By: Shaheen Sehbai
Zardari will have to make his decision very quickly on whether he wants to exit with dignity or become a martyr. The days, as they say, are in fact numbered.
ISLAMABAD: The crumbling presidential edifice in the bunkered palace with two green flags on the Constitution Avenue is giving rise to numerous stories, some fiction, some wishful thinking, and some partly true.
The man inside the house is reported by some to be collapsing while others say he is in a defiant mood and will fight till the last. One thing is clear though that a psywar is going on and President Asif Ali Zardari has not many friends who have unflinching faith and commitment to defend him.
The key role is being played by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and it is hard to figure out on whose side he really stands. His own political future is also at stake but his role has assumed the all critical importance because everyone is looking up to him, the civil and military establishment has put its power eggs in his basket as against the president, while his party remains confused and divided. The opposition and most of his coalition partners have abandoned the president but continue to back his handpicked prime minister.
The few who are still standing with Zardari include the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, whose latest brag that there would be no ‘minus-1’ but that if anything happened it would be a ‘minus-342’ (reference to total strength of the National Assembly) is considered by many as the final defeatist declaration that Zardari will not go alone but will take the entire house with him. There are not many takers for Taseer’s threats. On the contrary, the party which President Zardari considered to be his most dependable ally, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, has gone many steps forward to seek his removal from the top office. Almost everyone I met and talked to was surprised at the leap Altaf Hussain had taken from just opposing or abstaining from voting on the NRO to demanding the resignation of Zardari. It was like the last straw on the heavily loaded camel’s back and Zardari was stunned, those around him reported.
His attempt to save the sinking ship by calling Governor of Sindh Ishratul Ebad to Islamabad and then authorising Interior Minister Rehman Malik to fly to Dubai for urgent talks with an MQM delegation from London could be the last desperate effort but as someone who knows the scene reported, “The MQM has closed the doors and has gone to sleep,” meaning that it is no longer interested in seeing Zardari sitting in the Presidency.
Nice words wrapped in high sounding moral logic are being said by MQM to urge Zardari to make his exit dignified but Altaf Hussain is not backtracking from his demand of a resignation. He probably knows more than many in Islamabad. Even when Governor Ebad was rushing to Dubai on Wednesday night after meeting the president, the MQM made it a point to include the resignation issue in the agenda of the Dubai talks expected to begin on Friday.
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.
- – - – - – - – -
- – - – - – - – - -
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?
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.
Dear countrymen, democracy in Pakistan is gone, our country is running under “Judicial coup”[Judicial dictatorship]. Pity the judiciary that some judges have declared “Judicial coup” in Pakistan. May 24th ruling of the Speaker of National Assembly on the issue of PM Yousaf Raza Gilian’s conviction in the contempt of court case was declared void.
The court observed that the speaker had no authority to find faults in the apex court’s judgement and should have sent the disqualification reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan within 30 days. Supreme Court’s disqualification of the sitting Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on 19th June was a practical example of Judicial coup” in Pakistan. And that decision was widely lamented by the world leaders, scholars and journalists round the globe. All the democratic nations, pro-democratic think tanks and groups of scholars, journalists, students of politics and people from all walk of life were deeply shocked, when they heard about disqualification of sitting Prime Minister of Pakistan by biased judiciary.
Yet again, Supreme court is on its way to hunt its prey –another elected prime minister of Pakistan. For to fulfill its nefarious designs, court has accepted petitions against contempt of court act 2012, which was signed into law. It is pertinent to mention here that CJ had already vowed to do declare contempt of court bill null and void before its passing in elected houses both upper and lower.
ISLAMABAD: The government and its coalition partners late on Friday agreed to bring 21st and 22nd constitutional amendments, which will also allow dual nationals to contest elections, DawnNews reported.
The meeting at the Presidency was chaired by President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani also attended it.
Federal Law minister Farooq H. Naek briefed the meeting over proposed bills regarding contempt of court and dual nationality before tabling it in the National Assembly.
