PPP Senator Raza Rabbani on Monday said that a recent resolution passed by the upper house of Parliament, which urged the Supreme Court to “reconsider” its verdict on the military trials of civilians, “did not reflect the sentiments of the majority”.
The resolution was passed on November 13 in the presence of less than a dozen senators. It had urged the top court to “reconsider” its verdict of declaring “unconstitutional” the military trial of civilians for their alleged role in attacks on army installations on May 9.
The resolution was not part of the agenda issued before the session and was tabled when a majority of members were absent. It was read out by independent Senator Dilawar Khan from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and supported only by the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) senators.
Only two senators — Rabbani and Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) — had protested against the hasty passage of the resolution, but Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had ignored their protests.
The two-page resolution had termed the SC verdict “an attempt to rewrite the law” and an encroachment of the parliament’s legislative authority.
The day after the passage of the resolution, mem­bers belonging to the country’s mainstream political parties had lodged a strong protest in the Senate against its hasty passage and called for its immediate withdrawal. The upper house of Parliament also witnessed ruckus in its session on Nov 17 as senators again protested the passage of the resolution.
During today’s Senate session, Rabbani stated that the resolution was presented towards the end of the session, was also not listed on the day’s agenda and was presented when the House was lacking quorum.
Rabbani said that in his opinion, the SC verdict regarding military courts was in accordance with the Constitution. He said that there were legal avenues that could be pursued against the SC judgement.
“But bulldozing something in Parliament in this way, which does not have a majority, is not appropriate ,” he said. “Parliament was disrespected and made to be appear redundant,” he said.
“The resolution passed is condemned as it does not reflect the sentiments of the majority of this House,” the PPP senator said.
Rabbani also expressed support for a resolution by Senator Ahmed against the military trials of civilians. “I would like to request him, through you (Senate chairman), that he takes permission today and moves the resolution,” he said.
At this, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani said the matter was now subjudice and tried to move the session along.
Meanwhile, Senator Ahmed said that when the resolution in question was presented, him and Rabbani had openly opposed. He said that they asked for a chance to speak on the resolution but were denied.