ISLAMABAD, Aug 8: The ongoing tangle between the executive and the judiciary was in the spotlight at a seminar arranged by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) here on Wednesday Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Parliamentary leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Farooq Sattar, Senior Vice President, Awami National Party (ANP), Senator Haji Adeel and others participated in the seminar.
The speakers urged all institutions to work within the domains defined under the Constitution.
Haji Adeel of the ANP recalled that the judiciary had a record of validating martial laws, alleging that there was collusion between the army and judiciary.
Mr Adeel said the judiciary surrendered before the army but came hard on civilian governments. “This attitude must change,” he said.
He claimed that every judge of the Supreme Court owned two plots each and pointed out that even the judges of Lahore High Court made fortunes by getting precious plots in Islamabad.
He asked political opponents not to weaken the parliament and said today’s opposition could be tomorrow’s government.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said democracy was not disappointing the people, but the attitude of some individuals might be the cause of their despondency. He said a blanket condemnation of democracy was not something appropriate.
Mr Kaira said the PPP had tried to avoid confrontation with institutions. “We could have nabbed Gen Musharraf and put him behind bars, but we did what we thought better in consultation with our allies,” he remarked.
Dr Farooq Sattar said real participatory democracy had never come to Pakistan. He said the civil-military relations had always remained at odds.
Mr Sattar said the perceived tussle between the executive and the judiciary had now turned out to be a confrontation between the parliament and judiciary which did not augur well.
Later a set of resolutions (see box) was adopted which warned against attempts to undermine the parliament and called for expansion in membership of the Supreme Judicial Council and formation of a federal constitutional court.
The resolutions were read out by the former HRCP chairperson, Asma Jehangir, and carried by the participants including leaders from key political parties, representatives of the civil society and constitutional experts by raising their hands.
One resolution asked judiciary to exercise restraint so that politicians could engage in electoral campaigning instead of making repeated appearances before the courts.
The gathering through another resolution appealed to the legal fraternity not to take sides.
They also called for doing away with strict qualifications and disqualifications inserted in Articles 62 and 63, noting that it would serve as a tool in the hands of the judiciary against politicians.
It was also demanded that politicians contesting next general polls should declare they would not support any military dictator in future.