Pakistan Today (Lahore)

Strong po­lit­i­cal par­ties nec­es­sary for good democ­racy: SC



Supreme court (Sc) Judge Jus­tice umar ata ban­dial on Mon­day re­marked that strong po­lit­i­cal par­ties were nec­es­sary for good democ­racy.

a five-mem­ber larger bench of the apex court headed by chief Jus­tice of Pak­istan (cJP) gulzar ahmed and com­pris­ing Jus­tice Mushir alam, Jus­tice umar ata ban­dial, Jus­tice Ijaz ul ah­san and Jus­tice yahya afridi heard the pres­i­den­tial ref­er­ence seek­ing an opin­ion on open bal­lot­ing for the up­com­ing Se­nate elec­tions.

Dur­ing the course of pro­ceed­ings, PPP Se­na­tor raza rab­bani ar­gued that the bill to amend ar­ti­cle 226 was pend­ing in the Se­nate.

he said that the govern­ment had also is­sued an or­di­nance not to ap­ply ar­ti­cle 226 to the Se­nate elec­tions. In the 1973 con­sti­tu­tion, no elec­tion was held through se­cret bal­lot ex­cept for those for the post of the prime min­is­ter and the chief min­is­ter, he said, adding that elec­tions for the afore­men­tioned min­is­te­rial posts were again held by open bal­lot after the 18th amend­ment.

he said that the con­sti­tu­tion was amended to hold elec­tions for the prime min­is­ter and the chief min­is­ters through se­cret bal­lot­ing in 1985 elec­tions. he stated that the pur­pose of hold­ing the elec­tion of the pre­mier through an open bal­lot was to en­sure party dis­ci­pline.

The elec­tions of the speaker and the chair­man of the Se­nate were held through se­cret bal­lot be­cause these po­si­tions were above po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion, he added. Jus­tice ban­dial main­tained that there was no pro­vi­sion in the con­sti­tu­tion for hold­ing Se­nate elec­tions through an open bal­lot. The rights of prov­inces and po­lit­i­cal par­ties were two dif­fer­ent things, he added.

Pak­istan Peo­ple’s Party (PPP) Se­na­tor Raza Rab­bani, in re­ply, said that the Se­nate was for the pro­tec­tion of fed­eral units, not for po­lit­i­cal par­ties. If the right to a se­cret bal­lot was taken away, the mem­bers of the as­sem­bly would be in trou­ble at the hands of the deep state, he main­tained.

The CJP re­marked that Ar­ti­cle 63-A also ap­plied to the elec­tion of the prime min­is­ter and chief min­is­ters. The Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan was sim­i­lar to the Con­sti­tu­tion of Ire­land and ac­cord­ing to the Ir­ish court, the state owned the cast votes, he added.

Jus­tice Ban­dial said that in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic dislikes did not dom­i­nate the ma­jor­ity opin­ion in a democ­racy. Ad­dress­ing Raza Rab­bani, he asked how could he say that a sys­tem that strength­ened in­di­vid­u­al­ity should work in a demo­cratic sense.

He in­quired if the sys­tem that vi­o­lated dis­ci­pline should be al­lowed to run.

Rab­bani replied that Ar­ti­cle 226 had dis­cussed at three dif­fer­ent fo­rums as the bill was called for amend­ment in the as­sem­bly. He said that ex­am­ples of In­dian law were given in the Pak­istani Supreme Court. The Con­sti­tu­tion and law of In­dia could not de­ter­mine the lim­its of Ar­ti­cle 226 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan, he stressed.

The PPP Se­na­tor said that the of­fice of the prime min­is­ter and the chief min­is­ters was con­sid­ered as the lead­ers of the rel­e­vant houses.

He said that se­cret elec­tions were a dif­fer­ent mat­ter. Votes were cast be­yond party pol­icy in Se­nate elec­tions, there­fore, the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vided pro­tec­tion un­der Ar­ti­cle 226. He added that the Se­nate was the house of the fed­er­a­tion and it pro­tected fed­eral units. The Se­nate rep­re­sented the fed­er­a­tion, not the po­lit­i­cal par­ties, he stressed. The na­tional As­sem­bly (nA) and the pro­vin­cial as­sem­blies were di­rect fo­rums for po­lit­i­cal par­ties, he fur­ther said.

