Tag Archives: 18th

Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

By Shehrbano Taseer

2011 was a bleak year for Pakistan — even by its own harrowing standards.

My father, Governor SalmaanTaseer, was assassinated by his own fanatical security guard in January for his stand on Pakistan’s cruel blasphemy laws, and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the federal cabinet, was gunned down in March allegedly by the Punjabi Taliban for holding a similar view. In April, five of the six men accused of gang raping village woman Mukhtar Mai on the orders of a village council of elders were set free by the Supreme Court. Since the sexual assault on her in 2001, Mai has braved death threats to have her victimisers punished. She has appealed the verdict, but the court, it is widely believed, is unlikely to reverse the acquittal.

In May, Pakistanis around the world hung their heads in shame as Osama bin Laden was found and killed in sleepy, sedate Abbottabad, a stone’s throw from our premier military academy where Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani spoke just weeks earlier declaring that the “terrorists’ back” had been broken.Then the tortured body of journalist Saleem Shahzad was discovered and suspicion fell on the country’s intelligence services. Pakistan had yet to recover from the devastation wrought by the 2010 floods when the August monsoons inundated Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and especially Sindh affecting tens of million of people. My older brother, Shahbaz, was kidnapped on August 26. It’s January 2012 now and he is still missing.

These are just some of the highlights from a ruefully eventful year. All of these events played out against the cacophonous discord that we have become accustomed to: target killings, routine disappearances in Kashmir and Balochistan, suicide bombings, riots decrying the overall economic condition of the country, protests mourning the loss of Pakistan’s sovereignty, the unsettling hum of rote learning at poisonous madrassas.

But there’s nothing that’s bad about Pakistan that can’t be fixed by what’s good about it. The narrative of lost hope is a tired one.

After the Arab Spring, the first question I was asked by journalists and interviewers was “When will it be Pakistan’s turn?”. General Zia tried hard to convince us that we’re Arabs, but we clearly are not. Watching Muammar Qaddafi’s bloodied and bullet-riddled body paraded up and down streets as protesters cheered, and seeing desperate dictators inflict violence on their own people, I realised that in many ways Pakistan is far ahead. Our transition from a dictatorship to a democracy was relatively smooth — no bloodshed, no political prisoners, no violence. And in 2010 — long before the Arab Spring — Pakistan’s nascent democracy returned the powers usurped by dictators back to parliament with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, passed unanimously in parliament. As a people, we are more critical, more engaged. We believe in peaceful evolution of existing structures, not revolution. A record number of people have registered to vote in the upcoming elections and the deadline isn’t even up yet. We’ve snatched our democracy back and we’re not letting it go.

Continue reading Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

Protest rally held against the human rights violations in Balochistan at the 18th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

– PRESS RELEASE: A peaceful demonstration was held at the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC), on Thursday 15 September 2011 in Geneva , Plais des Nations ‘ Broken Chair Square’ to protest against the increasing number of human rights violations in Balochistan.

The demonstration was aimed to raise awareness of alarming number of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Human Rights commission of Pakistan and prompt the international community to act. Baloch delegates from London, Europe and Scandinavia and other human rights activists took part in the event.

A parallel event took place entitled ‘Climate of Fear: Enforced Disappearances, Extrajudicial Killings & Arbitrary Detention in Balochistan’ between 12 to 2 pm at Plais des Nations in Room 23.

Nationalists seek ‘all provincial subjects’ for Sindh

KARACHI: Claiming that the 18th constitutional amendment has robbed the provinces of their rights and the centre has become stronger at the cost of the provinces, Sindhi nationalists have demanded that the centre surrender all provincial subjects to the provinces.

This claim was made by Sindh United Party President Syed Jalal Mehmoud Shah and the Sindh Dost Democratic Party chief Barrister Zamir Ghumro at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday. Other nationalists leaders who were present on the occasion included Shah Muhammad Shah, Dr Dodo Mehri, Ghulam Shah and Shahnaz Shah.

