By Mehreen Zahra-Malik & Matthew Green
ISLAMABAD | Agency: Reuters – Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the prime minister on Tuesday in connection with an alleged corruption scandal, ratcheting up pressure on a government locked in a showdown with a cleric who has a history of ties to the army.
The combination of the arrest order and a mass street protest in the capital Islamabad led by Muslim cleric Muhammad Tahirul Qadri raised fears among politicians that the military was working with the judiciary to force out a civilian leader.
“There is no doubt that Qadri’s march and the Supreme Court’s verdict were masterminded by the military establishment of Pakistan,” Fawad Chaudhry, an aide to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, told Reuters. “The military can intervene at this moment as the Supreme Court has opened a way for it.”
Thousands of followers of Qadri camped near the federal parliament cheered as television channels broadcast news of the Supreme Court’s order to arrest Ashraf on charges of corruption, who took over in June after judges disqualified his predecessor. Pakistan’s powerful army has a long history of coups and intervening in politics.
These days it seems to have little appetite for a coup but many believe it still tries to exert behind-the-scenes influence on politics. The ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party has weathered a series of crises with the judiciary and military over the last few years and hopes its parliamentary majority will help it survive until elections are called within a few months.
Burmese MPs force out constitutional court judges
MPs in Burma have forced out all nine judges of the constitutional court, in a row pitting the government against the parliament created as part of political reforms. State media said that President Thein Sein had accepted the resignations.
In April 2007, one of my favorite cousins who was then a student at the prestigious LUMS in Lahore visited me on the evening of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s “historic” procession in Lahore (during the Lawyers Movement). She said she was joining many of her colleagues who were already at the event.
Knowing my past as a former student activist, she was taken aback when I told her I’m not all enthusiastic about the commotion.
Responding to my lukewarm reception to her youthful idea of “bringing a revolution,” she said the principle behind the tumult is vital.
“What principle?” I asked.
“Justice and democracy,” she said.
“But you don’t even vote!” I smirked. “90 per cent of the middle-class people I’ve heard passionately supporting the cause of the CJP (who was fired by the Musharraf dictatorship on corruption charges), have never bothered to vote. What democracy are you talking about?”
However, I did add that she should go to the rally to learn.
“Learn what?” She asked.
“Learn how the most vivacious leaders are better at hijacking movements than they are at initiating revolutions,” I replied.
“So why were you guys so gung ho about Benazir Bhutto in the 1980s?” She asked.
“Because Benazir inherently represented so many sides that were a natural anathema to whatever Zia’s dictatorship stood for” I said. “First of all, in an era of Hudood laws, chauvinism and mullah politicians, she was a woman; an educated and outspoken woman. Benazir shone brightly like the country’s finest hope for a democratic system.”
LAHORE: Former president of the Supreme Court Bar, Asma Jahangir on Monday said that the officer tasked by the SC to investigate the Arsalan Iftikhar case has close ties with the chief justice’s son and cannot be trusted to conduct a transparent investigation, DawnNews reported.
Speaking to media representatives at the Lahore High Court (LHC), Jahangir remarked that the UK’s Scotland Yard should be called in to probe the Arsalan Iftikhar case if Pakistani institutions are deemed unreliable.
Jahangir alleged that Shoaib Suddle, the investigating officer, is also known to regularly attend Arsalan Iftikhar’s events, she said, adding that he could not be expected to conduct a transparent investigation into the case.
Pakistan’s apex court is investigating allegations of a Rs342 million business deal between Dr Arsalan, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, and business tycoon Malik Riaz.
On Aug 30, the Supreme Court had accepted a review petition against its own earlier order, appointing Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Mohammad Shoaib Suddle as the one man-commission to probe the controversial case. The commission is required to complete the task in a month.
Criticising the court’s decision, Jahangir said that if there were any questions over the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigating team, then the team could have been changed instead of changing the whole verdict.
Islamabad: Pakistan is acting more effectively against the Americans than against the Taliban, an editorial in a Pakistani daily has said.
It is clear that Pakistan sees America as its enemy, not the Taliban whom everybody now believes to be the dominant factor in Karachi, the editorial in The Express Tribune said.
