President Leghari's Order of November 5, 1996

Whereas during the last three years thousands of persons in Karachi and other parts of Pakistan have been deprived of their right to life in violation of Article 9 of the Constitution.

They have been killed in police encounters and police custody. In the speech to Parliament on 29th October 1995 the President had warned that the law-enforcement agencies must ensure that there was no harassment of innocent citizens in the fight against terrorism and that human and legal rights of all persons were duly protected. This advice was not heeded. The killings continued unabated. The Government's fundamental duty to maintain law and order has to be performed by proceeding in accordance with law. The coalition of political parties which comprise the Government of the Federation are also in power in Sindh, Punjab and NWFP but no meaningful steps have been taken either by the Government of the Federation or, at the instance of the Government of the Federation, by the Provincial Governments to put an end to the crime of extra-judicial killings which is an evil abhorrent to our Islamic faith and all canons of civilised government.

Instead of ensuring proper investigation of these extra-judicial killings, and punishment for those guilty of such crimes, the Government has taken pride that, in this manner, the law and order situation has been controlled. These killings coupled with the fact of widespread interference by the members of the Government, including members of the ruling parties in the National Assembly, in the appointment, transfer and posting of officers and staff of the law-enforcement agencies, both at the Federal and Provincial levels, has destroyed the faith of the public in the integrity and impartiality of the law-enforcement agencies and in their ability to protect the lives, liberties and properties of the average citizen.

And Whereas on Sept 20, 1996, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, the brother of the Prime Minister, was killed at Karachi along with seven of his companions including the brother-in- law of a former Prime Minister, ostensibly in an encounter with the Karachi Police. The Prime Minister and her Government claimed that Mir Murtaza Bhutto has been murdered as a part of a conspiracy. Within days of Mir Murtaza Bhutto's death the Prime Minister appeared on television insinuating that the Presidency and other agencies of State were involved in this conspiracy. These malicious insinuations, which were repeated on different occasions, were made without any factual basis whatsoever.

Although the Prime Minister subsequently denied that the Presidency or the Armed Forces were involved, the institution of the Presidency, which represents the unity of the Republic, was undermined and damage caused to the reputation of the agencies entrusted with the sacred duty of defending Pakistan. In the events that have followed, the widow of Mir Murtaza Bhutto and the friends and supporters of the deceased have accused Ministers of the Government, including the spouse of the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister Sindh, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau and other high officials of involvement in the conspiracy which, the Prime Minister herself alleges led to Mir Murtaza Bhutto's murder.

A situation has thus arisen in which justice, which is a fundamental requirement of our Islamic Society, cannot be ensured because powerful members of the Federal and Provincial Government who are themselves accused of the crime, influence and control the law enforcing agencies entrusted with the duty of investigating the offences and bringing to book the conspirators. And Whereas on 20th March 1996 the Supreme Court of Pakistan delivered its judgement in the case popularly known as the Appointment of Judges case. The Prime Minister ridiculed this judgement in a speech before the National Assembly which was shown more than once on nation-wide television.

The implementation of the judgment was resisted and deliberately delayed in violation of the Constitutional mandate that all executive and judicial authorities throughout Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. The directions of the Supreme Court with regard to regularisation and removal of judges of the High Courts were finally implemented on Sept 30, 1996, with a deliberate delay of six months and ten days and only after the President informed the Prime Minister that if advice was not submitted in accordance with the Judgement by end September 1996 then the President would himself proceed further in this matter to fulfil the constitutional requirement. The Government has, in this manner, not only violated Article 190 of the Constitution but also sought to undermine the independence of the judiciary guaranteed by Article 2A of the Constitution read with the Objectives Resolution.