Reading out from a joint statement, Mr Shah said the parliamentary committee on the 18th amendment on the pretext of abolition of the concurrent list had taken away purely provincial subjects, including electricity, professions such as medical and engineering, and criminal law for the first time and had increased the entries of the federal lists from 67 to 74. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper

Stback on HEC devolution is a sign that not much is going to change in Pakistan

By Khalid Hashmani

It quite disappointing that the present Government surrendered to the pressure from vested interests and decided not to implement an important provisions of Pakistan’s constitution.  As I explained in my last e-mail on this subject, the constitution does not allow the central government to have any role in education (Higher or lower) matters except to be involved in standards for higher education, research and technical institutions and foreign ministry related matters pertaining to foreign students in Pakistan and Pakistani students in foreign countries. 

I had thought that there was a chance that return of democracy and parliamentary rule will lead to a negotiated end of denial of rights of Sindh, Balochistan and others. But, this is not to be and I am sure many of us who fought for the return of democracy are wondering what should be done next? The undue pressure from the un-elected and those who benefited from the current faulty Higher Education Commission (HEC) system joined hands to force the Pakistani government in making this terrible decision. I have no doubt in my mind that this short sighted step is going to have long term repercussions as many would conclude that the vested interests are too strong to defeat no matter what.

I find an element of truth in what a friend said few years ago when I argued that Sindhis could get a fair deal. He said “There is no use to expect much good from an arrangement that has failed Sindhis for so many times.

Incidentally, it was claimed that Higher Education Commission (HEC) only gives scholarships to those who secure admission to world’s top 50 institutions. I took the list of 61 candidates who were approved for scholarships around November 10, 2010 http://www.hec.gov.pk/InsideHEC/Divisions/HRD/Scholarships/ForeignScholarships/ISSIP/Pages/results_16_meeting.aspx) and compared it to top 100 schools listed on (http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/). I found that a substantial majority of those approved did not have admission in any of the top 100 universities/colleges. Only the intended universities of 17 out of 60 (the intended university of one student is not listed) were on the top 100 list.

I feel that this setback on the HEC devolution is a sign that not much is going to change in Pakistan – same hopelessness, where only mighty will prevail and prosper and the weaker will continue to come on loosing end.

Our textbooks and the lies they teach

By Raza Rumi

Due to the 18th Amendment, a momentous shift in Pakistan’s governance arrangements is taking place through a politically mediated and largely consensual manner. The federal government is being trimmed and 10 ministries have already been devolved to the provinces. A key development pertains to the devolution of education — lock, stock and barrel — to the provinces. Most notably, the odious era of setting poisonous, centralised curricula in the name of a ‘martial’ nationalism is finally over. Whether the past practices of turning Pakistan into a jihad project will end is uncertain, unless the provinces take the initiative and reverse the regrettable trajectory of the past.

Pakistani textbooks have preached falsehoods, hatred and bigotry. They have constructed most non-Muslims, especially Hindus, as evil and primordial enemies, glorified military dictatorships and omitted references to our great betrayal of the Bengali brothers and sisters who were the founders and owners of the Pakistan movement. It is time to correct these wrongs. ….

Read more : The Express Tribune

A political revolution

By Rasul Bakhsh Rais

The passage of the 18th Amendment has set into motion, a remarkable, though slow, political revolution in restructuring Pakistan’s polity. This is far more momentous than restoring the parliamentary character of the constitution, or even granting provincial autonomy. The word autonomy cannot capture the true letter and spirit of the new federalism that is unfolding before us. Rather, it is about remodelling Pakistan’s political system according to a new principle of distribution of power, with the provinces as new centres of authority, power and resources.

Thinking of provinces as new centres of power and laying something down into the constitution to make them powerful, runs counter to both, the colonial tradition of supervising political evolution, and the centralised state and nation-building strategy followed for the past six decades. It goes to the credit of political parties and their leadership that they have realised that the old ways of governing Pakistan have failed and they needed to give a greater part of the power and resources of the centre, which had grown arrogant, paternalistic and insensitive to the provinces.

