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Bilawal calls for minimizing judicial activism in Pakistan

Bilawal Bhutto
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News Analysis |

Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has shown dismay over the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC’s) judicial activism. Unhappy over the judicial commission on water and sanitation’s proceedings, he told the judiciary that it should not indulge in the work of politicians and should, instead do its own work.

While addressing the media in Hyderabad, on Sunday, at late Jam Saqi’s residence, Bilawal exerted that if politicians fail, people have the power to outvote them.

On a question regarding judicial activism in Pakistan, Bilawal poured his heart out and argued that since the judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, PPP has always strived for judicial reforms. “Even in our last term [2008-2013], PPP was willing to introduce reforms but, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) opposed us. Even, in current tenure, whatever amendments and changes, we were willing to bring, PML-N again opposed us”, Bhutto asserted.

PPP fears getting exposed over its inability to tackle the problems and its inability to practice its ideology, which is to serve the underprivileged. Water shortages, sanitation issues and scattered garbage across the Karachi city points towards PPP shortcomings.  

The young Bhutto said the separation of powers is a significant component of democracy and that the institutions become weak, when rather than doing their own work, they start indulging in the domain of the institutions. Bilawal, very much akin to Nawaz and PML-N government, in an attempt to discredit apex court’s actions argued that around 1.8 million cases are pending in courts in Pakistan.

Read more: MQM and PTI are terrorists: Bilawal

“And for every political and executive case, which judges in SC or the high court will hear, which they will hear, there is one murder victim’s family, there is one terrorist victim’s family, there is one rape victim’s family, who are seeking justice, but are not given the opportunity. So, I believe that judicial activism should be reduced”, Bilawal added.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar is heading a three-judge bench at the Karachi registry of the SC and has taken up nine cases of public interest relating to;

  • Death of infants at the Civil Hospital in Mithi
  • Promotion of doctors
  • The shifting of Sharjeel Memon from jail to hospital
  • Inconvenience to passengers in baggage handling at airports
  • A makeshift school on the footpath in Clifton
  • Provision of drinking water
  • Better sanitation facilities
  • Privatization of the Pakistan Interna­tional Airlines and
  • The merger of the Sindh Bank with the Summit Bank.

Recently the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahid Haqqan Abbasi, lashed out at judiciary for working in areas out of their domain. He demanded that the roles of the institutions should be more defined. PPP has supported his stance and opted for a more balanced and guarded approach.

Read more: Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The theories behind the murder

PM expressed concerns over the humiliation the elected members suffer when courts summons them, seeking clarification over the parliamentarian’s actions. The opposition leader Khursheed Shah on a number of occasions said that every institution should work within its parameter and pre-defined boundaries.

SC is seeking to counter the inactivity and the failure of politicians to provide relief to millions of citizens in the country. He aims to benefit those who are underprivileged and don’t have the means of accessing the prevalent judicial system.

Countering the critics, Chief Justice of Pakistan, argued that he did not intend to interfere in the work of the executive but was compelled to do so due to the poor state of affairs. He has re-emphasized his earlier statements that the decisions of the apex court are apolitical and he does not give judgments based on political affiliations.

CJP Saqib Nisar is also criticized in some circles for taking too many Suo Moto cases. It reflects the acute injustices in Pakistan’s society, where police and judicial system has failed to provide justice to the masses. Being part of the system, where justice to the common people is denied, it prompted the CJP to take Suo Moto actions hoping to restore the collapsed reputation of Pakistan’s judicial system. This process is expensive and prone to lengthy delays.

Read more: Can Bilawal end Pakistan’s international isolation?

Apex courts actions have questioned the abilities of Sindh government to govern the province. PPP fears getting exposed over its inability to tackle the problems and its inability to practice its ideology, which is to serve the underprivileged. Water shortages, sanitation issues and scattered garbage across the Karachi city points towards PPP shortcomings.  

SC is seeking to counter the inactivity and the failure of politicians to provide relief to millions of citizens in the country. He aims to benefit those who are underprivileged and don’t have the means of accessing the prevalent judicial system.


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