The new neutral – A new ethos is needed to replace old biases, discrimination and non-neutrality in diplomacy
When individual or collective conflicts push politics into a blind alley, neutrality becomes key to mediation and resolution. Mediation, in all its forms—cultural, individual, collective or judicial—requires neutrality. If seen through the lens of diplomatic history among nations and the cultural history of people, neutrality embodied with justice has not only been successful in bringing about peace but also sustaining it. Hence, the diversified nature of conflicts, inter- as well as intra-state, ethnic and group require the exhibition of extreme neutrality for a judicious and sustainable resolution of the antagonism that is destined to lead all of us towards collective destruction.
No sides to take
Inter- and intra-state, ethnic and national conflicts have frequently occurred in the post-modern world. The post-World War League of Nations, which culminated into the UN, was an outcome of many international/European treaties among nations, which were neither judicious nor brokered by neutral mediators. Hence, it provided a reason for World War II. The two World Wars were waged between colonisers and aspirants holding colonial ambitions, seeking maximum control over colonies and their wealth and natural resources. Thus, the birth of the UN became inevitable since a neutral body was the niche of the modern era of statehood. Meanwhile, the powerful among the countries also formed parallel alliances at regional and international levels to further their interests.
No doubt, the UN has gradually transcended into a comparatively neutral forum since the world needed to go a step forward to formulate an international legal framework, not only for the member states but also for the citizens of member states. However, it is the our duty to introduce further reforms, agree upon new legal and policy frameworks, reform the structure and the authority to exhibit maximum neutrality and impartiality.
Nations, governments and international institutions always have to deal with a complex patchwork of relations and behaviours when they have to switch between neutrality and securing their interests. Since national interest has mostly superseded justice and neutrality in interest-based competitions, diplomacy and internal-external engagements, neutrality today has become an absurdity. This was evident in the recent political crises in Syria and Ukraine. It has also been observed in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Kurdistan Movement, the Tibetan issue and the freedom movement in Sindh and Balochistan in Pakistan.
In fact, the absence of justice-based neutrality, both in nation-states and international and regional forums like the UN, Saarc and the Organisation of Islamic Countries, despite coming up with remedies have also been deepening the old wounds of the people. This has resulted in the rise of gross human rights violations, ethnic cleansing and war crimes that victimise millions of innocent citizens and dissenters.
Read more » eKantipur
by Anwar Iqbal
WASHINGTON: The United States never thought of consulting Pakistan before raiding the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad because it feared that the ISI was protecting him, writes former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.
Sindhis are so-called Muslims – Justice Musheer Alam
To read more in urdu language » News Plus 24
Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings
By ADAM LIPTAK
WASHINGTON — In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.
The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions. But in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.
The decisions will only intensify the fast-moving debate over same-sex marriage, and the clash in the Supreme Court reflected the one around the nation. In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion striking down the federal law in a stately tone that indicated he was delivering a civil rights landmark. After he finished, he sat stonily, looking straight ahead, while Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a cutting dissent.
Jamil Daudi, the President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) condemns the terrorist attack in Boston Marathon that killed 3 citizens including an innocent eight years old boy and injured over 130 people, many of them are in critical condition. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Boston Marathon. We hope and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured people and wish that the culprits of this cowardly terrorist attack will be caught and brought to justice soon.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 15, 2013.
Access to justice is discriminating against poor and immigrant populations, says a new report by the World Justice Project.
By: Jeff Green, Staff Reporter
A new report from suggests immigrant and poor populations are being discriminated against in Canada because of a limited access to justice. Canada dropped since last year in six of the eight “Rule of Law” factors listed in the report from the World Justice Project.
The report ranked Canada among 97 countries worldwide in categories including government power, corruption, order, fundamental rights, open government, enforcement, and civil and criminal justice.
Some 97,000 people were polled worldwide, in addition to 2,500 experts in 97 countries to compile the report.
Obama promised justice to abused American homeowners. Have they gotten it?
By Yves Smith
Editor’s Note: In his 2012 State of The Union address, President Obama spoke of American homeowners abused by unscrupulous banks and financial institutions. Have they gotten justice? What follows is the first in a new series examining foreclosure settlements and the disturbing patterns of incomptency, malfeasance, and conflicts of interest which have marked their execution. Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism takes a deep dive into the mire of America’s mortage industry and investigates the continued suffering of the public at the hands of greedy predators.
