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ISLAMABAD: Justice Athar Minallah underscored the significance of civil supremacy and protection of democracy, stating the role of the Supreme Court in facilitating the derailment of democracy and the Constitution is indefensible.
Speaking at the London School of Economics (LSE), Minallah highlighted that the persistent absence of civilian supremacy has resulted in tension and a subversion of the Constitution, leaving the country without proper governance.
In a speech titled ‘Unpacking Pakistan’s Constitutional Crisis: The Role of the Supreme Court,’ the judge pointed out that the Supreme Court was perceived to have engaged in political engineering before the 2018 general elections. This interference contributed to the formation of a fragile civilian government that could not sustain itself for more than three years, leading to a distinctive constitutional crisis. During this period, governance was seen as a hybrid, jointly managed by elected representatives and the military hierarchy, a fact later publicly acknowledged by the then prime minister.
Minallah further noted that the leader of the House refused to recognize the legitimacy of the leader of the opposition. To thwart the vote of no confidence, the deputy speaker attempted to dissolve the National Assembly.
“The Supreme Court intervened by taking suo moto notice and subsequently the vote of confidence went through pursuant to the unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court. Instead of sitting on the opposition benches, the Leader of the House, who had been removed through the vote of confidence, decided to resign along with other elected representatives belonging to the political party. The constitutional crisis was aggravated when two provincial legislatures were prematurely dissolved pursuant to the decision taken by the political party. The Lahore High Court handed down its judgment but while its implementation was in the process the Supreme Court intervened. Through two separate judgments, the Supreme Court had fixed dates for the holding of general elections. The judgments were not implemented and no attempt was made either by the Supreme Court or the interested parties to have them enforced,” the judge said.
Minallah further stated “The Lahore High Court (LHC) handed down its judgment but while its implementation was in the process the apex court intervened. Through two separate judgments the top court had fixed dates for the holding of general elections. The judgments were not implemented and no attempt was made either by the SC or the interested parties to have them enforced”.