PTI and PAT protests Top court opts out of handling ongoing political crisis

Source: Published in Politics on Monday, August 18, 2014

The top court on Monday submitted that the ongoing political crisis and alleged violation of fundamental rights ensuing from the impasse between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) are a matter for the government to decide-

“It is for the government to handle,” a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasir-ul-Mulk said about the ongoing sit-in, during the hearing of a petition filed last week by Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Kamran Murtaza.

During today's hearing, Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt had said that fundamental rights are being violated.

On the eve of Independence Day, Murtaza rushed a hurriedly drafted petition before the Supreme Court; seeking to restrain state functionaries from taking any “extra-constitutional steps”.

The petitioner had argued that the current political impasse is adversely affecting all spheres of national life and such a situation may embolden some authorities to take undue advantage of the situation and to resort to unconstitutional measures, the petitioner argued.

Moving quickly to pre-empt any possible military action against the democratically elected government, the Supreme Court on Friday restrained state authorities from taking any steps unwarranted by the Constitution and the law.

The court, however, chose not to close the case and postponed further hearing to August 18 (today), saying that the petitioner’s contentions required more consideration. The court had issued notices to AGP Salman Aslam Butt as well as the federal government.

Perhaps realising the gravity of the situation, Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk had constituted a five-judge larger bench which included Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Mushir Alam.

The case will be taken up again on Wednesday.

Members of bar associations across the country are going to convene on August 21 to discuss the ongoing political crisis and its repercussions on democracy.