Sunday, July 2, 2017

A national myth

Raza Rumi
Raza Rumi, editor of Daily Times, writes here of five Pakistani myths that need to be "buried for good." Excerpt:
Since the ‘historic’ lawyers’ and judges’ movement, we have been hearing that doctrine of necessity has been buried. Proud pronouncements from the Supreme Court of Pakistan often repeated by analysts and politicians do their rounds. While the courts certainly are far freer than they were before, the doctrine of necessity is very much alive and kicking. Take the example of military courts. The apex court ratified military courts established after the 2014 terror attack in Peshawar that killed children and teachers in an army school. The court upheld them and many outspoken lawyers and ostensibly independent analysts also supported these courts. In March of this year, the National Assembly passed 28th Constitutional Amendment Bill that revived the military courts after the initial two-year period was over. It requires no rocket science to note that that such courts are violative of citizens’ rights to fair trial, legal counsel, etc. as guaranteed by the Constitution. There are countless instances where the courts have passed verdicts that fall into the ambit of doctrine of necessity -initially used in 1950s to uphold a constitutional subversion - without naming it. Sixty years later, it remains pretty much a convenient ploy to justify the power arrangements in the country.

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