‘Construction of dams, demolition of buildings’ beyond jurisdiction of courts: Bilawal
LAHORE: Less than three weeks after his retirement, Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, has criticized former Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who in the last months of his term launched into a demolition spree in an effort to remedy massive irregularities in land use. widespread throughout Karachi, implying that the actions were beyond the jurisdiction of the courts.
Ahmed repeatedly got tough and expressed his displeasure with Bilawal’s party Sindh government for its lack of progress in the area, thus making the provincial capital’s valuable real estate a blatant racketeering scene.
Addressing an event organized by the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), Bilawal said a chief justice should decide constitutional issues instead of deciding ‘samosa or sugar’ prices .
He said that instead of deciding questions about the foundations of the legal framework or “facing the full-scale attack on democracy that resulted in this selected regime, some judges have taken it upon themselves to deal, as well than the courts and the legal community, to decide which building should be demolished and which should remain”.
“Pakistan’s judicial system is a battleground for legal ideas […] it is not up to us to decide where or not to build a dam.
He said now is the worst time for parliament. “Pakistan was founded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a lawyer by profession […] former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also a lawyer, gave the country its first constitution.
“There could be no democracy without rule of law,” he said, adding, “Therefore, the supremacy of the constitution in the country is a must.”
He said his mother killed Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and his father was involved in fabricated business. “But later the courts released them, which confirmed their innocence,” he said.
He added that hanging Zulfiqar was judicial murder. “But he still lives in people’s hearts,” he added.
Bilawal further observed that no nation can prosper without the rule of law as it acts as a bridge between the people and the government. He claimed that it was Zulfiqar who made Pakistan a democracy and gave it its Constitution in place.
“Democracy is not possible without law,” he added.
The PPP leader further said that his party believes in the rule of law and that is why it is playing an important role in restoring the justice system.
Bilawal said he himself was “a witness and a victim of our justice system”, recounting his travels to the courts as a child and to prison to visit his father.
Zardari served as president from 2008 to 2013 and has long been the subject of corruption allegations.
Never popular and always shrouded in controversy, Zardari – who was jailed for 11 years for corruption – resigned from the office of president in 2013. But he continued to serve as co-chairman of the opposition PPP.
He has repeatedly dismissed claims that he was involved in the scheme, calling the government an instrument of the military and calling the prime minister a “blue-eyed boy” in the military.
Bilawal added: “The responsibility to protect the rule of law lies with us – all politicians, lawyers and judges. Unfortunately, history shows that we have failed to fulfill our responsibilities and more often than not the scales of justice are on the side of the oppressors.
The PPP president said the expectations of the lawyers’ movement of 2007 had not been met, adding that the higher judiciary should be a way to protect the weak and the poor.