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Justice Louise Arbour Concerned About Direction of Pakistan’s Supreme Court

Justice Louise Arbour has a distinguished career devoted to promoting the principles of justice. Currently serving as the President of the International Crisis Group, Justice Arbour is the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. As such, she knows a thing or two about the importance of an independent judiciary in developing countries and emerging democracies. That’s why, when Justice Arbour expresses concerns about the looming constitutional crisis in Pakistan, her concerns merit serious consideration.

An ardent supporter of Pakistan’s 2007 “Lawyer’s Movement” to restore judges deposed by Gen. Musharraf, Justice Arbour had hoped to see a new era for the Court, one that broke with its past of supporting military dictators and their mangling the Constitution and the rule of law. Today, she fears that those same justices have become “intoxicated with their own independence,” and that the current direction of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Justices threatens to upend the very democratic order that restored them to the bench.

Speaking to a crowded auditorium at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC, Justice Arbour noted that the current tension between Pakistan’s Supreme Court and its elected officials might seem like a political soap opera were it not for Court’s history of collusion with the military to suppress democracy. Judges “who took an oath to a military dictator are not well placed to make the decision” to remove democratically elected officials, she observed, referring to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s 1999 oath under Gen. Musharraf’s Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). While not inevitable, Justice Arbour said, it is possible that Pakistan’s Supreme Court could end up dissolving the democratically elected government with the help of the military, putting in place an extended caretaker government in what would be, for all intents and purposes, another coup.

During her visit to Pakistan, she assured the room, she met with no government officials. Her interest was in the views of the legal community, whom she found deeply divided, seemingly on political lines. This troubled the former Justice, who worries that Pakistan’s Supreme Court has become increasingly politicized, threatening its credibility. She pointed to the memo commission, which she said “reflected very poorly on the judiciary,” and added to the appearance of growing politicization.

The present case, in which the Supreme Court has ordered the Prime Minister to write a letter to Swiss authorities requesting that criminal cases be reinstated against the President, adds to the appearance of an increasingly politicized judiciary. From a legal perspective, the issue centers on one of separation of powers. In fact, Pakistan’s Chief Justice has repeatedly stated recently that “parliament is not supreme.” In questions such as these, where the Supreme Court has a vested interest in the outcome, Justice Arbour suggests that it is all the more important that court show self-restraint and frame its decisions in a way that “advances the authority of all institutions,” not only its own.

Continue reading Justice Louise Arbour Concerned About Direction of Pakistan’s Supreme Court

One suo motu too many – By: Tausif Kamal

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.

Continue reading One suo motu too many – By: Tausif Kamal

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) expresses concern over Husain Haqqani’s security

PRESS RELEASE – GENEVA – The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has expressed grave concern for the infringement of rights of Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the United States of America.

Husain Haqqani faced a vicious media trial following which the Supreme Court of Pakistan on a petition filed debarred him from travelling abroad, despite the fact that he has not been charged with any crime,” said Sheila Varadan, International Legal Advisor at the ICJ Asia-Pacific Regional Office. “Husain Haqqani continues to receive threats and has been painted as disloyal to the country. There is, though, no proof of any betrayal of his duties as an Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States.”

“We are calling on the Pakistani Authorities to respect Husain Haqqani’s right to be presumed innocent and to remove the restriction on his right to leave the country and any other restrictions on his right to freedom of movement,” added Varadan. “They must also ensure his personal safety at all times and respect his right to a fair and impartial hearing throughout the Inquiry process.”

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

Gilani removes Lodhi from Defence Secretary post

ISLAMABAD: Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi was removed from the post of Defence Secretary by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday, a move that is likely to create further friction between the government and the military. “Prime minister has terminated the contract of defence secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi for gross misconduct,” a senior government official told AFP.

