Tag Archives: Kangaroo

Judicial responsibility and organs of state

By Markandey Katju

After my article about the constitutional misbehaviour of the Pakistan Supreme Court was published in The Hindu (June 21), I received several queries and objections regarding it. Hence an explanation is called for, which I am giving below:

The first objection is that the British Constitutional principle, “The King can do no wrong” applies to a monarchy, not a republic. My answer is that I am well aware that Pakistan, like India is a republic. However, in both these countries, total immunity from criminal prosecution is granted to the President. Thus, Section 248(2) of the Pakistan Constitution states: “No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or Governor in any Court during his term of office.” Article 361(2) of the Indian Constitution is identically worded.

Continue reading Judicial responsibility and organs of state

Double Standard – Only judges allowed to be dual nationals.

Dual-national MPs insist loyalties lie with Pakistan

By Azam Khan

Excerpt; … Dual nationality holding parliamentarians, however, defended their loyalty towards Pakistan before a three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

If we allow dual nationality holders to enter into our assemblies, then imported prime ministers will come to rule us, the chief justice said.

Senator Wasim Sajjad, counsel for MNA Farahnaz Ispahani, said it was not realistic to question someone’s loyalty on the basis of dual nationality and to suspend their membership from the assembly subsequently.

The court suspended Ispahani’s basic membership a month ago on the grounds that she had US citizenship. Meanwhile, former senator Rehman Malik is also fighting for restoration of his membership before the court.

No impediment for judges

The chief justice remarked that the court would not allow a foreign citizen to have direct access to nuclear facilities and other secrets of the country.

Why are there no such impediments for some other tops slots, like the auditor general, high court judges or chief justices, Ispahani’s counsel remarked.

Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said that high court judges never sit in defence committee meetings or have direct access to the Kahuta facility.

A high court judge is authorised to suspend a prime minister and can also seek record and minutes of sensitive meetings of the defence and parliamentary committees, Sajjad replied.

The chief justice asked him to remain specific to the case. ….

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

What to Do About Pakistan

BY C. CHRISTINE FAIR

With an “ally” in a state of perpetual dysfunction, it’s time for Washington to reconsider its options: containment or benign neglect.

Excerpt: …. “At long last, it seems, various agencies of the United States government have come to the conclusion that Pakistan cannot be changed. Islamabad’s behavior in the region will remain staunchly pegged to its antipathy toward New Delhi. It will pursue policies that threaten the integrity of the Pakistani state for no other reason but the chimerical objective of resisting the obvious rise of India, while clinging to the delusion that it is India’s peer competitor — despite obvious and ever-growing disparities. Finally, Americans are asking what Pakistanis have long concluded: How can the United States and Pakistan have any kind of positive relationship when our strategic interests not only diverge but violently clash?…….While some may view these offerings as unreasonable, reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible, it is equally fair to ask whether Washington’s decades of policies toward Pakistan have been unreasonable, dangerous, and irresponsible? Moreover, what good have they accomplished? While many policymakers and analysts are willing to bank everything on the gamble that Pakistan is too dangerous to fail, we should be willing to consider what failure would mean and the inherent costs and benefits of this happening. After all, when the Soviet Union fell, none of the worst fears materialized. And Pakistan is hardly the Soviet Union” ….

Read more »Foreign Policy (FP)

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/06/21/what_to_do_about_pakistan?page=0,1

Pakistan’s gun-slinging chief justice faces backlash

…. But the CJP, too, has got his fair share of criticism. Some say the decision to disqualify Gilani smacks of a grudge match cheered on by his allies in Pakistan’s boisterous media.

Legal experts have questioned whether Justice Chaudhry may have exceeded his powers by ousting the prime minister, arguing that there were other options available to resolve the stand-off with Zardari’s government. “It’s my impression that the judgements are highly politicised,” said Asma Jahangir, a respected human rights lawyer. “The populist approach of the chief justice will destabilise the democratic process.” ….

Read more » Daily Times

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Click to read » Philippine Senate voted to remove Supreme Court Chief Justice

Constitutional Conspiracy against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry – by Riaz Malik

Greetings to His Holiness Highness Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary

Dear Enlightened Ghairatmand followers of Chief Justice of Muslim Tehrik League Party and Supreme Leagues of Pakistan (Hamid Khan-Hafiz Saeed Group)

I am even more hurt than many of you at the blasphemous content that is being said about our Beloved Infallible Chief Justice. First it was RAW agent Markandey Katju who said:

“Pakistani court has no right to dismiss a Prime Minister or overrule the constitutional immunity given to the President.”

