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.
Justice (r) Fakhurddin J Ibrahim, a respected jurist also known to have close relationship with Nawaz Sharif & PML-N has very different opinion of CJs’ ruling while PML-N & PTI are trying to ride on the back of judiciary. On this program he openly criticized judiciary but after he left the show the ultimate Legal Expert Dr. Shahid Masood criticized him with some lame and frivolous examples.
Our media is acting like Toilet Paper of judiciary especially. Everybody criticized Iftikhar M****l except Pakistani media. All international media and especially Indian SC judge has openly criticized this Clint Eastwood style of Justice (Clint Eastwood had no PCO oath and definitely no son like Arsalan). Since the judicial coup not even a single international outlet has praised the decision but rather labelled it as ” REVENGE DECISION”. This farce called judiciary is bent on taking PPP government down but instead they are making heroes out of fallen leaders. Mr. Iftikhar m****l no matter what you do, you can never legally become president or the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Your wish can only be served by illegal means. It is matter of discussion, want you want to name it Bangladesh model, revolution, judicial restraint, National interest, but between you and the whole world, it will still be ILLEGAL.
Media pundits who have continuously spread right wing pro Taliban/Al-Qaeeda agenda are now the Legal experts too. Our supreme court is in hyper drive with Dual core Pentium 10 processor to derail democracy or at least weaken it. First I was of the opinion that instead of having all this democratic set up and continuous military interruptions, why not make COAS to be president of the country but now I think why not make CJ the president of the country and let him run this bloody show. Forget Bangladesh model, make a new Pakistani model. After 62 years of independence we are still searching for damn models. We had military governments, we had imported PM’s governments, we had technocrat governments, we had lota governments, we had Ameer ul Momineens and why the not this new thing. We love experimentation what the heck, have this Judge be the president, CJ, PM and do what ever he wants to do with this unfortunate country self proclaimed Fort of Islam, leader of Ummah country. Mr. CJ go a head and make Mullah Omar the president of country if it serves you better.
As the time goes by I fail to see any light left for democracy in this hell bound country. First this weak political government couldn’t provide par excellence governance but rather a bad performance, then on top of it we have this PCO loving judiciary backed by media and right wing political parties harking to shut down this democracy-wemocracy bullshit.
This social fibre of this country was destroyed by uneducated bearded mullah with its out of the world interpretation of religion and now we have this bloody new kind of BUFOONS ***** and **** who are interpreting constitution for us. God help us.
Need to watch at least first 15 minutes renowned jurist & former judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim says Parliament is Supreme and CJ is responsible for the crisis.
Faisla Aapka with Asma Shirazi, 26th June 2012
There Are Seven Nuclear Powers In The World.1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th Nuclear Countries Are Thinking About How To Do Advancements In Space & How To Make A Permanent Station On Moon.
& The 7th Nuclear Power Is Debating On;
“Load Shedding“, “Ramzan Ka Chand“, “Polio Ke Qatry Halal Ya Haram?”, “Iodine Mila Namak Aur Baanjh Pan?”, “Cheif Justice Hero Ya big Zero?” “Veena Malik”, “Rehman Malik”, “Riaz Malik“, “Tuk Tuk Misbah”, “Zubaida Aapa“,
Pakistan Zinda Baad, Pehlay Pakistan Sa Zinda Baag…
Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists, e-groups, 28 June, 2012.
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.
In the light of recent commentaries by leading Pakistani and international lawyers including but not limited to Asma Jahangir, Justice Markandey Katju [Listen Justice Markandey’s interview at BBC urdu] (Indian Supreme Court), Saroop Ijaz etc, it is evident that Supreme Court of Pakistan has violated not only national constitution but also attacked the very foundation of parliamentary democracy in Pakistan.
Former Indian Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju, writing in The Hindu recently, questioned what he said was the “lack of restraint” on the part of Pakistan’s superior judiciary. Justice Katdue wrote: “In fact, the court and its Chief Justice have been playing to the galleries for long. This has clearly gone overboard and flouted all canons of constitutional jurisprudence”. He said that Article 248, Clause 2 of the Pakistani Constitution very clearly states: “No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or governor in any court during his (or her) terms of office”. He then went on to ask that if this is the case, how could a court approach what is a settled provision in the “garb of interpretation”?
