PPP urges Alvi to step down voluntarily

Updated 29 Oct 2020

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In this file photo, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani speaks to the media. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani speaks to the media. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has charge-sheeted President Dr Arif Alvi over alleged continued violations of the Constitution and asked him to resign voluntarily after release of the recent detailed judgement by the Supreme Court in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case.

“I was expecting that after the release of (SC) judgment, the president would himself resign. However, now a week is about to be over, but the president has not yet resigned. Therefore, keeping in view all the circumstances, it will be appropriate for the president to resign in the light of the findings of the detailed reasoning by the SC,” said PPP Senator Raza Rabbani while speaking at a news conference here on Wednesday.

Rabbani cites SC’s Isa case judgement in support of demand

He said that resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and removal of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government was on the list of the demands of the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and “now the president’s resignation has also been included in the list”.

When asked about the possibility of moving an impeachment motion against the president, Mr Rabbani, however, said it would be decided by the PDM leadership. He expressed the hope that the PDM’s special committee would meet soon and devise a strategy as to how to raise the demand of the president’s resignation and what strategy they should adopt for it.

Reading out extracts from the SC’s detailed judgement in the Justice Isa case issued on Oct 23, the PPP senator said the court had pointed out a “clear conflict of interest” in the process, stating that “the president had discussed the reference and its legal aspects with the attorney general and the law minister who were admittedly involved in the framing of the reference”.

The court, he said, had declared that it was not appropriate for the president to make his opinion on the basis of the consultations with the architects of the reference. Moreover, he said, under Article 48(1) of the Constitution, “the president has the power to return the advice by the prime minister or the cabinet for reconsideration”, but he didn’t do it.

Mr Rabbani, who has served as the Senate chairman, said the SC judgement had stated in clear terms that the president had not fulfilled his “constitutional responsibilities”.

He alleged that by sending the reference against Justice Isa to the Supreme Judicial Council, the government had “attacked the independence of the judiciary” and it was a “failed attempt to disrepute the judiciary”.

The SC on June 19 through a short order had quashed the presidential reference to wash away the stigma of misconduct on Justice Isa over non-declaration of three offshore properties in the name of his wife and children.

In its detailed judgement, the apex court explained that the president did not get considered, fair and objective advice from a third party on the questions of law noted in the reference and also failed to notice various legal and procedural defects in the reference.

Mr Rabbani said it was not for the first time that the president had “committed an irregularity or violated the constitution”.

He recalled that in February the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had set aside the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Ordinance whereas in June, the Balochistan High Court had nullified the president’s notification regarding the constitution of the National Finance Commission.

Similarly, he said that last year the chief election commissioner had even refused to administer oath to the two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) who had been nominated by the president through a notification. Moreover, he said, the Senate had recently disapproved an ordinance that had been promulgated by the president regarding the PMDC, but regretted that the president re-promulgated it without caring for the Senate’s decision.

Mr Rabbani also lashed out at the president for issuing controversial Pakistan Island Development Authority Ordinance through which the federal government made a failed attempt to get control of the Sindh and Balochistan islands.

The PPP senator also asked the government to brief parliament on the signing of the US-India pact allowing sharing of top-secret satellite data.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020