Pakistani Supreme Court has gone overboard – by Justice Markandey Katju (Supreme Court of India) http://bit.ly/NTQlXh

Just because someone adds Justice before their name, does not mean he knows more about the law than great Punjabi Puttar Patriots like Sharif-ul-Raiwand and Hazrat Imran Khan.

After that a deep Amriki-Zionist-Neocon-capitalist-Masonic Lodhi conspiracy has been hatched to entrap the brilliant but simple son of His Holiness Highness Chief Justice who we should refer to as Ibne Iftikhar out of respect for his infallible FATHER. Everyone knows that Ibne Iftikhar made his money from selling cures for cancer, sewing namaz caps and doing commentary on kabaddi tournaments.  In Monte Carlo casino, he was simply giving a lecture on advanced probability theory.  Along with his female teaching assistant, he was presenting on topics like random variables, stochastic processes and non-deterministic events. There is no evidence; this LUBP Special: Documentary evidence of payments made to Pakistan’s Chief Justice’s son is all rubbish.

Continue reading Constitutional Conspiracy against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry – by Riaz Malik

Please, not again

By Saroop Ijaz

Jo shakhs tum se pehle yahan takht nasheen tha/ Usko bhi Khuda hone pe itna hi yaqeen tha” (“The person occupying the throne before you was equally convinced of his divinity”).

It is always slightly discomforting when one is deprived of a metaphor or an agreed upon symbol. ‘Dictatorship’ — of the Pakistani variety — has been defined over the years and now we have the definition down cold, it is almost an intuition now, for e.g., it is khaki in colour, comes from the GHQ etc. However, in the past few days, the term, ‘judicial dictatorship’ is making the rare appearance here and there. This is, admittedly, an awkward term and also perhaps, inaccurate since it seems to suggest that judiciary as a collective is becoming dictatorial. Over the past four years, the authority and decorum of all courts in Pakistan except the Supreme Court has seen tremendous erosion, with lawyers routinely beating judges up in civil courts and using ‘non-parliamentary’ language in the High Courts. There is no point in euphemism now, hence somewhat more precise would be the even more clumsy phrase, ‘dictatorship of the Supreme Court’ or some permutation thereof.

The Pakistan Supreme Court has sent an elected prime minister home. This in itself is disturbing, however, permissible it may be under some circumstances. What is infinitely more worrying is the fact that the Supreme Court did not feel itself constrained by the procedure of law. The argument that the order of the Speaker cannot overrule the Court is a very decent one, yet does not explain why the Court ignored the clear provisions of the Constitution to send the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan. There is also the issue of the three-member bench making a mockery of the seven-member bench. However, there is a vaguely linear progression to all of this. The Supreme Court terminated the employment of  “PCO” judges without reference to the Supreme Judicial Council, which was allowed to go unexamined. More recently, when memberships of members of parliament were suspended for dual nationality, again without reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan, not enough noise was created. Demagogy has a tendency of being incremental sometimes; they have tested the waters and now found it appropriate for a splash. It is likely to get worse now, it always does.

Continue reading Please, not again

Kurd unhappy over SC verdict on NRO

By Iftikhar A. Khan

The judgment appeared to be based on newspaper headlines and talk shows of private TV channels: Ali Ahmed Kurd.—Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD Ali Ahmed Kurd, the firebrand leader of the lawyers` movement and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, who has been keeping quiet for quite some time, surprised a lot of people on Tuesday with his blunt criticism of the way the Supreme Court was behaving. Judges should “behave like judges”, he said.

Continue reading Kurd unhappy over SC verdict on NRO

A bad movie plot

By: Irfan Husain

ANOTHER day, another crisis in Pakistan. What else is new? Given the roller-coaster ride we have been on these last few years, nothing has the power to surprise or shock anymore.

Even the fact that a warrant for the arrest of Makhdoom Shahabuddin has been issued just as he was filing his nomination papers for election to the prime ministership causes a big yawn.

If a screenwriter had crafted the script we have been following, a movie producer would have rejected it for being too unbelievable. The whole business about a tycoon bankrolling a series of multimillion dollar holidays for the chief justice’s son and his family is bizarre enough. But in a swift counterstroke, the prime minister is dismissed by the top judge, pushing his son’s scandal into the background.