The Pakistan Constitution draws its basic structure from Anglo-Saxon laws, which establishes a delicate balance of power among the three organs of the state — the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. However, in recent past, particularly since April 2012, Pakistan’s top judiciary led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has encroached into the elected parliament’s domain. This situation is not only a violation of Pakistan’s constitution but violates privilege of the elected parliament.
In his desire to become a saviour and hero of Pakistan, CJ Chaudhry has become a tool in the hands of politicians and media, and is through his actions and verdicts hurting Pakistan’s very security and stability.
Lawyer Saroop Ijaz writes:
It has no right to dismiss a Prime Minister or overrule the constitutional immunity given to the President
By: Markandey Katju
When I was I was a student of law at Allahabad University, I had read of the British Constitutional principle ‘The King can do no wrong’. At that time I did not understand the significance of this principle and what it really meant. It was much later, when I was in law practice in the Allahabad High Court, that I understood its real significance.
The British were experienced and able administrators. They realized from their own long, historical experience that while everybody should be legally liable for his wrongs and made to face court proceedings for the same, the person at the apex of the whole constitutional system must be given total immunity from criminal proceedings, otherwise the system could not function. Hence the King of England must be given total immunity from criminal proceedings. Even if he commits murder, dacoity, theft, or some other crime, the King cannot be dragged to court and made to face a trial.
One may ask why should the King be given this immunity when others are not? The answer is that in the practical world one does not deal with absolutes. The British were one of the most far sighted administrators the world has known. They realized that if the King is made to stand on the witness box or sent to jail, the system could not function. A stage is reached at the highest level of the system where total immunity to the person at the top has to be granted. This is the only practical view.
Following this principle in British constitutional law, almost every Constitution in the world has incorporated a provision giving total immunity to Presidents and Governors from criminal prosecution.
Thus, Section 248(2) of the Pakistani Constitution states:
“No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or Governor in any Court during his term of office.”
The language of the above provision is clear, and it is a settled principle of interpretation that when the language of a provision is clear the court should not twist or amend its language in the garb of interpretation, but read it as it is.
I therefore fail to understand how proceedings on corruption charges (which are clearly of a criminal nature) can be instituted or continued against the Pakistani President.
Moreover, how can the court remove a Prime Minister? This is unheard of in a democracy. The Prime Minister holds office as long he has the confidence of Parliament, not the confidence of the Supreme Court.
I regret to say that the Pakistani Supreme Court, particularly its Chief Justice, has been showing utter lack of restraint. This is not expected of superior courts. In fact the court and its Chief Justice have been playing to the galleries for long. It has clearly gone overboard and flouted all canons of constitutional jurisprudence.
The Constitution establishes a delicate balance of power, and each of the three organs of the state — the legislature, the executive and the judiciary – must respect each other and not encroach into each other’s domain, otherwise the system cannot function. It seems to me that the Pakistani Supreme Court has lost its balance and gone berserk. If it does not now come to its senses I am afraid the day is not far off when the Constitution will collapse, and the blame will squarely lie with the court, and particularly its Chief Justice.
Makhdoom Shahabuddin to be apprehended by ANF
By: Zuhaeb Nazir
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister candidate, Makhdoom Shahabuddin may be arrested by the Anti Narcotics Forces (ANF), Aaj News reported on Wednesday.
The recently announced PM candidate is wanted by the ANF in the famous ephedrine case involving former Prime Minster’s son, Ali Musa Gilani.
According to Aaj News, Makhdoom Shahabuddin was wanted by the ANF because of his involvement in the ephedrine case during his tenure as Health Minister. …
Read more » Aaj Tv News
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari hoped on Wednesday to nominate a new prime minister following a night of crisis talks after the Supreme Court disqualified Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt.
The move could ease uncertainty in a country that is increasingly trying US patience over al Qaeda-linked havens, struggling with a Taliban insurgency and heading deeper towards a financial crisis that could force it back to the IMF.
The court ruling effectively dissolved the cabinet and unless the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its fractious coalition members agree on a replacement prime minister, could bring elections forward to later this year.
Ahmed Mukhtar, until recently defence minister and now minister for water and power, is thought to be the most likely candidate, favoured for his experience and unflinching loyalty to President Asif Ali Zardari.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who has made international headlines for her beauty and designer handbags, has been apparently ruled out for inexperience.
“The process of consultation is continuing. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has made up its mind to elect a new prime minister rather than confront the court and create constitutional deadlock,” a government official told AFP.
Zardari was to present “three or four names” to coalition party leaders late Tuesday to try and find a consensus, said the official.
