‘Emergency to end judicial activism’

04 Nov 2007


ISLAMABAD, Nov 3: President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Saturday defended the proclamation of the state of emergency and said that judicial activism had brought the country to a complete standstill.

“Pakistan is on the verge of destabilisation and this is not acceptable to me and this has forced me to take this action. Also I believe that at this stage inaction will be suicidal and I cannot allow this situation as it will harm the third stage of transition to full democracy,” he said in his address to the nation on state-run PTV and Radio Pakistan.

He said that some members of the Supreme Court were creating hurdles in the launching of the third phase of return to complete civilian rule.

The president requested the United States, European Union and the Commonwealth to realise the gravity of Pakistan’s problems and avoid criticising the government for imposing the state of emergency.

“Please don’t demand your level of democracy as we are trying to learn. Give us time. We are trying to lean about civil liberties and other such issues,” he said. “Please bear with me and understand our problems,” he told the West.

He justified his action by quoting US President Abraham Lincoln who, according Gen Musharraf, broke laws and usurped the rights of the people to preserve the Constitution.

The president said that Pakistan was passing through a difficult phase and could not anymore accept the downslide of economy and the overall law and order situation, particularly created by terrorists and religious extremists.

He accused some judges of the superior judiciary of bringing harm to three pillars of the state -- judiciary, legislature and executive. “On the one hand, Pakistan’s sovereignty has been seriously challenged by terrorists and on the other the country’s system is semi-paralysed due the judicial activism,” he said.

Gen Musharraf regretted that senior government officials were forced to visit the Supreme Court almost daily and their reputation was being dragged in dirt. “Over 100 suo motu cases are being heard by the Supreme Court, besides thousands of applications against the executive were being entertained due to which the government’s system has collapsed totally,” he said, adding that senior government officials were not performing their duties due to fear and state of uncertainty.

He said he had drawn a three-stage strategy to introduce full democracy in Pakistan. From 1999 to 2002, he said, he was running the country alone and then from 2002 to 2007, elected federal and provincial governments were performing their duties. “And I was just overseeing that system,” he said, adding that he was ensuring the complete transition by first having the presidential election and then general elections.

“But they created problem for me after I was elected president by with 57 per cent vote. They kept on dragging the issue and did not allow its notification and this was how they created a state of uncertainty and frustration among the masses.”

The president said that while some members of the superior judiciary were deliberately creating problems for him, some people in the media, especially a few television channels, remained busy in adding to the negativism in the country.

“I want to ask the nation why did this judicial activism create problems in the relationship of judiciary, legislation and executive,” the president said.

He said since there were serious allegations against the CJ, he was forced to send this reference to the council on the advice of the prime minister. “And I did nothing wrong but then I saw that the Supreme Judicial Council was not allowed to run properly and this led to the breakdown of everything in the country.”