ISLAMABAD, April 12: Chief Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui on Tuesday observed that neither the Supreme Court nor any authority in the world could ask lawmakers to behave in a proper way. “We can understand the limitation of the prime minister, but why parliamentarians acted as yes-men and failed to express their opinion at the time the 17th amendment was being passed?” the chief justice asked while leading a five-member bench hearing petitions challenging the 17th constitutional amendment and the dual office of President Pervez Musharraf.

Without the assistance of legislators, he observed, nothing could have been done.

The observations were made when petitioner A.K. Dogar of the Pakistan Lawyers Forum was presenting arguments before the bench after Attorney-General Makhdoom Ali Khan had concluded his reply to the petitions.

NWFP Assistant Advocate-General Mohammad Isa Khan, a Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal government’s representative, not only supported the attorney-general’s arguments, and went a step ahead by saying that “politicians were responsible for all the mess we were in”.

The NWFP representative had taken a very shallow view of the situation as politicians were not the only one to be blamed for every crisis, Justice Javed Iqbal observed.

The representatives of Punjab and Sindh also subscribed to the attorney-general’s arguments. There was no representative of Balochistan.

The chief justice, addressing Mr Dogar, observed that the petitioner should have brought disqualification petitions against parliamentarians who, according to him, were not performing.

Mr Dogar replied that they (parliamentarians) were performing but not in accordance with the constitution and cited a dialogue between one of his friends and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz wherein the latter had admitted that he had no authority to transfer even a deputy secretary.

“Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is, in fact, a ‘short-cut Aziz’ as he has no moorings in the public,” he said.

The prime minister, Justice Javed Iqbal observed, had every power and it was a different thing if he was not exercising them.

Mr Dogar emphasized that the Supreme Court had all the powers to nullify the 17th amendment like it had allowed the president to hold the office of the army chief, wear the military uniform till the end of 2007 and make appointments to key positions, contrary to the directions of the apex court in the Zafar Ali Shah case and against the basic structure of the constitution.

Citing the Qazi Hussain Ahmed case, he said the apex court had already held that the president could not hold two offices simultaneously. Let the constitution prevail for the good of the people which was only possible by handing over powers to the prime minister, Mr Dogar stressed.

Opinion

Editorial

IMF’s unease
Updated 24 May, 2024

IMF’s unease

It is clear that the next phase of economic stabilisation will be very tough for most of the population.
Belated recognition
24 May, 2024

Belated recognition

WITH Wednesday’s announcement by three European states that they intend to recognise Palestine as a state later...
App for GBV survivors
24 May, 2024

App for GBV survivors

GENDER-based violence is caught between two worlds: one sees it as a crime, the other as ‘convention’. The ...
Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...