On January 7, 2013, ten servicers entered into an $8.5 billion settlement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve, terminating a foreclosure review process which was set forth in consent orders issued in April 2010. Borrowers who had had foreclosures that were pending or had completed foreclosure sales in 2009 and 2010 could request an investigation by independent reviewers, selected and paid for by the servicers but subject to approval by the OCC.
Thought debtor prison ended in the 18th century? Think again.
Editor’s note: America has a long history of treating the poor like criminals, from legislation banning the transportation of poor people across state lines to anti-vagrancy laws that could land you in jail if you didn’t have a job or a home. We’ve come to rely on the criminal justice system to deal with the poor, even as more and more Americans fall into poverty. The following is part of a series that looks at the diverse ways poverty is criminalized in America, such as laws targeting the homeless, the surveillance of welfare recipients, the re-emergence of debtor’s prisons, and extreme policing tactics like stop-and-frisk.
Kawana Young, a single mother of two kids, was arrested in Michigan after failing to pay money she owed as a result of minor traffic offenses. She was recently laid off from her job, and could not pay the fees she owed because she couldn’t find another source of employment. So a judge sentenced her to three days in jail. In addition, Young was charged additional fees for being booked and for room and board for a place she did not want to be. In total, she has been jailed five times for being unable to pay her debts.
“It doesn’t make sense to jail people when they can’t pay because they definitely can’t pay while they’re in jail,” said Young.
Pakistan is a “fake” country which was created artificially by the Britishers who started the “bogus two-nation theory” – says Justice Markandey Katju
‘What is Pakistan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India’
New Delhi: Pakistan is a “fake” country which was created artificially by the Britishers who started the “bogus two-nation theory”, Press Council of India Chairman Justice (retd) Markandey Katju said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The former Chief Justice of India was confident that in next 15-20 years India and Pakistan would reunite and a strong, powerful, secular and modern minded government would come to power.
He condemned the recent war hysteria created by media in the wake of beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistanis troops in a cross LoC attack in Jammu and Kashmir.
“First of all let me tell you one thing Pakistan is no country. It’s a fake country, it’s artificially created country by the British who had the policy of divide and rule by starting this bogus two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims have two separate nations,” he said at a panel discussion here.
“And we are fools and were taken for a ride by the Britishers. Same artificial entity Pakistan was created. What is Pakistan? It is Punjab and Sindh, which is actually part of India,” he said at the discussion on “Fuelling Indo-Pak Crisis: Mutilation or the media” at Delhi University.
There are fears that the army is thinking of moving against the civilian government. That would be a disaster
IN MOST countries the sight of 50,000 devout Sufis riding into the capital in brightly coloured buses and lorries would not raise the spectre of military intervention. But so convoluted are Pakistan’s politics that the march led by Tahir ul Qadri is read by many as an indication that the army is planning another intervention in government (see article). If that happens, it will be a catastrophe for the country.
Mr Qadri, a cleric who served briefly as a politician under the latest military dictator, has recently returned from Canada and says he wants a “revolution” against the civilian government. He has emerged from nowhere, yet organised a march which arrived in Islamabad on January 14th—no mean feat, since marches are usually banned in the city—and which was broadcast non-stop on television. Pakistan’s many conspiracy theorists, encouraged by the country’s many conspiracies, suspect that he may be the army’s latest favourite to replace the politicians with whom the soldiers have lost patience.
Mr Qadri’s rise is not the only reason Pakistanis have to worry about the soldiers. On January 15th the Supreme Court suddenly ordered the arrest of the prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, over a long-running bribery scandal. The court, along with the army, has long been hostile to the government. There is talk in Pakistan of a “Bangladesh option”, a reference to a quiet coup in that country, engineered by the army in January 2007 and legitimised by the judiciary, leading to a two-year suspension of democracy in favour of unelected technocrats.
If the army were to try to get rid of the civilian government, now would be the time, for two reasons. An election is due this year, and a new administration with a decent mandate would be harder to bin than the tarnished Pakistan Peoples Party government of President Asif Ali Zardari. And this year, too, the chief of army staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, is due to step down. His term in office has already been extended; but he may wish to defer his retirement a little longer.