The meeting approved 21st and 22nd amendments in the constitution. The latter will allow people having dual nationality to participate in general elections.
The law minister also informed the meeting that process of related lawmaking was in progress over contempt of court issue.
The meeting also decided to protect decisions taken by former PM Gilani between April 26 and June 19.
PRESS RELEASE: Dated: 3-July-2012 – Earlier today the Supreme Court released the detailed judgment in the Speaker’s Ruling case. On 19th June 2012, the Court had passed a Short Order, upholding petitions challenging the ruling of Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Fehmida Mirza. After the conviction of the former PM Yusuf Raza Gilani, the Speaker had to decide whether or not to make a reference to the Election Commission for Mr. Gilani’s disqualification. The Speaker decided that no question of disqualification had arisen, despite the PM having earned a conviction for contempt from the apex Court. Various petitioners, including PTI and PML-N challenged the Spreaker’s ruling. While hearing these petitions, the Court found the Speaker’s decision to be against the law and held that the PM did indeed stand disqualified to be a member of the Parliament. Today detailed reasons have been given for this order.
By: Adnan Farooq
It goes without saying that the first thing which the Supreme Court will ask the next PM to do is to write the letter to the Swiss authorities. He will refuse too and the game continues
The Supreme Court’s verdict to disqualify Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani “is not a routine democratic change”, according to Ayesha Siddiqa. “In fact, it represents the new tactics of the military and its agencies,” she says.
Author of ‘Military Inc’, Ayesha Siddiqa is internationally known analyst on military and political affairs.
Commenting on the latest political developments in the country in an interview with the Viewpoint, she says: “Instead of ousting the entire Parliament, the military gets rid of prime ministers which has the same effect meaning a weak democracy. The judges seem to have become party to this”. Read on:
The opinion on Supreme Court’s verdict on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani’s disqualification is divided. In general, the Opposition is hailing the verdict while the PPP and liberal circles are presenting it as a coup by other means. How do you assess the situation?
This is an intense political battle in which the Supreme Court is not neutral but a party as well. Look at the Supreme Court’s comparative behavior. There are times when it bails out murderers and looters but does not spare the ruling party in particular. Its wrath is mainly for the PPP and the chief judge seems to be making sure that he can ensure the PPP government’s ouster especially since he is now worried about his son being investigated.
By: Asma Jahangir
THE shadow of Zia still looms large over our political scene. Several parliaments and parliamentary committees have tried to exorcise this dictator’s ghost from the constitution but they never succeeded in rectifying all the ills. The current parliament is no different.
The committee drafting the 18th Amendment was urged time and again to do away with Zia’s crafty law that allows the disqualification of members of parliament. And now the PPP faces the consequences of its own omission as its prime minister is threatened with disqualification due to the Supreme Court judgment in the contempt case.
The SC has not convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for obstructing the administration of justice but for ridiculing the judiciary. The court has been able to do this because of the law introduced by Zia. Article 63(g) is open-ended and can end up being used by the judiciary to persecute the politicians.
The law disqualifies anyone who has been convicted for “propagating any opinion or acting in any manner prejudicial to the ideology of Pakistan, or the sovereignty, integrity or security of Pakistan, or independence of the judiciary of Pakistan, or which defames or brings into ridicule the judiciary or the Armed Forces of Pakistan…”
Very few would dispute that this article is problematic.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan–Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday demanded that the nation’s brand-new prime minister follow an order to reopen a long-dormant corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, setting up the likelihood of a continuing constitutional crisis.
The court last week disqualified from office Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s longest-serving prime minister, whom it convicted of contempt in April because Gilani refused to follow the same order.
The ruling party replaced Gilani with a former federal energy chief, Raja Pervez Ashraf, who has already indicated he will not comply with the order and who faces his own set of corruption charges in a separate case before the high court.
