Uproar in Senate over CJP’s ‘incomplete parliament’ remarks

ISLAMABAD (Agencies): Senators belonging to various political parties voiced their objection on Friday to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial’s remarks made a day ago highlighting that Parliament was being kept “systematically incomplete”.
During the senate meeting on Friday, PML-N’s Irfan Siddiqui said the CJP had made the remarks in a case that “had no relation to elections”. “He said the parliament was incomplete. He only called one prime minister honest, which I’m assuming was Muhammad Khan Junejo. Who gave him the privilege to call every prime minister from Liaquat Ali Khan to Imran Khan dishonest?”
He went on, “Whatever the judiciary will say, we will follow it. The judiciary has a parameter [but] it has started transgressing [into the legislative]. Our legislations are challenged.” The PML-N senator called on the judiciary to “think while considering the laws” and to “not hit the Parliament on its back every day in this manner”.
“What if we make such remarks about the judges that there was only one honest judge? How did he say that Parliament has become controversial?” Asserting that the CJP was “neither the people’s representative nor the Pakistan Army’s”, he asked the CJP to not “do such things that constitute an attack on Parliament’s honour”.
“This Parliament is the people’s representative; let the representative do its job. Has Parliament or the prime minister ever created an obstacle in any judicial decision? “Do you think how you are ratifying martial law? You can even tell a uniformed person that he can contest elections in a uniform,” the PML-N senator remarked.
“You mention the house in an unrelated case. If the judiciary will give a political statement outside its parameters, we are not being contemptuous.” Moreover, Sadia Abbasi, another PML-N senator, said: “Remarks have come from the Supreme Court for the past two to three days. They should clarify what their stance is.”
She added it was equivalent to violating Parliament’s democracy. In response to the objections raised by the PML-N senators, the Senate’s Opposition Leader and PTI member Dr Shahzad Waseem said: “The Parliament actually is incomplete; auctions were held in Sindh House. Punjab and KP assemblies have been dissolved.” The PTI senator lamented: “The law says that in such a situation, elections should be held within 90 days. A caretaker setup is immediately established. [And now] it is being said that elections cannot be held within 90 days.”
“If elections are not held, the chapter on the Constitution will be closed. Can the country bear any sort of instability? Waseem further took a jibe at the federal government: “There is talk of only two things these days — one is contempt and the other is honour. Criticism is now called contempt. Getting respect is in your own hands.
“Parliament really is incomplete. The way a major political party was made to leave Parliament. According to the Constitution, you have to announce a date for elections and set up a caretaker government. “A caretaker setup was established here but an election date has not been announced. A belief is being created that the election will not be held in 90 days.” The PTI senator went on to warn that when elections are not held within 90 days, “the path to civil unrest is opened.”