Nargis Sethi has been given the additional charge of Defence Secretary. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Questions raised, Asma said she was baffled by Pasha’s meeting with Ijaz. “I don’t understand his interest in the Memogate affair,” “Under whose authority did he go abroad?” referring to the permission Pasha had required from the prime minister? Pasha must have resigned after 2nd May incident. Supreme Court must take action against Pasha.”

Questions raised: Pressure on Pasha

ISLAMABAD: The rhetoric against country’s top spymaster has increased in recent days – that too from a number of quarters.

Asma Jahangir, the counsel for former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, said on Monday that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Shuja Ahmed Pasha “should have resigned immediately” after the May 2 raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.

Speaking to the media after the Memogate case hearing, Jahangir said she did not understand why the DG ISI felt the need to travel abroad in order to investigate the matter. Jehangir also questioned Pasha’s meeting with Mansoor Ijaz.

Asma said she was baffled by Pasha’s meeting with Ijaz. “I don’t understand his interest in the Memogate affair,” she added.

Under whose authority did he go abroad?” she said, referring to the permission Pasha had required from the prime minister. Ijaz, in his reply, had stated that Pasha told him that he was meeting him with the knowledge of the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Petition against Pasha

Communist Party Chairman Engineer Jamil Ahmed Malik has also applied pressure on General Pasha. On Monday he pleaded with the Supreme Court to take action against the ISI chief for allegedly meeting Arab rulers.

Filing a petition in the SC on Monday, Jameel asked the court to remove Pasha, claiming he has lost the right to remain in service after his involvement in the Memogate affair.

Jamil said that, although reports regarding Pasha’s meeting with senior Arab leaders were carried in the press, neither ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) nor Pasha had contradicted them. In the ‘Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto versus President of Pakistan’ case, the SC had decided that “facts given in newspapers, having not been denied, would be considered as undisputed fact”, Jamil said.

Jamil’s argument, therefore, is that news on the meeting indicated that Pasha and the army were involved in politics, which was contrary to their oath under Article 244 of the Constitution. He added that the SC in a 2004 case had barred all government employees from taking part in politics during service. “…the ISI chief has hatched a conspiracy against an elected government and the president and he deserves a court martial under the Pakistan Army Act, 152,” Jamil said. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

‘Crimes’ of Asif Zardari – By Shiraz Paracha

President Asif Zardari

The military eliminated all Bhuttos because Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Murtaza and Shah Nawaz Bhutto did not accept dictation but Asif Zardari, a non-Bhutto, is no different than Bhuttos and this is the reason of generals’ annoyance with Zardari.

Generals are desperate to remove President Zardari through the Supreme Court as they believe that independent civilians cannot govern the land of the pure.

The military is after President Asif Zardari’s head because in him generals see a challenger. They want to punish the President because he is not a puppet. The military’s indignation at Zardari is rooted in the paranoia that only the military can save Pakistan and also it is the sole right of generals to set the contours of Pakistan’s foreign and defence policies.

Devious military minds have played the Imran Card to blackmail the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. As expected the Sharif brothers panicked after leaks that the military was behind Imran Khan and that Khan would hurt Muslim League (N) vote bank, particularly in the Punjab Province.

Read more » LUBP

http://criticalppp.com/archives/66558

Defend Occupy Toronto from Eviction!

ALL OUT TO DEFEND OCCUPY TORONTO! NO POLICE VIOLENCE! STOP THE EVICTIONS!

The Toronto Police have served eviction notices to Occupy Toronto protesters at St. James Park (Jarvis St. and King St.), ordering them to vacate the park between 12 midnight tonight and 5 a.m. tomorrow and threatening to remove them. Removal in the wee hours of the night means the police want to act without witnesses, increasing the threat of violence against peaceful protestors at Occupy Toronto.

The message of the Occupy Toronto protesters, representing the views of the majority of people in Canada, is a sharp critique of the inequalities, suffering and corruption of the capitalist system and advocates a more just society.

The camp is an expression of the right to free assembly and free speech.