Continue reading A bad movie plot

For the good of democracy – By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.” — Gilbert K Chesterton

At a juncture when the propinquity of a truly democratic order was almost being taken for granted, Pakistan suffered the biggest disaster since the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. A three-member bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who has vowed to protect democracy, sacked a democratically-elected prime minister on a matter of constitutional interpretation.

The sacked man, Yousaf Raza Gilani, and his party accepted the ruling with grace and nominated another candidate. But the day the prime ministerial nominee, Makhdum Shahabuddin, was to file his nomination papers, an anti-narcotics court issued a non-bailable warrant for his arrest, on a case that had been pending for weeks. Imagine, a court waking up on that precise day. The powers that be in the Islamic republic do not seem to care much for democracy. I have previously expressed hope in the growth of democracy and the institution building process. With the prime minister removed through an undemocratic, albeit legal method, that optimism cannot be sustained. It is clear that this is not the case of institutions clashing over boundaries, but disputes concerning other matters. Of course, the ruling party, too, is responsible for this sorry tale.

In Islamabad’s drawing rooms, it is being speculated that a government of technocrats backed by the army will soon be installed through a soft coup. Those who make these claims, carry a list of candidates for each ministry. Another theory is that the judiciary-executive tussle will result in the announcement of early elections and when the assemblies are dismissed, names in the aforementioned list will be adjusted in the caretaker cabinet, which in time, will be granted two to three years of extension. As the sacking of a prime minister and embarrassing an elected government by asking it to write a letter against its own head of state can be considered akin to protecting democracy, there is little doubt that this would also strengthen democracy.

Change may come in any shape, but if it comes through any means other than fresh elections, it will be detrimental. And change will definitely come. But let us fix responsibility for any undemocratic development. It should be remembered that the current democratic dispensation was founded on an intricate masonry of checks and balances. One function of the independent judiciary was to protect democracy. While it might have protected it from a military takeover, it has not been able to protect it from its own wrath. You can foresee the entire system collapsing. Some would say that the protectors of the Constitution have plunged the nation into another crisis-ridden bog.

If any undemocratic change comes, our armchair theoreticians assure us, it will not be limited to the cabinet and parliament alone, but will affect the judiciary as well. Perhaps, our judicial custodians have forgotten that they are part of the very democratic order that their recent verdicts seem to have so negatively impacted.

Courtesy:  The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.

The Guardian – Yousuf Raza Gilani’s sacking is bad news for Pakistan

By Muhammad Hanif

Pakistan’s judiciary is starting to care less for the rule of law than the sound of its own sermonising voice. Which suits the military

In the past, Pakistan’s supreme court has hanged an elected prime minister on trumped-up charges, sentenced another to life imprisonment and forced several career politicians into exile. So the disqualification of the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, on contempt-of-court charges should be seen as a step forward. Nobody died, right? The Pakistan Peoples’ party and its coalition partners now have another prime minister in the shape of Raja Pervez Ashraf. Pakistan’s supreme court will thump its chest and say we have proved that the law is the same for a commoner and a king. Pakistan’s all-powerful army will say: look, no hands. So why are Pakistan’s human rights activists calling it a judicial coup and warning us that the whole democratic facade is about to be pulled down?

Political decisions used to be made in the Pakistani army’s HQ. But the action has shifted to court one of the supreme court, in full view of the public, with judgments framed and delivered like soundbites for the primetime news.