Some political and legal observers have accused the court, headed by populist, corruption-battling chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, of working to destabilize an already-shaky civilian government. Ashraf and his predecessor maintain that the constitution grants the president immunity from prosecution, but the court has consistently ruled otherwise, saying no one is above the law. …..
Read more » The Washington Post
By Saroop Ijaz
Jo shakhs tum se pehle yahan takht nasheen tha/ Usko bhi Khuda hone pe itna hi yaqeen tha” (“The person occupying the throne before you was equally convinced of his divinity”).
It is always slightly discomforting when one is deprived of a metaphor or an agreed upon symbol. ‘Dictatorship’ — of the Pakistani variety — has been defined over the years and now we have the definition down cold, it is almost an intuition now, for e.g., it is khaki in colour, comes from the GHQ etc. However, in the past few days, the term, ‘judicial dictatorship’ is making the rare appearance here and there. This is, admittedly, an awkward term and also perhaps, inaccurate since it seems to suggest that judiciary as a collective is becoming dictatorial. Over the past four years, the authority and decorum of all courts in Pakistan except the Supreme Court has seen tremendous erosion, with lawyers routinely beating judges up in civil courts and using ‘non-parliamentary’ language in the High Courts. There is no point in euphemism now, hence somewhat more precise would be the even more clumsy phrase, ‘dictatorship of the Supreme Court’ or some permutation thereof.
The Pakistan Supreme Court has sent an elected prime minister home. This in itself is disturbing, however, permissible it may be under some circumstances. What is infinitely more worrying is the fact that the Supreme Court did not feel itself constrained by the procedure of law. The argument that the order of the Speaker cannot overrule the Court is a very decent one, yet does not explain why the Court ignored the clear provisions of the Constitution to send the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan. There is also the issue of the three-member bench making a mockery of the seven-member bench. However, there is a vaguely linear progression to all of this. The Supreme Court terminated the employment of “PCO” judges without reference to the Supreme Judicial Council, which was allowed to go unexamined. More recently, when memberships of members of parliament were suspended for dual nationality, again without reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan, not enough noise was created. Demagogy has a tendency of being incremental sometimes; they have tested the waters and now found it appropriate for a splash. It is likely to get worse now, it always does.
By Iftikhar A. Khan
The judgment appeared to be based on newspaper headlines and talk shows of private TV channels: Ali Ahmed Kurd.—Photo by APP
ISLAMABAD Ali Ahmed Kurd, the firebrand leader of the lawyers` movement and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, who has been keeping quiet for quite some time, surprised a lot of people on Tuesday with his blunt criticism of the way the Supreme Court was behaving. Judges should “behave like judges”, he said.
Fallout from Arsalangate
By Khaled Ahmed
The PPP government was already in the dock for corruption. Arsalangate dragged some other entities into it: the army, the media, and the chief justice
Malik Riaz Hussain, arguably the biggest real estate developer in Pakistan with ‘connections’, decided to reveal that he had been blackmailed by the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and had allegedly been forced to spend nearly Rs 40 crore on him. He used journalists of a media house on a social media website to deniably make his case, after which the country witnessed a full-blown media scandal undermining the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court.
Called to the Supreme Court on suo motu, Malik Riaz submitted evidence of payments made to Dr Arsalan Iftikhar. He then went on TV and made additional allegations, some of them implying that Chief Justice Chaudhry may have been aware of what was going on. In answer, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar claimed that he had never met Malik Riaz and that he had received no payments from him or his relatives to finance his clearly lavish holidays abroad. Chief Justice Chaudhry expressed his complete lack of knowledge of all this.
The linguistic divide: One partisan of the debate that followed stated: ‘The Chief Justice took suo motu notice of the case and presided over the Bench while in the complete knowledge of the code of conduct of Judges. Given the experience and acumen of My Lord, the Chief Justice, one can say to a moral certainty that he would be aware of the general principle and the specific provision of the code of conduct, which requires judges not to hear matters involving immediate family members’. This comment was in English.