This structural change in the political order has created new conditions in which some groups and sections are bound to lose, while others will make gains. Who loses and who gains is an issue that will greatly impact the ongoing process of shifting power to the provinces, as the old, deeply entrenched political and bureaucratic groups fight to the last to save their little turfs and fiefdoms. In our case, the federal bureaucracy is the loser, as it cannot hope to rule the provinces under the guise of national integration, solidarity and security anymore. It will take a great deal of internal reflection on the part of the federal bureaucracy, as well as time, to adjust to the power shift. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Sindh should follow Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s example and announce formation of Sindh HEC

By Khalid Hashmani

It is time for the Government of Sindh to immediately announce creation of a Higher Education Commission of Sindh (HECS) and appoint a suitable person to head the HECS. Too much time has already been wasted in trying to protect an institution that has failed Sindh, Balochistan and the rest of country. Any hesitation on the part of the remaining provinces to form their higher education bodies will simply prolong the delay in the implementation of 18th Amendment. The current managers of HEC should stop their delaying tactics and work for an orderly devolution of HEC in the larger interest of the country before people of small provinces loose their trust and hopes in the democratic process that allows vested interests to sabotage duly passed constitutional amendments. If the centralization of HEC is maintained, history will record it a violation similar to the tyrannical actions of General Zia-ul-Haq and General Musharraf who violated the constitution so violently.

Continue reading Sindh should follow Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s example and announce formation of Sindh HEC

Afraid of devolution? -by I.A Rehman

WONDERS never cease. In the second decade of the 21st century, the transfer of power to the units of a federation has been made controversial! Efforts are being made to help the centre retain the privileges that rightfully belong to the provinces.

No student of politics will deny that Pakistan broke up in 1971 largely as a result of the policies designed to make the centre strong at the expense of provincial rights and aspirations. Nor can anyone forget that the failure to restore to the provinces what has always been due to them poses the greatest threat to the state’s integrity today.

We are also familiar with the arguments employed while calling for making the hands of one ruler or another strong. It was said the country faced so many threats that a centrally organised security edifice alone could preserve its integrity. The centre alone had the mental and physical wherewithal to achieve economic progress. In an Islamic state there could be only one centre of power and Pakistan had a special reason to crush centrifugal forces and fissiparous tendencies which were being fanned by the enemies of the state — democrats, secularists, advocates of the nationalities’ rights, separatists, et al.

For six decades, the politics of Pakistan revolved around the federal question. Any stratagem that could prevent the state from becoming a federation was in order — the fiction of parity, the abolition of provinces in the western part of the original state, the imposition of martial law and the state’s declaration of war against the majority nationality and the smallest nationality both. No wonder almost all democratic movements in the country have had their origins in the federating units’ struggle for self-government.The central demand was that the centre should keep only three or four subjects such as foreign affairs, external security, currency and communications. All other subjects — internal security, local government, planning, education and social welfare — were to be restored to the provinces.

It is in this context that one should examine the national consensus on re-designing the polity by meeting some of the main demands of the federating units. The endorsement of the 18th Amendment by all shades of opinion in parliament is nothing short of a miracle. It not only marks a giant stride towards realising the promise of the 1973 constitution, in several respects it surpasses the 1973 consensus.

Continue reading Afraid of devolution? -by I.A Rehman

No Surprise, they can deny the 18th constitutional amendment but they cannot hide themselves from the people of oppressed constituent units of Pakistan

Dar resigns as deputy chief of commission

By Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be a face-saving move, Senator Ishaq Dar of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N resigned on Wednesday as deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Implementation of 18th Amendment.

In a five-page letter to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Senator Dar cited differences over the devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and transfer of assets and services of federal employees to the provinces as the main reasons for his decision.

Last week, the PML-N senator found himself in a difficult situation when reporters took him on during a news conference with the chairman of the commission, Senator Raza Rabbani, for defending the planned HEC devolution which was against the stance of his party. “I am not responsible for everybody in the party,” he said at the time. …

Read more : DAWN

HEC injustices: The weak PPP govt. has cowed down again on HEC issue

HEC: Story Of Gross Injustices To Smaller Provinces

HEC injustices: Out of the total of 61 scholarships, no scholarship was awarded to any university in Balochistan while only one scholarship was awarded to a student from the University of Karachi, Sindh. 36 scholarships went to Punjab, 19 to Islamabad and 5 to Pakhtoonkhwa.

