Will Govt survive if opposition lawmakers resign en masse?

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Shafaqna Pakistan:As the JUI-F, PPP, PML-N and other opposition parties ponder the option of resigning from the assemblies en masse, legal experts believe that there would be no impact on the government but a serious political crisis might ensue.

“Technically, there will be no legal impact as by-election will held on all the vacated seats. But there can be a major political impact,” Karachi-based lawyer Salahuddin Ahmad said.

Kamran Murtaza, a top legal mind of the JUI-F, said his party would never take any supra-constitutional step to topple the government.
Murtaza, who has remained a senator in the past, made it clear that JUI-F was committed to take steps within the constitutional domain.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the JUI-F legal aide said he believed the demand of prime minister’s resignation was a democratic right of Maulana which he had used.

Regarding the movement of ‘Azadi March’ participants toward D-Chowk, the senior lawyer said that the government could not curtail their right of movement which was provided in the Constitution. Murtaza also revealed that 12 JUI-F activists were missing and alleged that they had been kidnapped.

“We are considering registering an FIR against Prime Minister Imran Khan and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak over the enforced disappearance,” he said.

The JUI-F legal mind believed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government had no capacity to engage with the opposition parties as they were still threatening them.

It is to be mentioned that Murtaza was the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president when the PTI and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) arranged a sit-in against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in front of parliament in 2014.

Muratza had approached the apex court and was successful in getting restraining order by the larger bench against any possible extra-constitutional steps.

Murtaza also admitted that there would be no legal impact of the resignations.

However, political analysts believed that there was a lesser chance that any major political party would endorse the option of resignation from assemblies.

Even a few opposition parties, including the JUI-F, were unhappy over the role of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in the prevailing situation.

A senior lawmaker said that Shehbaz’s Friday speech had created more doubts in the minds of the opposition as the contents of his speech were like a resume to present himself for the slot of the premier.

PPP Senator Mustafa Khokhar, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the option of resignation would be put before party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) soon. However, he believed that the situation might get out of control if the government was unable to engage with the opposition parties on the issue.

Govt efforts to tackle ‘Azadi March’ gain pace

He also cited the example of Tahirul Qadri’s first sit-in, which was amiably dealt with by the PPP government.

Political analysts were also of the view that the PTI-led government was showing irresponsible behaviour as its ministers were unable to engage with the opposition parties.

“They are still giving threats to them. It is the duty of the government to show patience in the prevailing situation when the temperature is high,” they said.

On the other hand, history reveals that marches always weakened democracy. Same happened in 1977 during Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) movement against the then premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Likewise, same happened in 1993, 1999, 2007 and 2014.

A senior opposition lawmaker opined that instead of handling the political crisis with maturity, the government was seeking the support of sensitive institutions.

He believed there was no need of the DG ISPR to respond to Fazlur Rehman’s speech.

Political analysts said that the security establishment should also react with caution in the prevailing situation.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa has already endorsed the civil society, superior bars and opposition’s concern about receding political space in the governance of state.

The CJP on September 11 had cautioned that the loss of political space in governance may not augur well for the future of country as a constitutional democracy.

“In recent times the leadership of the bar has repeatedly voiced its concerns over receding political space in governance of the state and such concerns must not be ignored. As an important and independent organ of the state responsible for safeguarding the constitutional ethics of the country we feel that such loss of political space in governance of the state may not augur well for the future of the country as a constitutional democracy,” CJP Khosa said in his address on the eve of the New Judicial Year’s opening ceremony.

The CJP made it clear that the bench and the bar stood fully committed to constitutionalism, rule of law and democracy and any attempt made from any quarter to destroy or damage these ideals and principles or to build inroads into them shall be resisted by them (bench and the bar) together with fullest might.

Murtaza clarified that the JUI-F chief had not said that participants would arrest the premier but instead claimed that they had the ability to do so, which was a different thing.

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