April 21, 2019

Pakistan and Freedom of Expression

Kachkol Ali Baloch

“Pakistan is a country of Commonwealth ,eventually she is violating the Guideline on good practice governing relations between the executive,parliament and judiciary in the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and human rights to ensure the effective implementation of the Harare Principles and the Hillbrook Commonwealth Action Programme and in particular, the pledge of the Harare Declaration to work for the protection and promotion of the fundamental political values of Commonwealth principles and guidelines of Latimer house. That says each institution must exercise responsibility and restrain in the exercise of power within its constitutional sphere, so as not to encroach on the legitimate discharge of constitutional function by the other institutions. But we are observing in Pakistan, the omnipotent security establishment do not bother the golden principles and guidelines, which have been framed by the commonwealth countries.

Tragedy with Pakistan is that the military establishment always undermine and subordinate all the other institutions of the country. As we have seen in the notorious 21st amendment of the constitution where it has snatched the powers of judiciary and parliamentarians and strengthens her powers. To my mind, 08.08.2016 where in Quetta, the tragic event occurred. It was a lesson to lawyers community who has always played a vital role against the autocrats and security establishment. It was her plan to discourage the bar and judiciary. We also saw in recent past that the Chief Justice of federal shariat court was attacked and his personal guards were seriously injured. By those elements who were brought up these forces.

Awais Shah s/o Sindh chief justice was kidnapped by these forces because once during the proceeding, the chief justice of sindhi gave remarks which were against the forces. His son´s kidnapping was a sort of reprimand. So far, parliament is concerned parliament is supreme and prime, precisely reasons are that the legislation functions are the primary responsibility of the parliament. The most important parliamentary privilege is freedom of speech, which is probably already incorporated in the constitution of Pakistan as a commonwealth country that is because of its flow from article 9 of the Bill of Right 1688. So far member of national assembly is concerned, Mahmud Khan has privilege constitutionally and under article 9 of the Bill of Rights . It would be pertinent to refer here that Professor Martins point of view about freedom of expression in Commonwealth countries, where he drew attention to the statement on freedom of expression for the Commonwealth, particularly paragraph 2 requiring express constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression and paragraph 4 dealing with state security and public order. The later paragraph namely 4 deplore the use of colonial emergency provisions which should be repealed and the use of law of criminal libel to control expression.

It is strange that Pakistan considers herself as a democrat country and is a member of commonwealth but the security forces which is a legacy of Great British. Pakistan is treating the indigenous people the same way as the British military treated her subjugation. There is a serious allegation against west minister system where most of them are Commonwealth countries, could not come up to the expectations of their people. There is only one beautiful thing in westminster system and it is the freedom of expression which unfortunately is being threatened by the state in the name of security and public order and Mehmood Khan is the victim.”

About the Author

A lawyer, he he has been the leader of opposition in the Balochistan assembly in the past. Ghulam Mohammad Baloch & Lala Munir of Baloch National  Movement (BNM) and Sher Mohammad Baloch of Baloch Republican Party (BRP) were kidnapped from his chamber in 2010 and killed by Pakistani intelligence.

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