The first divide became visible on the subject and it was linguistic. In Urdu, the issue was addressed in the light of the example of Hazrat Umar who presided over the trial of his son and punished him with his own hands. This linguistic split – which is the most glaring ideological bifurcation in the country – was followed by politicians squaring off against one another: the PMLN and Tehreek Insaf announced themselves on the side of Chief Justice. They accused the ruling PPP of having engineered entrapment through Malik Riaz to get rid of the Chief Justice.
First Army, then TV Anchors: The media rallied to the defence of the Chief Justice. Most of the TV anchors thought it was a conspiracy to challenge the Chief Justice because he had made pointed investigations into “disappearances” in Balochistan. The implication was that the Army was offended and wanted the judge to ‘lay off’, and had used Malik Riaz to make revelations about Arsalan whose reputation was already subject of rumours in Pakistan for some time.
A malifide intended PM has been disqualified. Every one on the streets is reciting ‘Va ja ul-hukke va zahaq-al-batil, Innul batila kana zahuka’. Finally piety, chastity and good has prevailed. There is fresh breeze of purity that is causing stir on the horizon of virtue. Crying babies have started giggling, trees and crops have started smiling, milkmen started distributing non-contaminated milk, the sounds of angels’s wings have started spurring on the sovereign aerospace of Pakistan, the faces of parliamentarians are beaming with the new respect that they have attained and last but not least executive has finally cheerfully decided to not to interfere in the craft of running a government again, ever! And every one is going to live happily ever after. Right?
I don’t know about you but personally I don’t agree with my above bizarre juxtaposition. Reality is actually more grim. From the history, we know there were times when military dictators would topple elected governments and aggrieved party would go to Supreme Court as a last recourse. But times have changed now. A bad and corrupt Prime Minister has been disqualified by an honest and upright judiciary. The maligned fellow was in General Musharraf’s dungeons when the same esteemed judges were taking oath under PCO ( not once but twice ) and gifted the blank cheque decisions to the dictator to amend the constitution, the way he pleased to do so.
CJ receives Holbrooke, calls on Zardari
By Matiullah Jan
ISLAMABAD, June 5 Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry met visiting US envoy Richard Holbrooke in the Supreme Court building on Friday.
“The meeting was held at the request of the visiting US envoy Mr Holbrooke who came to meet the chief justice in his chambers,” said Dr Faqir Hussain, Registrar of the Supreme Court. He said that officials of the Foreign Office were present at the meeting.
1. Anonymous source claiming PPP-led government cutting judiciary down to size by revoking the March 16, 2009 executive order on restoration of Judges . It lead to emergency late night judges meetup and judgement .
Anonymous WON !!!!
2. Anonymous Memo resulted zardari’s main opening bastman losing his job and in first day of court hearing his name added in ECL .
Today , after 6 months memo issue first came in the limelight its seems odds are even now . specially after former ISI Chief testimony in judicical commision where he confessed he didn’t investigated Mansor Ijaz claims he believed what Mansoor Ijaz was saying was’ true’ . PPP have weather the storm of Media , Judiciary who’s Chief initially said “IF ISI Chief is claiming memo is reality than we can’t simply ignore it ” now finding it really hard to declare accused traitor , and the alliance of Jihadi organization Difae Pakistan which was leading the campaign to hang ‘traitors’ President Zardari and Hussain Haqqani have failed to sustain its initial momentum.
According to Daily Times Columnist Dr. Taqi :
President Zardari not only remains in the ring but also has a realistic chance of being the one remaining standing after the 15th round — not unlike Muhammad Ali in that Manila fight. The generalissimos, on the other hand, appear to be at the end of their wits. While President Zardari might have been politically wounded, the damage on the other side is to the egos bloated by decades of illegal authority that they have become used to exercising unchecked.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has survived the last couple of months thanks to the sheer grit of President Zardari, matched only by a resolute Husain Haqqani. Clearly, both men have decided that they will sink or swim together, and rightly so. …
Read more » LUBP
ON the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in which hundreds of demonstrators gathered to show solidarity with the dead terrorist figurehead.