By Aijaz Ahmed

Islamabad: The country witnessed a high drama in the past few weeks as certain people with vested interests, some pro-establishment media hawks, bureaucrats and few so-called intellectuals created uncalled for hype and misgivings against the government decision to devolve the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan & hand over some of its powers to the provinces according to the 18th Constitutional Amendment. The opposition has cowed down the present government, weak as it is, and it may delay the devolution of a federal agency, which doesn’t have any justification to exist anymore. The education is a provincial subject and all the relevant subjects need to be transferred to the provinces, sooner the better.

Higher Education Commission like all other federal departments and agencies has been widely accused of following policies detrimental to smaller provinces. It is also accused of gross injustices in awarding scholarships and carrying out other projects completely ignoring the smaller provinces.

Read more :  Indus Herald

Over centralized HEC Hurt Sindhis by Denying them

by Saghir Shaikh

Affirmative action is needed in Pakistan. Sindhis have been historically discriminated. All affairs involving money and distribution or resources must be governed by provincial resources. If implemented on just basis and if Sindh and Sindhis get their due share in resources, we will be much ahead.

Javaid Laghari is a great son of Sindh and has done a lot for Sindh and Sindhis and overall academic situation in Sindh and Pakistan.

However, we support the breakup of Higher Education Commission (HEC). Any structure under federal command – supported by constitution – means inequitable share to Sindh and Baluchistan, that is sad reality of status quo. Yes ‘merit’ has value in different context.

Pakistan historically deprives Sindh by stealing it resources, discriminating its rural population for decades since its inception creating almost an economic apartheid among South and North (of Pakistan). How can we expect that in this apartheid system rural folks are going to compete!

Local Sindh government will be corrupt and yes it will be manipulated from …, there is no doubt about it – these are valid arguments and I have my take on it. But please do not use the argument of merit and justice with Sindhis. And obviously criticism on HEC is never about its chief, but the inherent limitation of centralized illegal federal structure. If I was made HEC chair today I will not be able to keep justice to its spirit! Because system is unjust to its core!

Anyway, let us hope that HEC and all other institutions get transferred to provinces and than we can start a new struggle on improving our own house.

One caution – devolution does not mean we will get our due share from Islamabad (Punjab). That is another Himalayan task to get a fair share in terms of finance!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 12 April, 2011.

Why Islamabad and Punjab are against the devolution of HEC?

by Dr Azhar A. Shah

Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff (FAPUASA) held its two day annual meeting on April 9-10, 2011 and discussed the devolution of HEC. According to Dawn, “.. the federation had failed to take a firm stand so far because its Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan chapters were in favour of HEC`s devolution, while Punjab, AJK and Islamabad had opposed the move. Therefore, its office-bearers had decided to wait for the Supreme Court`s ruling” (http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/11/prime-minister-has-shelved-hec-devolution-for-now.html).

Though I am not aware of the bylaws of FAPUASA but it seems an open breach of the democratic rights of its three constituent units (Sindh, KP, Balochistan) whose voices are subdued by its single chapter and its territories (Islamabad and Kashmir). Instead of supporting the voice of three federating units, the FAPUASA has given weightage and honor to an appeal that is against the wishes of the three provinces! This act is by no means acceptable to us and we the faculty members of these three federating units/ states/ provinces demand an official apology from FAPUASA along with declaration of strong support for the devolution of HEC with immediate effect.

We are aware of the history of our country and we know it very well why Islamabad and Punjab academicians are against the devolution! Please stop glorifying and defending this discriminatory organization and don’t make hurdles in the implementation of the 18th constitutional amendment passed by federal assembly.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 11, 2011.

HEC issue to end up in the Supreme Court

By Zubair Shah

KARACHI: It is true that after the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Pakistani federation is inching towards the constitutional sketch made public in the Muslim League’s famous 1940 Lahore Resolution. However, this journey is not without a tough resistance by the country’s entrenched pro status quo centripetal forces, who would like to see a strong centre at the expense of federating units. Nothing highlights this phenomenon better than the drama around the planned devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) announced recently.

Soon after the announcement, a smear campaign was launched by centripetal forces, who have been advocating and supporting the status quo based on numerous technical and legal grounds with apocalyptic predictions. …

Read more : Daily Times

Participants of dialogue advocate HEC devolution

PESHAWAR: Participants of a dialogue here Sunday advocated devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to the provinces.