The ”logic” that shifts the onus of terror from the Taliban to the Americans is the assertion made by Pakistani officials that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is being sheltered and funded by the US from Afghanistan. To make the case more convincing, they add India to the ”evil conspiracy” against Pakistan even as efforts are being made to normalise ties with India, it said.
NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Asserting that judges should not govern the country or evolve policies, the chief justice of India said on Saturday he wondered what would happen if the executive refused to comply with the judiciary’s directives.
Justice S.H. Kapadia asked judges if they would invoke contempt proceedings against government officials for not complying with their decisions and disapproved a recent Supreme Court judgment which said “right to sleep” was also a fundamental right.
“Judges should not govern this country. We need to go by strict principle. Whenever you lay down a law, it should not interfere with governance. We are not accountable to people.
My Lords of the Supreme Court,
With due respect, I write for the second time in two weeks about a most horrific matter: that of a former member of our National Assembly and many times minister, calling upon My Lord the Chief Justice of Pakistan to commit murder.
I know we have plumbed the depths in this God-given but now surely God-forsaken country over the 66 years of its existence: from the unjust and cruel way in which we treated our East Pakistani brethren; to the killing of innocents by the ‘bad’ Taliban and the genocide of minorities by self-same Taliban and their cohorts that we see every single, tortuous day; to the fact that we are now an international pariah, the mere sight of our green passport sending immigration agents across the world into an almighty tizzy.
We have seen generals and politicians and bureaucrats violate the Constitution and misrule and steal; we have seen some of our great national treasures like the railways and PIA steadily driven into the ground; our archaeological treasures and rare books stolen and sold abroad for a pittance by members of our so-called ‘elite’. We have literally seen this country rent asunder by adventurists and carpet-baggers. Indeed, we have seen a senior retired air force chief-turned-politician say that he would personally hang an elected prime minister from the Kohala Bridge.
We have seen, too, a prime minister shot in broad daylight and his assassin conveniently shot dead by a police officer who ‘happened’ to be standing by him; an elected prime minister hanged in what the world believes was a complete miscarriage of justice, nay cold-blooded judicial murder; and another jailed in Attock Fort by a usurper general and then exiled.
By Khaled Ahmed
We have to wait till the Chief Justice and his fellow judges overreach themselves and finally come to the conclusion that moderation is the only path to tread in this imperfect Third World environment
On 7 July, 2012, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that Article 8 of the constitution empowered the Supreme Court to strike down any legislation which encroached upon the basic rights of the citizens. He said this while speaking at a ceremony for newly enrolled advocates at the Supreme Court’s Karachi Registry.
By Saroop Ijaz
The temptation to ignore Sheikh Rasheed is a strong one for the reason that he is a clown who thrives on cheap publicity and takes pride in his crudeness. Yet, the temptation should be fought off since he has now completed the transition from being a third-rate comedian to more like a roving, blood-seeking individual. Equally significantly, Sheikh Rasheed now deserves our contempt and attention not only for himself but also for those he seeks to associate with. He called for the Chief Justice to act like a common murderer and kill the president of the country, asked the Chief of Army Staff to intervene and take over and implored Mullah Omar (who he also termed Ameer-ul-Momineen) to be benevolent enough to allow Imran Khan to make his expedition into Waziristan in one speech. This is quite unbelievable even by the low and vulgar standards of the Sheikh. He should be locked up (for good, if possible) for incitement to murder and subversion of the Constitution and treason and not be allowed to pollute our airwaves unnecessarily while the process is being conducted. No elaborate case needs to be made against him and the video clip of his speech at Rawalpindi should be sufficient to send him away.
PRECIOUS little happens in Pakistan that cannot be traced to the man who ruled over this country for 11 dark years of its existence. On the morning of Aug 17, exactly 24 years after his death, Gen Ziaul Haq’s presence was felt all the more poignantly. ‘Terrorists attack Kamra airbase’, ‘19 pulled out of buses, shot dead in sectarian attack’ at Babusar Top, ‘Zardari seeks Muslim countries’ assistance’ on Afghanistan. Rulers either side of Zia have contributed to this mad, unending dance of death that Pakistanis have been subjected to. But while the dictator may have found the soil fertile for cultivating his brand of hatred, he was so thorough in his execution of the self-assigned job and so heartlessly committed to his creed that he ensured that generations after him will find it impossible to escape his influence.
