Speaker to write letter to CJP about sentiments of MPs

Ijaz Kakakhel

Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf said on Wednesday that he will be writing a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, conveying to him the “sentiments and thoughts” of members of the House about Supreme Court orders on elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as the release of funds in this regard.

Ashraf announced the decision after taking “sense of the House” — expressed by members by thumping of desks — and on the call of several lawmakers, particularly the PML-N’s Muhammad Barjees Tahir, who asserted parliament’s supremacy.

The NA speaker’s decision also followed the federal cabinet’s decision to again refer to parliament the finance ministry’s summary for the release of funds to the Election Commission of Pakistan for polls in Punjab and KP.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in his address to the lower house, said despite court orders, Punjab local body elections did not take place and even after the passage of 90 days, the date for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa polls was not decided yet. He termed as “shocking” the Supreme Court’s latest verdict, in which it directed the State Bank of Pakistan to issue funds for polls in Punjab and KP and later take approval from parliament.

“The parliament is being insulted because of a few people’s stubbornness. If the judiciary has any misunderstanding regarding the Constitution, the PPP and the parliamentary committee are present to help it understand.” He questioned how the SC could order that the parliament be ignored. “Despite judges’ ‘thoughts’, we respect them,” he stressed.

However, he said that the top court did not have the authority to amend the Constitution. “How can the court order that the parliament’s decision be ignored and the verdict of a minority bench be accepted?” he questioned again.