A petition has been filed in Supreme Court’s Lahore registry to include the words sadiq and ameen (honest and righteous) to the oaths taken by judges and army generals after their appointments.
Filed by lawyer Ch. Muhammad Anwar on behalf of Barrister Zafarullah Khan of the Watan Party, the petition states that accountability is being applied discriminately to civilians in Pakistan while judges and generals “are being sheltered and protected and considered as immune from accountability”. The higher judiciary and military courts in the country have become “sacred cows”, the petition reads, adding that the judiciary is even making rules which in certain cases are to be made by the parliament.
“From the very birth of Pakistan, [the] parliament has remained at the mercy of judiciary and dictators,” the petition says, urging the SC not to “take over the jurisdictions of parliament as it has done in Article 62(1)(f) and 63(1)(g)”.
The Supreme Court had last month disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution for being “dishonest” in his 2013 nomination papers. The petition seeks the apex court’s directions to make SC judges and army officers “surrender their accountability to the public” through the parliament.
“In fact, the accountability of all the elected and selected persons is the privilege of parliamentary committees.” The petition has been filed in the SC at a time when the government has revealed its plans to amend Articles 62 and 63 to reduce the duration of disqualification of parliamentarians under these articles. The opposition meanwhile has been divided over the issue.
Articles 62 and 63 have been criticised for their vague sub-clauses that allow frivolous litigation for minor, non-criminal issues.