ISLAMABAD Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Monday heading a 17-member bench observed that 18th Amendment retained many constitutional provisions which were given by the dictators. The bench was hearing a number of identical petitions, challenging certain provisions of the 18th Amendment, particularly the formation of Judicial Commission and Parliamentary Committee for the appointment of judges in superior courts. Attorney General Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq informed the Court that Raza Rabbani was in Karachi and would appear before the bench on Wednesday. The Chief Justice expressed concern over media reports regarding summoning of Raza Rabbani, Chairman 18th Amendment Implementation Commission. The CJ said that the Court had not summoned him but it was his own desire to appear before the Court, adding Rabbani was one of the respondents in a petition. Salman Akram Raja pleaded that the Constitution has basic features - democracy, federalism, parliamentary form of government, independence of judiciary and dignity of human beings. These features are protected in Pakistan Lawyers Forum and Zia-ur-Rehman cases. Justice Asif Khan Khosa said that no constitution was permanent and it had to change with the changing realities therefore it should be amended accordingly. He said in the past the rulers acted like monarchs and people not courts gave them protection. The Chief Justice asked the learned counsel that the civil society must struggle for an independent judiciary in Pakistan. He remarked, The judges are deep like sea and cool like ice. He said, You should appreciate that through power of judicial review the courts were able to protect the rights of the downtrodden. He said with the Article 175A, the first casualty would be of the President, second of the Chief Justice and the third will be of the Prime Minister as they would not have any role in judges appointment. Salman Raja in support of his arguments gave reference of various countries where the judges appointment was made through judicial commission. He said that in South Africa the judicial commission gave recommendation for the appointment of chief judge of their supreme court. Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday said, We talk of different mechanisms evolved in various societies but do not analyse situation in our own country, adding there was a need to see ground realities of Pakistan. He also said there was a need to pay attention to the situation developed in the country over the past three months. Justice Ramday said in 1998 the British courts got the power of judicial review. Justice Javed Iqbal said that there was drastic difference between the constitutions of South Africa and Pakistan. In South Africa the courts do not have provision to strike the constitutional provisions, he added. Justice Ramday asked the learned counsel to tell the Court how many countries in America and Europe had Article 63A. He said, It means we dont trust our own parliamentarians therefore Article 63A was inserted in the Constitution through the 18th Amendment. Justice Tariq Pervaiz stated that the concept of consultation had been taken out in Article 175A. Salman Akram Raja said in the previous system the Prime Ministers role was to advise the President on judges appointment. The Chief Justice said if the Judicial Commissions role was nomination of a judge for appointment in superior court then what was the use of it. He said nomination could be accepted or rejected. Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk remarked that ultimate decision would be made by the Parliamentary Committee. Justice Ramday asked Raja, You say if Parliamentary Committee would reject a nomination of Judicial Commission and for that it has to give justiciable reasons. He further asked what would be the objective of reasons if the judges whose nomination will be rejected file writ petition against the Parliamentary Committee it in the Lahore High Court or the Supreme Court.