Petition in SC seeks nationwide referendum

Express April 26, 2010

ISLAMABAD: A senior constitutional lawyer on Monday filed an application in the Supreme Court demanding that a nationwide referendum be conducted on what in the opinion of the people of Pakistan is the best mechanism for the appointment of judges.

Akram Sheikh Senior submitted in his petition that people should be asked through a referendum whether they were satisfied with the procedure for the induction of judges in the superior courts that was in vogue before the adoption of the 18th amendment. Alternatively they should be asked whether they think the parliament should have any role in the appointment of top judges.

The lawyer prayed to the court through the new application filed under order XXXIII rule 6 of the Supreme Court rules, that the apex court may give its direction to the ‘political sovereigns of Pakistan’ for a referendum on the issue. Akram told journalists that he has also requested the court to club this new application with his previous petition on the 18th amendment which is fixed for hearing before the larger bench on April 28. Responding to a question, Akram said that it was not the legislation which the 27-member constitutional reforms committee formulated behind closed doors.

Rather it was a conspiracy hatched by those who wanted to safeguard their personal interests. To another question, he said that Chaudhry Aitezaz, Ali Ahmad Kurd and others were his colleagues and he respected all of them. However, on this issue of judges’ appointment under the 18th amendment they had a different opinion and that there was nothing personal between them.

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