LAHORE – National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) is against the fundamental rights and letter and spirit of the constitution. The Supreme Court should start proceedings against the corrupt bureaucrats and politician who benefited from the ordinance.
Judiciary till now is partially independent but it is hoped that it will assert its authority without bowing before any pressure.
Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed said this while addressing a news conference at Lahore Press Club on Saturday.
He said it was expected that the judiciary would start proceedings at the earliest against those who looted the national wealth and got a clean chit from a military dictator under the NRO.
He opined that Feb 2008 general elections were not fully representative as lawyers, civil society and a number of political parties had boycotted the process and the nation was now expecting midterm elections.
“It is the responsibility of the Supreme Court to take up the petitions against the NRO beneficiaries on its expiry after Nov 28 deadline,” Wajih remarked, adding that it would be really difficult for the courts to open all the cases in absence of any proper prosecuting agency.
He maintained that the time had come for the emergence of alternate political leadership at the national level from amongst the leaders of lawyers’ movement and civil society.
About the immunity enjoyed by President Asif Ali Zardari, he opined that the constitution was like living organism while Article 248 being a its cancer body which give undue protection to the president and the governors. He demanded the apex court to abolish Article 248 from the Constitution as it was against the all the principles of justice and basic human rights.
Claiming that the lawyers’ movement is still alive, he said its next target was to ensure rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution while helping the judiciary in playing its role for providing of justice to the masses. He hoped that an alternate leadership would come forward from amongst the lawyers to fill the gap of political leadership at national level.
“Corruption is prevalent in lower judiciary as known means of income do not make with their (judicial officials) standard of living,” he said, adding that salary packages at the lower level should be increased.
Wajih was of the view that because of absence of any check clerical staff of sessions and civil courts received bribes openly.
He demanded amending the judicial policy and asked the higher judiciary to keep an eye on the state of affairs at the lower level.
He also suggested making the budget of judiciary independent just like the army in view of sensitive nature of its work and claimed that it improve judges’ stature in the eyes of the public.
Punjab University will remain closed from Friday Nov 27 to Monday November 30, 2009 on account of Eid-ul-Azha.