Observer Report Islamabad
The country is being destroyed in a systematic manner, remarked Justice Qazi Faez Isa during a Supreme Court hearing on local government elections on Thursday. The apex court judge said local body elections are a constitutional requirement.
Yet, when it comes to holding local body polls, the provinces start counting off their problems instead of fulfilling their constitutional duty, the senior judge remarked.
He went so far as to say that Punjab had “killed” democracy by dissolving the local government before the expiry of its term. Justice Isa inquired why that was done. “Local governments were dissolved in the martial law era, but it is unheard of in a democracy,” the judge said.
“You killed democracy. It is unconstitutional. It’s worse than dictatorship,” said Justice Isa while addressing Additional Advocate General Punjab Qasim Chohan who was asked to give reasons regarding the dissolution of the LG system in Punjab.
He asked if Punjab was in the mood to abolish the LG system altogether. To this, the Punjab additional advocate-general said a new law had been made for local governments in the province.
By dissolving the local government, the Punjab government has clearly violated the Constitution, Justice Isa said, adding that, like this, Punjab can continue dissolving local governments till a government of its choice comes along.
When the bench asked the reason about the dissolution of the LG system in Punjab, he said that PTI government wanted to bring the new local government in view of its manifesto.
Upon this, the bench wondered as to how they could dissolve the system before its expiry. Justice Isa asked whether Punjab government would again dissolve the LG system if another party gets a majority in upcoming elections.
The SC adjourned the proceedings until March 1. If democracy is lost, half the country will be gone, he warned. “ECP says there will be huge cost of Rs18 billion on local bodies elections,” Justice Isa remarked. “Yet huge development funds are being released for politicians.”
The senior judge also made strong statements over the state of media freedom in Pakistan. He said he won’t shy away from saying that the media is not free and that it is being controlled, with real journalists being thrown out of the country.