Tag Archives: disappointing

Judicial hyperactivism is threatening democracy in Pakistan

By: Junaid Qaiser

Pakistan is known for its weak political institutions, powerful army, several military coups and the infamous Article 58(2)-(B) that was used to send elected prime ministers to home or jail.

But this time around we are seeing a slightly different technique when the three member bench of the Supreme Court declared Yousuf Raza Gilani disqualified from holding a seat in the parliament from the date of his conviction on April 26 by a seven-member bench for contempt of court. A prime minister, who enjoyed confidence of the Parliament, who even before taking the oath of office, ordered release of the judges sacked and detained by former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf and later reinstated all the deposed judges on 16th March 2009 through an executive order. Many renowned experts as well as common person termed the ouster of elected PM similar to a judicial coup.

The Twitterities are using the hashtag #JudicialCoup to explain a new (invented)mechanism to oust an elected government.

The judges’ restoration movement, has been wrongly termed by many as a new beginning for Pakistan, as it’s not only failed to create and develop space for civilian supremacy, but also emerged a main hurdle in democratic evolution. And, today, we are more concerned than ever about the political instability. International media and observers place Pakistan in the category of countries, where parliament is continuously under sieges.

Pakistan’s judiciary has a very controversial history, which had never opposed, even the unconstitutional actions of the military dictators. The frequent imposition of martial laws, abrogation and suspension of constitutions were acts of treason under the law but were frequently validated by our apex courts.

In Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan versus the Federation of Pakistan, Justice Munir declared that the Assembly was not a sovereign body. He gave the ruling that the Constitutional Assembly had “lived in a fool’s paradise if it was ever seized with the notion that it was the sovereign body of the state”. The wording may be slightly different but the mindset remain the same, when the present Chief Justice said that the concept of parliament’s sovereignty was ages old so it was not so it was not applicable now. Historians feel that Justice Munir destroyed Pakistan’s constitutional basis when he denied the existence of Assembly’s sovereignty, and further harmed it by not indicating where sovereignty resided. It is quite obvious that historians will also judge the serious consequences of the present role of the judiciary for parliamentary democracy in Pakistan.

The observation by Justice Munir in Dosso versus the Federation of Pakistan, that a successful coup is a legal method of changing a constitution, sets the basis for the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army, General Ayub Khan, to takeover the government from Iskandar Mirza. Ironically, the military takeover by General Ayub Khan on October 27, 1958, took place one day after the decision of the court was announced. By November 10, 1977, a nine-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, headed by Chief Justice Sheikh Anwarul Haq, unanimously validated the imposition of martial law under the ‘doctrine of necessity’. The judgment provided cover to the unconstitutional act of General Ziaul Haq and even gave him authority to make changes in the constitution. And in the Zafar Ali Shah case, the Supreme Court had granted three years to General Musharraf to hold elections and amend the Constitution and, in turn, General Musharraf gave three-year extension in service to the then incumbent judges.

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No, Prime Minister: Pakistan’s Highest Court Plunges Country into Uncertainty

In a controversial ruling, Pakistan’s Supreme Court axed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani—a verdict that speaks volumes of the enmities and uncertainties haunting the country

By Omar Waraich

For anyone hoping to see a Pakistani civilian government complete a full five-year term without any interruption, this verdict was sorely disappointing. On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that Yousaf Raza Gilani can no longer continue as Prime Minister, raising tensions between the government and the judiciary to their highest point and leaving the country vulnerable to a new phase of political instability.

In its unusually terse ruling, the Supreme Court instructed President Asif Ali Zardari to arrange a successor for Gilani. While there is little prospect of Zardari’s government falling, his ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has accepted that there is no Prime Minister at the moment, and, therefore, no cabinet. The PPP is currently in crisis talks with its political allies to decide on a new Prime Minister. The challenge for the ruling coalition will be to hold on to its numbers, achieve a consensus on a new premier and survive a vote of confidence expected in the coming days.

Continue reading No, Prime Minister: Pakistan’s Highest Court Plunges Country into Uncertainty

India: Disappointing Year for Human Rights

Failure to Address Impunity, Police Reform, Torture, Women’s Rights

(New York) – The Indian government during 2011 failed to hold rights violators accountable or to carry out effective policies to protect vulnerable communities, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012.

The government took no action to repeal the widely discredited Armed Forces Special Powers Act, disregarding the recommendations of political leaders and advisers, Human Rights Watch said. The government also ignored the urgent need for police reform despite widespread complaints of torture and unlawful killings as well as deplorable working conditions for police personnel….

Read more » Human Rights Watch

Going back to Mukhtar Mai

by Sana Saleem

I am at a loss of words today. No words can describe the dejection, pain and anguish that many of us felt on hearing the Supreme Court’s verdict on Mukhtar Mai’s case. After nine arduous years of waiting for justice, five out of six accused in Mai’s rape have been acquitted. It was the Supreme Court that took suo moto notice on the LHC’s decision and now its decision to uphold the initial verdict is extremely disappointing to say the least. …

Read more : DAWN

Benazir Murder Case: PPP Government Impedes Investigation, Prosecution

Comment by Aziz Narejo

It is extremely disappointing to see that instead of pursuing vigorously the Benazir Bhutto murder case, the PPP government is making all out efforts to obstruct the investigation into the case and impede a fair trial. It was expected that the PPP government, immediately after coming to power, would order a robust investigation in the case and will forcefully go after the killers of its leader Benazir Bhutto. But as the news reports indicate, it is instead going after the upright investigation officers and the prosecutors who have worked hard to build a strong case. …

Read more : Indus Herald