Rab­bani main­tained that the Se­nate’s con­cept was rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent. The nA rep­re­sented the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion, while fed­eral units were pro­por­tion­ally rep­re­sented in the Se­nate, he ex­plained. There was no pro­vi­sion in Ar­ti­cle 63 for dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion of a mem­ber of the as­sem­bly in a Se­nate elec­tion, he added.

He fur­ther stated that Hafeez Pirzada’s speech on pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Se­nate was ac­tu­ally re­lated to the nA. The late min­is­ter of law Ab­dul Hafeez Pirzada spoke about the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the na­tional As­sem­bly, not of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the Se­nate, he added. Ad­dress­ing Rab­bani, CJP Gulzar said that, ac­cord­ing to his ar­gu­ment, pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion was only about count­ing votes. In this re­gard, he asked that if po­lit­i­cal par­ties were di­vided, how would the seats of the pro­vin­cial as­sem­bly be rep­re­sented in the Se­nate.

Jus­tice Ijaz, cit­ing the ex­am­ple of how Party A, which could get six seats but only got two, asked how the law would deal with the mat­ter of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion. He in­quired into what was the given wis­dom of the framers of the Con­sti­tu­tion

about pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

Rab­bani replied that this was not a math ques­tion, nor was it a mat­ter of A, B or C par­ties. It was a mat­ter of Se­nate and fed­er­a­tion, he said.

Jus­tice Ban­dial re­marked that the at­tor­ney gen­eral of Pak­istan (AGP) in his ar­gu­ments said that the law did not have a com­plete elec­tion code. He re­it­er­ated that democ­racy strength­ened the masses and it spoke about col­lec­tivism.

The hear­ing of the case was ad­journed till Tues­day wherein Raza Rab­bani would con­tinue his ar­gu­ments.

Speak­ing on the mat­ter, Min­is­ter for In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Se­na­tor Shi­bli Faraz said that em­pha­sis on se­cret vote bal­lot­ing in Se­nate elec­tions by PPP coun­sel Raza Rab­bani was in­com­pat­i­ble with the Char­ter of Democ­racy (CoD) and ide­ol­ogy of for­mer Prime Min­is­ters Zul­fikar Ali Bhutto and Mo­htarma Be­nazir Bhutto.

Talk­ing to me­dia out­side the SC, he said Se­na­tor Raza Rab­bani, rep­re­sent­ing the PPP, took the plea which was re­pug­nant to the CoD clauses that had been inked by Sha­heed Be­nazir Bhutto, adding it tan­ta­mount to throw­ing the agree­ment in a dust­bin.

He main­tained it was ev­i­dent that both par­ties were op­pos­ing peo­ple-friendly leg­is­la­tion and had now re­tracted the CoD.

He took lead­er­ship of Pak­istan Mus­lim League-nawaz (PML-n) and the PPP to task for their in­cli­na­tion to con­tinue past dirty prac­tice of sale and pur­chase of votes in Se­nate elec­tions.

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 ?? Peace process ?? RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral Qa­mar Javed Ba­jwa and Qatar’s Min­is­ter for For­eign Afairs Dr Mut­laq Bin Ma­jed Al Qah­tani met dur­ing the lat­ter’s visit to the Gen­eral Head­quar­ters in Rawalpindi. Both sides dis­cussed mat­ters of mu­tual in­ter­est, in­clud­ing the Afghan.
Peace process RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff Gen­eral Qa­mar Javed Ba­jwa and Qatar’s Min­is­ter for For­eign Afairs Dr Mut­laq Bin Ma­jed Al Qah­tani met dur­ing the lat­ter’s visit to the Gen­eral Head­quar­ters in Rawalpindi. Both sides dis­cussed mat­ters of mu­tual in­ter­est, in­clud­ing the Afghan.

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