Judicial Activism in View of PML and Humayun Akhtar Khan

Background Information

Eleven members of parliament were removed due to dual nationality. This has raised issues that relate to the dissatisfaction of overseas Pakistanis, where they feel that their status is being lowered to second-grade citizens.

What is your stance on the situation?

In my personal opinion the biggest misfortune that our country has faced is the brain drain to other countries. Many overseas Pakistanis are legally eligible in foreign countries to hold their citizenship status. If we are giving them voting rights, they should be able to hold positions in the parliament as well. Not being given the right to contest in elections gives a feeling of mistrust for overseas Pakistanis, which is discouraging. I would suggest if Supreme Court feels that according to law overseas Pakistanis cannot contest, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of political parties to sit together and find a solution to this problem.

People argue that Supreme Court has expanded it’s sphere of control and interference so much that resultantly the institution itself is deteriorating, Do you agree?

I feel things are not as simple as they appear. There have been major governance issues in our country and as a result people have high expectations from the Judiciary. Personally I believe that it is a positive change where at least the people look upon the judges with respect. Having said that I would also emphasize on the need of constructive reforms in the judicial system that would ensure provision of justice for every person. In short I disagree that there are any serious externalities associated with the activism of judiciary.

I do not agree on the comment that PML N is intending to dethrone the presidency. It is not possible to erase such an important position by just writing a letter to the Swiss government. However in Lahore high court there is a case being heard that questions on the right of President holding two offices at the same time, so when or if the case is decided the President himself will have to choose one.

PML N and my party included, is hoping on having the next elections run by political parties at least in the context of choosing a caretaker government so that everything is acceptable at the end. Opposition is a tricky business, where a thin line is drawn to oppose so that there is productive criticism avoiding anarchy.

Do you thing in the future the conflicts between institutions will prevail and the how will it impact political parties in the upcoming elections?

I foresee less friction between institutions in the future. However, political parties should play their part in ensuring carrying out of elections in a harmonious manner. PML specifically suggests selection of a caretaker government in a clear consensual and amicable manner.

Constitutional amendments have never been held void by the Supreme Court. The 17-member bench is not just about the Chief Justice but others also. It is appreciable that the Chief Justice can extract a decision that is unanimously agreed upon by all the other judges as well.

Source: “News Night – PTV News – 20 September 2012”.

 

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