They resolved to resist any hurdle in the way of devolving power to the federating units and said opposing the 18th Amendment was betrayal of the Constitution as the amendment had been passed by the elected parliament.

Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network (PCSN) had organised the dialogue on ‘18th Amendment and Institutional Arrangements at Provincial Level after Devolution of Higher Education Commission’ attended by people from different walks of life including professors, doctors, activists of NGOs and representatives of political parties. …

Read more : THE NEWS

Let us strengthen Pakistan

Let us Unite to Uphold 18th Amendment including Devolution of HEC

By Khalid Hashmani

As more and more information comes out in the waning days of Higher Education Commission (HEC), most Sindhis are shocked to know that out of ten thousands (10,000) foreign and domestic scholarships that have been distributed by HEC so far, Sindh received only 892 (http://ejang.jang.com.pk/4-7-2011/Karachi/pic.asp?picname=99.gif). This amounts to about one third of the number that Sindh would have received even if the NFC award rules were applied. There is no province/ state or ethnic group anywhere in the world that has suffered as much as Sindhis have when it comes to scholarship opportunities in Pakistan. Instead of defending an institution that has denied Sindhis their due share in educational opportunities for so many years, we should be demanding trial of those officials who were responsible for denying Sindh its due share in scholarships. It is doubtful that an agency of such dreadful performance should even be given a role of standard setting and quality assurance. The Government of Pakistan should seriously consider creating a new agency with proper representation from each province/ state to oversee the jurisdictions that 18th Amendment allows at the federal level.

Continue reading Let us strengthen Pakistan

Provincial Higher Education Commission to be formed in Sindh’

SINDH – KARACHI: Preparations have started for the formation of a provincial Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Sindh. Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq stated this here on Thursday. He was of the view that it would be run in an effective manner and on the pattern of the “ Higher Education Commission (HEC).” Pir Mazhar said that eminent educationalists of Sindh would be made members of the provincial Higher Education Commission.

Courtesy: Daily Times

Misunderstood: HEC’s devolution — I

By Dr Pervez Tahir

These are interesting times. We just heard the heart-rending narrative on the dismal state of elementary education. Before we could declare the prescribed educational emergency, there are warnings of an impending disaster in higher education if the HEC is devolved to the provinces. The provinces, it is said, have made a mess of elementary education and the fate of higher education will be no different. It is hard to understand the argument involved here. Should all education then be assigned to the federal government? If provinces are nothing but mess makers, why devolve anything to them. The celebration over the unanimous passage of the Eighteenth Amendment was completely uncalled for.

The constitutional position is quite clear though. Before the Amendment, the subject of ‘higher education’ was not mentioned in any of the legislative lists. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Devolution of HEC supported

PESHAWAR: The academia, civil society and youth from different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata on Thursday through a resolution supported the devolution of Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The resolution was unanimously passed by the representatives of various organisations and institutions during a conference arranged by Bacha Khan Trust Educational Foundation (BKTEF). …

Read more : The News

Response to Prof Hoodbohy’s article on HEC Devolution

by Azhar Ali Shah

Prof Hoodbohy has contributed a piece titled “Should HEC Live or Die?”. First off, the title of his article indicates the limitedness of a nuclear scientist to think only in terms of life and death in a traditional way! For heavens sake HEC is not going to die! It is going through reformation (mitosis) to give birth to more HECs that could better serve our country as per requirements of our constitution and as per needs of our communities. Central bureaucrats and some academicians having inherited military mindset and others having undue fears are playing their tricks to stop this reformation and keep what they term as ‘their brilliant organization’ confined to the area of Islamabad. Moving this organization to provincial level would destroy the higher education and leave us in shambles! For Prof Hoodbhoy it is akin to death of HEC if it is devolved at this time! I would like to get my words recorded that if HEC is not devolved at this time (as per suggestion of Dr Hoodbohy) it will never ever get devolved in our life times. It is not only the current but the future generations of our country that will suffer from this centralization. But according to Javed Malik’s perception centralization might be good for Dr Hoodbhoy (please click here to read Prof. Hoodbohy’s article)!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 8, 2011.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa supports HEC devolution

KP supports HEC devolution – by Yousaf Ali

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has dispelled the impression that it was against the devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), saying a lobby has become active to create hurdles in the implementation of 18th Amendment by getting baseless reports published in the media.

