KARACHI: The Karachi Bar Association on Wednesday expressed deep concern over recent developments which it said posed a serious threat to the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law in the country.

Addressing a press conference, KBA president Haider Imam Rizvi along with other office-bearers endorsed a joint resolution adopted by the Peshawar High Court Bar Association and KP Bar Council. He asked whether the reported comments of the army chief about the reversal of the 18th Amendment were appropriate, since the amendment represented a political consensus among all democratic forces. He said constitutional organs must work within their constitutional limits.

Should the judiciary not remain focused on its constitutional role of dispute resolution and enforcement of the rule of law, he asked. Making unnecessary speeches and comments and engaging in judicial activism dragged the Supreme Court into the political fray and created controversy and invited public and political response which, in the long run, was more harmful for the prestige, dignity and public perception of the judiciary, he added.

Mr Rizvi was of the view that banners and posters being displayed across the country, previously in favour of the army chief and now the chief justice of Pakistan, did not add to the prestige and majesty of their offices, but reduced them to political or cult figures. He said that those responsible for bringing the two offices into controversy should be identified, and asked why such banners had been tolerated so far.

Referring to the petition filed against Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court challenging his appointment, the KBA chief wondered whether it was a coincidence or an attempt to intimidate the judge because of his courageous report in the Quetta carnage case as well as his orders and observations made during the hearing of the Faizabad sit-in case against the performance of intelligence agencies and other state functionaries.

He said that departure from settled practice about not holding a full court reference for recently retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan should be promptly clarified by the people concerned so as to lay the present pernicious speculation to rest.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2018

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