this report on last Thursday's proceedings in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The three-judge bench did indeed hold a hearing, although it seems to have been dedicated pretty much to getting on the record why the government respondents, with a single exception, failed to submit the required responses to the constitutional petitions. The court afforded them another ten days to do so, but, more significantly, referred the cases to the full 17-member bench. The court also called upon the government to respond to a separate years-old petition challenging the 18th Amendment, which, among other things, added Article 175A to the Constitution in April 2010. From The Nation's account:
The chief justice questioned but whether the matter can be proceeded or not? Hamid Khan replied: “Let that matter be fixed but should be heard separately."
The chief justice maintained that the constitutional issues were raised but the common grounds are the same as raised in the petitions against 21st Amendment.
“The common grounds were whether the constitutional amendments were in violation of basic structure or do we have basic structure of the constitution and if we have then whether these amendments could be touched?”
These cases would be heard along with this full court only then we review that order on 18th Amendment and for this we have to give notice to parties.
When their replies would be filed then it could be heard by full court so that matter does not go to preliminary. Sufficient time needed to be given to them.
The court observed that Maulvi Iqbal Haideer also filed the petition in this case in which he said that guidelines should be given for the establishment of military courts.
The court said when he had filed the petition at that time the bill was still in the Parliament.
Asma Jehangir requested that Iqbal Haider petition should be heard separately.
The bench directed that the attorney general and advocate generals to file the concise statements before the next date of hearing and adjourned the case till 24th February.
Apart from the petition, filed by the Lahore High Court Bar Association, identical petitions had been filed against 21st constitutional amendment in the constitution.
Barrister Zafrullah Khan, Chairman Watan Party Pakistan, Engineer Jamil Ahmed Khan of Communist Party Pakistan, Munsif Malik of Pakistan Justice Party, Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar Council and Sindh High Court Bar Association have also challenged the 21st Amendment.
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