ISLAMABAD: After all the real and perceived threats to the life of the former military ruler, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf escaped a court appearance due to a reported heart attack on Thursday morning.
ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Upper House of the Parliament Thursday demanded action against former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his crimes against constitution, democracy, political leadership and the nation.
They also demanded from the caretaker interior minister to inform the House how he escaped from the court to his residence and “why a former General could not be arrested if the elected prime ministers of the country can be sent to jails.”
Speaking on points of order, the senators claimed that double standard existed in the country in violation of the Constitution which considers every Pakistani equal before the law.
“We have been talking of the rule of law and independence of judiciary. But, today we have seen that it is easy to send an elected prime minister to jail but a former General and military dictator cannot be arrested,” remarked senior PPPP Senator Raza Rabbani.
“In Pervez Musharraf’s case it is test of time. When the court had ordered to arrest him, then why he was not arrested. It’s a question mark,” Rabbani added.
He charged Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the abetment of killing of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, abrogating the constitution and house arresting the judges of superior judiciary.
“Musharraf is a usurper who twice abrogated the Constitution. He was announced to be arrested but he safely fled in connivance with state institutions. The caretaker government was responsible to arrest him and the interior minister should inform the House why the government had not fulfilled its obligations,” Rabbani said.
PPPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said he does not hold caretaker government responsible for his escape. “I have been looking the state apparatus very closely. There are two laws and double standards in the country. If we could not mend it over the time how we can hold the caretakers responsible for these double standards.”
.This act of the former military ruler “underscores his disregard for due legal process and indicates his assumption that as a former army chief and military dictator he can evade accountability for abuses”, Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
“It is essential that Pakistan’s military authorities which are protecting the former dictator comply with the Islamabad High Court’s orders and ensure that he presents himself for arrest,” the statement added.
It further said that “continued military protection for General Musharraf will make a mockery of claims that Pakistan’s armed forces support the rule of law and bring the military further disrepute that it can ill afford.”
ISLAMABAD: General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday escaped from the premises of the Islamabad High Court after the cancellation of his bail application by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the judges detention case.
Immediately after the bail cancellation, police tried to reach the former military ruler but he was escorted by his personal security, fleeing in his bullet-proof black four-wheeler.
“Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf’s bail and ordered his arrest in the judges’ detention case today,” said Muhammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party.
In a written judgement printed in English, the IHC ordered that: “He (Musharraf) be taken into custody and dealt with in accordance with law.”
The detailed verdict issued by the Islamabad High Court ordered for terrorism to be added to the list of charges against the former military ruler. The order further said that Musharraf’s exit from the court earlier during the day warranted for separate charges to be filed against him.
According to reports, Musharraf’s lawyers reached the Supreme Court to file a pre-arrest bail application in order avoid his surrender to the police.
However, the SC returned the 14-page bail application as the timings for the Registrar’s office had ended. Musharraf’s lawyers are now expected to resubmit the appeal on Friday.
After departing from the IHC’s premises, Musharraf had reached his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, a suburban area on the outskirts of Islamabad where security was beefed up and all entry and exit routes to the area were blocked.
It was an escape worthy of a Hollywood thriller. Moments after the Islamabad High Court cancelled former Pakistani military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf’s bail, making him liable for arrest, the barrel-chested ex-commando hastened out of the court room. Musharraf’s heavy security detail whisked him away into a bulletproof back SUV and sped off into the distance. Pakistan’s once absolute ruler became a fugitive.
To stave off the prospect of nights behind narrowly spaced bars, Musharraf has taken refuge in his fortified five-acre farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad. If he does get arrested on the high court’s orders, he may be spared the indignity of a lonely dark cell and be allowed to spend his time between court hearings under house arrest. As yet, the police have held back on arresting him and have instead put up a security cordon. Riot police wearing helmets and thick padding, holding shields and twirling long sticks blocked the main road leading Musharraf’s home.
(TIME 100: Malala Yousafzai)
Normally, the police wouldn’t hesitate to arrest a civilian politician, as they often did during Musharraf’s rule. But their reluctance reveals just how sensitive the matter is. If Musharraf is arrested, he will become the first former army chief to have his wrists clasped in cold metal – a precedent few generals will be comfortable with. If he is put on trial, there is a risk that current members of the military leadership could get dragged into the legal quandary. “The army leadership will be involved in it,” says retired Lieut. Gen. Talat Masood, an analyst. “They cannot get away from it. They were involved in the decisions he took.”
Musharraf is facing charges of sacking and arresting scores of judges when he imposed a state of emergency in November 2007. The court’s move on Thursday was no doubt inflected by a strong element of revenge. As Musharraf fled the courtroom, angry lawyers chased after his vehicle. “Look, look who has run! Musharraf has run, Musharraf has run!” they chanted, in slogans reminiscent of the final year of Musharraf’s rule, when a popular lawyer-led movement to restore the judges and end military rule harried him.
