‘Hashmi was kept away so he couldn’t criticise rulers’
By Abid Butt
LAHORE: Makhdoom Javed Hashmi was not produced in the National Assembly only so he would not make a stinging speech against the government, said Supreme Court of Pakistan Bar Association (SCPBA) President Justice (r) Tariq Mahmood while talking to Daily Times on Wednesday.
Mr Mahmood said Mr Hashmi was the acting president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the president of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy and a candidate for the slot of prime minister and thus had more right to attend the voting session than any other member of the National Assembly. The SCPBA president said when the speaker of the National Assembly was moved for the production of a member, he was to decide the matter under Rule 90 of the National Assembly Rules of Business of 1992.
According to Rule 90 the speaker may summon a member in jail to attend a sitting or sittings of the assembly, if he considers his presence necessary, Mr Mahmood said.
The SCPBA president said Rule 90 thus grants discretionary powers to the speaker and according to a number of Supreme Court verdicts, discretionary powers should be exercised honestly, fairly and justly.
Mr Mahmood said the production of Mr Hashmi was necessary for fair elections and also for the fulfillment of the right of the candidate for the premiership to vote for himself. The SCPBA president said the speaker had acted in malice in not issuing Mr Hashmi’s production orders.
He said though a trial court had convicted Mr Hashmi, his appeal was pending at a higher forum and an appeal, being the continuation of trial, nullifies that his conviction had taken effect.
Mr Mahmood said after accepting Mr Hashmi’s nomination papers there was no justification for denying his production orders.
Justice (r) Malik Muhammad Qayyum, advocate of the Supreme Court, said though the speaker enjoyed discretionary powers to issue production orders, he was bound to decide the matter equitably.
Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, member of the National Assembly and former law minister, said it was unfortunate that politicians were becoming “puppets of a dictator”, who had destroyed all the independent institutions in Pakistan.