Tuesday January 18, 2022

‘It’s all a game’

February 03, 2018

KARACHI: On the second and the last day of his visit to Karachi, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif continued criticising the judiciary and the military over 'removing' him from the premiership.

Addressing a seminar on the future of democracy in the country at the Beach Luxury Hotel on Friday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief said that whenever the military generals attacked elected governments, a segment of the judiciary sided with them instead of the public. He said a game was being played, adding long hands of discretionary powers after making the administration helpless had reached legislature and parliament.

"The doctrine of necessity inflicted an irreparable loss to the country," he claimed, warning that when in power again, his government will make strict decisions about the judges who took oath under former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's Provisional Constitutional Order.

Seventy years after the creation of the country, he said, the future of democracy was yet ambiguous and uncertain because during this time, the military generals ruled for three decades while those elected by the people could govern for an average two years each.

"Since the beginning, democracy was never allowed to strengthen as military generals disliked the popular leaders and tried to install feeble and unwanted political parties in their place." He said a commission was needed to scrutinise decisions from Tameezuddin case to Panama case.

He said that Musharraf was the first dictator to be brought into the court for violating the Constitution but he slipped away and was now frightened to return to the country. The PML-N chief said the democratic decline started when the then governor-general Ghulam Muhammad removed the country's first prime minister Khawaja Nazimuddin. "The dictators then started using democracy as their domestic servant."

Mentioning the dissolution of assemblies of 1954, he said that it was when the infamous doctrine of necessity came to the forefront and the then chief justice Muhammad Munir used it, thus, causing a loss to democracy that it could not overcome.

"In 1999, when Musharraf toppled my government, a judge praised his move and the dictator was allowed the powers that the whole judiciary didn't have," he said, adding that the doctrine made illegal actions legal.

He said when Nusrat Bhutto moved the judiciary against the overthrow of her husband Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government by the-then military general Ziaul Haq, the courts yet favored the dictator.

He, however, lauded formerchief justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui for not succumbing to the pressure of Musharraf in the PML-N petition against his coup. "I salute such judges," he added.

"How democracy can nurture in such a country," he asked, hoping that with people getting politically aware, the future was promising though. Besides Sharif, veteran rights advocate IA Rehman, National Party's federal minister Senator Hasil Bizenjo, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party's Mehmood Khan Achakzai and others spoke to the seminar.

Later, speaking to a gathering of the Bengali community, the former PM pledged that their CNIC issues will be addressed if the PML-N made it to power again at the Centre. "It is more of a human issue than political," Sharif commented, saying that the issue they faced with Nadra, which ironically falls under his interior ministry, should have been addressed by now.

He said the Bengali community was among the creators of this country and even after these seven decades, if they cannot obtain their national identities, then it's a great injustice. Afterwards, Nawaz spoke to a lawyers gathering in which the former Supreme Court Bar Association president Yasin Azad announced joining the PML-N. Speaking to them, the former PM said that if a pillar of the state crippled the other, then the system would never work. He commended the legal fraternity for their movement to restore the judiciary in the Musharraf era. "Although, the judiciary was restored but the public didn't get justice," he lamented.