Daily Times editorial on CJP’s Strange, ominous, unconstitutional pronouncement on emergency & martial law

EDITORIAL: Strange pronouncement

The Supreme Court (SC) three-member bench hearing the missing persons case in the Quetta Registry headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has been scathing in its remarks during the proceedings about the seriousness of the situation in Balochistan and the obvious lack of the federal and provincial government’s seriousness in addressing the issue. The bench has been putting civil servants, junior government officials and police personnel on the mat regarding their failure to produce the missing persons. At the last hearing, the Deputy Attorney General got so much stick from the bench that he tendered his resignation. The CJ quoted former Balochistan advocate general Salauddin Mengal to portray a situation where no Pakistani flag could fly without the protection of the guns of the security forces more than 10 miles from Quetta. In the same vein of castigating the political, administrative and law enforcement leadership at the Centre and in the province, the CJ remarked that if the prime minister was not interested in acting to salvage the situation, the constitution envisaged other means, including the declaration of an emergency. Further, the CJ warned something must be done before another martial law is imposed.

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Jonathan Kay: Time to call Pakistan what it is – a state supporter of terrorism

By: Jonathan Kay

Here in the West, the killing of Osama Bin Laden was considered a triumph. In Pakistan, where the al-Qaeda leader lived out his final years, attitudes are very different: On Wednesday, a Pakistani court brought down a guilty verdict against the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA locate bin Laden in May, 2011. Having been convicted of treason, Shakil Afridi now faces a 33-year prison sentence.

Each story like this brings fresh evidence that Pakistan, a nominal Western ally in the war on terrorism, actually is doing more to enable the jihadis than fight them. We don’t yet have definitive evidence to suggest that the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment was actively housing and protecting bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. But that certainly would have been in keeping with long-standing Pakistani policies.

And those policies won’t change any time soon: With the Americans, Canadians and others having announced their exit date in Afghanistan, Pakistan has less incentive to co-operate in the war on terrorism than at any time since 9/11. In coming years, the better way to deal with Pakistan will be to acknowledge the reality that the country is nothing less than a full-blown state sponsor of terrorism.

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Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63: Speaker National Assembly

Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, finalising her decision in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s contempt case, said that Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution, Express News reported on Thursday.

The speaker said that according to Article 63 of the Constitution, the question of the prime minister’s qualification “does not arise”. She has also decided against forwarding the Supreme Court’s reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Quoting the Supreme Court’s order in her 11-point long ruling, Mirza wrote, “no specific charge regarding the propagation of any opinion or acting in any manner against the independence of the judiciary or defaming or ridiculing the judiciary as contemplated under Article 63 (1) (g) has been framed.”

She added: “I am of the view that the charges against Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the grounds mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) of clause (1) of Article 63, therefore, no question of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani from being a member arises under clause (2) of Article 63 of the Constitution.”

Sources affiliated with Express News revealed that Dr Mirza said the Supreme Court did not raise the issue of Gilani’s disqualification when it announced the verdict in the contempt case, hence there was no need to send the reference against Gilani to the ECP.

Dr Mirza consulted law experts including Aitzaz Ahsan, Fakhruddin G, Asma Jahangir and Justice (retd) Sajjad Ali for the decision, which she dictated to the secretary national assembly.

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Pakistan seeks face-saving formula in NATO talks

By Michael Georgy, ISLAMABAD

(Reuters) – Pakistan is unlikely to re-open supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan unless the United States offers a politically acceptable formula in talks on ending a six-month standoff on the issue, a Pakistani official said on Thursday. ….

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