Fearing that the army’s image would be tainted by his return, the current crop of top generals warned him not to hazard his journey back to Pakistan from foreign exile. “The army’s leadership warned him of all this,” says Masood. “They tried to dissuade him from coming to Pakistan.” The former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency even travelled to London to urge him to reconsider his plans at one stage. But Musharraf was determined to stage a political comeback, telling Pakistanis that he had returned to “save” the country when he arrived in Karachi a month ago. Since his arrival, though, the army has provided him with a large security escort in light of the threats he faces.
By Amar Sindu
Today is February 24. Last year, on the same date, Rinkle was picked up from her house. Her house was left in a state that suggested that a burglary had occurred and valuables were stolen. Her dupatta and her chappals were left lying on the doorstep.
When she was first presented in a court in Mirpur Mathelo, she requested to be returned to her parents. The court, instead of listening to her, replied that she ‘was confused’ and therefore, should spend time reconsidering the predicament and handed her back to her abductors. It was as if the court was confused itself.
She was presented in court again on Feb 28, where, in her statement, she recited the kalma and became ‘Faryal Bibi’ from Rinkle. The entire process took less than 10 minutes. Her conversion to Islam was greeted by aerial firing by her captors who had brought her to court surrounded by armed guards. This was a new victory for them.
‘Faryal Bibi’ was then taken to Dargah Bharchondi’s seat-bearer and PPP’s Mian Mithu, while the gunfire echoed across the town. She was his guest and was taken to and from court surrounded by his guards. Actually, this victory was not the only feather in the dargah’s cap. The dargah’s deeds, ranging from the Manzalgah mosque that became famous for its role during the pre-Partition communal riots in Sindh to the assassination of the singer Bhagat Kunwar Ram of the Hindu faith, were oft repeated. The dargah commonly converted non-Muslims to Islam before the Partition and this exercise continues steadily today.
By Joel Brinkley
Distracted by the deadly violence in Mali and Algeria, no one seems to be paying adequate attention to the tragicomedy under way in Pakistan.
This matters because events of the last several weeks demonstrate without equivocation that Pakistan is an utterly failed state – but one that possesses nuclear weapons. The country is tumbling down the abyss. Where else could a fundamentalist Muslim cleric who lives in Canada draw tens of thousands of fans to a rally calling for dissolution of the government – speaking from inside a shipping container with a bulletproof window?
That’s just one in a litany of absurdities going on there.
At the same time comes the latest round of unresolvable acrimony between President Asif Ali Zardari and the country’s Supreme Court, which has been trying to bring him down for years.
Courtesy: San Francisco Chronicle
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday admitted a petition filed against Sherry Rehman over allegedly committing blasphemy, DawnNews reported.
The petition was heard by a two-judge bench of the apex court comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Ejaz Afzal.
The bench directed CPO Multan Amir Zulfiqar to take action in accordance with the law.
The petition against Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, was filed by Faheem Akhtar Gill, a citizen of Multan.Gill had requested to the court to register a case against Rehman for allegedly committing blasphemy.
The petition claims that Rehman had committed blasphemy while speaking on a news channel two years ago.
In Nov 2010, Rehman had submitted a bill to the National Assembly Secretariat seeking an end to the death penalty under the existing blasphemy laws.
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.
The European colonists who took over Minnesota were cold-bloodedly ruthless and brutal in defence of their transgressions against the real masters of the land
Every year, since 2005, some motivated Dakota Indians make a 300-mile trek on horseback in frigid winter temperatures to revive the memory of the 1862 travesty of justice when 38 of their ancestors were executed at Mankato in the biggest mass hanging in US history. To mark the sesquicentennial anniversary, this year’s ride began on December 10 in Crow Creek, South Dakota, the reservation the Dakota were exiled to from Minnesota, and ended on December 26 in Mankato. These hangings had followed kangaroo-court convictions of 303 Sioux Indians. Some trials of the thousands who surrendered after the defeat in the Dakota War of 1862, aka the Sioux Uprising, or Little Crow’s War, lasted less than five minutes. This public mass execution was on a single scaffold platform and the dead were buried en masse in a trench that was reopened that night and bodies distributed among the doctors.
When Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858, the Dakota Indian bands’ representatives led by Little Crow the Sioux chief travelled to Washington, DC to negotiate the implementation of treaties. Instead, the northern half of the reservation along the Minnesota River was also taken and Pipestone quarry rights abolished. The Indian land was divided into townships and plots for settlement. Logging and agriculture eliminated surrounding forests and prairies and interrupted the Dakotan’s annual cycle of farming, hunting, fishing and gathering wild rice. Uncontrolled settler hunting dramatically reduced bison, elk, whitetail deer and bear, decreasing Dakota meat supply and reducing their furs’ sale. The Dakota Indians became increasingly discontented over their loss of land, non-payment of annuities, past broken treaties, food shortages and famines following crop failures.