Aside from Mukhtar, other strong candidates were Makhdoom Shahabuddin, the textiles minister, and Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the commerce minister.
“If all the coalition parties agree on a name, then the PPP is expected to announce the name for new prime minister on Wednesday,” the official said.
The nominee would then need to be approved by parliament, where the PPP-led governing coalition has a majority.
The crisis is the worst in a showdown between the judiciary led by the popular, anti-corruption campaigning chief justice, and the government which waited till March 2009 to restore independent judges sacked under the military.
The Supreme Court convicted Gilani of contempt on April 26 for refusing to ask Switzerland to reopen multi-million-dollar graft cases against Zardari.
Gilani always insisted Zardari had immunity as head of state and that writing to the Swiss would be a violation of Pakistan’s constitution.
The new prime minister will also come under pressure from the court, for which analysts said Zardari was determined to appoint a loyalist and someone from the central province of Punjab to supplement his powerbase in the south.
Members of the government believe the court is trying to bring down Gilani and Zardari before February 2013, when the administration would become the first in Pakistan to complete a full five-year term.
The president, deeply unpopular among ordinary Pakistanis and nicknamed Mr 10 Per cent for alleged corruption, cancelled a visit to Russia to convene emergency talks with legal experts and party bosses to resolve the crisis.
The Supreme Court verdict was followed in hours by an announcement from the election commission that Gilani had been dismissed as an MP.
Senior PPP members also appealed for calm, a sign that the party preferred to elect a new prime minister than contest the court ruling.
Analysts warned it would be impossible to get parliament to overturn the court’s decision without the support of the main opposition PML-N party.
“This is a destabilising move. It is a kind of judicial coup. First the military used to carry out coups and now it’s the judiciary which has overthrown a prime minister,” said political analyst Hasan Askari.
Read more » DAWN.COM
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has nominated the name of Makhdoom Shahbuddin for the office of Prime Minister, sources said.
According to the sources, the decision was taken in a meeting of senior leaders of PPP held here on late Tuesday under the chairmanship of President Asif Ali Zardari.
The meeting also decided that the National Assembly session would be summoned on Thursday for the election of the leader of the house, sources added. …
Read more » The News
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.
Whenever some of our preconceived myths are shattered by a stark, unyielding and yet truthful reality, we tend to revert to denial and a refusal to face up to the facts as they are
The Supreme Court’s short order in the Arsalan Iftikhar case absolving the Honourable Chief Justice (CJ) without any investigation or examination of any evidence in the underlying imbroglio is premature. It is in fact contradicted by the Supreme Court’s own statement in this order: “…the Supreme Court (SC)…cannot judge the guilt or innocence of the parties without evidence or trial…” So how is this ruling not applicable to the CJ, who is so intertwined in this scandal being the father of one of the main suspects, and whose judicial power is at the heart of this corruption scandal?
This is in way to imply that the CJ is guilty but there cannot be an exemption from inquiry and investigation along with other participants and witnesses, for possible criminal violations based just on mere words of one of the parties. Who is Malik Riaz to give a clean bill of health to the CJ? It is strange that the SC is relying on the good word of Malik Riaz whom the former considers to be an accused fit to be prosecuted for some serious criminal offences under Pakistan’s criminal laws.
To contend that the media is maligning the judiciary by highlighting this scandal is to blame the messenger and not the message. Let us not be sidetracked, for now at least, by corruption in the media, which no doubt prevails, but which is less important than the imperative of our judiciary to have an unassailable reputation and an image above reproach. Conducting a thorough probe or inquiry of all those allegedly involved, including the Honourable CJ, will clear rather than tarnish the judiciary’s reputation and remove the dark clouds hanging over our most esteemed institution.
The nation has a right to know answers to such vital questions as how long the CJ knew about his son’s involvement with Malik Riaz and how many meetings the CJ had with Malik Riaz before the matter was seized through a suo motu action. The only other acceptable alternative to such an inquiry would be for the CJ to quit honourably in the larger interests of the judiciary and the country.
Islamabad’s Judicial Coup
The Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to dismiss Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani signals the unnatural death of another civilian government. While less dramatic than the military variety, this judicial coup—carried out on the pretext that Mr. Gilani refused to pursue corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari—perpetuates the cycle of unelected institutions “rescuing” Pakistanis from their own chosen leaders.
