LAHORE - Though the PPP and the PML-N are in agreement under the Charter of Democracy to set up a federal constitutional court to settle the constitutional matters; the latter suspects the latest move by the former to bifurcate the existing Supreme Court.
“For the PML-N, it is very important to see with what intentions the government wants to establish a constitutional court”, said PML-N’s spokesperson, Senator Pervaiz Rashid when asked if his party would cooperate with the PPP to implement one of the provisions of the CoD.
It may be recalled here that both the PPP and the PML-N had felt the need for creation of a constitutional court at the federal level when their leaders sat together at London in 2006 to sign a constitutional package, called the Charter of Democracy. It was agreed at that time that the Supreme Court should act as an appellate court to hear civil and criminal cases only, whereas the constitutional court should deal with constitutional issues-interpretation of the constitution.
The PML-N Senator admitted that both the parties had agreed to such an arrangement in the past, but argued that the situation was different at the moment. He questioned why the PPP did not take up the issue with the PML-N in the last four and half years. According to him, it was questionable why the government has felt the need to divide the Supreme Court when it is about to complete its constitutional term.
“We will examine the proposal afresh if the PPP takes up the issue with the PML-N leadership. Before we make any commitment, we will have to see if the same was being done with bad or good intentions,” he explained his party’s point of view.
Senator Rashid also said PPP had not contacted his party over the issue so far. Another PML-N leader who requested not to be named said that government’s proposal was aimed at clipping the judiciary’s wings to keep it off the NRO implementation case and many others involving PPP leaders.
When contacted, Federal Minister for Information Qamar Zaman Kaira said Nawaz party was dragging its feet on the issue in violation of the CoD. When asked if the PPP had ever taken up the issue officially with the PML-N leadership, the minister replied in the affirmative. “The PML-N nominees in the Parliamentary Committee on constitutional reforms had refused to cooperate with the government, saying they are ready to lend a hand on other issues, but the matter of constitutional court should be set aside,” Kaira told this scribe, adding that his party was ready to implement all provisions of the CoD if the PML-N was willing to cooperate.
It merits mentioning here that Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa has talked of establishing a constitutional court at the Centre more than once in the last one month. Kaira also spoke on the subject while answering a question during his media talk in Islamabad on Wednesday.