Yet rather than asking tough questions about how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in Pakistan for years, the Pakistani Supreme Court instead chose to punish the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda - in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari. (Never mind that Swiss officials say they are unlikely to revisit the charges.)
In handing down the decision, one justice chose to paraphrase the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. He held forth in a long appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment that began with the line, “Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion but pays little heed to truth, righteousness and accountability, which are the essence of every religion.”
That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.
Today, Pakistan is polarized between those who envision a modern, pluralist country and those who condone violence against minorities and terrorism in the name of Islam. Many are caught in the middle; they support the pluralist vision but dislike the politicians espousing it.
Meanwhile, an elephant in the room remains. We still don’t know who enabled Bin Laden to live freely in Pakistan. Documents found on computers in his compound offer no direct evidence of support from Pakistan’s government, army or intelligence services. But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.
In Pakistan, most of the debate about Bin Laden has centered on how and why America violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by unilaterally carrying out an operation to kill him. There has been little discussion about whether the presence of the world’s most-wanted terrorist in a garrison town filled with army officers was itself a threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan.
Pakistanis are right to see themselves as victims of terrorism and to be offended by American unilateralism in dealing with it. Last year alone, 4,447 people were killed in 476 major terrorist attacks. Over the last decade, thousands of soldiers and law enforcement officers have died fighting terrorists – both homegrown, and those inspired by Al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology.
But if anything, the reaction should be to gear up and fight jihadist ideology and those who perpetrate terrorist acts in its name; they remain the gravest threat to Pakistan’s stability. Instead, our national discourse has been hijacked by those seeking to deflect attention from militant Islamic extremism.
The national mind-set that condones this sort of extremism was cultivated and encouraged under the military dictatorships of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq from 1977 to 1988 and Gen. Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008. A whole generation of Pakistanis has grown up with textbooks that conflate Pakistani nationalism with Islamist exclusivism.
Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan’s return to democracy, after the elections of 2008, offered hope. But the elected government has since been hobbled by domestic political infighting and judicial activism on every issue except extremism and terrorism.
Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.
This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.
Asma Jahangir, who helped lead the lawyers’ movement, has become a critic of the courts, accusing them of overstepping their constitutional mandate and falling under the influence of the security establishment. And Aitzaz Ahsan, who represented the Supreme Court’s chief justice during the lawyers’ showdown with Mr. Musharraf, is now Prime Minister Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt-of-court case – a clear indication of the political realignment that has taken place.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s raucous media, whose hard-won freedom is crucial for the success of democracy, has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism. The Supreme Court, conservative opposition parties and the news media insist that confronting alleged incompetence and corruption in the current government is more important than turning Pakistan away from Islamist radicalism.
By Shehryar Riaz Sheikh
26 April 2012 was another tragic day in our democratic history; the unanimously elected Prime Minister of Pakistan who in his wisdom ordered the release of the deposed Lordships of the Superior Courts immediately upon his election was convicted of Contempt of Court. Notwithstanding the uniqueness of NRO judgment condemning over 8000 accused without a hearing and the inherent selectivity of only targeting the President and his aides in the process, the overwhelming part of the judgment was implemented by the Federation of Pakistan. It is pertinent to mention that the grand strategist (of the “strategic depth” fame)–the promulgator of the infamous Ordinance luxuriously resides safe and secure from the wrath of law. Former Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo and his almost 9 March’07 like moment of defiance during the notorious Zia regime is a case in point as to how an instance of individual heroism could not break the dictatorial chains. In case of the present dispensation, it was Benazir Bhutto’s sheer political maneuvering in striving for a political settlement, her ultimate sacrifice coupled with the sagacity of the political leadership along and the democratic struggle unleashed by the lawyers movement which paved way for the return of democracy to Pakistan. The present democratic dispensation is the sequel to NRO. History is bound to narrate as to how if had not been achieved, there would have been no elections, no assemblies, no free media and no free judiciary. The national leadership too would still have been languishing in exile.
