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Friday June 14, 2024

CJP's 'honest prime minister' remark triggers debate in Senate

Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial's comments came while hearing PTI chief Imran Khan's petition on February 9

By Web Desk
February 10, 2023
PML-N Senator Irfan Ul Haque Siddiqui and PTI Senator Shehzad Waseem speak during their turn in the senates session held on February 10, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/Senate of Pakistan
PML-N Senator Irfan Ul Haque Siddiqui and PTI Senator Shehzad Waseem speak during their turn in the senate's session held on February 10, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/Senate of Pakistan

After Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial's remark about the country’s "honest prime minister" a day earlier, its echoes were heard during the Senate’s session held on Friday.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Irfan Ul Haque Siddiqui, during his turn to speak in parliament's upper house, reacted to the remark by the country's top judge.

“The chief justice called only one prime minister honest, who is probably Muhammad Khan Junejo. Who gave him the merit to declare everyone from Liaquat Ali Khan to Imran Khan dishonest,” Siddiqui questioned while voicing his reservations on the remarks.

A day earlier, Justice Bandial said: “Only one prime minister has come in Pakistan’s history who was considered most honest. One honest prime minister’s government was ended through 58 (2b). Article 58 (2b) was a draconian law. The court had said in 1993 that the government was [sent packing] in the wrong manner but only elections should be conducted now.”

The top judge’s comment came while hearing a petition of former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, challenging amendments to the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance by the incumbent government.

During his speech, Siddiqui also said that the house devises laws thoughtfully and shouldn’t be beaten in the back with a whip every day. “How did the chief justice say that parliament has become controversial? If the court gives a political comment while leaving its scope, then we are not committing an insult.”

Meanwhile, PTI Senator Shehzad Waseem, while supporting Justice Bandial’s remarks, said "parliament is truly incomplete" given the way a major party was thrown out.

“Criticism is being called an insult, getting respect is in one’s own hand. If the chief justice indicates, then this should be taken in the context of criticism, not contempt.”

Reiterating his party’s demand on the election, Waseem added that if polls are not conducted within 90s days then “the book of Constitution will close and the path for civil unrest will open”.

Led by Imran Khan, the PTI had dissolved the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies as part of its efforts to get a date for the general elections in the country. Since the Khan-led administration was ousted from the National Assembly following a vote of no-confidence in April last year, the date of general polls in the country has been his party’s primary demand.

“It’s been 25 days and no date for the election has been given. Article 6 will be applied to those who postpone the elections beyond the Constitutional term,” the PTI chief said in his televised address to the nation on February 6.