Who wants elections on time and who does not
By: Shaheen Sehbai
DUBAI: Dark clouds appear to be hovering over the prospects of the upcoming general elections following the Supreme Court orders to carry out a door-to-door campaign in Karachi, led by the Pakistan Army, to check ID cards and voter lists, an arduous, dangerous and a time-consuming task in every sense.
But who will gain and who will lose, who wants a delay and who will resist any postponement, why and how this will be done, is a different story.
A bird’s eye view will show that no political party has actually opposed the door-to-door verification of voters, but some of them have stated, including the most affected party, the MQM, that this exercise should be conducted throughout the country, if at all.
The political argument behind this demand is that since it would be an impossible task to accomplish countrywide, it would also somehow save Karachi from the corrective operation.
The MQM wants early elections for many reasons. The most urgent, and a recent one, is the developing situation in London where the Dr Imran Farooq case has taken a sudden and surprising turn with the raid on the MQM headquarters following Scotland Yard’s decision to include the top MQM leadership in the probe.
Gathering evidence, staying there for almost 48 hours, questioning top leaders and the possibility that even homes may be visited or restrictions imposed on travel outside Britain has added a sense of mystery and possibly a looming threat.
The uncertainty caused back home is even greater and since there is no announced chain of command in MQM (the next best option to Altaf Hussain being the Rabita Committee and no clear picture as to who controls it) fears can quickly grow that MQM may split if Mr Hussain somehow gets entangled in the London probe.
The proud claim of the MQM leader, that his party has no family hierarchy and no next of kin to take over the reins, can ultimately prove damaging, as a good policy has not been followed up with the logical next step of putting up a chain of command elected by the party in Karachi. Naming an interim party head even now could prevent some bitter infighting in case of an emergency.
The party thus badly needs an election so that all energies get focused on winning seats and this needs to happen before any charges are framed in London against its leaders, if at all.
The Supreme Court has, however, put cold water on its plans and thus the recent outbursts against the judiciary were heard in much more shrieking tones, something that resurrected memories of May 12, 2007. The only difference this time is that there is no dictator in Islamabad to provide protection, muscle and back up to the hard talk. The ultimate result may thus be that PPP may ask for a better price, more concessions on the local bodies issue and a more dominant role vis-à-vis the MQM, if the PPP-MQM alliance has to last. The reality is that MQM now needs the PPP more than the other way around.
The PPP is laughing and secretly enjoying the verdict of the Supreme Court as it puts the MQM on the mat. After having denied the MQM for four years the right to run Karachi and Hyderabad, through the local bodies system, the PPP could now go for a kill by ordering the military-led verification operation, wishing that MQM would be cut to size.
ISLAMABAD: A petition challenging the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, DawnNews reported.
The apex court admitted the petition, filed by Barrister Zameer Ghumro, for hearing on Nov 8.
Ghumro stated in the petition that the Sindh Assembly had violated the Constitution by passing the local government bill.
He also stated in the petition that the Sindh government had transferred executive powers to metropolitan corporations without having the power to do so.
The apex court admitted the petition for hearing and issued notices to Attorney General Irfan Qadir and Advocate-General Sindh Abdul Fateh Malik, for the hearing on Nov 8.
Previously, the passing of the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 had received relentless resistance from the main opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly, as well the nationalist parties in Sindh.
During court proceeding on Thursday, Chief Justice LHC Umar Ata Bundial remarked that as it is a question of national interest, the court would definitely order in favour of the dam’s construction.
LAHORE: The Awami National Party (ANP) announced on Thursday that it would oppose the construction of the controversial Kalabagh Dam to “their very last breath”, DawnNews reported.
ANP spokesperson Zahid Khan told DawnNews on Thursday that the dam was a conspiracy for national destruction and the Lahore High Court (LHC) should remain careful while making any decisions on the matter.
Khan said that the ANP would offer the same sacrifices again as it did in its fight against terrorism.
The construction of the controversial hydroelectric dam, proposed to be built at Kalabagh in Punjab’s Mianwali district, is a thorny political issue likely to fuel further tension between Punjab and the provinces of Sindh and Khyber Pakhthunkhwa.
The Lahore High Court is currently hearing petitions for the construction of Kalabagh dam, which is believed to be able end the country’s power crisis.
During court proceeding on Thursday, Chief Justice LHC Umar Ata Bundial remarked that as it is a question of national interest, the court would definitely order in favour of the dam’s construction.
