ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court was requested on Wednesday to interpret the oath of the office of the army chief to determine his role in the affairs of the state and order the federal government to ensure constitutional governance in the country.

Filed by Raja Muha­m­mad Irshad, a former additional attorney general, the petition requested the apex court to declare that Pakistan was facing “chaotic conditions and there was anarchy and lawlessness due to lack of Constitutional governance” in the country.

The petition argued that the Supreme Court was under constitutional obligation to come to the rescue of the teeming millions who were at the mercy of high-handedness of the executive organs of the State.

The petition regretted people’s hopes to survive were fading out day by day and the entire structure of the state was on the brink of disaster due to a lack of constitutional governance. It added the “man in the street has lost the ray of hope” to lead their lives with minimum basic needs.

Plea asks top court to order govt to ensure constitutional governance

It said that the apex court being the custodian of the Constitution was obligated to ensure constitutional governance in the country and it cannot remain oblivious to the fact that the fundamental rights of the citizens were being trampled upon by the executive organ of the state.

True statesmanship was the art of changing a nation from what it is into what it ought to be, it said, adding that on the basis of this criterion, there was not a single statesman in the country to give a new destiny to the disappointed nation.

“The Supreme Court is the only and last hope for the entire nation whose lives, liberties, properties and honour are not safe,” the petition said, adding the print and electronic media was brimming with “horrifying and heart-rending events and incidents taking place in every nook and corner” of this country.

According to the plea, respondent No 3, the army chief, was under an oath to uphold the Constitution. “It is only the power and privilege of the apex court under the Constitution to interpret and determine his role in the affairs of the state to put an end to this controversy about his overt and covert role in the statecraft.”

The petition said it was in the supreme national interest to save the institution of the army from being defamed by ‘power-hungry’ politicians.

The petition contended let the full court seriously ponder over this constitutional issue and hand down an authoritative judgement for the guidance of the executive and legislative organs of the state.

“It is [a] very serious allegation against the army’s top brass and the premier intelligence agency for destabilising the elected governments and manoeuvring the elections in the country.”

According to the plea, the economic development of the country was entirely dependent upon constitutional governance in the country.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2023

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