By Omer Kamal bin Farooq
To begin with, I absolutely loathe generals in uniform running countries. No matter how incompetent the politicians are, how relevant the doctrine of necessity is and how much of a messiah the man in the boots is, there is something very corrupt and amoral about the whole thing.
I remember watching Ziaul Haq’s martial law speech for the first time as a teenager during the peak of the lawyers’ movements. As a child who grew up in Musharraf’s martial law, I, for the first time, was discovering terms like ‘judicial independence’, ‘supremacy of the constitution’, and the ‘primacy of democracy‘. I was caught up in the romance of all that.
Then I saw his speech in which he shamelessly went on about how “Mr Bhutto’s” government has been brought to an end, assemblies dissolved and ministers removed.
What flabbergasted me was how could a man say all this in one sentence and never stutter for once. How could he tell his “aziz humwatno” (dear countrymen) that they are inconsequential and their elected institutions and people are nothing more than fragile toys left to the whims of a badly brought up child?
But he did all this, never being weighed down by the burden of his own words. Heck, he even talked about the constitution in the last part of the sentence. So the constitution, head of the government, provincial and national assemblies, ministers and governors, all went in the same sentence and the man did not even show a modicum of remorse. Despite this, we all know who was hanged in the wee hours of the morning and who got the much celebrated state funeral only fitting for a national hero.
A lot has changed in the last five years since I saw the video of his speech. The lawyers are upholding the law by banning Ahmadi-owned soft drinks and showering cold-blooded murderers with rose petals. Even judicial activism has been harbouring on the fringes of judicial martial law, but one thing has remained constant; my disgust for what Zia has done to my country and what he stood for.
Sheikh Rashid, ex-minister & now Imran Khan’s ally, exhorts Iftikhar Chaudhry, Chief Justice of Pakistan, to “kill” President Zardari
Courtesy: Duniya Tv » YouTube
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LAHORE: Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that if anything happened to the new prime minister, it would tantamount to breaking up the country. He said that the court decision against him was also unconstitutional. Gilani said that writing a letter to Swiss authorities would go against the constitution. The former prime minister also said that if elected officials were to be dismissed by court decisions, then there would be no use for elections. Gilani said that the system should be allowed to continue. He also said that the judiciary is not a political party and that it should not have any agenda.
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Ward of the Court
By Saroop Ijaz
Finally, all of us can go to sleep in peace with the newly acquired knowledge that My Lord, the Chief Justice remains vigilant as ever to ensure that no vulgarity slips through the cracks on our television channels on his watch and the Pemra chief can no longer slack in his duties. My Lord, with customary wisdom, has observed that there are certain programmes and advertisements that one finds unbearable to watch alongside with the family. This exercise of the “paternal” jurisdiction of the court and the fact that the Chief Justice is a “family man” is infinitely comforting. It might be interesting to mention that My Lord is not always the brilliant, stoic, sober statesmanlike, paragon of justice and has a human, lighter side to his personality as well as indicated by his remarks in court that the parodies of politicians are in “good humour” and “are enjoyed”.
As we swoon in relief on the consolation of being under the eternal, paternal gaze of My Lord, one is also conscious of a slight unease. Dr Arsalan Iftikhar is hard to banish from the mind. The latest, although unconfirmed news report about Dr Arsalan using the address of the Chief Justice House for commercial purposes is unnerving to say the least. One sincerely hopes that the unconfirmed report is a complete fabrication. Nevertheless, many other questions still remain regarding the Young Doctor. What serious person has not indulged in some juvenile frolics behind their parents’ back at one time or another, however, Master Arsalan seems to have taken this mischievous streak of youthfulness well into his adulthood.
It is this cherry picking of issues, petitioners and the amicus curiae that raise serious concerns about the ideological agenda of the Pakistani Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of Pakistan has taken the hapless acting chairperson of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority (PEMRA), Mr Abdul Jabbar to task again. Remember the grainy video of the chairperson being grilled by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, while presiding over a full court meeting recently? At that time, he had come under fire after a ‘planted’ interview of the Bahria Town fame Malik Riaz was aired on a private television channel. It is pertinent to recall details of that episode as the august court has developed a penchant for taking up serious, yet simple issues, with an unusual populist sensationalism.