By: Cyril Almeida
WITH all the paper and crayons the PML-N carried to parliament the past week, you’d think a Leaguer or two could have spared some time to write a little letter.
Dear Madam Speaker, The PML-N believes that a question has arisen that Yousuf Raza Gilani stands disqualified as a member of parliament under Article 63(1)(g) of the constitution for bringing the judiciary into ridicule as stated by the Supreme Court in its conviction of Mr Gilani for contempt of court on Thursday, April 26, 2012.
Accordingly, under Article 63(2) of the constitution it is required of you as Speaker of the National Assembly to forward the question of Mr Gilani’s disqualification to the Election Commission of Pakistan for a final decision.
With kind regards, The PML-N.
A letter short enough to be written with a crayon on the back of a protest placard and handed over to the Speaker during one of the PML-N’s noisy protests on the floor of the National Assembly.
A letter that would have triggered the only constitutional process for declaring Gilani disqualified.
But in seven days of protests until the Assembly session was prorogued Friday, the N-League avoided the legal route and demanded Gilani’s resignation instead.
Behind that choice lies a political calculation. Take the legal route and the N-League risks its anti-PPP message being buried under an avalanche of legalese. The technicalities of Article 63 — can the Speaker decide no question of disqualification has arisen? If so, is there any appeal against the Speaker’s decision? Wouldn’t the matter ultimately return to the Supreme Court for an inconclusive answer? — are confounding.
Better a simpler message that the electorate can understand: the prime minister is a convict, his boss is corrupt, the Supreme Court tried to do the right thing; ergo, the prime minister should resign.
However, catchy as the slogans may be and fun as charged-up rallies will be, they also betray the opposition’s impotence.
This was originally a fight between the PPP and the SC [Supreme Court]; the PML-N are Johnny-come-latelies. Once the court baulked at pulling the trigger, the N-League’s ability to force the very outcome the court wasn’t willing to force was always going to be limited.
The reality is that the fundamentals that have been in place since 2009 have not changed. And until those system fundamentals change, regime change isn’t going to happen.
Think of it this way. At the centre is the PPP, surviving through a combination of unexpected political acumen — Zardari the political maestro, anyone? Gilani the heroic defender? — and luck.
The luck is that surrounding the PPP, as with every other civilian government, are three traditional rivals — the political opposition, the judiciary and the army — who can agree that they don’t like the PPP but can’t quite bring themselves to work in concert to attain the desired outcome.
For reasons of history and politics and systems, to engineer the downfall of a government you need at least two of the three forces opposing the government to align. PPP conspiracy theories aside, this time that combination just refuses to emerge.
With memogate there was, briefly, an almost perfect alignment. The army raised the alarm over Haqqani’s alleged antics, Sharif petitioned the court to take notice, the court swung into action, drawing out the blunt affidavits from the army chief and DG ISI and just like that, everyone seemed poised to plunge the knife into the PPP.
But then Sharif pulled back. He realised that he’d been lured into a trap to make an army vs PPP fight look like a PPP vs everyone scrap. Next, the army relented when the PPP refused to budge and another chapter in their frenemy relationship had been inked.
The court was the one which had formally gone the furthest, setting up a high-powered commission to investigate the silliness that was Mansoor Ijaz and his claims, so it’s taken the longest to extract itself from a battle that its fleeting allies have long since abandoned.
For all their dislike of the PPP, the problem is that the presumptive allies are also suspicious of each other. Nothing new there but it tends to get forgotten each time a political crisis erupts.
Nawaz doesn’t like the army, the army doesn’t trust Nawaz, neither would want a judiciary that would make life difficult for them if they have to run the show and the judiciary knows that when push comes to shove, it’s usually the judiciary that’s trampled underfoot.
Mehran Bank Scandal: Rehman malik provided proves to media
Interior Minister Rehman Malik proved that PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering.
