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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto implies Supreme Court is “disrespecting” Parliament

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Says SC’s minority order is not in accordance with the 90-day poll limit too

Asks how it can be that “an institution which is supposed to protect all of our rights how can they indicate that parliament should be forgotten, its decision should be forgotten, its voting on the money bill be ignored and the order of the minority bench should be accepted?”

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister and Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has reiterated his party’s resolve to abide by the constitution, saying unconstitutional measures are unacceptable.

“Pakistan People’s Party does not want to violate the constitution in any case as it gave the Constitution of 1973 and brought in the 18th Amendment,” Bilawal Bhutto said in his address on the floor of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

“We made this constitution to unite the federation, to give all the provinces their rights and to protect all the institutions including the parliament. Attempts are being made to take steps that were against the Constitution and such steps are unacceptable.”

Referring to the en masse resignations of PTI lawmakers, he said the same requirement was applicable to holding by-elections on the vacated seats.

He continued: “Representing the PPP, I want to clarify on the floor (of the assembly) that we do not want to go against the Constitution neither in the 90-day context nor in any other context.

“But you have to read the whole Constitution. You have to understand the context. It is the SC’s job to interpret the Constitution, not to bring about changes to the Constitution.”

Bilawal said the SC’s minority order is not in accordance with the 90-day poll limit too. “Right now in the country, due to the stubbornness of a few elements, again and again, parliament – the mother of all institutions, the mother of the Constitution – is being disrespected.”

He said he was “shocked and horrified” when in Wednesday’s cabinet meeting the law minister and the attorney general explained the “latest order” issued by the top court.

“How can it be that an institution which is supposed to protect all of our rights how can they indicate that parliament should be forgotten, its decision should be forgotten, its voting on the money bill be ignored and the order of the minority bench should be accepted?”

The foreign minister said that the PPP could not even conceive of violating the Constitution. “It is against the basic principles of our democracy and of our Constitution. Not only of our democracy and Constitution but of any democracy anywhere in the world.”

Calling Parliament the “custodian of the national purse”, he said “We will decide how the money of the people of Pakistan is spent and where it is spent and how it is spent. This is the responsibility of this institution alone.”

“If the higher judiciary is committing contempt of this House, if it is undermining this House through its decisions, if it is trying to make us take an unconstitutional step through its decisions in my opinion, in the PPP’s opinion, contempt of parliament has happened.

“A breach of privilege has taken place. How is it that one institution directs us to violate the Constitution, to not listen to what parliament has said?” The House’s privilege was being breached.”

He said that there was a procedure in place for when this had happened. “I think that this offensive order by the higher judiciary should be taken up in the privilege committee.

“The very concept of democracy is that the prime minister is answerable to the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan. When the premier is made fun of, it is criticism of all of us. We tolerated it for a while but until when?” he asked. ‑‑NNI

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