In that video the Chief Justice was seen sitting at the head of the table, which had his brother judges comfortably occupying the other seats. The PEMRA chairperson was then called to the front and made to stand next to the Chief Justice. There did not appear to be a chair for him there and neither was one offered to him. The chairperson, with a stack of files under his arm, stood there literally trembling. The spectacle was reminiscent of a harsh schoolmaster chastising his unruly student. Now the chairperson himself was not an accused in the matter and obviously not a serf of the Supreme Court to have been subjected to such humiliation. To add insult to injury, the whole episode was being recorded and was subsequently released to the media. With whose permission the cameras were allowed in that room, we might never know. The release of the video was never probed or owned by the court. No matter what the rationale behind the court’s decision to let the poor man’s ordeal be televised, this is certainly not what is meant by the adage that justice must also be seen to have been done.
But this time around the honourable court was apparently relaying its displeasure on certain ‘objectionable’ programmes being televised on various channels in Pakistan. The court has taken upon itself, inter alia, to act as the moral police or more accurately as the nation’s nanny. It has set out to decide for the people what is, or is not, vulgar or obscene. The three-member bench of the SC was deliberating on a letter filed by the former Jamaat-e-Islami chief, Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Justice (retired) Wajihuddin of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf against what they alleged was obscenity on the television channels.
By: Humza Ikram
….. But in contrast to the hopeful symptoms, when I listen to the constitutional experts, none of them is optimistic. All are arguing that in the presence of SC’s judgment expecting something different is reckless because the previous decision was given by 17 judges, but now the bench has been reduced to mere five, so it is impossible to defy the verdict of 17 over 5.
In this regard, Former CJ, Saeed u Zaman Siddiqui says there cannot be any change possible in the previous judgment; they eventually have to write the letter, there is no possibility of any other option. And then we heard another remark from the CJ to the public exclaiming that whatever the court has said, it will happen, nothing can be done against it. It seems as if he is dictating the Supreme Court sitting bench.
After listening all of them, it is obvious that there is no option left for the Government to provide any middle way, then why the Supreme Court has done this gag with the nation? Aren’t they aware of it? What was the need of giving 15 days hope to the nation? If it was not just a gag from the SC, then now it is the responsibility of Supreme Court to offer a possible solution. So, after a lot of contemplation that what will be the Government’s stance on 8th of August, seeing the evident thinking of CJ. There is no other possible way for the Attorney General that in spite of submitting any argument in the court, he should straight away sing a famous song from Dillip Kumar’s golden film Devdas before the honorable court:
As the Supreme Court ups the ante against the new prime minister, the battle between various stakeholders in Pakistan is likely to get intense
By: Ayesha Siddiqa Independent Social Scientist
…. the most challenging act seems to be the case against Chief Justice Iftikhar’s son Arsalan Iftikhar. Allegedly, Arsalan blackmailed real estate tycoon Malik Riaz into paying him more than PKR 36 crore in bribe for getting favourable judgments in cases being heard in the Supreme Court. Although nothing has been definitely proven against him as yet, the glitterati of Lahore talk about Arsalan’s extravagant lifestyle, which comes as a surprise since he didn’t have a job three years ago. The Chief Justice comes from a humble background and claims to have no property, a statement that adds to the complexity of his son’s fortune. Riaz, who is considered as being close to both the military and Zardari, has continued to point fingers at Arsalan, his father and the entire family for extorting money and favours out of him.
The Arsalan-Riaz case is now being heard by the Supreme Court and probed independently by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising members from the country’s prime anti-fraud agency, the National Accountability Bureau, the Islamabad Police and the Federal Investigation Agency. Clearly, this is a card in the government’s hand that Chief Justice Iftikhar and his team of close aides seem to try to destroy by casting aspersions on the JIT’s credibility. It is not a coincidence that after every hearing by the JIT, there is an effort by the pro-Chief Justice wing of a certain media group to point fingers at the credibility of JIT. The effort increases around every hearing by the court or the investigating team.