Since being restored to his job after being sacked by President Musharraf in 2009, the chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, has been betraying an evangelical streak in his pronouncements. Maybe he feels that, with a country full of self-righteous zealots, he needs to adapt their tone. Or perhaps he is one. He doesn’t wait for the petitioners to come to the court, he watches TV and acts on his own cognizance. Even the half of Pakistan that can’t read or write will tell you what a suo motu is. We have already been quoted Khalil Jibran and the Persian poet Hafiz, and, it seems, a verse from the Qur’an or a hadith is only ever a suo motu notice away. When the chief justice took suo motu notice of allegations of his own son’s corruption he turned up in court waving a copy of the Qur’an and insinuating comparisons with himself and the second caliph, Umar.
Last year the chief justice took suo motu notice against the country’s most famous television actress for possessing a bottle of wine. Elsewhere, one of his sidekicks wondered aloud that if one day Pakistan’s parliament were to legalise gay marriages, would the supreme court sit quietly and watch?
This court is not as much in love with the rule of law as with the sound of its own sermonising voice. It has also mastered the art of selective justice. The same supreme court that has been sitting on an ISI corruption case for 15 years, the same judiciary that can’t look a retired general in the eye or force a serving colonel to appear in court, feels it perfectly constitutional to send a unanimously elected prime minister home.
There are not many tears being shed over Gilani. Looking at his record, many would say that he should have stayed home in the first place. But what is the point of clamouring for democracy if we can’t elect imperfect people – slightly less competent and way more corrupt than our average traffic cop – to lead us?
There are many ways of getting rid of a prime minister (though the old-fashioned way of voting them out has never been tried in Pakistan) but no simple way of telling the country’s highest judge, restored to his job as a result of a popular movement, that he has begun to sound like that dictator who sent him home.
In Pakistan, generals often confuse access to private golf courses with the country’s security. Senior bureaucrats consider it their right to name roads and villages after their grandfathers. Mullahs always fall back on God to justify their greed. Political leaders believe that democracy makes it mandatory to groom sons and daughters to take over their political parties. It’s not surprising that senior judges have started to believe that respect for them is the same thing as respect for the rule of law.
Pakistanis are being forced to choose between Gilani’s right to rule without doing a thing for his people, and a supreme court judge’s right to send him home. And people are refusing to choose. For a few days the country lacked a prime minister and a cabinet. And nobody really missed them.
The alarm being raised by pro-democracy people in Pakistan is that the whole system is about to be derailed. The supreme court’s reckless pursuit of government politicians could pave the way for a caretaker setup that will suit the military establishment.
The military, indeed, sulking after a series of humiliations at home and abroad, is watching from the sidelines. Some would say it’s even gloating at the prospect of civilian institutions cutting each other down to size, traditionally its job.

A must read article of Khaled Ahmed – Fallout from Arsalangate

Fallout from Arsalangate

By Khaled Ahmed

The PPP government was already in the dock for corruption. Arsalangate dragged some other entities into it: the army, the media, and the chief justice

Malik Riaz Hussain, arguably the biggest real estate developer in Pakistan with ‘connections’, decided to reveal that he had been blackmailed by the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and had allegedly been forced to spend nearly Rs 40 crore on him. He used journalists of a media house on a social media website to deniably make his case, after which the country witnessed a full-blown media scandal undermining the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court.

Called to the Supreme Court on suo motu, Malik Riaz submitted evidence of payments made to Dr Arsalan Iftikhar. He then went on TV and made additional allegations, some of them implying that Chief Justice Chaudhry may have been aware of what was going on. In answer, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar claimed that he had never met Malik Riaz and that he had received no payments from him or his relatives to finance his clearly lavish holidays abroad. Chief Justice Chaudhry expressed his complete lack of knowledge of all this.

The linguistic divide: One partisan of the debate that followed stated: ‘The Chief Justice took suo motu notice of the case and presided over the Bench while in the complete knowledge of the code of conduct of Judges. Given the experience and acumen of My Lord, the Chief Justice, one can say to a moral certainty that he would be aware of the general principle and the specific provision of the code of conduct, which requires judges not to hear matters involving immediate family members’. This comment was in English.

The first divide became visible on the subject and it was linguistic. In Urdu, the issue was addressed in the light of the example of Hazrat Umar who presided over the trial of his son and punished him with his own hands. This linguistic split – which is the most glaring ideological bifurcation in the country – was followed by politicians squaring off against one another: the PMLN and Tehreek Insaf announced themselves on the side of Chief Justice. They accused the ruling PPP of having engineered entrapment through Malik Riaz to get rid of the Chief Justice.

First Army, then TV Anchors: The media rallied to the defence of the Chief Justice. Most of the TV anchors thought it was a conspiracy to challenge the Chief Justice because he had made pointed investigations into “disappearances” in Balochistan. The implication was that the Army was offended and wanted the judge to ‘lay off’, and had used Malik Riaz to make revelations about Arsalan whose reputation was already subject of rumours in Pakistan for some time.

Continue reading A must read article of Khaled Ahmed – Fallout from Arsalangate

Pakistan courts order arrest of new prime minister nominee

Having already ousted one prime minister this week, Pakistan’s courts on Thursday sabotaged the appointment of a replacement by ordering the arrest of the man nominated to take up the job.

By Rob Crilly, Islamabad

The extraordinary move deepens the sense of political crisis in a country already reeling from an Islamist insurgency, economic woes and crippling power shortages.