The man responsible for this constitutional crisis is Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry,
By: Omar Ali
The Chief Justice has now dismissed the prime minister of Pakistan. Punditry cannot possibly keep up with this stuff. Last week, Pakistan was in the middle of “Bahriagate”, a scandal involving one of the country’s richest men and the same Chief Justice . Malik Riaz, who rose from minor defence contractor to the position of richest and most powerful real estate magnate in Pakistan, claimed to some journalists that he gave 340 million rupees and several luxurious free trips (including one to Monaco with an unidentified woman) to the son of the chief justice of Pakistan, and he had kept the reciepts. His motives for revealing this self-incriminating information remains unclear at this time. The Chief Justice, who had apparently been informed of some of these accusations at least six months ago (and whose unemployed son had been taking the extended family on some rather fancy vacations for the last 3 years), decided to take suo-moto notice of these accusations once they became public. After a somewhat theatrical public hearing in which the Chief Justice came to the Supreme Court with a copy of the Koran and quoted liberally from the hadith and sunna, he recused himself from the hearing and two of his fellow judges took over the case. Quoting again from the Koran and hadith, as is now the norm in Supreme Court judgments, the two judges recommended that the competent authorities should investigate and register cases against anyone who may have given or taken any bribes in this matter.
By: Asma Jahangir
THE masks are off and daggers drawn. Pakistan’s democratic process may once again become a part of history, leaving the world to wonder how we could so willingly poison ourselves in the belief that it would lead to better days.
Those in power have consistently let their people down — ruthlessly. But no one is being fooled. They may feel helpless in the face of manipulation by everyone trying to save their skins — the judiciary included — but as the courts have often held themselves the truth does eventually prevail.
In the meanwhile, the country is headed for another phase of political instability that may finally lead to yet another autocracy. Sense may prevail at the end, but in the process, many heads will roll and hopes will be demolished. These are sad days for Pakistan.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan removed the Prime Minister in what is known as a “short order” – essentially a court order lacking a full explanation. These orders often begin, “For reasons to be recorded later…” – a practice that seems the beg for abuse and controversy – and then proceed directly to ordering some specific action on the part of an individual or institution. In this case, though, the specific action was not given until almost two months later – and made retroactive.
On April 26, the Supreme Court issued an order “for the reasons to be recorded later” that found then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani “guilty of and convicted for contempt of court.” The Supreme Court did not declare the Prime Minister disqualified from office and sentenced him to a symbolic detention of about 30 seconds.
The Supreme Court having chosen not to disqualify the Prime Minister, the issue was then taken up by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, who ruled that Mr. Gilani was not disqualified. That was last month.
Today, nearly two months after the Supreme Court issued its controversial conviction, a new short order, “for reasons to be recorded later,” was issued by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry – this time declaring that “Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)…on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgement of this Court dated 26.4.2012…”
This raises several very interesting questions. If the Prime Minister was disqualified pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order on April 26, why did they wait until June 19 to say so? Some have suggested that the Supreme Court was giving the Prime Minister the opportunity for appeal, but this is doubtful for a number of reasons: One, the Supreme Court could have declared the Prime Minister disqualified and then stayed the order pending appeal. But more to the point, to whom would the Prime Minister have appealed? The original order was given by a 7 member bench of the Supreme Court – there was no higher authority to appeal to.
Then there is the matter of the ruling by the Speaker of the National Assembly. If the Supreme Court had determined that Mr. Gilani was disqualified as of April 26, why did they allow Dr. Mirza to proceed with deliberations and a ruling on Mr. Gilani’s status as parliamentarian? If the Supreme Court believed that Dr. Mirza did not have the authority as Speaker of the National Assembly to issue such a ruling, why did they not issue an injunction stopping the Speaker from carrying out the act?
While these questions remain unanswered, at least until the Supreme Court delivers more than the two pages made available today, they suggest very troubling possibilities. By allowing Mr. Gilani to continue serving as Prime Minister for months, the Supreme Court has created a policy nightmare for Pakistan. Making the disqualification retroactive to April 26 means that any decisions made by the government since are effectively nullified. Pakistan has, essentially, been operating without a government for over 8 weeks.
Moreover, by allowing the Speaker of the National Assembly to deliberate and issue a ruling without comment, only to nullify that decision weeks later, the Supreme Court has undermined the authority of parliament and created confusion about fundamental issues of separation of powers and constitutional authority. What government official can now carry out their duties without the fear of Supreme Court action if the Chief Justice does not like the outcome.
