KARACHI -  Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has claimed that some factions within certain institutions are trying to topple the government, something that sabotages the very core of democracy.

Addressing a seminar titled ‘The Future of Democracy in Pakistan’ here on Friday, he said this was not happening for the first time in country’s history, as every time democracy starts taking roots, groups within the judiciary or the army try to blow it out.

Denouncing dismissal of democratic governments in the past, the disqualified premier said the “law of necessity” and “PCO (Provisional Constitutional Order)” have inflicted immense damages on the democratic process.

Through these two devices, he added, the courts validated martial laws and granted power to autocrats and dictators to amend the constitution as per their desire.

The nexus of dictators and judiciary did not let democracy prosper in the country. "Not even a single elected representative could complete his mandated tenure, whereas the dictators ruled the country for more than 30 years," he regretted.

"The [Supreme] Court, which is [too] powerful for politicians, is helpless before the [powerful military] dictators. Politicians have been hanged, they have been called hijackers but those who violated the Constitution did not face any ire," he added.

He questioned why the court has not given its decision in the treason case against former general-president Pervez Musharraf.

"We have to take tough decisions to take this country to the right path," said Nawaz, who is also the president of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N.

Thanks to his party’s rule and parliamentary strength, Nawaz managed to reassume the top PML-N position through a constitutional amendment - after he was disqualified in July last year by the apex court for any public office.

Since his ouster from the PM House and start of accountability of his family, he has been attacking the judiciary, alleging it of collaborating with military establishment to victimise him.

The ex-premier said that despite all attacks against democracy no one could bury it as “the masses are aware of their rights now”.

Nawaz Sharif taking exception to the ‘series of threats’ posed to democracy said stakeholders must realise its importance for the country at large.

"All sections of the society should play their role for the prosperity of democracy. Lawyers, teachers, media, all have to become soldiers of democracy without any bias," he said.

He called upon them to fast realise that democracy was critically required for maintenance of balance among different pillars of the state. It was high time that people come together and defend their constitutional rights, he added.

Discussing in detail the roles played by different institutions in the political history of the country, the PML-N chief claimed that most of the development was registered across the country during democratic regimes.

“This is no exaggeration to claim that people of the country benefitted most under elected governments,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif on the occasion was also critical about the role of certain political parties and their leadership for their alleged compromises to gain numerical strength in the forthcoming Senate polls.

This was Nawaz's first visit to Karachi since his disqualification.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Pakistan National Party Chairman Mir Hasil Bizenjo, and other political leaders and members of civil society also spoke at the seminar.

Later speaking to a public gathering, Nawaz Sharif said the judiciary has no right to insult others, adding that it was unacceptable.

“Court used words like Sicillian mafia and godfather for me. It should also care about others self-respect,” he argued, recalling the judgement in Panama leaks case.

He asserted that the Supreme Court had insulted the position of the prime minister by issuing the orders of his disqualification.

Recalling lawyers’ movement, Nawaz said, “Movement for the restoration of judges wasn’t limited to a few judges. We succeeded in restoring the judges, but not the justice.”

The ousted premier claimed that the people of Pakistan could not fully receive justice, and announced that he would run a movement for the restoration of justice this time.

Talking about the corruption references in accountability court, he said that the judiciary found affection for cases against him and his party. He added that 38,945 cases were pending in the top court.

He claimed that the position of premier has been paralysed and the administrative [civilian government] weakened.

He lashed out at the court for compromising the right of constituting judicial commissions of prime minister and chief ministers. “Can the system work properly if one institution weakens the other,” he asked.

 

 

Groups in judiciary, army ‘harming’ democracy

 

Our Staff Reporter