Friday June 14, 2024

Vawda moves privilege motion in Senate against SC judge

Vawda said he owned each and every word he had uttered and stood by it, having not pointed out someone or named anyone, instead made general references

By Our Correspondent
May 22, 2024
Independent Senator Faisal Vawda during a press conference on May 16, 2024. — APP
Independent Senator Faisal Vawda during a press conference on May 16, 2024. — APP

ISLAMABAD: In a rare move of its kind, lawmaker Faisal Vawda Tuesday sought ‘contempt proceedings’ by the Senate against a sitting apex court judge for calling him as a proxy, allegedly hurting his as well as the House’s integrity.

“Honourable Chairperson, I am sending a privilege motion sort of thing to you and surrendering myself as a law-abiding citizen. It is a historical day for me and it is the authority of this House, and it is up to this House to initiate proceedings ... or the committee concerned does so,” he said on the floor of the Senate on the opening day of the 338th session.

Senator Sherry Rehman was presiding over the sitting at that time, when Senator Vawda rose to speak at length on a point of public importance. Referring to his recent news conference, on the basis of which he was summoned for contempt proceedings, Vawda said he owned each and every word he had uttered and stood by it, having not pointed out someone or named anyone, instead made general references.

He contended that a judge called him a proxy was flashed by Indian newspapers and international media, defaming him and the country. He alleged this term was used for him, and demanded evidence. Vawda recalled how after decades, it was conceded recently that the hanging of Zulfiikar Ali Bhutto was a mistake but it was a judicial murder.

“The day, Bhutto, the legend, was hanged, democracy never came back on track. If you committed a mistake, then the judge concerned should have been hung symbolically and the dictator too, who was behind the judge,” he contended. Vawda insisted that he could not talk about the conduct of a judge but the Constitution and the law allowed him fully to speak on their misconduct and then read out from some documents, which he also waved and showed to the chair.

He referred to a number of ‘cases of misconduct’ of judges of high courts and recalled when the Lahore High Court had written a letter on February 7, 2023, for provision of 30 VVIP passes for matches and chairman boxes and red stickers for their cars. He added the letter landed in the media, the pressure worked and the high court then conceded that this letter was a mistake.

Vawda said the state of affairs of justice was such that Pakistan stood at number 140 worldwide and there was none to give justice to the common man.

In his speech, PMLN parliamentary leader Irfan Siddiqui emphasised that the members of parliament represent 250 million people of Pakistan and deserve to be respected while the superior judiciary had a history of garlanding the lawbreakers and allowing them to amend the Constitution at will.

He criticised the judiciary for invoking the doctrine of necessity and said that it always squashed the heads of democracy, politicians and political values. He wondered, “Who gave them the privilege of labelling somebody as Sicilian mafia, Godfather or proxy.”

He referred to the code of conduct for judges modified by the judiciary itself on 2011 and explained Article 2 of the Code that reads: “A Judge should be God-fearing, law-abiding, abstemious, truthful of tongue, wise in opinion, cautious and forbearing, blameless, and untouched by greed. While dispensing justice, he should be strong without being rough, polite without being weak, awe inspires in his warnings and faithful to his word, always preserving calmness, balance and complete detachment, for the formation of correct conclusions in all matters coming before him…..”.

Senator Irfan contended that the Article was like Articles 62-63 of the Constitution were for lawmakers and asked if it had been applied to any judge. He regretted that they threaten to summon the prime minister every now and then. He said scales symbolises justice and have to be balanced and then remarked, “How can you call someone Sicilian and tell the other “good to see you”. You can chop off our necks but please do not disrobe us.”

The Balochistan Awami Party’s Manzoor Ahmad Kakar said judiciary’s respect was not more than those of the parliamentarians. He criticised the judiciary for realising after decades about mistake it had committed in Bhutto’s case. He wondered as to why those responsible had not been held accountable.

As the House began proceedings, it adopted a unanimous resolution, expressing its profound grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of Iranian President Dr Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others in a tragic helicopter crash.

The resolution moved by Senator Sherry Rehman, acknowledged that President Dr Ebrahim Raisi was a great leader of the Muslim World and a true friend of Pakistan. It said Pakistan stands in solidarity with the Iranian nation in this hour of grief and we join Iranian brothers and sisters in mourning this irreparable loss.

The resolution stated that the untimely demise of President Dr Ebrahim Raisi and those traveling with him is not only the huge loss of the families and the Iranian nation but to the entire Muslim Ummah. “The government and the people of Pakistan extend their sincerest prayers that May Allah Almighty bless the departed souls. The government of Pakistan observed one-day national mourning today to honour the most precious lives lost in this tragedy,” it read.

Responding to a calling attention notice, Minister for Power Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari said the government was not going to change the policy regarding solar and net metering investors, making it clear that the agreements with the solar energy users will be honoured.

He assured the House that any change in future warranted by dynamics will be taken in consultation with the relevant stakeholders. He noted the net metering was started during PMLN regime in 2017 and there had been no change it while it had showed steady growth. PTI senators protested over the assault on the party’s information secretary Raoof Hasan and also staged walk-out from the House. The House will now meet again on Wednesday morning (today).