ISLAMABAD - Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, who was earlier praised by his outgoing colleagues for his efforts for the supremacy of parliament, has expressed his concern over the issue of ‘infringement’ of courts into the affairs of parliament.

Ahead of renouncing his charge as Senate Chairman, Rabbani in a statement issued here on Tuesday expressed his desire to meet with Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to discuss the issue of infringement of courts.

“I want to relinquish my charge as chairman Senate without causing any further ranker between institutions and departments working through or under the Constitution, in the spirit of my visit to the Supreme Court and coming of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to the Senate’s Committee of the Whole,” he said.

He said that following the situation that has developed over the past few days he was compelled to draw the attention of the Chief Justice of Pakistan “in a spirit of understanding”.

The Senate chairman remarked that while the Supreme Court had demonstrated restraint in the matter of Zulfiqar Bhutto vs Federation of Pakistan and refrained from “entering into the controversy”, other courts and judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals under the Constitution, or any other law, must exhibit the same example.

He maintained that the chief justice had, in a self-authored decision, shown constraint in going beyond the veil of ‘internal proceedings’ for the Bhutto case, Rabbani said, adding that the “judiciary and parliament do not serve separate interests and the aim of both is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”.

The relevant portion of the judgment is reproduced as: It appears that the Bill was voted in the Senate of Pakistan on September 22, 2017.

“We have been informed that various amendments in the said Bill were proposed by some political parties, including the retention of the afore-noted proviso to Section 5 of the Order, 2002. It may also be noted that except for the proviso, Section 5 of the Order, 2002 was retained in its original form in the proposed Bill.

“However, it appears that most of the amendments suggested by various parties were not incorporated. The Petitioners have vehemently argued that proceedings before the Senate of Pakistan were fundamentally questionable and flawed. However, we do not wish to enter into this controversy in due deference to the provisions of Article 69 of the Constitution especially so where no specific grounds have been urged that may justify probe and scrutiny of the process by which the Bill was passed in the Senate of Pakistan.

“We have gone through the record of debates on the Bill and find that no purposeful debates on the Bill took place in the Senate of Pakistan. Nevertheless, we would not like to delve deeper in the said aspect of the issue,” he said.

He further said that the judgment being authored by the Chief Justice himself, such restrain needs to be exhibited by the other High Courts, Courts, Judicial and quasi-judicial Tribunals functioning under the Constitution or any other law for the time being in force as the Judiciary and Parliament are not at the cross purpose, the aim of both is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

The Senate Chairman expressed disappointment over the issuance of Peshawar High Court notice to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly speaker Asad Qaisar on March 2 asking him to explain why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him.

Similarly, Rabbani sought to draw attention to another incident in when Islamabad High Court (IHC) had sought information from the National Assembly and Senate Secretariats to submit a report providing details regarding exactly who took the decision to enact the Election Act, 2017 and when the decision was made.

Also, details were sought for who prepared the draft, the particulars of the committee involved and who gave approval for the draft bill.

 

Rabbani said that he would have met the chief justice to “iron out these intra-institutional and intra-judicial issues” but time restrictions did not permit him to do so.

“The office of the Senate Chairman nevertheless is one that operates in perpetuity and seeks an amicable settlement of these jurisdictional issues,” he remarked.

He was confident that his successor will carry on this torch, “even if it means calling on the Chief Justice of Pakistan.”

Earlier, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar ahead of his retirement as Senator  made a critical farewell speech in the House warning against the “judicialisation of politics and politicisation of the judiciary” making the parliament more weaker in times to come.

He was dismayed over the parliamentary parties including PPP which suddenly backtracked from the across the board accountability.

Other outgoing Senators including Mohsin Khan Leghair, Zafar Ullah Khan Dandla, and Khushbakhat Shujat and Usman Saifullah called for harmony among all the state institutions as enshrined in the constitution.

 

Courts need to

avoid infringing on parliament: Rabbani