Local body elections have not been held as directed by the SC and the people have noted the government’s ‘non-compliance’, the PAT statement said.
Parliamentarians are provided with funds for various projects even though it is their job to legislate and not to undertake such works, the party states. The allotment of funds to parliamentarians therefore amounts to corruption, PAT claims.
The ‘massacre at Model Town’ in June involved the poor and therefore there is no equality of law between the rich and poor of the country, PAT states. To date, an FIR has not even been registered in the case, ‘only because the chief minister of the province is involved’ in the incident, the party claims. “Protesters at the sit-in ask, ‘What is the rule of law in Pakistan?’” the PAT statement said.
The party has demanded access to information, which it says is being denied, even though it is a fundamental right. Therefore, there is no accountability, the party states. The party has also demanded accountability within political parties and institutions, saying those involved in accountability must function in a transparent and independent manner.
The party states that a number of other similar demands can only be made and fulfilled if vested interests of politicians and the government are set aside and negotiations held.
The party reiterates that the SC must not interfere in the current crisis. “There are recent examples where the courts in other countries have either avoided or failed to control the wave of change. The change is written on the wall and shall be the future of this country,” the PAT’s reply states.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