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January 25, 2018

Parliament under attack by its protector


January 25, 2018

I would like to begin with sincere thanks to the chief justice of Pakistan who has reminded us that the entire Parliament is supreme. He has stated, “We heard the other day people were condemning the Parliament, but for us it is supreme.”

Our chief justice of Pakistan always talks with correct reference as brought in the great legal simply by the name of Baba Rehmat and his statement prompted me to write an article on Baba Rehmat, which was published on 22nd December 2017 and I had referred Baba Rehmat as “Rule of law and constitution”. The country is run through the Constitution of Pakistan and laws are enacted through legislation in the Parliament and an Act so passed by the Parliament is called ‘Act of Parliament’ and this enactment provides the force of law to implement “rule of law.”

The same rule of law is applied on all institutions including political parties/politicians and general public. In simple words, the Parliament is centre of creation of laws and its implementation is through the rule of law. The country cannot have democracy if there is no parliament. The Parliament consists of a president, National Assembly and the Senate and abusing the Parliament is similar to abusing these three institutions. The president is also supreme commander of Armed Forces too. Indirectly this ball of “curse” has been thrown on the armed forces and other constitutional institutions. Please curse your political opponents but not the Parliament as an institution as it is future of Pakistan and a hope for many to serve the nation through this Parliament.

The Parliament comes into being with the power of people and abusing Parliament means abusing its voters and people of Pakistan. If you are abusing the Parliament being a member how will you go back to the masses for vote again when you have already cursed and dehumanised the same Parliament.

Does any law allow anybody to abuse the Parliament? The people of Pakistan gave you licence to make legislations and not to abuse this house of democracy and hope of people.

Parliament is attacked by none other than its own members who have got their fame only because of this Parliament. I, therefore, in humble capacity warn my countrymen that some politicians are creating a situation and pushing the democracy to an end. Please save it. If parliamentarians do not respect Parliament then why should someone else respect it? I warn/advise such elements not to confront constitutional institutions/parliament as it may cause irreversible loss to the on-going democratic system. We have had many incidents in the past when some politicians played dirty to diminish the Parliament; some enjoyed their ministerial positions while some kept waiting to benefit from the dictator rule.

Our nation has experienced the dissolution of Parliament in the past - first time the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was dissolved on October 24, 1954, by Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad. The dissolution was challenged by the president of the assembly in the notable case of Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan vs. Federation of Pakistan in which the federal court took the side of the governor general, in spite of dissent from one judge. Mohammad Ali Bogra was the Prime Minister of Pakistan at the time.

The second Constituent Assembly reconstituted on May 28, 1955. The constitution was promulgated on March 23, 1956, and Pakistan became an Islamic republic. On October 7, 1958, martial law was imposed on the country. The new regime abrogated the constitution, declaring it unworkable.

The 1973 Constitution came into effect on August 14, 1973. On the same day, Bhutto took over as the prime minister and Chaudhry Fazal Elahi as the president. On July 5, 1977, General Zia staged a military coup and suspended the Constitution, which was restored in 1985. Similarly, when General Musharraf took over in 1999, the Constitution was suspended for several years.

PTI has been hitting hard slogans right from the beginning and Imran Khan heavily bashed Parliament in his dharna in 2014 and the nation witnessed how his protesters entered in the Parliament.

Few politicians including Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid continued to show disliking for Parliament. The last bashing with unparliamentary words came from Imran Khan and his associate standing on the Charing Cross, Lahore, which was severe attack and this part of speech was not the mandate given by the APC as I was also the part of the said APC. The mandate was to demand for justice for Model Town victims. However, it looked like the script written by PTI and its associates encountered something horribly wrong. The other attacks is reaching through media on daily basis that Parliament is going to be dissolved and every coming day bringing fear of sacking of Parliament.

The rumours of dissolution of Parliament are being in the air in the capital by anti-Parliament lobbies ready with self-promised portfolios, and their political supporters and associates are continuously engineering this propaganda. Some are ready with their Sherwanis with their selected portfolios. The capital experienced an incident of impersonation recently where a retired colonel along with his wife stripped someone with millions of rupees on the false promise to get him a ministerial slot in technocratic set up and hope the police will take it to its logical conclusion to get him convicted as presently he is in police custody.

There are multi-directional attacks on Parliament, which is the symbol of our democracy. It is unfair to condemn Parliament if one is not been able to become the PM. This kind of abusive attitude towards the Parliament based on selfish motives and odd ill desires must not be acceptable by the nation. It is straight advice to them that either take or leave it but do not act to demolish it.

Moreover, please do not treat Parliament as Legoland to play like babies with blocks to make it and then break it in childish way to draw childish happiness. We need political maturity in some of our leaders who should rise above Legoland like game and the lust of power and they must play role in building the democratic institutions and indulge in its destruction.

No politician or individual has the licence to condemn the parliaments or its members as it is the will of the people there. Our history shows that it is always some politicians who have been engineering the conspiracies against their own Parliament just for their own motives and our constitutional and Parliament history is full of such moves by politicians and even letters on record requesting the Army to intervene. Air Martial ® Asghar Khan has gone to grave with his infamous undemocratic letter, which will remain in the history of Pakistan.

We have been noticing the recent developments how the Army was being asked to intervene during the longest sit-in conducted by PTI in 2014 but the Army avoided and the entire credit goes to the Army in keeping the democracy intact.

Some politicians have created the same situation again now and trying their best to have democratic system wound up. I will give full credit to the present COAS who is supportive of democratic system and he proved it by submitting his briefing in the Senate in camera and briefed the Senate by sending clear and loud message that he is part of the constitutional system as he stands for democracy.

This sheer dispersion in some politicians to dissolve the Parliament may inflict the system and this unfortunate lust of power to get into power may create space for invisible forces and such politicians will still not get their power from this power hungry game. Wait for your turn and go back to the people in the election and ask for your mandate.

Abusing Parliament will lower your respect as you are also the member of the same Parliament and in fact Parliament is the mother of democracy and hence do not humiliate this institution and its members.

I have my appeal not to diminish your Parliament as it is shelter for the institutions which provides you force of legislations. Make yourself accountable as how many legislations did you bring in the Parliament to strengthen the rule of law. As parliamentarian it was your duty to propose laws and not to hurl abuses to the Parliament as abuses do not constitute law but undermines your stature.

I advise you to stop attacking our Parliament/House of people otherwise you all will be repenting for subjective and tutored unconstitutional moves. Be a parliamentarian, be a law-abiding citizen and be a lover of Parliament and try to block the indirect and direct attacks on Parliament, which is your own icon of democracy.

I have taken these abusive statements as preamble of resignation from a party in KPK and Federation. You all must try and halt it if you can.

The writer is Chairman of think tank "Global Eye" &former Interior Minister of Pakistan. @Email: [email protected], Twitter @Senrehmanmalik, @GlobalEye_GSA, WhatsApp +923325559393

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