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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

All Eyes on Parliament as Supreme Court Seeks Proceedings Record

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ISLAMABAD: Following an uproar in National Assembly (NA), Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf tasked a committee to oversee the matter of handing over to Supreme Court (SC) the record of proceedings related to a bill, which aims to curtail the suo motu powers of office of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP).

The Supreme Court has sought the record of parliamentary proceedings regarding the Supreme Court (Practice and Procedure) Act, 2023, aimed at clipping powers of the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP).

During the session today, the treasury and opposition benches in the National Assembly (NA) strongly protested against the Supreme Court’s directives, saying that ‘the Parliament will not surrender’.

After hearing the speeches, NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf tasked a committee, which was constituted earlier today to probe ex-CJP Saqib Nisar’s audio leak, to oversee the matter of handing over the record to the apex court.

Raja Ashraf vowed that he would not compromise on the supremacy of parliament. “There should be no doubt that the house is supreme when it comes to the country’s matters,” he added.

Speaking on the NA floor, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif urged the National Assembly Speaker to set up a Committee of the Whole to “investigate the decisions of higher courts since Justice Munir to give legal cover to constitutional violations”.

The minister said there was unfortunately “a clash of opinion between two constitutional institutions”. “A resolution should be drafted in that regard and the Committee of the Whole should be set up.”

He said they were not against any institution and “every institution should also not trespass on the domains of others”.

The minister said some 51,000 cases were being before the Supreme Court and over 400,000 cases in high courts. The judiciary should decide the pending cases as many people were waiting for justice, he added.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the speaker could not provide the proceedings of the House to the Supreme Court without seeking the consent of members.

“It is a matter of the House’s sovereignty” and it should be placed before the House for a thorough debate, he added.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader said the Constitution was drafted by the Parliament under which the judiciary functioned.

NA’s Public Accounts Committee Chairman Noor Alam Khan – while speaking on the floor – said he has summoned the Supreme Court’s Principal Accounting Officer to furnish the record of the apex court’s funds for the last ten years by 16th of this month.

He said the committee has also sought the record of salaries and plots obtained by judges of the apex court, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Besides, a similar record too has been demanded from the President, the Prime Minister, federal ministers, the Chairman of the Senate and the speaker of the National Assembly.

Noor Alam Khan said the committee is also going to acquire the record of the dam funds collected by former Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.

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