Parliament not needed if ordinances are to be issued: CJP

Justice Isa questions why NAB amendments case is dragged on for so long  Jailed Imran appears in court via video link from jail to present arguments but doesn’t utter even a single word.

ISLAMABAD  -  Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa has remarked that if ordinances are to be introduced to run government affairs, then the parliament should be dissolved.

“Through ordinances, the will of one person is imposed on the entire nation. Isn’t this against democracy? Shouldn’t the president of the country provide detailed justifications along with the ordinances,” the CJP said this during hearing of arguments in the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance 1999 amendment case.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan made his maiden appearance before the Supreme Court via video link in the case. However, he did not utter a single word during the hearing which remained continued for more than two and half hours. The former prime minister, who appeared via video link, was seen wearing a light blue shirt.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and comprising Justice Amin-ud-Din Khan, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi conducted hearing of the case on the intra-court appeals filed by the federal and provincial governments against the NAB amendments struck down by the apex court. But the case was adjourned, without allowing former prime minister Imran Khan to speak, who attended the hearing via video link from the central jail in Rawalpindi.

This time, the court proceeding of the case was also not live-streamed. Some pictures of the former prime minister, however, were leaked on social media.

Khan who was currently residing in Adiala Jail, wanted to appear in the top court in person to present his arguments after which the court had allowed him to defend himself via video link.

In this connection, Chief Justice Qazi Faez said on Wednesday last that the PTI founder could present his arguments in the upcoming hearing via video link if he wishes to do so [...] arrangements should be made for the presentation of arguments via video link.

At the onset of the hearing, the CJP asked Attorney General for Pakistan Mansoor Usman Awan if the video link with Khan had been established. The AGP replied that the video link is up.

Then, the government’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan started his argument and the bench sought the verdict on the NAB amendments case hearing at the Islamabad High Court. The government’s counsel said that the matter of NAB amendments has been pending in the IHC.

“Imran Khan should appear on the next hearing through the video link,” the court ordered while adjourning the hearing indefinitely.

Earlier, Justice Athar addressing to Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) asked that have you (government) started threatening the judges with proxies, who are saying they would make turbans football.” He made it clear, “This does not and will not deter and intimidate any judge. They are exposing themselves.”

The court order said that the Respondent No.1 Imran Khan Niazi connected with video-link from Adiala Jail and will continue on the next date. Khawaja Haris is in attendance and stated that he is not charging bill to the federal government, and appearing in the matter.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, representing the federation, argued the case. The chief justice told him to speak up little louder so that Respondent No.1 (Imran Khan) could also hear him. Makhdoom submitted that though the proceeding started before the Islamabad High Court regarding the matter (NAB amendments), but the majority judgment of the Supreme Court did not mention it.

CJP Isa asked from the government’s lawyer that why the case proceeded for so long and if he was trying to prolong it. Makhdom said that apart from him, many lawyers had given arguments and they wanted the case to be over soon. He also said that the facts were not properly evaluated while declaring the NAB amendments null and void.

He submitted that the respondent No.1, who had challenged the amendments, initially attended the court proceeding along with former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. He told that 53 hearings were held of the case, out of them the petitioner counsel consumed 27 sessions, while the defence side argued in 19 proceedings.

CJP Isa said that it was surprising that 53 hearings of the NAB amendments case were conducted. Then, he also asked that how the case was admissible in the SC despite being heard by the IHC and did the court respond to this question in the verdict of the main case.

Makhdoom said that the court had indeed mentioned this issue in the judgment. The lawyer then went on to read the relevant paragraph of the SC decision in the court.

He argued that it is entirely political case because the rational of the legislature has been accepted by the respondent no.1, adding that the political differences instead of settling in the Parliament are being brought to the courts. He submitted that the petitioner’s party had 182 lawyers in the Parliament, and they could have easily defeated the NAB amendments bill in the Parliament.

The Chief Justice remarked that why the politicians avoid the democratic process to impose the will of one person. Why the ordinances were issued instead of making legislation in the Parliament.

Makhdoom further argued that the matter became political question because first the respondent was in favour of changes in the NAO, 1999, but when he was not in power he challenged the law. He said according to the Supreme Court judgment in Tahirul Qadri case the antecedents are important and need to be look at in deciding the petition.

The Chief Justice said that if the political cases stop coming to the courts then it would have more time to decide cases of ordinary citizens.

Justice Jamal questioned that how much time was taken to prepare and enact the original NAB Ordinance, 1999? Makhdoom replied one month as Pervez Musharraf assumed power on 12-10-1999 and the Ordinance was promulgated on 17-11-1999.

At the end of proceeding, the chief justice said next week he is not available and there is issue of this larger bench, therefore the date for hearing of the case will be communicated later on. The case was adjourned for indefinite period.

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