SC seeks suggestions from parliamentary parties to end political impasse

By Hasnaat Malik
Published: September 3, 2014

Protesters sitting on barricades in front of the Parliament in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought suggestions from all parliamentary parties regarding the solution to ongoing political impasse.

A five-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk, also asked Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed to find a solution for removing protesters from Parliament’s premises.

Aitzaz Ahsan, counsel for political parties, requested the bench to pass an order regarding the removal of protesters from Parliament. The chief justice, however, said that National Assembly Speaker has the power to pass order in this regard.

The bench has also decided to fix the responsibility of the losses as a result of the ongoing protests in the federal capital so that such an incident does not take place in the future.

Justice Nawar Zaheer Jamali asked Attorney General of Pakistan to submit the details of financial losses as well as losses to public property, the killings of people, and expenditure on law and order due to these sit ins.
He also said that the government should proceed against those taking law into their hands.

During the hearing, Raza Rabbani, counsel for two political parties, contended before the bench that federation is under threat due to ongoing political crisis. He stated that protesters are demanding the dissolution of all provincial assemblies. He further said that there is no implicit charge of rigging in provincial assemblies elections.

Justice Asif Khosa observed that the court should also find out the root cause of ongoing protests. “Elections rigging is a very serious allegation leveled by a political party, which got 7.6 million votes in last general elections,” he adds.

Rabbani also suggested that the court may ask the Parliament for proper legislation for constituting a judicial body to probe the alleged rigging.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar said that CBR, Federal Shariat Court, Election Commission of Pakistan and other state institutions were not functioning for the last seven days and 80 percent of cases have been adjourned due to ongoing protests.

He asked why the protesters moved towards the PM House as the situation turned ugly due to this decision.

The chief justice asked the AML chief whether it was not the legal and moral duty of both protesting parties to get permission from the federal government regarding their entrance into the Red Zone.

Sheikh contended that PTI chief got permission from interior minister as mobile correspondence is also available to prove this. He also stated that the whole nation trusts the Supreme Court and both parties want its involvement in this matter. He also stated that people are facing problems due to containers placed in different parts of Islamabad.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja also raised a question, asking whether protesters want the court to allow anarchy in the country. The hearing of the case was adjourned until Friday.