The (extreme) irony of it all

By Kamran Shafi

I hope Their Lordships who sit in the Honourable Supreme Court are duly noting the irony in, and the contrariness of, much that is going on in the country vis-a-vis themselves? I hope they see through the present shenanigans of those who were their enemies when Musharraf had turfed them out, and who have now suddenly metamorphosed into their staunch and faithful friends.

To get straight to the point, Shiekh Rashid ‘Tulli’ and Senator Tariq Azeem, newly self-appointed guardian angels of propriety and ‘rule of law’, newly sprouted halos around their heads, are waxing eloquent on virtually every Pakistani TV channel every evening about how the government should give due respect to the Supreme Court, or else Armageddon and Apocalypse combined, and worse, are around the corner.

‘Tulli’ says it like he always has: rudely and insolently and loudly warning the government of the hellfire and brimstone that awaits it in the matter of the contempt of court citations against the Prime Minister, while Tariq Azeem says in hushed and respectful tones how wrong it is of the alleged contemnors’ to have acted in the way that they allegedly have, and so on, pretending as if butter wouldn’t melt in his own mouth.

Yet a short four or so years ago, these same two, and other ministers in the Commando’s junta at the time, are on record stoutly supporting the dictator’s sacking of the very same judges they are today most stoutly defending. I might add immediately that both have the reputation of being apologists for the Deep State, ‘Tulli’ actually forecasting several army take-overs over the past four years. In his words, every so often: ‘Biggal (Bugle) bajnay wala hai! But more about his pretended(?) spokesmanship for GHQ and the Sipah Salaar tomorrow.

Indeed, Tariq Azeem was considered such an opponent of the restoration of the judiciary that he was beaten up as a sitting minister of state for information by the lawyers during a demonstration on Constitution Avenue during which heavy lathi-charge and tear-gassing were resorted to by the Commando’s government, badly injuring many lawyers including the brave and feisty Ali Ahmad Kurd, bless him. Azeem today is one of the foremost defenders of the rule of law? I ask you!

Let us now look at ‘Tulli’s’ and another of their fellow-minister’s, Dr Sher Afgan Niazi’s utterances against the judiciary at the time they were riding high on Musharraf’s coat-tails. On August 23, 2007, barely one month after the Supreme Court had re-instated the superior judiciary, Sher Afgan let loose on the honourable judges a veritable diatribe in extremely graphic terms in the programme Capital Talk with Hamid Mir, which words I am loath to repeat here because of my own deep respect for the judiciary. However, I append here the link for My Lords to ascertain whether contempt was committed or not should they wish to:

Likewise, Shiekh Rashid ‘Tulli’ appearing on Business Plus with Ammar Yasin Zaidi in 2008: says things about the Honourable Chief Justice himself which are too rude and discourteous for me to repeat for aforesaid reason. They seem a figment of his imagination to boot, trying to show himself off as a great champion and king of all he surveys.

This is not all for this man. In an appearance on Hamid Mir’s Capital Talk just before the Long March that finally saw the judiciary restored, he once again used words for the Chief Justice himself which are inappropriate, nay rude in the extreme. The link to this performance of ‘Tulli’s’ is:

I hope too, that Their Lordships are noting the anguish of those who were their ardent supporters during the movement for their restoration. I will say no more.

In the end, ‘shabash’ for a prime minister I have sometimes denigrated: Well done, The Hon’ble Yousaf Raza Gilani for an excellent speech to the national assembly on its supremacy, and for extolling the majesty of democracy. How right you were to say that you do not matter, parliament does. And that every institution must remain within the parameters allowed to it by the Constitution of Pakistan. While I do not think you run the ideal government I am proud to be a democrat.

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto.

Courtesy:  The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2012.

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