This gets to what is perhaps the most troubling question of all – would the Supreme have issued this new order had the Speaker of the National Assembly herself disqualified Mr. Gilani? In other words, is Pakistan’s Supreme Court acting pursuant to due process or desired outcomes?
Via – Twitter
By Qasim Nauman
ISLAMABAD: (Reuters) – Pakistan’s increasingly assertive Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani ineligible for office, plunging the country into fresh political turmoil during a crisis in relations with the United States.
In April, it found Gilani guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president.
“Since no appeal was filed (against the April 26 conviction) … therefore Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani stands disqualified as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament)…,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in a packed courtroom.
“He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan … the office of the prime minister stands vacant.”
But Fawad Chaudhry, a senior Gilani aide, said only parliament could dismiss the prime minister.
While the decision is a big blow to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), it is unlikely to lead to the fall of the unpopular government. ….
Read more » Reuters
Suspended judge, 2 State MLAs face arrest in bail ‘sale’
Hyderabad, June 9, 2012, DHNS:
Anti-Corruption Bureau files FIRs
Suspended CBI special court judge Pattabhirama Rao and two Karnataka legislators Gali Somasekhara Reddy and T H Suresh Babu are facing arrest in the sensational cash-for-bail scam as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Andhra Pradesh filed FIRs against them on Saturday.
FIRs were also filed against five accomplices of the suspended judge, including his son. The ACB found prima facie evidence against the suspended judge and the two legislators in the case. Around Rs 10 crore crossed borders from Karnataka to Andhra Pradesh to bribe the judge, who granted conditional bail to Janardhana Reddy, currently jailed in Bangalore.
The case was handed over to ACB by the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday.
Janardhana Reddy’s brother Somasekhara Reddy (Bellary City MLA) and Suresh Babu (Kampli MLA) face arrest as bribe givers – for striking the deal and making a payment of Rs 10 crore to the judge.
Recently, on June 2, the cash-for-bail scam broke out when the then Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Madan B Lokur suspended Pattabhirama Rao on charges of accepting bribe last year in exchange for granting bail to former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy and three others involved in illegal mining.
The five accomplices of the suspended judge booked on Saturday are: the judge’s son, Ravichandra, retired sessions court judges T Chalapathi Rao, his son Balaji, rowdy sheeter Yadagiri Rao of Nacharam in Hyderabad and a junior lawyer Dasaradharami Reddy.
All 8 people have been charged under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 13(1) and (2) besides 120(b), 420 and 417 of the Indian Penal Code. The arrests of the prime accused and their accomplices are likely to be made soon, said the police. ….
Read more » Decan Herald
– – – – – –
More details » BBC urdu
By Amina Jilani
When former president General Pervez Musharraf decided to embark upon his politically suicidal path in March 2007, the first step was the production of a reference against the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry — a fatal move. The first item of the reference concerned the CJP’s son, Arsalan Iftikhar, a doctor, who since then has now come somewhat full circle.
Justice Chaudhry was charged with having influenced the upward mobility of his son’s career. In 1996, the son of a judge of the Balochistan High Court managed a ‘C’ grade in his intermediate examination. This being insufficient for him to gain admission to the Bolan Medical College, Quetta, the judge allegedly approached the Balochistan chief minister with the request that the son be admitted to the college, regardless of his grade and given a special or vacant seat. Apparently this was done.
Nine years later, in June 2005 (his father, by then on the Bench of the Supreme Court), the young doctor was appointed as a medical officer in Quetta’s Institute of Public Health. In July, a short time following this appointment (by this time Justice Chaudhry was chief justice of Pakistan) the Balochistan chief minister again allegedly came to the aid of Arsalan Iftikhar, ordering his promotion as a section officer in the health department.
According to the reference, in that same year, August 2005, the young man decided to redirect his career. A letter was sent by the interior ministry to the Balochistan chief secretary informing him that the FIA wished to acquire the services of Dr Iftikhar. By September 2005, the doctor had a job as an assistant director in the FIA. This was followed up in April 2006 by his promotion to the position of deputy director.
Then, Arsalan, as claimed the reference, decided he would prefer a career in the police service. So, the ministry of the interior acted again, allowing him to bypass the necessary competitive services examination and the commandant of the National Police Academy was instructed to take him and put him through a course of field training, usually exclusive to Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) officers, after which, he was scheduled to move over to the Punjab Police.
