In joint communiqué of All Parties Conference held in Islamabad on Thursday, opposition parties and Pakistan bar Council expressed the resolve to protect the democracy, criticised what they labeled selected accountability, and demanded, according to their point of view, fair appointment of judges of higher judiciary. The joint communiqué stated that some undemocratic forces are trying to derail the parliamentary democracy.
After the four consecutive general election since 2002 and completion of mandated tenures by legislatures and governments it is nothing but a fantasy or fallacy on the part of the opposition to raise the bogey of derailing parliamentary democracy by the imaginary undemocratic forces. Two consecutive tenures of governments from 2008 to 2018 had been enjoyed by the major opposition parties PPP and PML-N, turn by turn, along with their allied regional parties. A healthy political culture is fast flourishing and Pakistan will be a functional democracy in the near future. Strange enough, when PPP and PML-N were in power there was undiluted democracy in the country. But when people gave mandate to PTI in 2018 elections, they are singing the mantra that democracy is in danger.
The history of functional and people’s participatory tells that transparency, rule of law and accountability are the basic fundamentals for the success of an egalitarian democratic system. It is not a government system controlled by elected elite from feudal and mercantile classes, which sustain statuesque at the expense of basic rights of masses. If the grievances against the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999 were genuine, then why previous PPP and PML-N government showed hesitation to amend and refine this law. Why hue and cry now? Rule of law applies to all citizens if they breach it. It does not provide immunity to elite classes.
A transparent procedure has been laid down in Article 175-A of the constitution for the appointment Chief Justice of Pakistan, judges of the Supreme Court, Federal Shari ate Court and High Courts by the President of Pakistan. The Article was inserted in the constitution through 18th and 19th Amendments. The author of 18th Amendments claims that it has restored the original 1973 constitution and the spirit of the amendment is akin to “Charter of Madina.” The nominations for the appointment of judges o higher judiciary are made by Judicial Commission, consisting of Chief Justice of Pakistan as chairman, four senior most judges of the Supreme Court, a former Chief Justice or judge of Supreme Court, nominated by the chairman in consultation with four member judges for a period of two years, Attorney General of Pakistan, Federal Law Minister and a senior advocate of Supreme court Bar, nominated by the Pakistan Bar Council.
The Judicial Commission sends nominations to parliamentary committee of eight members which has equal representation from the treasury and opposition benches for confirmation nominees within fourteen days period. The committee sends the names of confirmed nominees to the Prime Ministers who shall send the same to the President for appointments. There seems no rationale to express reservation about the procedure for the appointments judges of superior judiciary by the opposition.