The government is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Constitution with much enthusiasm. The capital’s Constitution Avenue has been decorated with banners and posters depicting the photos of those parliamentarians who were among the framers of the Constitution. The National Assembly speaker, Raja Pervez Ashraf, laid the foundation stone of the Yadgaar-i-Dastoor (Constitution Memorial) on the occasion.
For the first time, a sitting senior Supreme Court judge addressed the parliament at a convention held to celebrate the anniversary. Pledges were made by all to safeguard the Constitution.
Speeches were made in the National Assembly, in which the significance of the occasion was highlighted. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and three other parliamentarians presented resolutions in connection with the Golden Jubilee.
Prime Minister Sharif’s resolution sought that April 10 be declared as National Constitution Day, while that put forward by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar called for declaring the old hall of the National Assembly where the Constitution was passed as a national heritage site.
The resolution presented by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb sought the incorporation of fundamental aspects of the Constitution in the education curriculum while the one presented by Senator Raza Rabbani paid tributes to those who framed the Constitution.
Meanwhile, no one from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) attended the convention, but many former parliamentarians were present at the event. The highlight of the occasion was the presence of Justice Qazi Faez Isa, who also spoke at the convention.
All judges of the Supreme Court were invited to the convention, but only Justice Isa was in attendance. In his speech, he stated that he was representing the entire Supreme Court. During his speech, Justice Faez Isa made it clear that he and the Supreme Court stood by the Constitution. He also distanced himself from the political remarks made at the convention, saying that he thought that there would be a discussion on the role of the Constitution and not politics.
The political talk he was referring to was primarily the speeches made by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Mr Zardari once again called for dialogue with the opposition to avoid chaos. He also stressed that the head of the government was the “only valid authority” to lead talks.
Justice Faez Isa’s presence in the parliament set social media on fire. Many were critical of his presence, with most not understanding why he was sitting among politicians. However, many defended his participation, saying that it was the demand of the occasion. But what makes one wonder is the crux of the speeches, which stressed the need to respect and adhere to the Constitution. Everyone talked about the Constitution book being a sacred document. The question that arises is, are we truly respecting the Constitution? If so then why are we embroiled in a constitutional crisis?
Why are we not realising that by rejecting verdicts that are passed in light of the Constitution, we are doing exactly the opposite?
Celebrate the occasion by vowing to abide by the Constitution. That’s what a Pakistani and more than that a parliamentarian is bound to do.