A recent Pew survey found that Pakistanis are the least enthusiastic about democracy among six Muslim countries polled. That is hardly surprising. After nearly five years of civilian rule, the country is in a desperate state. Terrorist bombings are horribly frequent. The latest, in Balochistan, killed 86 people (see article). The country’s politicians are venal, self-interested and chaotic. Its growth is feeble, its debt unsustainable and its tax revenues have collapsed.
Yet rather than being a solution to Pakistan’s problems, the army is a large part of the reason for them. Its frequent interventions contribute to corruption: politicians reckon they need to make money quickly. Its dominance distorts spending priorities: the government spends around ten times as much on defence as on education. And it undermines the country’s security: the threat of war with India provides a justification for army rule, which is why Pakistanis fear the recent flare-up on the border with India in which five soldiers died.
This could be its big chance
Pakistan could be on the verge of a breakthrough. If the election happens and if it is won by a coalition led by Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister, then it will be the first time that an elected leader has served a full term and handed power to a successor. Such a peaceful transition would be a milestone in Pakistan’s journey towards democracy. It might even help the country get a decent government. It is to be hoped that Pakistan’s soldiers are not thinking of derailing the process. America, which in the past has shown a regrettable ambivalence towards military rule in the country, must make it clear that if they do they will get no support from Pakistan’s friends.
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.
Tahirul Qadri asks govt to bring ‘change’ by Jan 10
By Web Desk
LAHORE: Allama Tahirul Qadri, head of Minhajul Qur’an International (MQI), said the government should improve the current setup by January 10 or else he will lead a protest march to Islamabad on January 14.
Qadri was addressing a gathering named “Siyasat nahi, Riyasat bachao” at Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore.
Criticising those in power, Qadri said in order to save the country, the people of Pakistan must decide if they will let corrupt people represent them.
Referring to the recent investigative report on country’s lawmakers who don’t pay taxes, Qadri said such people should not be allowed to become a part of the parliament.
“How can people who themselves break laws be allowed to sit in the parliament,” he said.
He also said that the parliament formulates laws that are in favour of the lawmakers rather than the people of Pakistan.
Speaking about his political plans, Qadri said his entire agenda is in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan.
He further added that the much-anticipated election should take place but the concerned authorities should ensure it is conducted according to the Constitution.
The fact that the Baloch too have widely mourned his sad demise is a credit to him and his idealism. His was a life worth celebrating
Taimur Rahman, nephew of my friend Chakar Khan, broke the news: “Asad chachu has passed away. I thought you should know. Love, Taimur.” Stunned, I recalled October 29, 1971 when I first met Chakar Khan in the Marri Hills. I had reached camp late in the evening with Batay Khan Marri, now deceased, and Shafi Mohammad Marri, who was disappeared in 1975, and is among the first ones to be disappeared by the Pakistani state. Had he not spoken to me in English, I would have assumed he was a Marri. He in his few months’ stay had learnt the Balochi language well and merged perfectly with the Baloch people. Ahmed Rashed (Balaach) too I met for the first time there; Duleep Dass aka Dali came a month later. Mohammad Bhabha (Murad) was the only one I knew.
It would be an understatement to say that life in the mountains is difficult. It demands a robust, rugged physique and an indomitable mental frame of mind. Mountains rigorously test them both individually and jointly. Terrain, a literal obstacle course, is as varied and taxing as it can get uphill, downhill with precipices and dry riverbeds. Then there is a near total isolation; moreover, there are stark cultural differences and if you are not mentally and physically up to that, you succumb to defeatism and abandon ship. The outsiders who survive in the mountains for a month should be given credit; staying and struggling for years speaks for itself.
Baloch tribesmen are not easily impressed; you have to be either as good as them or possess skills they find useful. Chakar Khan — CK for us — was as good as any Baloch in the difficult terrain and had an absolutely wonderful sense of orientation. Finding your way in the mountains is never easy; moonless nights make it doubly difficult and these problems are compounded in the unmarked plains. Once there was a rendezvous with urban friends near Talli on the Sibi plains; the meeting over, we started back but it soon became apparent we were off the track. The group’s old hands and experienced persons too seemed clueless; it was Chakar who told us to follow him and after a paced 90-minute march, we reached the camp and were deservedly applauded. More importantly, he never lost his ideological orientation, and till the very end remained committed to the cause of the downtrodden whereas I have seen many a person bid ideologies goodbye for a meagre material advantage.