The yet-to-be-proven case of extortion and the players involved in it make the head spin at the complexity of the case. According to sources, Riaz, who is reputed to be an “ISI asset”, could not have taken the risk of so brutally challenging the Chief Justice without taking the security establishment on board. The question is how does one juxtapose this assumption against another that the higher judiciary has the army’s support to destabilise the government?
by: Mohammad Khan Sial
SINDH – KARACHI: The attorney general of Pakistan told a five-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on August 2, that the Supreme Court has always exonerated military dictators by targeting democratic governments. The attorney general’s comments are based on facts irrespective of intentions. I would humbly suggest that all the judges who have validated military dictatorships in the past should be tried for their decisions under Article 6 of the Constitution.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.
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By Sidrah Moiz Khan
Abidi held Justice Chaudhry responsible for the alleged financial impropriety done by his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar
While hurling fiery allegations at Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Faisal Raza Abidi on Sunday demanded a resignation from him and other judges who were reinstated under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).
During a press conference in Islamabad, Abidi held Justice Chaudhry responsible for the alleged financial impropriety done by his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.
The senator said that if the chief justice does not tender a resignation, then he will “force him out from the same way he had been restored as a judge.”
“He [Justice Chaudhry] says that he did not have any idea where his son got all that money from…I ask, when the case emerged, did you ask him where he got Rs900 million from?”
The senator produced bank account statements of Dr Arsalan and said that the person who used to “work under somebody else” now owns billions of rupees. He also showed that the billing address mentioned was that of the Chief Justice House in Islamabad.
“You [Justice Chaudhry] are to be blamed for this. This happened right in front of you. You cannot pretend to not know anything. Who gave Dr Arsalan the right to use government’s property for running his own businesses? Could he not rent out an office in some other area?
Dr Arsalan used CJP House’s address for commercial deals
LAHORE: According to reliable sources, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry was using the official address of Chief Justice House, Islamabad, for commercial purposes.
He was even using this address for his company with the name and style F.E.A. (Pvt) Ltd. Huge amounts, reportedly over Rs 300 million, were deposited in the account of this company owned by Arsalan Iftikhar with the correspondence address of Chief Justice House. It is a matter of concern that how an account could be opened in the name of a private limited company with the address of Chief Justice House.
This is a clear violation of Know Your Customers (KYC) instructions of the State Bank of Pakistan, which are required to be religiously followed by all banks and financial institutions of the country. Legally and morally, it cannot be comprehended as to how the official residence of the Chief Justice of Pakistan can be used for commercial deals.
The huge amounts which reportedly were credited as a matter of routine since 2009 in the accounts of Arsalan Iftikhar also raises the question as to why not a single Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) was ever generated.
ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday dissolved the Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) which was investigating Arsalan-Iftikhar case after the Supreme Court had stopped it from conducting inquiry for two days, DawnNews reported.
A two member bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Khilji Arif heard the review case of alleged corruption of Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
The Prosecutor General NAB K.K. Agha of the NAB informed the apex court that the accountability bureau will formulate a new team comprising of NAB’s officials.
In reference to yesterday’s court order of stopping the JIT to continue its investigation of the Arsalan –Iftikhar case after one of the members of the team Faisal Memon was accused of being partial, Agha said that “NAB has decided to formulate a new team comprising of its own officials.” Adding that, “the bureau does not doubt the credibility of Memon, but it is for the greater good that we form a new investigation team.”
On the petition of Malik Riaz’s attorney Zahid Bukhari, the apex court directed the investigation teams and other sub ordinate courts, who are dealing with other cases of Riaz and his family, to perform their duties without getting under pressure of the proceedings of Arsalan-iftikhar case.
The apex court subsequently adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period of time.
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More details » BBC urdu
Round table on Judicialization of politics organized by School of Political and Strategic communication (SPSC) Islamabad.
