Raoof Hasan

26th Feb, 2023. 09:30 am

One step to the left, one to the right

The chief justice of the Supreme Court (SC) has finally taken suo motu notice of the cunningly planned and orchestrated delay in holding elections to the dissolved provincial assemblies of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Although a petition to the effect was moved more than two weeks ago, yet it required a letter written by two sitting judges of the SC seeking his attention to a grave constitutional crisis in the making that he put together a nine-member bench to look into the matter.

He also put three questions before it to deliberate. First, who has the constitutional responsibility and authority for appointing the date for the holding of general election to a provincial assembly upon its dissolution in various situations envisaged by and under the constitution? Second, how and when is this constitutional responsibility to be discharged? Third, what are the constitutional responsibilities and duties of the federation and the provinces regarding the holding of general elections?

After deliberations on the first day of hearing, two further questions have been added to the list: whether the assemblies were dissolved in accordance with the constitutional framework and, if not, whether they could be restored?

Without going into complicating matters further, there is only one question that needs to be enquired into: since the provincial assemblies have been dissolved for over one month now, why is it that the governors have not fixed dates for the holding of elections and why the Election Commission has not issued the schedule so far? There is one further enquiry that should be made: if the dereliction of duty/responsibility is proven on the part of the governors or the Election Commission, or both, how should they be dealt with?

The issue is extremely simple. It is not a crisis that occurred because of any lacunae in the constitution. It is a crisis that has been consciously manufactured by the criminal cabal that was inducted through a foreign dictated and locally orchestrated regime change conspiracy. This is so because they are aware that if elections were to be held at this juncture, they would be administered a humiliating drubbing. That is why they are anxious to postpone the elections for as long as possible in the hope that, by then, they would be able to restore some of their political standing. This is where the mala-fide rests. In this Machiavellian effort, they have exploited the constitution as a tool. They instructed their partisan appointees in the caretaker setups in Punjab and KP to defy the relevant clauses of the constitution to meet the desired objective, which they did as, indeed, they continue to do.


Though our judiciary has rendered sterling services in the task of legitimising military takeovers in the past, they may not be able to replicate their performance as times have undergone a major transformation. Not only there is a greater level of awareness among people; they are embedded with far more reservoirs of courage and conviction to state their case boldly and fight for their cause. So, another doctrine of necessity may not be sustainable. It is, therefore, imperative to look exclusively into the merit of the case and come up with a judgment that would administer censure/punishment to the transgressors of the constitution. That would not only solve the existent crisis; it would also act as effective deterrence for the future. Anything short of that, or counter to that, would be tantamount to providing encouragement to constitutional contemnors to continue their demonic pursuits.

Who but the judiciary would know the damage that its past adjudications administered to the country? Who but the judiciary would know that Pakistan needs a comprehensive change not just in terms of an unflinching and uncompromisable pursuit of the constitution, but in uplifting the nation from the moral decay that it has been a victim of in the last many years? This current malevolent enactment is a manifestation of the very same moral decline that our ruling elite and their attendant beneficiaries are gravely afflicted with.

Justice cannot be administered in a martial manner with one step to the left followed by one to the right. Justice can be administered through consideration of the merit of the case and proceeding forward strictly on that basis, without even the slightest deviation. The merit is all contained in the constitution and its interpretation is the responsibility of the apex court. It is a moment in history when the country is balanced on the cusp of change for the better. It is that moment when people will have to make a choice. On the one side is a leadership that is rooted in incorrigible corruption, perpetuation of family dynasties and use of gravely unconstitutional practices to elongate their hold, and on the other side is the prospect of espousal of a charter of change to help the evolving of a dignified and self-respecting state with unchallenged authority to chalk out a course for progress and welfare of its people.

It should neither be answerable to any self-anointed foreign masters, nor their local agents who work in unison to bring harm to the state. It should only be answerable to the diktat of the constitution and the requirements of its people who have long suffered the ravages of a meagre living. Through this decision, they can shape a different future for the country that would be based on promoting the enshrining principles of equality, equity and welfare.

The people of this country have long been deprived of justice which is one of the basic requirements to sustain their existence with dignity. It is only the rich and the powerful who have had the privilege to manoeuvre it by digging into their illicitly accumulated bounties. For the poor and the deprived, justice has just been a word they have waited endlessly to be translated into reality. Maybe this is the time – a time they would finally get a scent of what justice means and how it can alter the shape of the country.

People are looking up to the apex court to give them something they have long deserved: the right to exercise their will for bringing change and reshaping their destiny. A step to the left and then one to the right will not do as, after that, there is the fall into the abyss. The time is here for all of us to break the chains of subservience and inhale the freshness of freedom.