Veteran politician Rasool Bux Palijo has claimed that the Thar coal project was being delayed to pave the way for the Kalabagh dam
Veteran politician fears Kalabagh dam project being revived
HYDERABAD, Oct 23: Awami Tehreek (AT) chairman Rasool Bux Palijo has claimed that the Thar coal project was being delayed to pave the way for the Kalabagh dam.
Speaking to reporters at the Palijo House in Qasimabad on Tuesday, he said that a petition had recently been filed in the Lahore High Court to seek the go-ahead for the Kalabagh dam project but the PPP government, which had been opposing it for years, was taking no notice of the move.
“The Kalabagh dam plan is a matter of life and death for Sindh,” he reminded the PPP, and told the media that under a conspiracy water downstream Kotri barrage was to be stopped and this would render Sindh’s agricultural lands barren forcing the affected landowners to dispose of their lands at cheap rates.
“This [Kalabagh] is the plan is for the destruction of Sindh,” he remarked, and said that millions of Sindhi people would oppose it tooth and nail.
Quoting the Lahore High Court observation that the government was not serious about building the dam, Mr Palijo apprehended that the court was going to give its verdict in favour of the petitioner.
“The PPP is very likely to continue with its lip service to the issue,” the veteran politician predicted. He spoke about the strong resistance to the project put up by the PPP when it was led by Benazir Bhutto, and said that the PPP along with the Awami Tehreek had staged a historical sit-in at Kammo Shaheed in Aug 1998 and declared that it would never allow construction of any dam on the Indus.
ISLAMABAD – Awami National Party (ANP) has decided to file a petition against Sindh government for non-implementation of Supreme Court’s ruling in Karachi-unrest case. Sources said ANP’s counsel Iftikhar Gilani has started preparing the petition and will file it in the Supreme Court next week.
The petition will support the stance that the Sindh government has deliberately been indifferent to the verdict of the apex court in Karachi, Sindh, sou motu case and has not implemented it, sources added.
The petitioner will stress upon the notion that all the office-holders of the Sindh government are creating hurdles in the way of peace in Karachi, Sindh. He would state that certain high-level political personalities are backing the criminal elements in Karachi such that workers of some political parties are involved in extortion.
The petitioner is expected to state that political influence dominates Sindh police and the authorities hire the ‘ favorites’ in the department.
Courtesy: Pakistan Today
Iqbal Haider Former Chairman Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in an exclusive interview with Noor ul Arfeen Siddiqui in fresh episode of Hot Seat on Aaj News.
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.”
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.
From Indian Kanoon:
“ It is reported that it was at the Taj Mahal Hotel ballroom that, on February 20, 1918, at her eighteenth birthday party, Ruttie had accepted Mr Jinnah’s hand in marriage while the band was playing the Chopin tune, So Deep is the Night. It is also reported that both Mr. Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan, and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the President of the Indian National Congress, often held court at Taj Mahal Hotel.
Mr. Jinnah also had an intimate connection with Mazgaon, where the bomb planted by two terrorists in a taxi exploded, killing three (3) and wounding nineteen (19) people. It is reported that Mr. Jinnah devoted Thursday afternoons to visiting the grave of his wife Ruttie at the Khoja Shiite Isna’ashri Cemetry, situated at Mazgaon, Mumbai.
One wonders what Quaid-e-Azam would have thought of the terrorist attack on his favourite city in the subcontinent and especially on Taj Mahal Hotel, with which he had a personal relationship of a very intimate kind.”
Read more » Pak Tea House
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.
Isn’t it strange that he consider vulgarity on TV to be Haram [unIslamic] and immoral. However, the income he pocket every month from this vulgarity is Halal and moral!
Letter to Ansar Abbasi on vulgarity
By: Farooq Sulehria
Dear Mr. Ansar Abbasi,
When I recently heard about your latest crusade against vulgarity and obscenity, planned in connivance with our puritan Chief Qazi, I could not help laughing aloud.
By moving the Supreme Court against obscenity and vulgarity on television channels, you have indeed exposed the bankruptcy of the Moral Brigade’s policing of women’s bodies.
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.
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.
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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By RAPHAEL MINDER
MADRID — Spain’s image suffered another blow on Thursday when the chief justice of the Supreme Court resigned after being accused by a fellow judge of claiming vacations as business expenses.
The court’s chief justice, Carlos Dívar, also quit as leader of another institution, the General Council of the Judiciary, which acts as the administrator of Spain’s judiciary.
Chief Justice Dívar’s expense scandal came to light while the judiciary was being strained by several corruption cases against politicians from the country’s main parties. The monarchy has also been tainted by the investigations, with the son-in-law of King Juan Carlos I becoming the first member of the royal family to appear in court, in February.
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.