Supreme Court (SC) judge Justice Qazi Faez Isa has on Thursday criticized the state of media freedom, democracy and governance in Pakistan during an apex court hearing on local government elections.
The apex court judge said local body elections are a constitutional requirement. Yet, when it comes to holding local body polls, the provinces start counting off their problems instead of fulfilling their constitutional duty, Justice Faez Isa remarked.
He went so far as to say that Punjab had “killed” democracy by dissolving the local government before the expiry of its term.
Justice Isa inquired why that was done. “Local governments were dissolved in the martial law era, but it is unheard of in a democracy,” he said.
He said the media in the court should raise their hands if they think the media is free.
When no journalist raised their hand, the judge asked the journalists to raise their hand if they think there was freedom of press in the country.
Yet again, no journalist raised their hand.
He gave the analogy of a plant, asking if a seed planted in the morning ought to be uprooted in the evening just to see how strong its roots have become.
Moreover, he warned that if democracy is lost, half the country will be gone.
“ECP says there will be huge cost of Rs18 billion on local bodies elections,” Justice Isa remarked.