But it was not that simple. For the doctor to be admitted as a permanent employee of the PSP, an amendment would have to be made in the Police Service of Pakistan Rules, which required presidential assent, the reference alleged. The prime minister’s secretariat was requested to do the needful but apparently the desired amendment did not materialise. The reference claimed further that in October 2006, he was nominated as a non-PSP officer to attend a training course in Istanbul, interestingly enough on the subject of Combating International Terrorism and Organised crime, the only non-PSP and sole under training individual to do the course.
Well, if our press and Dr Iftikhar are to be believed, the young man has moved on considerably and is now involved in business. He has also done quite a bit of travelling — regularly to Europe, London and Monaco, that we know of. It would seem that he is either naïve or forgetful when it comes down to brass tacks. In his statement dated June 6, made in the Supreme Court, referring to his 2011 visit to London, he stated: “I do not know from whose credit card the rent of the flat, which I remotely remember was around 3,200 pounds sterling per week, was paid. Perhaps I stayed for four weeks…”
In India at least half a dozen chief justices in the past have been accused of corrupt practices or conduct unbecoming a judge of high stature. However, none has ever been dragged to the dock. But matters are very different in Pakistan where the chief justice and the Supreme Court are battling for their credibility and independence because of the misdemeanours of the son of the chief justice. There is bitter discord in state and society. The fear is that if the political fallout isn’t quickly contained, the military might be tempted to step into the fray.
Riaz Malik has presented credible evidence of footing the bills of Arsalan Chaudhry, the son of the CJP, for more than Rs 34 crore in the last three years for favours promised but not fulfilled in cases of property disputes relating to Mr Malik’s business empire pending before his father in the SC. He claims he was blackmailed by Arsalan Chaudhry to cough up or face hard times in the court before his father. Arsalan says he was entrapped in order to influence his father. In the event, Arsalan took favours from Mr Malik but his father didn’t return the compliment, which raises the question of who was blackmailing whom and who gained and who lost from this unholy transaction.
We know the kind of influence Malik Riaz Hussain of Bahria Town has been famous for peddling: chummy with presidents and prime ministers, close links to all major political parties, ex-generals and air-marshals in his employ, leading champions of the fourth estate in his pocket, or at least beneficiaries of his largesse. We can even go a step further and for the sake of argument say that he is the biggest wheeler-dealer this side of Suez.
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.
ISLAMABAD: Business tycoon Malik Riaz, speaking with reference to the Dr Arsalan Iftikhar suo motu case, on Tuesday claimed that he did not give any bribes to anyone but rather was blackmailed.
Riaz, who had earlier appeared before the Supreme Court to hand over his statement, was speaking to the media at a hotel in Islamabad.
“Blackmailers were sent after me. Where should I go? Why was I pushed against the wall?” Riaz questioned.
Riaz said that despite being blackmailed, he continued to “bear” the trouble to avoid destroying his credibility and his career. “I cannot see this country collapsing. I have helped built it.”
He further claimed that there is no free judiciary in the country and it is being run by a ‘don’. “Arsalan Iftikhar is the don. But I still respect the chief justice.”
Pakistan: the sausage factory is becoming dangerously transparent
The latest scandal in Pakistan involves the leading business tycoon of the country spending (he claims) 340 million rupees on the son of the chief justice of Pakistan. Said tycoon Riaz Malik used to be a struggling contractor who hit paydirt with high-end housing colonies named “Bahria colony” (the name means “navy”…and some admirals are said to have sold him access to that name and the authority of Pakistan’s smallest armed force). Now one of the richest men in the country, Malik Riaz has been profiled in this documentary by TV anchor Sohail Warraich.
Suggested names for this scandal include “bahriagate”, “familygate” and, more originally (from lawyer Feisal Naqvi) “liti-gate”! Conspiracy theorists are busy trying to figure out if this whole thing was orchestrated by the army (unhappy over the chief justice’s asking questions about missing persons in Balochistan) or by Zardari or by the CIA and Mossad and RAW.
But whatever the details, one thing is clear to an outside observer. The walls of the sausage factory are becoming dangerously transparent. 11 retired generals work for Malik Riaz. Many admirals and generals smoothed his path to wealth. Many journalists are being accused of being on his payroll. And its not just this scandal. The son of the prime minister is accused of smuggling controlled substances. The brother of the almighty army chief is being targeted in a whispering campaign. Secret agencies, hidden camera videos, trips to Monte Carlo with mysterious women…its all out in the open or threatening to come out. All this has happened in other countries (well, maybe some of it has). but times are tough, the economy may tank, the security establishment has got itself into a fight with its traditional American patrons. There was never a real national ideology behind the claptrap taught in 6th grade. What will hold the center? These things can get out of hand.
