Long march: SC puts ball in govt’s court

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday observed that it was the guardian and the protector of the constitution and would not permit anyone to deviate from the constitutional path. While hearing the petition of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Kamran Murtaza the apex court’s five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Nasirul Mulk remarked that the political sit-in of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) should be handled by the government. During proceedings, Attorney General of Pakistan Salman Aslam Butt told the apex court that fundamental rights of the people are being suspended and violated by long marches and sit-ins. The petitioner, Kamran Murtaza, pleaded the court that the prevalent political situation is deteriorating and this situation can be exploited and as a result any unconstitutional action can be taken. Justice Saqib Nisar referred to Article 4 and Article 6 of the constitution relevant to treason clauses, and asked the petitioner “is it possible to deviate from the constitution?” The petitioner replied: “Though not possible, but in prevalent political, situation it is possible.” The court directed the petitioner to submit a comprehensive statement in the apex court. Justice Jawwad S Khawaja remarked that the court stands with its “moral authority” and added if a member of parliament violates the constitution parliament should take notice against him, saying the courts are bound to follow the constitution. The court directed consolidation of all the applications in this regard and adjourned the hearing till August 20. Earlier, the SCBA had filed a petition in the top court seeking to restrain any authority from any extra-constitutional act. The court accepted the petition and in its interim order restricted the state functionaries to working within the ambit of the constitution.

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