We call on all those who care for democracy, civil rights, and the right to dissent, to go to the Occupy Toronto site at St. James park (Jarvis and King) and to stand in solidarity with the camp and its ideals, and to prevent a government attack on peaceful protesters.

The OFL is mobilizing a mass picket, linking arms around the site, at 11 pm tonight. President Sid Ryan notes that in London last night, the cops waited until supporters went home and then moved against the Occupy site around 1 am.

Comrades and friends should start going to the park whenever they can, and those who can, should also go to the 11 pm rally ..

If you cannot go to the site, phone your city councillor and the Mayor to demand they stop the eviction, and stop security officials from forcibly removing peaceful protestors from the site. Call your MP and MPP, call the talk shows, make your voice heard.

CP24 is running a poll asking the public if they support the eviction or not. Go to http://www.cp24.com to vote.

Unity and Solidarity Can Win!

Toronto Committee and Provincial Executive, Communist Party of Canada (Ontario)

London, Ont., police remove Occupy protest tents from city park

By Tamsyn Burgmann and John Lewandowski, The Canadian Press

Tents that had been erected in a London, Ont., park as part of the city’s Occupy protest were removed by police and bylaw officers early Wednesday.

Mayor Joe Fontana had issued a 6 p.m. Tuesday deadline for protesters to remove the tents, but the tents remained in Victoria Park long past the deadline.

Police and city bylaw officers entered the park at about 1 a.m. to dismantle tents and other structures. …

Read more »  YahooNews

Pasha should go – New York Times Editorial

– A Pakistani Journalist’s Murder

After the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was murdered in May, suspicion fell on Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s powerful spy agency. Mr. Shahzad reported aggressively on the infiltration of militants into Pakistan’s military and had received repeated threats from ISI. Other journalists said they, too, have been threatened, even tortured, by security forces.

Now the Obama administration has evidence implicating the ISI in this brutal killing. According to The Times’s Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, American officials say new intelligence indicates that senior ISI officials ordered the attack on Mr. Shahzad to silence him. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed on Thursday that Pakistan’s government “sanctioned” the killing, but he did not tie it directly to ISI. The murder will make journalists and other critics of the regime even more reluctant to expose politically sensitive news. The ISI is also proving to be an increasingly dangerous counterterrorism partner for the United States.

After Mr. Shahzad’s killing, ISI insisted it had no role, contending the death would be “used to target and malign” its reputation. The ISI and the army, which oversees the intelligence agency, were once considered Pakistan’s most respected institutions. Now they are sharply criticized at home for malfeasance and incompetence.

There is evidence that they were complicit in hiding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and that the ISI helped plan the Mumbai attack in 2008. They failed to prevent the recent attack on a naval base in Karachi. Mr. Shahzad disappeared two days after publishing an article suggesting the attack was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces.

It’s not clear how high up the culpability for Mr. Shahzad’s murder goes — or whether there are any officials left in the ISI or the army who have the power and desire to reform the spy agency. President Asif Ali Zardari and his government, while not implicated in these heinous acts, have been a disappointment, largely letting the military go its own way. They need to find Mr. Shahzad’s murderers and hold them accountable. And they must find the courage to assert civilian control over security services that have too much power and are running amok.

Mr. Zardari needs to speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in pressing the security services to change. That can start by insisting on the retirement of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, and the appointment of a more credible successor.

The United States needs to use its influence to hasten Mr. Pasha’s departure. It should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures. The ISI has become inimical to Pakistani and American interests.

Courtesy: → The New York Times

Source → http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/opinion/08fri2.html?_r=1

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[For more details → DAWN.COM → NYT asks Pak Govt to remove ISI Chief. – U.S. conforms evidence of ISI ordering the killing of Saleem Shehzad.]

Banned group wanted Pakistan coup to make world Islamic

By Amir Mir

ISLAMABAD: Those questioning Brigadier Ali Khan and several majors of the Pakistan Army for their jehadi links believe the radicalised armymen had a violent agenda to overthrow the government and remove the current military leadership, for their pro-American stance, through a coup.

