ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court Monday offered to play its role in ending the present deadlock caused by the protest rallies of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek in the red zone.
A four-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, directed PTI and PAT to submit proposals and mechanism on how the apex court could act to end the impasse. Hamid Khan during the last hearing had proposed the bench should take suo motu notice of the political crisis going on for the last three weeks. The chief justice had advised him to file a petition in that regard. The PTI has so far not filed any petition.
The court asked the PTI and PAT counsels to get instructions from the leadership whether they wanted to give any proposal to the court to resolve the issue and adjourned the hearing for one hour. When the court reassembled after an hour, PTI counsel Ahmed Awais and PAT lawyer Raja Zafar Khaliq said they had failed to contact the leadership, so they needed some time. As Hamid Khan of PTI and PAT lawyer Barrister Ali Zafar could not come for some reasons, the court ordered them to appear today (Thursday).
During the interval, all the TV channels telecast that the court was ready to play the role of mediator/arbitrator. The bench, however, clarified they would not play the role of an arbitrator or a mediator, but would exercise the powers given to them by the Constitution.
The bench on August 28 had hinted at passing an order under Article 190 of the Constitution to end the deadlock, but on Monday’s hearing the bench turned down Attorney General Salman Butt’s request to issue an order under Article 190, saying the federal government under Article 245 had already called the armed forces to act in aid of civil power. The chief justice said the court passes an order under Article 190, but the federation does not follow it.
At the start of the proceedings, the attorney general submitted he would make a statement as an officer of the court and not as a counsel for the federation. He said PTI and PAT came to Islamabad as an agreement which they violated. He added both the parties had undertaken they would not enter the red zone. “They did not fulfil any of the 24 points of commitments. They raided PTV and entered the Parliament, Secretariat, Cabinet Division and Prime Minister’s Office,” he lamented.
The attorney general prayed to the court to pass an order to stop the protesters from attacking the buildings. “If there is a court order, it would help the administration to get the buildings vacated,” he said.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja questioned whether the demonstrations in the red zone were different from the insurgency going on in the Fata. He said the people should discard the double face and categorically say whether they wanted implementation of the Constitution or not.
Quoting a story published in the newspapers, the judge said Maulvi Fazalullah had issued a statement that if today 30,000 people could make the whole country hostage, tomorrow they would bring 50,000 men, better equipped and trained, to overthrow the next government.
Justice Saqib Nisar said the other day his car was damaged and his driver injured in an attack. He said they would not allow anyone to take extra-constitutional step, adding the constitution must stay as the whole nation’ existence lies in it. The judge said neutral umpire is the Supreme Court as defined in the constitution.
Justice Saqib asked Ahmed Awais, the counsel for PTI, to tell the court how the matter could be resolved.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said history is being written and the order-sheet would tell who is speaking truth and is telling a lie. He remarked the prime minister is not of one party or a province but of the whole country. The Balochistan Assembly which is part of the federation has passed a resolution in favour of the premier, so the protesters should respect it as well.
The chief justice said everyone is bound to comply with the constitution. He also asked Ahmed Awais what should be done to resolve the deadlock. “We are ready to resolve any issue you bring before us. Give us your proposal,” he added.
Justice Saqib said the Supreme Court is the appropriate forum for political justice. The court is presently hearing seven identical petitions and all are regarding the breach of fundamental rights. “Sovereignty of the country is under threat,” he feared. Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali asked the AGP why the law is not following its course and why the government failed to take action. The case was adjourned till today (Tuesday).
Meanwhile, all the judges of the Supreme Court have been ordered to reach the principal seat, Islamabad, in view of the political situation.
The sources told The Nation that the judges have been directed to cut short their summer vacation and reach the federal capital. The new judicial year 2014-15 would begin from September 8, in which all the judges would participate.