P L D 1993 SC 473


Per Muhammad Afzal Lone, J

(a) Constitution of Pakistan (1973), Article 19

The right of the citizenry to receive information can well be spelt out from the “freedom of expression” guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitutions of course, subject to inhibitions specified therein and such right must be preserved. (p. 746) K

Per Nasim Hassan Shah, CJ

(b) Constitution of Pakistan (1973), Article 41

Now, the President as the symbol of the unity of the Federation is entitled to the highest respect and esteem by all the functionaries of the State. But it is equally true that this respect and esteem will be forthcoming if he conducts himself with utmost impartiality and neutrality, that he keeps himself entirely aloof from party politics and does not give the impression to any one that he is siding with one faction or working against the other. If, on the other hand, he gets drawn into the arena of party politics, he will become, in the words used by Prime Minister Asquith in his memorandum to king Georage V, “the football of contending factions”.

The material placed before us shows, unfortunately, that the opinion formed by the Prime Minister that the President had ceased to be a neutral figure and started to align himself with his opponents and was encouraging them in their efforts to destabilise his Government, was an opinion that could indeed be reasonably entertained. (p. 568, 569) Z

Per Muhammad Afzal Lone, J

(c) Constitution of Pakistan (1973), Article 41

In the context of the powers and Constitutional position of the President, Article 41 also came under discussion, which represents the President as a symbol of unity of Pakistan. He is elected by the Provincial Assemblies as well as the National Assembly and is a binding force between the Federation and the federating units. In a pluralist society rent with political polarization, ethnic, racial, provincialism and other diversities, for strengthening the process of social harmony, democracy and creative national enthusiasm, the role of the President becomes all the more important. These objects can meaningfully be achieved if the President shuns politics and remains a non-controversial figure. Article 33 included in Chapter 2 of the Constitution under the “Principles of Policy” casts an obligation on the State to discourage parochial, racial, tribal, sectarian and provincial prejudices among the citizens. Under Article 29 it is the responsibility of each organ and authority of the State to act in accordance with these principles. Regulation of relations between the President and the Prime Minister is a paramount national requirement. Both are expected to exercise tolerance, exhibit endurance and act within the limits of Constitutional propriety. The President is constitutionally required to act on the advice of the Prime Minister/Cabinet, but such advice ought not to be loaded with a perception of dominance and veto power. If the President counsels the Prime Minister or the Cabinet, his counseling is entitled to weight. These are some of the norms of constitutional jurisprudence for successful operation of the constitutional prescription. (p. 759) Z

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