And Whereas the sustained assault on the judicial organ of State has continued under the garb of a Bill moved in Parliament for prevention of corrupt practices. This Bill was approved by the Cabinet and introduced in the National Assembly without informing the President as required under Article 46(c) of the Constitution. The Bill proposes inter alia that on a motion moved by 15 percent of the total membership of the National Assembly, that is any 32 members, a judge of the Supreme Court or High Court can be sent on forced leave. Thereafter, if on reference made by the proposed special committee, the Special Prosecutor appointed by such Committee, forms the opinion that the judge is prima facie guilty of criminal misconduct, the special committee is to refer this opinion to the National Assembly which can, by passing a vote of no confidence, remove the judge from office. The decision of the Cabinet is evidently an attempt to destroy the independence of the judiciary guaranteed by Article 2A of the Constitution and the Objectives Resolution. Further, as the Government does not have a two-thirds majority in Parliament and as the opposition parties have openly and vehemently opposed the Bill approved by the Cabinet, the Government's persistence with the Bill is designed not only to embarrass and humiliate the superior judiciary but also to frustrate and set at naught all efforts made, including the initiative taken by the President, to combat corruption and to commence the accountability process.

And Whereas the judiciary has still not been fully separated from the executive in violation of the provisions of Article 175(3) of the Constitution and the dead-line for such separation fixed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. And Whereas the Prime Minister and her Government have deliberately violated, on a massive scale the fundamental right of privacy guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution. This has been done through illegal phone- tapping and eaves-dropping techniques. The phones which have been tapped and the conversations that have been monitored in this unconstitutional manner includes the phones and conversations of judges of the superior courts, leaders of political parties and high-ranking military and civil officers.

And Whereas corruption, nepotism and violation of rules in the administration of the affairs of the Government and its various bodies, authorities and corporations has become so extensive and wide-spread that the orderly functioning of Government in accordance of the provisions of the Constitution and the law has become impossible and in some cases, national security has been endangered. Public faith in the integrity and honesty of the Government has disappeared. Members of the Government and the ruling parties are either directly or indirectly involved in such corruption, nepotism and rule violations. Innumerable appointments have been made at the instance of members of the National Assembly in violation of the law declared by the Supreme Court that allocation of quotas to MNAs and MPAs for recruitment to various posts was offensive to the Constitution and the law and that all appointments were to be made on merit, honestly and objectively and in the public interest.

The transfers and postings of Government servants have similarly been made, in equally large numbers, at the behest of members of the National Assembly and other members of the ruling parties. The members have violated their oaths of office and the Government has not for three years taken any effective steps to ensure that the legislators do not interfere in the orderly executive functioning of And Whereas the Constitutional requirement that the Cabinet together with the Ministers of State shall be collectively responsible to the National Assembly has been violated by the induction of a Minister against whom criminal cases are pending which the Interior Minister has refused to withdraw. In fact, at an earlier stage, the Interior Minister had announced his intention to resign if the former was inducted into the Cabinet. A Cabinet in which one Minister is responsible for the prosecution of a Cabinet colleague cannot be collectively responsible in any manner whatsoever.

And Whereas in the matter of the sale of Burmah Castrol shares in PPL and BONE/PPL shares in Qadirpur Gas Field involving national assets valued in several billions of rupees, the President required the Prime Minister to place the matter before the Cabinet for consideration/re-consideration of the decisions taken in this matter by the ECC. This has still not been done, despite lapse of over four months, in violation of the provisions of Articles 46 and 48 of the Constitution.

And Whereas for the fore-going reasons, taken individually and collectively, I am satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the Government of the Federation cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and an appeal to the electorate is necessary.

Now Therefore, in exercise of my powers under Article 58(2)(b) of the Constitution I Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to hereby dissolve the National Assembly with immediate effect and the Prime Minister and her Cabinet shall cease to hold office forthwith. Further, in exercise of my powers under Article 48(5) of the Constitution I hereby appoint 3rd February 1997 as the date on which general elections shall be held to the National Assembly.

Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, President

Thanks: Osman Khan, Zartash Uzmi.
Maintained by Shehzaad Nakhoda