Mahkdoom Shahabuddin, who most recently served as Textiles Minister, was due to be voted into office by parliament on Friday, replacing Yousuf Raza Gilani who was disqualified by the Supreme Court earlier this week.

Mr Shahabuddin was selected by President Asif Ali Zardari after two days of talks as the man best able to keep his coalition government alive until elections due early next year.

But no sooner had his name been announced than an arrest warrant was issued for his alleged role in a corruption scandal involving controlled drugs.

Fawad Chaudhry, a senior figure in Mr Zardari’s Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP), said the arrest warrant was the latest attempt by unelected judges to bring down the government.

“This has been going on for one and a half years,” he said. “If they really believe he is involved why have they waited until today to issue an arrest warrant?”

Party leaders were meeting on Thursday night to select an alternative candidate. Qamar Zaman Kaira and Raja Parvez Ashraf, both former ministers in Mr Gilani’s cabinet, filed nomination papers for the post ahead of Friday’s parliamentary vote.

Pakistan’s civilian government, military and judiciary are locked in a three-way tussle for supremacy.

Continue reading Pakistan courts order arrest of new prime minister nominee

Pakistani Supreme Court has gone overboard – says Justice Markandey Katju (Supreme Court of India)

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.

Continue reading Pakistani Supreme Court has gone overboard – says Justice Markandey Katju (Supreme Court of India)

New York Times – Pakistan Court Orders Arrest of Presidential Ally

By DECLAN WALSH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The high-stakes battle between Pakistan’s judiciary and government took a fresh twist on Thursday when a court issued an arrest warrant for a close ally of President Asif Ali Zardari, effectively blocking his nomination as the country’s next prime minister.

Mr. Zardari wanted Makhdoom Shahabuddin, a former health minister from Punjab Province, to replace Yousaf Raza Gilani, who was dismissed as prime minister by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

But hours after Mr. Shahabuddin’s nomination, a magistrates court, prompted by the military-run Anti-Narcotics Force, ordered his arrest to face charges relating to the illegal production of a controlled drug two years ago.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for Ali Musa Gilani, a son of the outgoing prime minister, in relation to the same case.

The ruling party Pakistan Peoples Party quickly nominated a new candidate, former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, who now looks likely to become the prime minister after a vote in parliament on Friday.

The dramatic court manoeuver highlights the growing difficulty of separating law from politics in the country’s rapidly evolving machinations of power.

Mr. Zardari’s supporters, and some analysts, say judiciary is using its widening powers to erode the authority of the government and ultimately push it from power. “Absolutely no subtlety anymore in going after the govt. Amazing,” wrote Nadeem F. Paracha, a newspaper columnist, on Twitter.

Continue reading New York Times – Pakistan Court Orders Arrest of Presidential Ally

Life after Pakistan judicial coup

By: Manoj Joshi

On Tuesday, Foreign Policy and Fund for Peace published their fourth annual failed states index. The good news was that Pakistan had moved from the 12th position to the 13th in the rankings.

The bad was that on the same day, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had conducted a judicial coup and declared that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani stood dismissed from his office. ….

Read more » Wichaar.com

HRCP terms Gilani’s removal as depressing

LAHORE: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called the disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gilani a sad occasion in a country where democratic traditions have perpetually been denied the nourishment they need to take roots.

Continue reading HRCP terms Gilani’s removal as depressing

People never to permit undermining of Parliament: Zardari

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said Wednesday that the people of Pakistan would never permit undermining of the Parliament behind different pretexts and they know how to ensure the supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution.

He said, “the era of packing the Parliament through the back door by using the defunct Article 58 (2) (b) is over for all times and no back doors and side doors will be allowed to be reopened for sending the elected Parliaments home.”

“Our people will also not suffer a destiny thrusted upon them by militants and extremists in the name of religion or in any other name,” he added.

The president said this in his message on the 59th birth anniversary of Benazir Bhutto falling on Thursday.

President Zardari said, “On the eve of her 59th birthday I wish to reiterate our commitment to the values of supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution and the building of a modern, egalitarian and pluralistic society in which everyone is allowed opportunity to help shape his or her own destiny—values for which she stood and fought for and when the time came even laid down her life for it.”

He said Benazir Bhutto led from the front the battle for democracy against all sorts of bonapartes and extremists.

