Well done CJP! Looks like we are finally on the move! – YLH
Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry says deletion of clause on rights of minorities was ‘criminal negligence’ *
Appreciates incumbent parliament for taking notice of removal of clause by Gen Zia’s govt in 1985 By Masood Rehman ISLAMABAD: Heading a 17-member larger bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry termed as criminal negligence the deletion of a word about the rights of minorities from the Objectives Resolution during the regime of General Ziaul Haq in 1985. Ziaul Haq had omitted the word “freely” from the Objectives Resolution, which was made substantive part of the 1973 Constitution under the Revival of Constitutional Order No. 14. The clause of Objectives Resolution before deletion of the word ‘freely’ read, “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to ‘freely’ profess and practice their religions and develop their culture.”
The bench was hearing a set of identical petitions against the formation of a judicial commission under the 18th Amendment for the appointment of superior courts’ judges. Resuming his arguments, Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) lawyer Hamid Khan said the concept of a judicial commission had been borrowed from the constitution of South Africa. He said there was a presidential form of government in South Africa, so the system for the appointment of judges there could not be followed in Pakistan. He said South Africa was the only country in the world, which followed common law. He said the history of South Africa was littered with different conflicts, adding that German influence over the South African constitution could not be overlooked. He said the judicial commission in South Africa makes appointments from the Supreme Court to the magistrates’ level. “In the UK, there is a specific prohibition that no parliamentarian can be a part of the judicial commission,” Justice Saqib Nisar observed. Appreciation: In the hearing, the chief justice noted that the word about the rights of minorities was abolished from the Objectives Resolution in 1985, which was an act of criminal negligence. However, he appreciated the incumbent parliament saying that the credit went to the government, which after 25 years took notice of the brazen act of removing the word relating to the minorities’ rights. He observed that the Objectives Resolution had always been a part of the constitution.
Khan said General Ziaul Haq had committed a criminal offence, adding that it was quite criminal on part of the then parliament, which did not take notice of the grave offence of amending the Objectives Resolution. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja said the basic documents could not be altered. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani observed that in civilised countries, it was the duty of the higher courts to educate the people about their basic rights. The chief justice asked Khan whether any constitutional amendment had ever been annulled by a court in Pakistan and whether there was any such precedent in the country’s history. Khan said no constitutional amendment was set aside, however judicial reviews of these amendments were made. He said the Indian Supreme Court, however, had struck down the 25th Amendment. “The courts in every country are dealt as such and later on the settlements are worked out, thus we need not to worry in this connection,” Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said. Khan said the foremost aspect of the independence of the judiciary was the appointment of judges. Earlier, at the outset of hearing, senior lawyer Abdul Hafeez Pirzada requested the court to direct the authorities concerned to provide him the record of the parliamentary discussions on the 1973 Constitution. The chief justice then made it clear that everyone would be given ample time to argue since the matter was of great significance. Later, the court adjourned the hearing until today (Wednesday).