Courtesy: SPSC » YouTube
The state simply sees the Baloch aspirations and their demand for rights as an obstacle to their strategic and economic plans
The Supreme Court (SC) hearings on the missing persons in Balochistan are ending inconclusively without having done anything for the majority of the missing or reducing the agony of their relatives. Moreover, it seems that these hearings may become a reason for further aggravating the already bad conditions for the Baloch because the Chief Justice’s statement ‘there is a constitutional breakdown in Balochistan’ has serious implications. It implies that a constitutional breakdown requires special and emergency measures. Already one Baig Raj, president of Punjab Forum, in a national daily demanded that the government give it serious consideration and suggested that the situation in Balochistan be normalised by initiating a massive military operation after imposing governor’s rule. The Baloch are wondering if all these hearings were for laying the groundwork for justifying just this eventuality.
These hearings have been marked by the stubborn adamancy of the Frontier Corps (FC) in rejecting what the SC terms incontrovertible evidence against it. During the last hearing, the SC ordered it to produce the missing persons, but in a written statement, the FC submitted that it had conducted “internal inquiries” and found the group of missing people “was not held in the custody of FC”, adding that in many cases, insurgents dressed in FC uniforms committed “high profile acts of terrorism and heinous crimes…thus bringing (a) bad name to this federal organisation”. Period. End of story. They do not have the missing persons; moreover, imposters dressed in FC uniforms do evil to give the ‘saintly’ FC a bad name. Surprisingly, it also sought police powers to conduct a door-to-door search for the missing as if their vast arbitrary powers were not enough. Resorting to denial helps them because here no authority has the authority to verify and disprove their bogus denials.
Ironically, the FC’s claim that insurgents don their uniforms to kidnap people belies their other claim that insurgents have no influence in Balochistan, amply showing how inefficient the FC and police actually are. These unbelievable childish fairy tales are an insult to human intelligence. Simply put, the army and the FC want to persist with the policy of repression and brutality to subdue the Baloch. It seems that all these claims and disregard of law are aimed at prompting the SC to come up with a verdict about the need to right the situation created by the constitutional breakdown. It needs to be emphasised that as far as the Baloch are concerned, they are being ruled by emergency powers that the army and FC enjoy. The ‘constitutional breakdown’ verdict may just formalise the emergency powers but these will neither bring back the missing persons nor end the frequent sectarian attacks.
LAHORE, July 24: The Supreme Court has allowed an appeal by the Punjab Bakers and Sweet Federation and set aside a notification by the Punjab government through which the price of a Samosa was fixed at Rs6.
In 2009, the City District Government of Lahore on the instruction of the Punjab government had fixed price of a samosa at Rs6 and the magistrates had imposed fine on shopkeepers for selling samosa at higher rates.
The Punjab Bakers and Sweets Federation through its president Muhammad Afzal had challenged this order before the Lahore High Court. Their petition was dismissed and then an appeal was filed before apex court against the dismissal of the petition.
The appellant argued that a Samosa was not an item notified under the Punjab Foodstuffs (Control) Act of 1958. He said the government had no power to fix by the price of a Samosa.
On the other hand, Punjab government’s counsel argued that the government had the jurisdiction to fix prices of all items being sold to the public at large. After hearing both sides the Supreme Court set aside the impugned notification.
The crux of the Supreme Court’s cases against various PPP leaders has been the unassailable assertion that no one should be above the law, no matter how powerful they are. By not appearing before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, has now gifted the PPP with the same argument. Arsalan contends that he did not receive any summonses from NAB, an excuse that will not wash, since all he had to do was pick up a newspaper to know that he was expected to appear before the body. Arsalan seems like the typical son of privilege, a man who has sailed through life by using his father’s name. He has to answer for his misdeeds and his stonewalling is merely delaying the inevitable.
* AGP tells court ‘PM can’t be asked for implementation of an un-implementable direction’
* SC returns federation’s reply, says only remedy available is to file review
By Hasnaat Malik
ISLAMABAD: Declining to implement Supreme Court’s (SC) December 16, 2009 judgement on the NRO case, the government on Tuesday said the premier is not authorised to write letter to Swiss authorities …..