London: Lunch-time on the 28th of May 2012 the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry received a vocal reception at the hands of the protesters gathered outside the award giving ceremony of the International Council of Jurists (ICJ). Ironically Justice Chaudhry is himself the vice president of ICJ.
Zee News reported, “Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ha[s] been awarded the prestigious International Jurists Award 2012. Justice Chaudhry received the award from Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court of the UK, for his “unique and tremendous contribution in the field of administration of justice and for the tireless and fearless endeavours towards administration of justice in Pakistan against all odds.”
Shortly before Justice Chaudhry received the award, two persons barged into the auditorium at the Hotel Court House raising slogans against killings of Shias in Pakistan.”
While outside a large demonstration by Sindhi, Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Human Rights organizations was taking place against forced conversions of Hindu and Christian girls in Pakistan. The protesters were chanting loud slogans against Justice Chaudhry ’s role in handing over the Hindu girls to their Muslim ‘husbands’ whereas their families allege that all three girls were abducted on the orders of the influential custodian of a Muslim shrine Mian Abdul Haq-Member National Assembly for the ruling PPP.
Christian groups pointed out the lack of justice in Pakistani courts for scores of victims languishing in jails under trumped-up charges under Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws which carry the punishment of death penalty. The protesters were allowed to speak to the organizers of the event. ….
Read more » Global Christian Voice
Philippines’ top judge ousted in victory for Aquino
By Stabroek editor
MANILA, (Reuters) – The Philippine Senate voted today to remove the country’s top judge for failing to disclose his wealth, a landmark victory for President Benigno Aquino as he pushes a campaign to root out endemic corruption in the Southeast Asian nation.
More than two-thirds of the 23 senators voted to oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who becomes the first official in the country to be removed by an impeachment court. The decision bars him permanently from public office.
The ruling is likely to be welcomed by investors amid concern that the four-month-long trial was distracting the government from policy matters at a time when the Philippines is seeing a resurgence of interest in its long-underperforming economy. ….
Read more » Stabroek News
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.
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
The honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan says he is losing patience with the Capital Development Authority (CDA). In a court-initiated (suo motu) action, he wants a quick rebuilding of the Jamia Hafsa madrassa, flattened by bulldozers in 2007, after it became the centre of an insurgency. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJ, is now dragging procrastinators over the coals by issuing notices to the CDA chairman, Islamabad’s chief commissioner and the interior secretary. The Court has also expressed its “displeasure” over the status of police cases against the Lal Masjid clerics and ordered the deputy attorney general to appear before it next week.
It is dangerous to comment on Pakistan’s highest level of judiciary. So let me solemnly declare that the highest wisdom must lie behind this extraordinary judicial activism. Nevertheless, I must confess my puzzlement because — as was seen by all — Lal Masjid and the adjoining Jamia Hafsa had engaged in a full-scale bloody insurrection against the Pakistani government, state, and public. Hundreds died. That those who led the insurrection should be gifted 20 kanals of the choicest land in sector H-11 of Islamabad is, I think, slightly odd.
Such thoughts crossed my mind last week when a flat tyre occasioned me to walk along the outer periphery of the freshly-painted and rebuilt Red Mosque. I momentarily stopped to read a large wind and rain-weathered monument which, placed on the government-owned land that Jamia Hafsa once stood upon, declares (in Urdu) that “The sacred Islamic worship place here was destroyed by a tyrannical ruler to prevent Sharia from becoming the law”.
The story of the insurrection and its tragic end is well-known. In early January 2007, the Lal Masjid had demanded the immediate rebuilding of eight illegally-constructed mosques that had been knocked down by the CDA. Days later, an immediate enforcement of the Sharia system in Islamabad was demanded. Thereafter, armed vigilante groups from this madrassa roamed the streets and bazaars. They kidnapped ordinary citizens and policemen, threatened shopkeepers, and repeated the demands of the Taliban and other tribal militants fighting the Pakistan Army.
At a meeting held in Lal Masjid on April 6, 2007, it was reported that 100 guest religious leaders from across the country pledged to die for the cause of Islam and Sharia. On April 12, in an FM broadcast, the clerics issued a threat to the government: “There will be suicide blasts in the nook and cranny of the country. We have weapons, grenades and we are expert in manufacturing bombs. We are not afraid of death….”