CK’s leadership of Baloch guerrilla groups was inspirational; they trusted him with their lives. The fighters had the utmost confidence in his abilities and accepted his instructions willingly, which in fact meant placing their lives in his hands because a wrong decision meant annihilation of the group. He led up front in the most dangerous of situations, and once in a skirmish, a bullet grazed his forehead but he was undaunted. Once while his group was in the Shak area of the Marri hills, the army conducted a huge sweep to net them. The only option was to seek refuge in the out of the way caves and they remained there for two days. Out of food and water, they decided to make a break at night. Knowing the terrain well, they safely left the danger zone.
There were numerous dangerous close calls but CK remained undeterred and continued fighting for the rights of the oppressed, which he considered as his prime duty to humanity. His trait of fearlessness and dedication, a hallmark of exceptional persons, never deserted him and even after returning he continually fought for the rights of all those who did not stand a chance in this dog-eat-dog world. He was an intrepid leader who inspired confidence even in circumstances where the spectre of death always followed you. His intrinsic leadership qualities saw him become the executive director of Sungi later.
The likelyhood of death sentence being awarded to an 11 year old for alleged blasphemy is symptomatic of the naked abuse of power exercised by religious zealots
By Ayesha Siddiqa, Independent Social Scientist
Let us roll a dice and guess who is more lucky: Abbas, tortured and burnt to death for allegedly blasphemy, or Rimsha who may survive death but will forever be scarred for being nearly sentenced to death on similar charges? Some will probably consider the young Christian girl lucky, compared to Abbas and scores of others who suffered under the archaic blasphemy law.
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.
‘People of other religions busy in useless activities during religious festivals': So say Pakistan’s school books
By Rabia Mehmood
LAHORE: National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has conducted a content analysis of the revised curriculum of Punjab and Sindh textbooks for 2012-2013 for inclusion of biased and discriminatory content against religions other than Islam.
The findings reveal excessive use of the words Hindu, Christian and Jew while discussing the history of Pakistan and Islamic Studies, which portray the said faiths in a negative light.
For example, an Islamic Studies book of Sindh board for class 5, in a chapter on Eid (religious festivals), includes a line saying, “People of other religions usually stay busy in useless activities during their religious festivals. There is no concept of God or submission among them.”
The chapter “Pakistan, an Islamic State” in the same textbook of Punjab board includes this line: “Hindus harmed Muslims in every way.”
The content analysis has been published in Urdu to generate a debate on how the inclusion of discriminatory content in curriculum sows seeds of hatred, and to ensure that the review reaches maximum people.
Number of chapters with biased content PUNJAB:
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.
Islamabad—United Nations has decided to send a delegation to Pakistan for reviewing the situation in Balochistan. Foreign office has been informed in this regard. The UN authorities has written a letter to foreign ministry mentioning that seven-member UN delegation would visit Pakistan from September 10 to 20 to review the situation in Balochisatan.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
By Asad Jamal
June 2012 will go down in the legal and political history of Pakistan as a watershed month as the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan intruded not only the domain of other state institutions and violated the code of conduct for the superior judiciary but also disregarded some of its own recent and not-so recent pronouncements.
It was the June 19 decision to disqualify Yousuf Raza Gilani as a member of the National Assembly (NA) and as Prime Minister of Pakistan that really stole the limelight. The decision, delivered through a short order which states that the reasons for disqualification will be recorded later, has been criticised on various grounds. The critics of the verdict variously call it legally infirm, an encroachment upon the domain of parliament and other constitutional offices, lacking impartiality and being potentially detrimental to democracy in Pakistan.
On the lack of impartiality first: while the decisions of a court may be debated and questioned, the judges should never lose the appearance of impartiality. In a 2006 speech during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the SC, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had said “… independence of judiciary is not an end in itself; it is only a means to the end, and the end for sure is impartiality of judiciary.” Unfortunately, the order for Gilani’s disqualification is a glaring example of the court’s transgression into the jurisdiction of other constitutional offices, if not outright bias.