Talking to The News, spokesman for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and chairman Overseeing Committee on Devolution Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the HEC devolution was part of the 18th Amendment and its non-implementation would be tantamount to violating the constitution. …

Read more : The News

Establishment is preventing De-centralization. How long and how far the fraud schemes will continue to be perpetuated in the name of Pakistan and Islam to usurp the rights of people of Sindh and other units of Pakistan?

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

Indeed, with such lies the Pakistani establishment is preventing De-centralization of many other subjects in accordance with the recent amendments to the Pakistani constitution. How long and how far the fraud schemes will continue to be perpetuated in the name of Pakistan and Islam to usurp the rights of people of small units /States/ provinces. This federal Education Minister and other ignorant high government officials like him who want to preserve centralization in the Education department and other jurisdictions should be condemned. They should not be allowed to serve since they took oath to abide by the constitution of Pakistan. If anything, Pakistan needs further De-centralization to become a true federation with adherence to strict provincial quotas in jobs including in the whole of Defense ministry and enactment of strong affirmative action programs to ensure proper representation of people from small states/ province whose employment lags their population proportion.

– = – = – = – = –

While talking against the devolution of federal ministry of education, Pakistan’s federal education minister Mr Assef Ahmed Ali said:

“There will be only Sindhis, Pushtun, Punjabis and Balochs and not Pakistanis in 10 years if timely measures are not taken,” he said. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

Waris Shah on Mullah .. Background

by Manzur Ejaz

Besides possessing a mastery of the Punjabi language and comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of life, Waris Shah’s greatness lies in his philosophical discourse. He understood the role of the different institutions of 18th century of Punjab (and India) and used the epic Heer Ranjha story to debate and expose them.

His technique, as shown by Najm Husain Syed, is to show an institution from a distance and then take you inside. From a distance every institution looks perfect but from inside it is dirty and rotten. In the process, Waris Shah exposed the institution of property, qaza (judiciary), religion (through mullah and qazi), capitalism (mallah), and feudalism (Heer’s father, Jog and the crown (raja) …

Read more : Wichaar

 

War between Judiciary & Executive in Pakistan

Call for end to bickering among institutions
HYDERABAD, Oct 20: Judiciary and Executive are two important pillars of a democratic society and the present split between the two is apt to creating disastrous situation for the state, if not checked early.
This and other similar concerns were expressed by the Sindh Democratic Forum over boiling political state of affairs ruling the country. The SDF, in a statement, criticized the national institutions of not resolving the basic issues of general public like growing inflation, increasing poverty, lawlessness, daily killings, unemployment, electricity problem and other allied issues instead were busy in bickering with each other over petty matters.
People had endured enough and now they want peace for which cooperation among national institutions was a prerequisite, it further stated.
Commenting over the midnight drama between the judiciary and the executive, it stated that perhaps it was for the first time in contemporary judicial history that a full bench was called on a rumour which has damaged the sanctity of justice.
The democratic-minded people feel the elected parliament a supreme body and because the 18th Amendment was passed by the representative of 16 parliamentary parties, therefore there appears no supra body which can challenge parliament’s decisions, said the SDF.
The coverage of court proceedings, judges’ statements, conservative comments by media and support of right wing political parties is portraying as if judiciary was being influenced by armed forces and they were trying to disband the present democratic setup, it further said.
The SDF appealed to superior judiciary to protect the cause of justice and avoid creating the impression as if it were against the elected parliament and democracy.
Judiciary being an important pillar of state and custodian of justice should give a shut up call to irresponsible statements of media, besides taking suo-motu notice against such utterances, it said.
Read more : DAWN

From the lens of a Baloch, Sindhi or Pashtun, Zardari is being punished for trying empowering the opperesed Nations of the federation by 18th constitutional amendment

 

President Asif Zardari

Political deterrence – by Ayesha Siddiqa

 

The main stakeholders in Pakistan on both sides — the government and the establishment — may seem suicidal, but their behaviour may look pretty logical if one were to use the nuclear deterrence lens. Once there is a conflict, the competitors aim to up the ante and push the enemy up the escalation spiral to a point when the weaker party has no option but to consider the use of nuclear weapons. In such an eventuality, it is hoped that the weaker party might actually not push the button due to the bigger fear of total annihilation.

