Removal of elected PM sad day for democracy: HRCP

 Lahore, June 20: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called the removal of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani a sad occasion in a country where democratic traditions have perpetually been denied the nourishment they need to take roots.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, HRCP said, “The Supreme Court judgement was perhaps not unexpected. The removal of the elected prime minister, especially in a country like Pakistan where democratic traditions are very weak, is saddening and certainly not a matter for rejoicing. Nobody can deny the imperatives of legal dispensation, but the implications of the judgement in a far from stable society and the severe crisis that it seems to give rise to have perhaps not been taken into consideration. It needs to be remembered that after repeated spells of dictatorship the state’s capacity to sustain the democratic system cannot be expected to be very strong. In such a situation, democratic institutions need to be nourished and helped to grow through advice and persuasion rather than punitive action that often does more harm than good.

“The principle that judges should be extra careful in deciding matters regarding their own contempt demands much greater respect than has apparently been accorded to it in this instance. The judgement will raise questions about the whole concept of contempt of court in the country and the nature and extent of the punishment that can be awarded, especially imprisonment.

“At this critical time, the threats to democracy require the maximum possible understanding among political parties and the country’s democratic future will be undermined if they continue to fight among themselves for narrow partisan ends. Ultimately, the people have to decide who governs them and we hope that the environment will not be polluted to the extent that a fair determination of electoral will becomes impossible.”

Zohra Yusuf

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