Investigations being conducted by the authorities following the arrest of over a dozen officers of Pakistan Army for their links with Hizbul Tehrir have revealed that the leadership of the banned group had actually marked Pakistan as a base from which it wanted to spread Islamic rule across the world.

The group recruits members from the urban, educated and professional segments of the society and is also known to have spread its influence in the military ranks in recent years. Hizbul Tehrir has managed to maintain its presence in Pakistan despite being banned following the July 7, 2007 London subway suicide bombings, conducted by four British nationals of the Pakistani origin who were indoctrinated by extremists belonging to militant groups like Al-Mohajiroun and Hizbul Tehrir. …

Read more: → DNA

via Wichaar

Russia Weighs What to Do With Lenin’s Body

By C. J. CHIVERS

MOSCOW, Oct. 4 – For eight decades he has been lying in state on public display, a cadaver in a succession of dark suits, encased in a glass box beside a walkway in the basement of his granite mausoleum. Many who revere him say he is at peace, the leader in repose beneath the lights. Others think he just looks macabre.

Time has been unkind to Lenin, whose remains here in Red Square are said to sprout occasional fungi, and whose ideology and party long ago fell to ruins. Now the inevitable question has returned. Should his body be moved?

Revisiting a proposal that thwarted Boris N. Yeltsin, who faced down tanks but in his time as president could not persuade Russians to remove the Soviet Union’s founder from his place of honor, a senior aide to President Vladimir V. Putin raised the matter last week, saying it was time to bury the man. …

Read more : The New York Times

Blasphemy and the Islamic way

by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Due to some recent events in Pakistan, the issue of blasphemy is again in the news. It is generally held that Islam prescribes capital punishment for those who commit blasphemy; that is, using abusive language against the Prophet of Islam. But this is quite untrue. According to Islam, blasphemy is simply a misuse of freedom and not a cognisable offence; the blasphemer is not liable to incur legal punishment. This kind of law has no basis in Islamic scriptures. If someone uses abusive language against the Prophet, Muslims must take it as a case of misunderstanding, and then try to remove this misunderstanding. They are required to do so by engaging in discussion or by providing the blasphemer with Islamic literature that gives the true image of the Prophet of Islam.
To use abusive language against the Prophet or to praise him are both a matter of one’s own choice. Whatever the choice, it is in God’s domain to pass judgment on it. Muslims have nothing to do in this situation except try to remove the misunderstanding and then leave the rest to God.
If there is such a case – which could be called blasphemy – and in anger one tries to punish the offender, one is simply reacting negatively to the situation. And acting in this way is looked upon with extreme disfavour in Islam. Islam always tries to go to the root cause of any given problem.
When one abuses the Prophet of Islam, it is most probably due to some kind of provocation. Without provocation, this kind of negative attitude is extremely unlikely. That is why the Quran advises Muslims to get at the real reason.

The Quran points to one such root cause behind this kind of act and urges Muslims to try to come to grips with it: “But do not revile those (beings) whom they invoke instead of God, lest they, in their hostility, revile God out of ignorance.” (6:108)
It is on the record that, during the Prophet’s time, there were some non-believers who used to use abusive language against the Prophet of Islam. The Prophet of Islam never suggested any legal punishment for those persons. He simply directed them to one of his companions, Hassan bin Sabit al-Ansari, who would respond to their blasphemous statements and remove their misunderstanding by means of argument.  Islam suggests capital punishment for only one offence, and that is murder.

Read more : The Times of India

Pakistan – the problem with graveyards

IDPs and the problem with graveyards —Farhat Taj

Relatives of a passed away IDP carry his or her dead body from place to place in search of kind people who will allow the body to be buried in their graveyard. Many people are burying dead bodies in other people’s graveyards for a certain duration of time, with the promise to remove the remains after that time …

Read more : Daily Times