Supreme Court of Pakistan dismisses all three petitions seeking presidential system in country
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) has declared the petitions regarding the introduction of presidential system in the country inadmissible on Monday.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan clarified that the parliamentary system was the basis of the constitution and the court had no constitutional authority to order a change in the political system.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Munib Akhtar heard the case against the objections of the Registrar s Office on the pleas of Ahmad Raza Khan Kasuri regarding the introduction of presidential system in the country.
In his remarks regarding the petition, Justice Umar Ata Bandial stated that the court also had to see whether the petitioner was relevant in the case or not as well as if the petition addressed anything concrete about basic human rights.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial further remarked that the court also had to look as to why the petitioner had to file this appeal while there were powerful forums including political parties, national assembly and parliament present in the country.
In response to Justice Umar Ata’s remarks, Ahmad Raza Kasuri said if the politicians were not thinking about the interest and welfare of the country, why I should remain silent. He further said that he was the only living person left in the country of those who drafted the constitution of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that under Article 46 of the Constitution, the Prime Minister of the country puts the matter before a joint sitting of Parliament for a referendum. “Has this matter yet been brought before the Prime Minister or Parliament or will the presidential system be introduced on the desire of one individual,” he questioned.
Responding to Justice Mansoor Ali Shah’s remarks, Ahmad Raza Khan Kasuri said that he was not an individual but an institution.
Addressing Ahmad Raza Kasuri, Justice Muneeb Akhtar said, “When the constitution was being drafted and you were a member of parliament, why did you not oppose the parliamentary system at that time?” To which, Ahmad Raza Kasuri responded that even then, he opposed the constitutional document, adding that he had not signed the 1973 constitution and PPP speaks lie that the 1973 constitution was approved unanimously.
On which Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said that the court should not be involved in irrelevant matters.
Justice Muneeb Akhtar further inquired of the former lawmaker how he was counting himself among the framers of the constitution. The SC judge said there have been many referendums in the past and they were all self-serving.
Justice Bandial said that the presidential system always harmed Pakistan. He, however, added that the court may have entertained the plea had a political party approached it on the issue.
“If the petitioners want to start a movement [for presidential system], then they can go ahead and do that,” he said, adding that the SC doesn’t have the authority to abolish a system and bring another.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that the court has no role in political questions, adding that the petitioner should approach the parliament as it is a political question and we have no role regarding the matter.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial while addressing Ahmed Raza Kasuri remarked that he may have some grudge and he thinks the country’s system is not working in right way then he should start some political movement, adding that we did not enjoy any authority and power that which kind of system should be in the country and we could not interfere in the matter. Justice Bandial remarked that we are working under the constitution and there is no such provision present in the constitution by following which we could issue any order regarding the imposition of the presidential form of system in the country.
While addressing Ahmed Raza Kasuri, Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that we can not hear your petition. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that parliament carries out legislation.
Moreover, Justice Munib Akhtar stated that Pakistan was split into two parts during the presidential system introduced by filed martial Ayub Khan in 1962. “On what basis should the Supreme Court order a referendum?” Justice Akhtar questioned from another petitioner Dr. Sadiq Ali. Justice Munib Akhar remarked that the petitioner should respond the questions of the court.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that we have come after reading the petitions, adding that by following which criteria the court should order regarding the presidential system in the country.
Petitioner Dr. Sadiq Ali argued that his and nation’s money has been theft so he has approached the court. Justice Munib Akhtar remarked that whether it has been guaranteed in the presidential form of government that there will be prosperity in the country.
People do not have good memories of presidential systems, he said, referring to the 1984 referendum held by Gen Ziaul Haq. “There was a referendum in 1984 that if Islam is needed then I am the president,” Justice Akhtar quipped. “In 2002, there was a referendum [by Gen Pervez Musharraf] that I am the president,” Justice Muneeb Akhtar went on to add.
He said people chose the 1973 Constitution, and the parliamentary system is enshrined in the constitution. He asked if there was “a guarantee that the presidential system would bring prosperity”.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah asked if there was a presidential system in Islam. At this, another petitioner Dr. Sadiq Ali said he wanted democracy that was in the times of the first four caliphs of Islam. Justice Bandial said that “everyone wanted a leadership like the caliphs but it was not possible and one needs to be realistic”.
Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that there are shortcomings in the governance system but this system can not be abandoned.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial recited the verse of poetry:
Hazaron saal nargis apni benuri pe roti hai
Bari mushkal se hota hai chaman ma deedwar peda
Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that we are living in the “chaman” and are waiting for “deedawar”. Justice Bandial said that the matter should not be made complex.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial questioned from another petitioner Khalid Abbas Khan whether you have seen the constitution, what is written about the reserved seats of women, adding that according to the constitution the members elected on the reserved seats are also bound to follow the party line.
Petitioner Khalid Abbas Khan said that in the presidential form of government the person who will secure 51 percent votes will be elected president. Upon this Justice Munib Akhtar remarked that whosoever will secure majority votes will be elected in the presidential form of government. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah remarked that we have many problems and cases of masses and could should be spared to decide the cases.
The court upheld the objections of the Registrar s Office and declared all three petitions filed by Sahibzada Ahmed Raza Khan, Dr. Sadiq Ali and Khalid Abbas Khan for imposition of presidential system in the country as inadmissible. Meanwhile fourth petitioner Tahir Aziz Khan did not appear during the hearing. Justice Umar Ata Bandial remarked that we appreciate the vigor of the petitioners and are hopeful that the system will improve.