April 6, 2022
By Xari Jalil
Two separate letters were signed by civil society regarding the developing situation in the aftermath of the ‘dismissed’ no-confidence motion.
Around 100 people signed an open letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, demanding ‘no compromise to be made in determining the legality of actions taken by the Deputy Speaker of National Assembly, Qasim Suri, in rejecting the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.’
In the letter, the former government’s actions were termed a major threat to the social cohesion and the well-being of the nation. It demands that responsibility should be fixed and exemplary retribution ensured to deter any future excesses.
While it maintains that due process of law must be maintained, the citizens demanded that a judicial commission should be set up comprising the serving judges of the Supreme Court to adjudicate the evidence regarding the alleged foreign conspiracy to subvert the political process in the country.
They emphasized that the fundamental rights of parliamentarians to vote could not be violated on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.
The primacy of the Constitution is a sacred covenant between all sections of society and the ultimate expression of the collective will of the people. It observed that unconditional and strict adherence to the Constitution was the only way to establish and sustain a peaceful, civilized and prosperous society and avoid widespread lawlessness and anarchy.
At the same time, Joint Action Committee (JAC) Lahore also released a letter strongly condemning the actions of the Prime Minister, President of Pakistan and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly on March 27, after the Vote of No Confidence against the PM was dismissed on unproven allegations of the opposition parties being involved in treason, and the subsequent hasty dissolution of parliament by the President on the PM’s advice. All acts were violative of the country’s 1973 constitution.
JAC stated that constitutional violations have always been the prerogative of military dictators such as General Zia-ul-Haq who abrogated the 1973 Constitution and paved the way to 11 years of military rule; and General Musharraf who referred to the constitution as a ‘piece of paper’ of no worth.
The letter also expressed shock over the fact that this time the country’s constitution was violated, not by dictators, but by “elected representatives of the people of Pakistan”, namely the Prime Minister, the President and the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly – those entrusted with maintaining the country’s constitutional integrity.
Not only have they made a joke of the constitution but also of their oath of office, stated the letter. It added that unless constitutional violations were stopped from becoming a trend in the future, the country’s constitution would indeed slowly end up becoming a worthless piece of paper that would be violated repeatedly to serve the future party-political interests of those in positions of power.
JAC Lahore stated that they hoped the Supreme Court of Pakistan would ensure the integrity of the due constitutional process and urged that a thorough investigation was undertaken of the allegations made by the Prime Minister and his party members against the opposition parties.