So, what we are watching at the moment is both sides trying to squeeze the other up the escalation spiral. The establishment’s advantage is that it is the most powerful actor, it controls and commands the national narrative, it has built an image for itself as the only alternative institution and looks much more efficient than all other players.

Naturally, a political government that suffers from serious inefficiency and doesn’t know the tricks of creating a counter narrative is a weaker party. For instance, the government’s media team plays a poor defensive game and does not even know how to get on the offensive (this does not mean shouting at people rudely on television programmes). The ruling party’s information team is constantly trailing behind and lacks a plan to protect itself.

If this is to be considered as a game between two players that is Asif Zardari and the establishment then, it is obvious that in his own estimation he has not lost the game as yet. The biggest deterrence he has deployed is the ethnicity card and putting his weight behind the empowerment of the smaller provinces. Some fellow writers believe that the ‘Sindh’ card might work for him if he gives in now. But the fact of the matter is that the Sindh card or the other smaller ethnic card is already operative.

From the lens of a common Baloch, Sindhi or Pashtun, Zardari is being punished for bringing about the 18th amendment. While all attention in Islamabad is focused on the articles pertaining to the judges, the said amendment will also bring about the much-awaited empowerment of the smaller provinces. Interestingly, the bulk of the ‘free and vibrant’ media in Pakistan does not care to flag that aspect of the 18th amendment.

For the very ordinary man in Sindh, in particular, there isn’t much of an option besides the PPP. ….
Read more : The Express Tribune

Supreme Court’s responsibility

SC’s responsibility?

… On Monday, during the ongoing hearings on challenges to certain parts of the 18th Amendment, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry posed the question: “Should we accept if tomorrow parliament declares secularism, and not Islam, as the state polity?” That the question was asked in a rhetorical way was relatively clear: several judges indicated that such a move was even beyond contemplation. That is a troubling position.

Leave aside the remote possibility of secularism being constitutionally approved as the governing ethos of the Pakistani state. The question is really, should the Supreme Court appropriate for itself the responsibility of determining under what system the Pakistani people want to live, as expressed by their elected representatives? …

To read full article >> Dawn Editorial

Advocate General for Sindh calls for scrapping of Objectives Resolution

Sindh AG calls for scrapping of Objectives Resolution

“I would request the apex court to be very cautious for the sake of the future generation while deciding these petitions,” said Sindh’s Advocate General Yousuf Leghari to the Supreme Court.

ISLAMABAD: Sindh’s Advocate General Yousuf Leghari surprised the Supreme Court bench hearing challenges to the 18th Amendment in the Constitution on Monday when he said he was against the inclusion of the Objectives Resolution in the 1973 Constitution because it had been made the preamble to the constitution by rightists during the period of a military dictator.

The Objectives Resolution (OR) was passed by the First Constituent Assembly in March 12, 1949, after it was proposed by then prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan.

It envisages that the constitution of Pakistan will be democratic and based on the fundamental laws of Islam.

The resolution was inserted as the substantive part of the constitution through the Eighth Amendment when Gen Ziaul Haq was in power.

In a brief but bold stance taken before the court, the AG Sindh called for deleting the Objectives Resolutions from the constitution, saying it had been included in the constitution in a dubious manner because it was very difficult to maintain the alleged hegemony of a particular province, especially in the presence of the then East Pakistan which was in majority at that time.

He severely criticised the basic structure theory and said that the petitioners who had challenged the 18th Amendment and relied on the theory were trying for the revival of the law of necessity under which the Supreme Court had always validated unconstitutional steps taken by military dictators. “Federalism is the only basic structure of the constitution,” he emphasised. He alleged that the Supreme Court had constituted the 17-judge bench only to hand down a law which would be very difficult to be overruled in future.

“Therefore I would request the apex court to be very cautious for the sake of the future generation while deciding these petitions,” Mr Leghari said.

He was of the view that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain these challenges under its jurisdiction on the enforcement of the fundamental rights because not a mala fide act by the parliament to amend the Constitution and adopt the 18th Amendment.

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