ISLAMABAD: PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said on Thursday that those attacking the higher judiciary of the country in speeches and rallies were creating the space for a dictator to overthrow the democratic setup. In what he himself had described as a “heartfelt speech”, Ahsan said on the floor of the Senate that the judiciary seemed to be dealing with its critics with too soft a hand. It was veiled criticism of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, who have been on a collision course with the judiciary ever since Sharif’s disqualification from the top office last year.
Ahsan did not stop there: he threw his weight behind the army, saying he thinks Pakistan is currently embroiled in a major war. “The army is our army,” he insisted, before criticising the PML-N and its allies for insisting that the army was interfering in state business. “They say that the judiciary’s verdicts are penned ‘somewhere else’,” Ahsan continued. “But where are they [verdicts] written when it is your own government in power?” However, the senator also clarified that he “100 per cent” agrees with PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, who had earlier this week stressed that all institutions should remain within their prescribed boundaries.
“It is true that each institution must operate within its limits,”Ahsan said, “and that applies to us (the parliament) as well.” He pointed out that when the judiciary had ruled against former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, he was told by the PMLN to “obey the Supreme Court’s order and vacate his seat”.
“However, when the SC rules against the Sharifs, rallies are arranged and people are made to chant slogans against the verdict,” he complained. He also recalled that the Supreme Court, despite a perceived risk to the historical Shalimar Gardens, had allowed the Punjab government to continue developing the Orange Line Metro Train project, a pet project of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. “Yet the judiciary and the prosecutor were only criticised when [bureaucrat] Ahad Cheema was arrested,” he pointed out. Cheema is believed to hold incriminating information about the Punjab government’s alleged corruption.