“She believed in a moderate and pluralistic Pakistan where ballot determined the ultimate choice of the people and where the House elected by the people representing their will was supreme.”

Continue reading People never to permit undermining of Parliament: Zardari

The day justice was dispensed! – by Bahadar Ali Khan

A malifide intended PM has been disqualified. Every one on the streets is reciting ‘Va ja ul-hukke va zahaq-al-batil, Innul batila kana zahuka’. Finally piety, chastity and good has prevailed. There is fresh breeze of purity that is causing stir on the horizon of virtue. Crying babies have started giggling, trees and crops have started smiling, milkmen started distributing non-contaminated milk, the sounds of angels’s wings have started spurring on the sovereign aerospace of Pakistan, the faces of parliamentarians are beaming with the new respect that they have attained and last but not least executive has finally cheerfully decided to not to interfere in the craft of running a government again, ever! And every one is going to live happily ever after. Right?

I don’t know about you but personally I don’t agree with my above bizarre juxtaposition. Reality is actually more grim. From the history, we know there were times when military dictators would topple elected governments and aggrieved party would go to Supreme Court as a last recourse. But times have changed now. A bad and corrupt Prime Minister has been disqualified by an honest and upright judiciary. The maligned fellow was in General Musharraf’s dungeons when the same esteemed judges were taking oath under PCO ( not once but twice ) and gifted the blank cheque decisions to the dictator to amend the constitution, the way he pleased to do so.

Continue reading The day justice was dispensed! – by Bahadar Ali Khan

“First the military used to carry out coups and now the judiciary has overthrown an elected PM” – Hasan Askari

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

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

Pakistan – Things Fall Apart

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.

Continue reading Pakistan – Things Fall Apart

Democracy under threat

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.

Continue reading Democracy under threat

Questions Surround New Supreme Court Order Disqualifying Prime Minister

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?

Courtesy: http://americansforpakistan.com/2012/06/19/questions-surround-new-supreme-court-order-disqualifying-prime-minister/

Via – Twitter

Pakistan Supreme Court disqualifies prime minister

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

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/19/us-pakistan-gilani-idUSBRE85I0KS20120619?feedType=RSS&feedName=pakistan&virtualBrandChannel=10165&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=59231

Daily Times Editrial : More loyal than the king

In a matter of days, the allegations of the real estate tycoon Malik Riaz against Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has taken on the hue of a full blown conflict between the accuser and the judiciary. In shocking but unsubstantiated accusations of a bribe amounting to Rs 340 million, and financing of lavish foreign trips, the Riaz claim, notwithstanding its yet to be proved veracity, points to the most important judicial body’s head. The accused is the son of the CJP, thus presenting a more than unpleasant scenario where the establishment of proper distance between the two parties — the accused and the CJP — must be maintained at all costs. A simple civil matter (with possible criminal implications), no matter how preposterous or outrageous it may appear, did not merit a suo motu notice by the Supreme Court (SC), the redundancy of which was proved during the first hearing for lack of concrete evidence. This case must be pursued through the normal course. The recusing of the honourable CJP from the initial bench is a positive step, and the future proceedings of the case would be transparent and unbiased too if the consideration that the accused is the son of the CJP is not allowed to influence the proceedings.

Continue reading Daily Times Editrial : More loyal than the king

India – Judge and his son arrest in bail ‘sale’

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

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/255706/cash-bail-suspended-judge-2.html

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More details » BBC urdu

Order from chaos

By Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Every wolf’s and lion’s howl

Raises from hell a human soul

— William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence

Every scandal that is brought to limelight brings with it some sign of hope. The Arsalan Iftikhar scandal is no exception. It is true that it raised some serious questions about the need for oversight over the conduct of the judiciary, the media and big businesses. Also true that it has brought our unceasing hypocrisy to the fore. Amazingly, many among those who insist that Arsalan was acting alone, even if he was not actually a victim of a conspiracy, also believe that since Abdul Qadir Gilani, the prime minister’s son, called Mubashar Lucman during a staged interview with Malik Riaz, it proves that the PPP government is involved in a plot to malign the judiciary. But what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, sirs. If you can readily believe that the chief justice’s son kept his father in the dark about his corruption, what is the harm in believing that Abdul Qadir Gilani, too, might have acted alone? …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Via- Twitter

The way ahead – By Najam Sethi

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.

Continue reading The way ahead – By Najam Sethi

Why CJ receives Holbrooke?

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.

Continue reading Why CJ receives Holbrooke?