He gave evidence against Nawaz Sharif would be placed before the Supreme Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for alleged corruption of $32 million.
Federal Rehman Malik said a commission may be formed to investigate alleged involvement of Nawaz Sharif in money laundering.
He appealed to the Supreme Court to call him and he would present all evidence. He further alleged that Nawaz Sharif made an NRO with former President Farooq Ahmed Leghari and as a result, Benazir Bhutto’s elected government was unconstitutionally dismissed in November 1996.
Federal Rehman Malik said that Nawaz Sharif made a second NRO with dictator Pervez Musharraf and went abroad after signing an agreement and violated the Charter of Democracy (COD) he signed with Benazir Bhutto in 2006. …
By Nusrat Javeed
Before hiring the services of Pakistan Army for launching a multi-pronged assault on troops of the ‘Evil Empire’ deputed in Afghanistan, Ronald Reagan needed some deceptive trappings of ‘democracy’ in Pakistan. General Zia facilitated him by inventing a consultative assembly in the early 1980s.
Today, Imran Khan asked for PM’s resignation for the implementation under Article 63 but what he was saying about the same article before, watch this!
The language of the video clip is urdu (Hindi).
Asif cases can’t be reopened: Swiss AG
ISLAMABAD (APP)-President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity under International Law and therefore no case can be reopened against him in the courts of Switzerland, Attorney General of Geneva Daniel Zappelli said this in an interview with a private TV channel on Saturday night.
When asked that when the case had been closed, can it be reopened if the State makes the request as in the case of President Asif Ali Zardari,the Swiss Attorney General said it is a big problem because under the International Law which is also applicable to Switzerland, the Head of State, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister enjoy absolute immunity on reopening of cases.
To a question by the interviewer about reopening of cases if submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Attorney General of Geneva said if an application to reopen the cases in Swiss courts was submitted through Pakistans Embassy it would be returned, since the Head of the State enjoys absolute immunity according to International Law. …..
Read more » nation.com.pk
…. Citizens have a right to ask why three serving chief justices of high courts are investing huge amounts of their precious time in handling the bizarre claims (and counter-claims) made by Mr Ijaz, when they should be attending to their core mandates of managing the high courts and thousands of subordinate courts. There are roughly 1.2 million cases pending in Pakistani courts and the cost of litigation is soaring due to a virtually unaccountable legal profession and corruption in lower courts. The Supreme Court has time and again reminded us that it is representing the people’s will and is answerable to the people only. Perhaps, nothing is as pressing for the ‘people’ than the denial of justice they are facing.
The Urdu media and internet forums are full of edicts against Mr Haqqani and sections of the establishment feel betrayed by his critical book on the Pakistan military. The least we can do is not to expose a man of his intellect to the rogue elements in the country. For the record, I have never met Mr Haqqani and hold no brief for his past adventures with the intelligence agencies. All I know is that he deserves a fair deal by a country he has tried to serve and defend in difficult times when everyone and his aunt have been wanting to ‘punish’ Pakistan.
Read more: The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.
LAHORE – Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hasan has described Osama bin Laden as the greatest martyr and President Asif Ali Zardari as the biggest traitor.
Addressing a public meeting at a Chakwal village on Sunday, Hasan said bin Laden had refused to obey the Satan upon which the US was so much upset and ashamed that it could not release any photograph or video of his after his “martyrdom”.
Hasan said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who had challenged the Supreme Court’s dignity should have been handcuffed and chained because not only had he violated his oath but had also committed contempt by refusing to write to the Swiss Banks only to save Zardari.
He impressed upon the chief justice to not be impressed by the holders of the highest offices and treat all equally. “Whosoever challenged the dignity of the court should be handed down deterrent punishment,” he said, adding that had people like Babar Awan and Rehman Malik been jailed for contempt, the prime minister could not have the courage to disobey the court orders.
