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Thursday February 02, 2023

Constitution provides solutions to various issues: Rabbani

October 23, 2022

LAHORE : Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani on Saturday said since 1947 till today there is a power nexus between the establishment and judiciary which at convenience pick up stakeholders to join them in perpetuating their power, to join them in exploitation of the resources of the provinces.

Rabbani said, We have found that at different times military takeovers have been given a legal cover.”

Senator Raza Rabbani expressed these views while addressing a session “The need of constitutional court” at Asma Jahangir Conference.

In his address, Senator Rabbani said that the concept of constitutional court was first introduced in European countries and the motivation in establishing a constitutional court is to create a strong and specialised judicial type of body capable of enforcing a new constitution or a new constitutional deal.

What is more important is the constitutional court is also in power to examine the constitution and constitutionality of the law even it is passed by the parliament, Rabbani added. He said that following are the powers that may be exercised by a constitutional court including constitutional drafting jurisdiction that is controlling the constitution itself along with Judicial review of the legislative acts controlling the legislature and jurisdiction over officials and agencies. The constitutional court can also exercise powers in controlling the executive and can have jurisdiction over political parties and controlling elections.

He said that it is not simpliciter that a court adjudicates on constitutional disputes but has wide ranging implications. Rabbani informed that it is a fact that in the charter of democracy it was desired that a constitutional court would come into existence. But then at the time when we were drafting the 18th amendment and which was an extensive period of time over nine months we came to the conclusion at that time that at least for the moment constitutional court was not needed, Rabbani added.

He said that reasons behind that conclusion were the complexity of the powers which are flowing from a constitutional court.

Another reason was an additional structure was to be added to the federal judiciary with already Supreme Court and Shariat court, Rabbani added. He said, “It was in our mind to do away with the federal Shariat court but unfortunately we couldn’t do it because we didn’t had number in terms of two third majority and we didn’t have support from the religious groups.”

However, at that time we recommended that in the Supreme Court itself there should be a constitutional bench which would look at constitutional issues. Elaborating it further Rabbani said that the constitution of 1973 provides solutions to various issues that arise between the federal government and the provinces like if you look at the article 152 of the constitution which explains that that if a dispute arises between the federal government and province over the acquisition of the land then the Chief justice will be the arbitrator to resolve the matter.

He said since 1947 and till today there is a historical nexus powers equation between Pakistan’s establishment and the judiciary, Rabbani maintained. He said, “Therefore we have found that at different times military takeovers have been given a legal cover. We have found that after the military takeover is over you may have a judgment calling a person usurper but at the nick of the time they have been justified under the doctrine of the political necessity.”

He said, “We have also found there have been times when military dictatorship have not asked the powers to amend the constitution but those powers have been given regardless of their asking to amend the constitution. What is needed is change in mindset as without change in the mindset outcome of a constitutional court will not be different.”

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