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SC stands firm to save democracy

01 February, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday told the government and army to refrain from introducing any other system that is not recognised under the constitution.

The court made the observation as it issued another contempt of court notice to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Admiral (r) Fasih Bokhari for writing a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari against the judiciary. The NAB chairman had in the letter complained that the Supreme Court was unnecessarily pressurising the NAB officials in investigations related to high profile matters, especially the rental power projects case.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, asked the NAB chairman to appear in person on February 4 for filing of a reply and further proceedings. The court had already issued a contempt of court notice to Admiral Bokhari and other officers of the NAB for not implementing the RPPs judgement in letter and spirit last year in September.

"We are of the opinion that whatever had been expressed in the letter tantamount to causing interference with or obstruct the process of the court and the certain expressions are to scandalize the court and its performance, which undermine the authority of this court and bring into hatred," the court noted in its order. It also observed that since a parliamentary system is flourishing in the country on the basis of a democratic order, the elections must be held. There should be no apprehensions of derailment of the democratic system as expressed by parliamentarian Raza Rabbani, the court noted.

The court order further read, "The executive, both civilian and military, shall not take any action or steps that are tantamount to deviation from the election. Deviation from the constitution by introducing any other system which is not recognised under the constitution not be accepted." It said that the apex court undoubtedly enjoys the confidence of people of Pakistan. The people are fully aware that on November 3, 2007, important matters were pending before the court and the bench was seized with the case regarding qualification of Pervez Musharraf to contest election in uniform.

On the conclusion of the case emergency was imposed in the country. However, the seven-member bench that was hearing the case, after coming to know about it, issued a stay order against it, which ultimately resulted in the restoration of judiciary. The bench noted "it is the duty of apex court to preserve and protect the 1973 constitution, therefore (it) would not allow its subversion and deviation in order to achieve certain objectives."

At the onset of the hearing on Thursday, NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha presented in the court the authentic copy of the NAB chairman's letter duly signed by him. After going through the letter, the bench asked him to read it. The chief justice asked Agha that being the officer of the court and not as the NAB prosecutor general, explain to the court why the NAB chairman had gone to such extreme.

Agha replied, "I can't read other person's mind, but I think this is the manifestation of frustration." The chief justice said that the NAB was established to control corruption and corrupt practices. He said that the court, conscious of the rights of the people involved in corruption and corrupt practices, used guarded language in the RPPs judgement. Immediately after the announcement of the judgement the court was receiving fortnightly reports from the NAB, but from time to time they were asked to do the needful. The case was adjourned till February 4.


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