Read more » Daily Times
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More details » BBC urdu
By: Yousuf Nasim
Over the last two decades, a significant amount of work has been done in Pakistan on the Constitutional subject of Judicial Independence. While the Al-Jehad Trust Case set the stage for this development by limiting political interference in the process of judicial appointments, the doctrine – as it exists in Pakistan today – reached its nadir with the Supreme Court’s order in Nadeem Ahmed v Federation of Pakistan, which precluded perceived nascent threats to independence through the proposed 18th Amendment. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which followed shortly thereafter, crystallised the predominance of the judiciary insofar as fresh appointments were concerned. Today the process is overseen by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, which is composed primarily of sitting judges. The JCP nominates individuals for consideration to a Parliamentary Committee, whose decision is open to judicial review.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the federation’s request of a full court to hear the petitions against the recently passed contempt of court law, DawnNews reported.
A five-judge bench of the apex court comprising Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Shakirullah Jan, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jilani heard the petitions against the new law.
Justice Louise Arbour has a distinguished career devoted to promoting the principles of justice. Currently serving as the President of the International Crisis Group, Justice Arbour is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. As such, she knows a thing or two about the importance of an independent judiciary in developing countries and emerging democracies. That’s why, when Justice Arbour expresses concerns about the looming constitutional crisis in Pakistan, her concerns merit serious consideration.
An ardent supporter of Pakistan’s 2007 “Lawyer’s Movement” to restore judges deposed by Gen. Musharraf, Justice Arbour had hoped to see a new era for the Court, one that broke with its past of supporting military dictators and their mangling the Constitution and the rule of law. Today, she fears that those same justices have become “intoxicated with their own independence,” and that the current direction of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justices threatens to upend the very democratic order that restored them to the bench.
Speaking to a crowded auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, Justice Arbour noted that the current tension between Pakistan’s Supreme Court and its elected officials might seem like a political soap opera were it not for Court’s history of collusion with the military to suppress democracy. Judges “who took an oath to a military dictator are not well placed to make the decision” to remove democratically elected officials, she observed, referring to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s 1999 oath under Gen. Musharraf’s Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). While not inevitable, Justice Arbour said, it is possible that Pakistan’s Supreme Court could end up dissolving the democratically elected government with the help of the military, putting in place an extended caretaker government in what would be, for all intents and purposes, another coup.
During her visit to Pakistan, she assured the room, she met with no government officials. Her interest was in the views of the legal community, whom she found deeply divided, seemingly on political lines. This troubled the former Justice, who worries that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has become increasingly politicized, threatening its credibility. She pointed to the memo commission, which she said “reflected very poorly on the judiciary,” and added to the appearance of growing politicization.
The present case, in which the Supreme Court has ordered the Prime Minister to write a letter to Swiss authorities requesting that criminal cases be reinstated against the President, adds to the appearance of an increasingly politicized judiciary. From a legal perspective, the issue centers on one of separation of powers. In fact, Pakistan’s Chief Justice has repeatedly stated recently that “parliament is not supreme.” In questions such as these, where the Supreme Court has a vested interest in the outcome, Justice Arbour suggests that it is all the more important that court show self-restraint and frame its decisions in a way that “advances the authority of all institutions,” not only its own.
Abdul Qadir Gilani wins by-poll from father’s constituency
MULTAN: The by-poll for the National Assmebly’s seat NA-151 (Multan-IV), vacated by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after being disqualified by the Supreme Court, has been won by his son Abdul Qadir Gilani, DawnNews reported on Thursday.
The main candidate, beside Gilani, who was contesting on Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket, was independent candidate Shaukat Hayat Khan Bosan, who had informal support of both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI), [-- & Jamaat-e-Islami--].
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In the darkest days of dictatorship, because of the previous role of some courageous judges, their respected and somewhat inviolable positions, the public has always considered the judiciary as a ray of hope
Primarily what is wrong with our judiciary is that apparently it is corrupt. No! This is not a jaundiced personal opinion; this is according to the rating of Transparency International. Among the primary 10 institutions in the country previously, the judiciary was very low in the ‘corruption’ ratings. In 2008 and 2009, it rocketed up to number three, in 2010, it was number six and in 2011, it was number four. Such an increase in corruption is understandable because of the inadequacy of the judicial accountability regime.. A vocal section of the public and media influence public opinion considerably, and in the eyes of this section, the judiciary with its newfound independence can do no wrong. It is about time somebody revealed the other side of the picture. In this country, it has always been a problem of who will check the corruption of those who are checking corruption.