Malicious criticism on institutions leads a country to fascism: Raza Rabbani

ISLAMABAD: Malicious criticism on democratic institutions leads a country to fascism or turn it into the Soviet Union, Senator Raza Rabbani argued before the Supreme Court on Thursday in Presidential Reference hearing, ARY News reported.

A five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial heard the case pertaining to interpretation of Article 63-A.

Raza Rabbani, initiating his arguments said that the constitutional office holders have violated the constitution after the presidential reference. “Malicious criticism over democratic institutions leads a country to either fascism or turn it into the Soviet Union”, seasoned parliamentarian and constitutional lawyer said.

Chief Justice Bandial said that the Supreme Court stands for the supremacy of the constitution. “A malicious campaign launched against the institutions because they stood for the constitution,” Rabbani said. “Criticism makes no difference if there are people believing in the constitution. The courts doors are also open for critics as we have to provide justice to everyone ” CJP remarked.

“History says the People’s Party has always offered sacrifices, still they have also sided with the institutions. We respect those who have offered sacrifices. We will keeping to serve the country what anyone thinks about us,” the CJP said.

Raza Rabbani argued that the election commission could review the declaration submitted by the head of the political party. The commission could see whether the facts of the declaration are free from any suspicion.

“It is not necessary that a member who is not loyal to his party is essentially dishonest,” he argued. “The oath submitted along with nomination papers is affiliation with the party, actual oath is that which is taken as the member of the National Assembly,” Rabbani said.

“Article 63-A brings fear in members about casting vote against the party’s policy, they knew the consequences if voted against the party,” the counsel argued. “Article 63-A meant to prevent members from voting against the party and not the disqualification for life,” he argued.

“The Attorney General’s references from western democracies are irrelevant. In Pakistan the political parities have not yet become institutions like other countries. The state causes collapse of governments by sending the members from one place to another,” Raza Rabbani said.

“In the west a minister tenders resignation from office over a railway mishap, but here resigning from the office is not part of culture. Recently the prime minister was ready to violate the constitution in Pakistan. He was prepared for a serious violation but not ready to step down,” Raza Rabbani said.

Raza Rabbani said that Article 62-1-(F) not applied over defection from the party. “A defecting member deseated under Article 63-A. Punitive action for defection is removal from the membership and no more,” Rabbani said. “The constitution had fixed disqualification period if it had intention to disqualify a member,” he argued.

“You were tearful while casting vote for military courts and said in the speech that the vote is trust of the party, did you deem it distrust, if you had resign,” Justice Munib Akhtar questioned. “I couldn’t face circumstances after resigning,” Rabbani replied. “You didn’t express any fear,” Justice Munib said. “I had not that moral courage to resign,” Raza Rabbani replied.

“You were a senator, not an elected public representative,” Justice Jamal Mandokhel commented. “Entire Sindh is my constituency, the senators like to be called as elected representatives,” Rabbani replied. “Resigning before voting against the party is not an option in our conditions. Resignation is equal to end of the political career,” he said while concluding his arguments.

PTI’s Ali Zafar in his contentions said that the reference has raised two basic questions, the first of them is the punishment under 63-A. “If a defecting member can be disqualified for life or not,” the lawyer posed question. “The member will be deseated and the seat will be declared vacant,” he said.

The Attorney General argued that Article 62-1-(F) should also be read with 63-A, Ali Zafar said. “Casting vote against the party is violation of the constitution,” he argued. “What are the consequences of violation of the constitution, if it is disqualification for life for every violation” Justice Jamal Mandokhel asked.

“The consequences will be different, if defection proves based on bribe, then Article 62-1-(F) will be applied,” Barrister Ali Zafar argued.

The court will hear Makhdoom Ali Khan tomorrow, while Babar Awan’s arguments will be heard after Eid holidays, CJP said before further hearing of the case was adjourned till 10 AM tomorrow.


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