On the other hand, opposition PML-N walked out of the stormy Senate against “government’s flouting of the apex court orders” and return of Rehman Malik to the house.
The criticism by at least two PPP lawmakers against the Supreme Court judges came in the backdrop of their remarks about the role of the opposition in the parliament while hearing the contempt of court case.
Newly-elected PPP Senator Mukhtiar Ahmed Damrah, on a point of order, said the apex court’s remarks about opposition’s conduct, during the adoption and passing of the contempt of court, was tantamount to inciting the opposition for igniting bloodshed and anarchy.
“They (judges) want something from others (opposition) what they are unable to do by themselves,” he remarked. He also said that the PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s advice to the superior judiciary to review its remarks about the opposition’s role showed that the party had understood the proper role of the institutions.
Senator Farhatulalh Babar said he was both sad and concerned over the reported remarks of an SC judge during hearing of the contempt act case who said that a section of the parliament failed to perform its duty and that it disregarded its mandate.
Such comments only undermine the prestige of the parliament; it is not a good omen and will be viewed with concern, he said. The parliament always had great respect for the judiciary and even the record of house proceedings was also presented in the Supreme Court, he said as he urged the judiciary to exercise judicial restraint in dealing with the parliament.
Earlier, PML-N, the major opposition party in the Senate, staged a protest walkout from the House when Senior Adviser to PM on Interior Rehman Malik rose from his seat to take oath as senator. Zafar Ali Shah of PML-N said that the unscheduled ‘emergency session’ was summoned to have Malik’s oath. Leader of the Opposition, Ishaq Dar said that there was no need to summon the session only to have oath from Rehman Malik. The House Business Advisory Committee also had reservations on the unscheduled session.
Zafar Ali Shah said that the national kitty would have to bear Rs140 million loss for this uncalled for act of the government. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of JUI-F said that Malik should be made to bear the cost of this session. The PML-N also protested against, what they said, flouting of the apex court’s orders by the PPP-led government.
Senate Chairman Nayyar Bukhari however administered oath to the re-elected member of the house, Rehman Malik. The former interior minister was forced to resign from his ministerial office as well as senator by the Supreme Court for having dual nationality. However, he later surrendered his British nationality and got himself re-elected as senator unopposed on a technocrat seat from the Sindh.
After the oath taking, Leader of the House Jehangir Badar said that the House was not summoned only to have oath from Rehman Malik but the business of the House was pending for some time as it had to conclude the debate on the Presidential address to the joint sitting of the parliament.
Senate Chairman Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari ruled that the House would start the debate on the law and order situation of Balochistan as well as on Presidential address from Monday for five days. The Balochistan issue would be discussed on the proposal of Senate Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch, and this idea was later endorsed by Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
Later, Senator Farhatulalh Babar, taking on the issue of judges’ remarks, also said that the sanctity of the parliament was being undermined and this meant that one institution was overstepping its mandate. He said that the parliament has demonstrated great respect for the judiciary by refraining from commenting on judicial proceedings and likewise, the parliament expects the judges to show restrain in commenting upon its functioning and honouring of public mandate.
Farhatullah said that the record showed that the parliament has been showing great maturity and restraint in its conduct as far as relations with judiciary were concerned. This he said was demonstrated by promptly accepting the judiciary’s views in the matter of appointment of judges at the time of the 18th Constitutional Amendment and also in handing over of the record of parliamentary proceedings when asked for the by court.
The senator said that the parliament endured when the ruling of the speaker was overturned. It endured when the SC Registrar refused to appear before a parliamentary committee. These instances do not convey strong signals of judicial restraint, he said.
Senator Farhatullah said that the exercise of powers by legislature and executive was subject to judicial review but the only check on the judiciary’s own exercise of power was the self-imposed discipline of judicial restraint. It will be unfortunate if a perception developed that the judicial restraint was fast eroding, he said.
The PPP senator said that power had strange dynamics that must be clearly understood. By its very nature all power whether in the hands of an individual or in the hands of an institution, he said, has a natural tendency to encroach upon the domain of others. An individual holding some power tends to encroach upon other individuals and likewise institutions also tend to encroach upon the powers of other institutions. This is a human frailty and there is no shame in admitting that judicial power is also not immune from this human weakness, he said.
The judiciary must therefore be seen to be on perpetual guard and resist going beyond its proper bounds, he said adding that awesome powers in the hands of judiciary also placed on it awesome responsibilities and judiciary was the only institution to make this determination.
Judges ‘trying’ to spark anarchy