February 27, 2023
ISLAMABAD – PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday criticised the higher judiciary and called out what he said were its “double standards” when dealing with legal matters of PTI chief Imran Khan.
Addressing a seminar at the Sindh Assembly in Karachi, the foreign minister said the public was looking towards the parliament and judiciary but “they can’t see any hope”.
“I have to, unfortunately, say that it is very difficult for political parties to defend the double standards and actions with which the higher judiciary is proceeding.”
He added that it was not appropriate that the “prime minister from Larkana is hanged” and the PPP is still waiting for justice for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s execution but the “court waits for one week for the Zaman Park prime minister (Imran Khan)”.
“A dual system [of justice] won’t work nor will we accept it,” Bilawal said. “This cannot happen that if Benazir [Bhutto]’s government has to be sent home then only a Jang news editorial is enough but if [Imran] Khan sahib’s government has to be saved then they are willing to turn, fold and rewrite the Constitution because the blue-eyed has to be saved.”
Bilawal said the judges “make a mockery of themselves” by repeatedly delaying Imran’s hearings and merely threatening to arrest him.
Taking another jibe at the judiciary for taking “an interest” in the amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law, Bilawal said the judges were examining it closely because the NAB law is not applicable to them.
The PPP chief said that among the amendments to the law, NAB will be expanding its scope to the judiciary itself — “be it a sitting [judge] or non-sitting (former judge)”.
“There is corruption everywhere. It is present in the parliament and it might be happening in the judiciary too,” he said. “If there is a proper law and approach, a powerful chief justice can end corruption and if there is a proper way, it can be removed through a parliamentary process as well.”
Bilawal said the PPP had always had a stance that NAB was made for political engineering, giving space to non-democratic forces and hanging a sword over elected representatives, adding that “this is why this institution should be closed down”.
Addressing the “holy cows” of the country, the foreign minister said the PPP would oppose the legislation that makes it a crime to criticise the military and judiciary.
“We are running the setup of the holy cows in which there is a different law for the common man and there is a different law for the holy cow,” Bilawal said. “I think the law should be the same for you and any of the judges.”
Towards the end of his talk, Bilawal called for the protection of the fundamental rights of people. “We have to fight the dual standards, and we have to protect democracy,” he added.
“We made the Constitution, and we will save it.”
FM Bilawal’s diatribe against the judiciary comes shortly after the PPP, PML-N, and Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam Fazl petitioned the Supreme Court on Saturday for the exclusion of two sitting judges from hearing the suo motu case pertaining to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab elections.
The Pakistan Bar Council had also called on one of the judges to “voluntarily recuse to remain as part of the bench”.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz came down hard on a “cabal of five”, among which were former and serving members of the judiciary, whom she accused of “conspiring” against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.
The pictures included ex-Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed, former chief justices Asif Khosa and Saqib Nisar, and two sitting Supreme Court judges, who are currently part of a top court bench hearing a suo motu case to determine who has the constitutional responsibility and authority to announce the date for elections in Punjab and KP.