Lal Masjid was headed by two clerics, the brothers Maulana Abdul Aziz and Maulana Abdur Rashid Ghazi. They had attracted a core of militant organisations around them, including the pioneer of suicide bombings in the region, Jaish-e-Muhammad. Also on April 12 2007, Rashid Ghazi, a former student of my university, broadcast the following chilling message to our female students:
“The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-e-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. They will have to hide themselves in hijab otherwise they will be punished according to Islam…. Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the Hereafter for such women.”
For months, unhindered by General Musharraf’s government, the Lal Masjid operated a parallel government that was barely a mile or two away from the presidency and parliament. Its minions ran an unlicenced FM radio station, occupied a government building, set up a parallel system of justice, made bonfires out of seized cassettes and CDs, received the Saudi Arabian ambassador on the mosque premises, and negotiated with the Chinese ambassador for the release of his country’s kidnapped nationals. But for the subsequent outrage expressed by Pakistan’s all-weather ally, the status quo would have continued indefinitely.
Nevertheless, our courts say that they cannot find any evidence of wrongdoing during the entire six-month long saga. They say there are no witnesses or acceptable evidence. Abdul Aziz and Umme Hassan (his wife, who heads Jamia Hafsa), therefore, stand exonerated. Also lacking, they say, is proof that the Lal Masjid accused possessed heavy weaponry.
But Islamabad’s residents know better. When the showdown came in July 2007, machine guns chattered away as mortars and rocket launchers exchanged their deadly fire. Copious TV coverage shows armed madrassa students putting on gas masks to avoid the dense smoke. The final push left 10 of Pakistan’s crack SSG commandos dead, together with scores of defenders. A tidal wave of suicide attacks — as promised by the clerics — promptly followed.
Some speculate that the land gifted to Aziz and Hassan is actually the price for keeping hornets inside their nest. This is not impossible because suicide bomb attacks inside Pakistan’s major cities have decreased dramatically in the last two years. The authorities claim credit, saying the reason is better intelligence about violent groups and better policing. But anyone driving through Islamabad knows how trivially easy it is to conceal weapons and explosives; the security measures are certainly a nuisance to citizens but hopelessly ineffective otherwise. So, could the H-11 land offer be part of a much wider peace deal with various militant groups?
The temptation to make deals has grown after the battle for Lal Masjid. It is clear who won and who lost. Even as they fought tooth and nail against the Pakistan Army, the madrassa clerics were never dismissed and continued to receive their full government salaries. On the other hand, General Musharraf — who acted only after things went out of control — now sulks in exile. All madrassa curriculum reform plans are dead; the government does not talk about them anymore — let the clerics teach what they want.
Appeasement is the hallmark of a weak state and dithering leadership. Once again, Pakistan is showing its helplessness in the face of those who carry guns and bombs. For a country alleged to have the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal, this is surely ironical.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.
by Barbara Ehrenreich
Individually the poor are not too tempting to thieves, for obvious reasons. Mug a banker and you might score a wallet containing a month’s rent. Mug a janitor and you will be lucky to get away with bus fare to flee the crime scene. But as Business Week helpfully pointed out in 2007, the poor in aggregate provide a juicy target for anyone depraved enough to make a business of stealing from them.
The trick is to rob them in ways that are systematic, impersonal, and almost impossible to trace to individual perpetrators. Employers, for example, can simply program their computers to shave a few dollars off each paycheck, or they can require workers to show up 30 minutes or more before the time clock starts ticking.
Lenders, including major credit companies as well as payday lenders, have taken over the traditional role of the street-corner loan shark, charging the poor insanely high rates of interest. When supplemented with late fees (themselves subject to interest), the resulting effective interest rate can be as high as 600% a year, which is perfectly legal in many states.
It’s not just the private sector that’s preying on the poor. Local governments are discovering that they can partially make up for declining tax revenues through fines, fees, and other costs imposed on indigent defendants, often for crimes no more dastardly than driving with a suspended license. And if that seems like an inefficient way to make money, given the high cost of locking people up, a growing number of jurisdictions have taken to charging defendants for their court costs and even the price of occupying a jail cell. ….
Read more » Common Dreams
‘The death penalty is the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.’
There is a hope. We are getting closer to a death penalty-free world.
Read more » Free Thought Blogs