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March 3, 2021

Rabbani accuses govt of misinterpreting SC opinion

Top Story

March 3, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Former Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani Tuesday accused the government of misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the opinion of the Supreme Court in the Presidential reference on Senate elections. “The ruling party is running a massive media campaign of misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the opinion of the Supreme Court,” he said while responding to the interpretation of the Attorney General of Pakistan and the government of the court opinion. He said the Supreme Court had opined keeping the constitutional provisions in mind and also the concept of trichotomy of power envisaged in the 1973 Constitution. He said a delegation of the ruling party called on the Chief Election Commissioner after the announcement of the opinion to pressurise the Election Commission of Pakistan. “The Supreme Court opinion stated that elections to the Senate of Pakistan are held under the Constitution and law. It negates the question raised by the President of Pakistan,” he added.

He said the court had clearly stated that election to the Senate was held under the Article 226 and the 1973 Constitution would be applicable to it. “The question which sought the opinion of the court was limited to whether elections of the Senate were under the 1973 Constitution. The court has observed that under the Article 222, Parliament, subject to the Constitution, has power to legislate on the conduct of elections and matters relating to corrupt practices and other offences in connection with elections,” he said.

He said the Supreme Court had also observed that it was the duty of the ECP in terms of the Article 218(3) to ensure that the election was conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law that corrupt practices were guarded against. “It further observed that the Election Commission should make an all-out effort to implement the command of the Constitution,” he added.

Clearly, he said, the Presidential reference was filed with a mala fide intent to use institutions to further the political agenda of the ruling party. “The cabinet approved the 26th Constitutional Amendment Bill in October, 2020, and the bill was laid before the National Assembly and subsequently, in February, 2021, placed for passage. “While the bill was pending before the standing committee, the President moved a reference before the Supreme Court of Pakistan,” he narrated.

He said the President had deliberately prorogued the two Houses of Parliament and on the next date promulgated an anticipatory ordinance. “While the reference was being heard by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the government promulgated an ordinance which gave effect to an anticipated opinion of the Supreme Court,” he added.