Hasan said the nation was in the grip of “beasts” as a gang of exploiters was ruling the country under the garb of democracy while the common man was unable to make both ends meet. He said the nation should realise that the corrupt could not control corruption and the masses would have to rise against the oppressive political system.
The JI chief said Zardari had showered praises on Gilani whose only achievement was to hide Zardari’s corruption.
He said parliament that was keen to restore NATO supplies to facilitate the enemy in the killing of innocent Pakistanis was not the representative of this nation.
Despite parliament’s decision, the rulers had continued NATO supplies by lying to the nation.
Hasan accused the rulers of following US policy on Balochistan, and said if Balochistan was to be retained as a part of the country, the Baloch should not be pushed to the wall.
He said the PPP leadership would also have to account for the MQM’s crimes.
Courtesy: Pakistan Today
Baaghi: Caviar to the general – By Marvi Sirmed
Even if the agencies in other countries play this ‘august’ role of interrupting the democratic process in their countries, does it justify ISI’s doling out money to keep a certain political party of the people’s choice out of government?
“Tacitly registering his concern over the debate in the media on the role of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday said, ‘The national institutions should not be undermined’”, said a news item in an English language daily newspaper on March 15. What merited this royal annoyance was open to discussion in the media about the re-eruption of a long simmering ‘Mehrangate’ that should be best described as ISI-gate. According to this case, some Rs 140 million had been doled out to politicians to rig the elections in 1990. The rest of the money out of Rs 350 million, as claimed by one Younas Habib, Zonal Manager of Habib Bank at that time, who was allegedly asked by the ISI to generate these funds, eventually went to the coffers of ISI and its officials and General Aslam Beg, the then army chief.
Have you heard of any country where the apex court wants to hand over a sitting president to a foreign magistrate?
Will not write letter to Swiss authorities, PM tells SC
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday submitted his reply to the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case, DawnNews reported.
In the reply, the prime minister formally informed the SC that he would not write the letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The prime minister’s lawyer Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsen’s associate Barrister Gauhar submitted the reply, consisting of 24 pages, to the apex court.
The PM claimed in his reply that he completely trusts the SC, but expressed reservations on the bench.
Gilani stated that he was wrongly convicted by courts for eight and ten years earlier too, but that he was as innocent then as he is today.
The prime minister claims that his decision to not write to the Swiss authorities was in good faith, and that the constitution does not allow him to write the letter. The reply further argues that presenting the president before a foreign would be in violation of the Constitution.
Earlier today, Aitzaz had said that it was not necessary that court’s verdict against Gilani would result in the premier’s disqualification.
Aitzaz said that Supreme Court should not take any decision on March 21 without hearing him.
Moreover, he also said that a sentence of less than two years could not disqualify the prime minister. Aitzaz added that following the constitution of Pakistan does not indicate that they are at odds with the judiciary.
He said that certain elements were trying to create a rift between the government and judiciary however they would not be allowed to succeed.
Via » Twitter
My father told me that when he was growing up in a remote village in Pakistan, his community wholeheartedly believed in jinn (genies), and he would see them often as a child. He left his village at a young age to attend school in the city, where he was able to interact with people outside his small native community and develop independent ideas.
Upon his return to the village, all the jinn of his childhood vanished, even though the people of his community who spent their lives in the village still saw them. This is the story of Pakistan’s Courts, which are viewed by average citizens as genies that magically appear to solve unsolvable problems. However, those who have “ventured outside the village” know that there are no judicial genies, just human judges who are liable to make mistakes. This means that the Court must create standards to limit its own powers, lest it become a jinn the people can’t put back in the lamp.
Jinn are described as “smokeless fire,” possessing superhuman powers including the ability to travel expansive distances unimaginable by man. In some stories, the jinn grants three wishes to an individual, allowing the wisher to accrue untold power and wealth. These supernatural abilities distinguish jinn from humans, as jinn possess a greater power to control their environment or reality.
Lately, the media has depicted politicians as weak humans, while assigning a mystic ability to the Court to unilaterally “do justice” in the country.