ISLAMABAD Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said Wednesday that courts wanted to protect the system and added that institutions should be strengthened. The Chief Justice remarked this while heading a 17-member larger bench, which is hearing the constitutional petitions against different clauses of the 18th Amendment. The CJ further said, The apex court is even bound to save the Executive Law and we do utmost to save the system. Our dilemma is that no one was allowed to complete five years tenure in the Parliament and due to intervention of other forces in the function of legislators, every time we have to start from ABC. We should lead the system in the right direction so that the elected assembly should feel itself empowered and no one could dare from outside send the parliamentarians to home in just one go, the CJ added. He said that background of parliamentary history of India and Pakistan was quite different. We cannot ignore this fact while hearing petitions against 18th Amendment that our country witnessed repeated martial laws, while state of emergency was declared in India only once, the CJ observed. The CJ said, Whatever status we give to the Articles 175-A and 74, but we have to follow the constitutional provision. We are not here to destroy the system. The efforts should be made to harmonise the system. Recalling the historic decision of seven-member bench led by senior most SC judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Javed Iqbal, that declared the November 3, 2007 step of imposing emergency of a dictator as null and void, the Chief Justice held that through such practices constitutional set-up could remain intact. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, who is arguing his case, conceded before the bench that besides military dictators, head of the political parties including his party, ruled the system in a fascist way. Putting examples before the bench of lawlessness, target killings, fake degree holders and the overall conduct of the Government, he observed that fascist rule was being witnessed in the country with each passing day. He submitted that through 18th Amendment the condition of intra-party election had been erased from Article 63-A. He said that some 22 non-substantive clauses had been inserted into the Constitution since 1977. He said, I have always tried to make efforts to save the situation and not to destroy the system. He said that his much emphasis was on independence of judiciary and he challenged only those clauses that were against the basic structure of the Constitution. Pakistani political system is a hybrid of cooperative and coordinative federal structure. He remarked that the positive part of the 18th Amendment was that it had done away with the Concurrent List. This pledge we made in the 1973 Constitution, he added. Resources of the country have been divided now and the Federating Units have equal share in the natural resources of their respective provinces, Pirzada held. Responding to the questions of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Saqib Nisar, Pirzada said that there were inherent limitations to amend the Constitution under Article 238 and 239 and this aspect was highlighted in Justice Saleem Akhtars judgement. He said that it was a difficult part of Justice Saleem Akhtars judgement in which he wrote that there was no basic feature theory existed anywhere. Justice Saqib Nisar remarked that every country had basic features of constitution and independence of judiciary was among the basic features, adding even judicial review power was considered as the basic feature of the constitution. Quoting a judgement in Justice Sajjad Ali Shah versus Asad Ali case, he said constitution convention once established had the same binding effect of the Constitution provision and in the unwritten constitution, the conventions played much more important role. The Chief Justice told Pirzada that every member of the bench did work hard to reach on better conclusion and the observations and remarks were temporary aimed to see the situation in different angles. Pirzada replied that it was easy to speak before speaking judges rather than silent judges. Responding to the queries of the bench, Pirzada said that breach of the convention was treated like the breach of the constitution provision. He said, The 18th Amendment does not enjoy the status of Constitution and it can be discussed and further amended, he said. Amendment in Constitution is also the law, he added. The case has been adjourned till today (Thursday).