Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday observed that the parliament was a supreme institution, but it could not make a law which could conflict with the Constitution.

The chief justice made those remarks while heading a three-member SC bench hearing a case about the media commission

“Yesterday it was again asked how the judiciary could interfere with the legislative process,” the chief justice said, without naming anyone. “Parliament is supreme but there is also the Constitution above it.”

“In one of the cases, we didn’t give any remarks but only asked if a certain person was eligible to hold a public office,” he added. The CJP asked as to how the court’s remarks could amount to an insult to parliamentarians.

“I don’t want to give an impression that I am furnishing an explanation,” he said.

“We need to be savvy of the administration’s measures and basic rights of people.” He observed that the recommendations made in the Media Commission report and the promises made by the government remained unfulfilled.

“We have to make PEMRA (Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority) an ideal and autonomous body,” he stressed. The chief justice remarked that inexperienced persons were being appointed in institutions, though appointment of professionals was necessary to run them in a better way.

He observed that headlines were made when they even asked about something whereas they gave remarks to understand the stance of both parties. He said, “We will fully utilise the powers of Constitution and law.” The chief justice also asked the media persons not to report the remarks of apex court judges out of context. Later, the case was adjourned for 10 days.

On Monday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi strongly criticised the superior judiciary for labelling elected representatives as “thieves and looters” and also asked for a debate in the House on whether the government has the right to take legislative decisions.

The uncharacteristically fiery speech came shortly after the PML-N’s parliamentary party, presided over by Khaqan Abbasi and including national and provincial assembly members and senators of the PML-N met to discuss whether or not to discuss the judges’ conduct on the assembly floor.