ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday adopted a resolution, calling upon President Arif Alvi to act in a non-partisan manner and perform his functions strictly in accordance with the Article 48 of the Constitution.
The House through the resolution resolved that “under the Constitution of Pakistan, obedience to the Constitution was inviolable obligation of every citizen, wherever he may be, and of every other person, for the time being within Pakistan.”
The resolution, moved by Mohsin Dawar, condemned the ‘unconstitutional acts’ of President Arif Alvi, saying that according to the oath of the President, he would not allow his personal interests to influence his official conduct or his official decisions.
It said that the President was also bound to defend, protect and preserve the Constitution. “This House takes a strong exception to the unconstitutional stance taken by the President and refusal to implement the Constitution in letter and spirit and adhere and also to follow norms of the parliamentary democracy.”
Dawar said the resolution contained signatures of representatives of parties sitting in the House. He said the way deliberate attempts were made to breach the Constitution after the no-confidence resolution was submitted and on the issue of removal of Punjab governor, it was important that the National Assembly should adopt the resolution moved by him to make a renewed pledge of defending the Constitution. The Article 48(1) says that in exercise of his functions, the President shall act (on and) in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet (or the Prime Minister).
Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, while speaking on the resolution, said that Omer Sarfaraz Cheema was de-notified as Punjab governor and removed from his seat as per the Constitution of Pakistan. He said the Cabinet Division, through a notification, removed Sarfaraz Cheema as Punjab governor as per the Constitution and decisions of courts. He pointed out that only five weeks back, the then prime minister Imran Khan, when the presiding officer in the National Assembly played havoc with the Constitution on April 3, gave advice of removal of the-then governor along with advice of new appointment. “Within minutes, the television channels broadcast the news that both the advice have been implemented,” he said. On the other hand, it took 15 days and then another 10 days to remove the governor and de-notifying him only on Tuesday. He said that according to the Constitution, it were the prime minister and the federal cabinet who were supposed to run affairs of the country. “As per the Constitution of Pakistan, the country’s President has exactly the same role which the Queen enjoys in the democratic system of the United Kingdom,” the minister said.
The law minister said that as per articles 48 and 90 of the Constitution, the president was bound to act on the advice of the prime minister and the federal cabinet. He said the Parliament should decide whether it wants continuation of the parliamentary system or Presidential form of system in the country.
The attorney general, who was also present in the House, endorsed the remarks of the law minister, saying that the Punjab governor was removed in a constitutional and legal way. The members belonging to the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), however, opposed the resolution as Ghous Bux Mehar was of the view that nowhere in the Constitution, it had been mentioned as to how the governor could be removed and said that the President could act on his own discretion.
Dr. Fahmida Mirza, also from the GDA, said that neither the Punjab governor could be removed the way it was done nor the Speaker’s ruling could be challenged in the court. She questioned as to why the Constitution was not taken care of when, according to her, Lotacracy was being promoted in the House. The GDA member said such a resolution, which was meant against the head of state, should not be passed in the National Assembly.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) member Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali said that everybody would have to follow the Constitution as a whole, saying that the sacred document was not limited to one or two articles. He particularly mentioned that articles 8 to 40 pertain to basic human rights and Islamic injunctions, which were being ignored. He pointed out that a number of bills including Zainab Alert Bill did not conform to Islamic injunctions. Opposing any proposals of the Presidential form of system in the country, the JI member maintained it would be like dictatorship.
PTI dissident MNA Raja Muhammad Riaz said they were not Lotas, rather it was Imran Khan who was a Lota and who fled the field like a rat. He said it was Imran Khan whose allies left him and his government was toppled, saying that the PTI members did not play any role in sending Imran Khan packing. “We curse lotacracy,” he said.
Mian Javed Latif of the PMLN said that the PTI chairman did not follow his party’s manifesto as the prime minister, and also disrespected the Constitution. He said that the word lota should be used for the person (Imran Khan) who continues changing his statements.