Feb 26, 2009

Disqualification termed setback to democracy

Leaders of various political parties and several members of the provincial cabinet have termed the Supreme Court verdict against Sharif brothers a major setback for democracy and democratic institutions.
Speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani said it was not a good omen and urged the apex court to review its verdict in larger national interest.
Criticising the imposition of governor’s rule in Punjab, president of the National Party Senator Dr Malik Baloch said the verdict might cause a political and constitutional crisis.
Chief of the Balochistan chapter of the JUI-F Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani said the matter was political and courts should avoid such decisions. Federal Minister Senator Israrullah Zehri was reluctant to comment on the verdict, but said it would affect the political system.
Provincial Minister for Irrigation Sardar Aslam Bizenjo also urged the Supreme Court to review the verdict which he said did not bode well for democracy.
Mir Sadiq Ali Umrani, parliamentary leader of the PPP in provincial assembly, said the apex court’s decision should be respected. He said that PPP was a democratic party and did not influence court decisions.
Revenue Minister Zamruk Khan said that although the decision would affect the democratic process, the court decision should be accepted.
Captain (retd) Abdul Khaliq, a provincial minister belonging to the PML-N, severely criticised the decision.
Meanwhile, PML-N activists held a demonstration here on Wednesday against the Supreme Court verdict against Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.The protesters led by Ayaz Swati, PML-N’s general secretary for Balochistan, assembled outside the press club and raised slogans against President Asif Ali Zardari and judges who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order.
PML-N leaders supported Nawaz Sharif’s allegations that the court decision had the ‘blessing of the presidency’.
The Balochistan National Party (Mengal), Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, National Party and the Balochistan Bar Association also condemned the verdict.
NP senior vice-president Mir Hasil Bizenjo, BNP-M secretary-general Habib Jalib Baloch and PkMAP deputy general secretary Nasrullah Zeray said that the verdict would have negative repercussions on the already uncertain political situation in the country.
They said the country was facing a serious law and order problem in the NWFP, Fata and Balochistan, besides unprecedented price-hike, unemployment and lawlessness. In such an environment, the government and political parties should adopted a realistic approach and avoid confrontation.
Balochistan Bar Association president Amanullah Baloch said that the lawyers would not accept the verdict. He said the general body of the association would meet on Thursday to determine its future course of action.

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