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Efforts to unseat elected govt through courts is ‘Contempt for Voters’ – Guardian Editorial

Pakistan politics: contempt for voters

Legality of supreme court’s move to unseat democratically elected government before its term is highly debatable

The national reconciliation ordinance was a dirty deal, brokered by the Bush administration, between Pakistan’s then military ruler Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto. It allowed her to return from exile and take part in elections in exchange for the dropping of corruption charges against her husband Asif Ali Zardari and other officials. The constitutional court was right to declare it unconstitutional two years later in 2009 and, it could be argued, equally right to demand the current government’s full implementation of the court’s decision.

The court is trying to do this by requiring the serving prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, to write to the Swiss authorities asking them to reopen a corruption inquiry against Mr Zardari. This the prime minister refuses to do on the grounds that Mr Zardari, who is now president, enjoys executive immunity from prosecution both inside and outside the country. The immunity the president enjoys while in office has not been the issue in the court, only Mr Gilani’s failure to comply with an unimplementable order. Yesterday he was charged with contempt, a move which could lead to his dismissal from office. If the legality of the court’s move is debatable, the politics of it are extremely murky.

First the timing. Having sat on this issue for three years, the supreme court are only now moving against Mr Gilani, who has become Pakistan’s longest serving prime minister. He was also the only one to be have been voted unanimously in power by parliament. Why now? With elections coming up in March 2013 which the leading party in the coalition, the Pakistan People’s Party, could very well win, this is an attempt to stop the civilian government from consolidating its power. In past eras this would have been done by tanks and generals. Today, it is been done by using supreme court justices as proxies. That may be called progress, but the manoeuvre to unseat a democratically elected government before its term is up remains the same.

Further, no domestic proceedings are being brought against President Zardari. They want a foreign government to do their work for them. Nor is any politician in Pakistan in a rush to challenge the rule of the executive immunity from prosecution for the simple reason that in power they would be sure to benefit from it as well. Once Mr Zardari loses office, fairly and at an election, he will lose that immunity and it is entirely right that he should have to account for allegations that he received kickbacks in a court of law. But that is not the purpose of yesterday’s contempt hearing. It is to sow political chaos and Mr Gilani is right to resist it. If he is convicted and forced from office, he will become a martyr in his party’s eyes. This will only propel his career forward.

Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/13/pakistan-politics-contempt-voters?newsfeed=true

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New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

By MOHAMED NASHEED, Maldives

my government asked the United Nations to help us investigate judicial abuses

DICTATORSHIPS don’t always die when the dictator leaves office. The wave of revolutions that toppled autocrats in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen last year was certainly cause for hope. But the people of those countries should be aware that, long after the revolutions, powerful networks of regime loyalists can remain behind and can attempt to strangle their nascent democracies.

I learned this lesson quickly. My country, the Maldives, voted out President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, its iron-fisted ruler, back in 2008, in historic elections that swept away three decades of his authoritarian rule. And yet the dictatorship bequeathed to the infant democracy a looted treasury, a ballooning budget deficit and a rotten judiciary.

I was elected that year, and with the help of the International Monetary Fund, my government worked to cut the deficit, while also building a modern tax base. For the first time in its history, the Maldives — a group of islands in the Indian Ocean — had a democratically elected president, parliament and local councils.

But it also had a judiciary handpicked by the former president, which was now hiding behind a democratic constitution. These powerful judges provided protection for the former president, his family members and political allies, many of whom are accused of corruption, embezzlement and human rights crimes.

Continue reading New York Times – The Dregs of Dictatorship

ISI chief meets a serial coup-maker, guilty of massive human rights abuses and former dictator Musharraf, tells him not to return to Pakistan.

– ISI chief secretly meets Musharraf in Dubai: sources

ISLAMABAD: Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the chief of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), held a secret meeting with former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in Dubai advising him not to visit Pakistan, sources told DawnNews on Monday.

“General Pasha, who has remained very close to the former president, held a meeting with him (Musharraf) in Dubai and advised him not to return to the country as the situation is not conducive for his return,” said an insider while requesting anonymity from this correspondent.

The Senate on Monday also passed a resolution demanding the arrest of the former military ruler on his return. Interior Minister Rehman Malik also announced that Musharraf would be arrested the day he landed in Pakistan.

The sources claim that Pasha strictly advised Musharraf to not to return.

It is yet not clear whether the meeting was held on the directions of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party government or if it was a private meeting. However the sources insist that it was a private meeting between the two.

The sources also claim that Pasha enjoys a long history of relations with the former dictator.

In 2008, during the last year of Musharraf as president, Pasha was appointed to the key posting of Director General (DG) of Military Operations Directorate. Later General Kayani, after becoming the chief of Army Staff, promoted him as Lt Gen and appointed him the chief of the ISI.

Currently two important cases against Pervez Musharraf have been registered in Pakistan. An Anti Terrorists Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi has already declared Musharraf a proclaimed offender in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. Musharraf was also nominated in Akbar Bugti’s murder case in Balochistan.

The sources also claim that Musharraf, after meeting with the ISI Chief, called a meeting of his party on January 25th for revisiting his decision to return to Pakistan.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Properties of Altaf Hussain in UK – by Roger Harding for The Asian Journal

– For years the founder of leader of Pakistan’s Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has spoken about financial misappropriation and irregularities of the country’s feudal and industrial rulers through alleged or real misuse of power.

But British Land Registry records now revealed that Altaf Hussain, the charismatic middle class leader of Pakistan’s third largest political party could not curb the temptation of acquiring a series of expensive and middle class properties in the British capital – one of the most expensive cities in the world.

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Former Military dictator Musharraf declared Absconder (Ishtihari) in Pakistan

– Benazir Bhutto murder case: Musharraf declared absconder

by Omer Farooq Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has been declared an absconder after a court in Pakistan’s garrison city of Rawalpindi accepted the interim chargesheet submitted by the investigation agency, which named the ex-president as an accused in the Benazir Bhutto murder case.

Investigators of Pakistan’s leading Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a chargesheet in Rawalpindi’s anti-terrorism court on Monday, listing Musharraf as one of the accused in the assassination of the former two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

The court accepted the challan (chargesheet) after the testimony of police officials detained for alleged dereliction of duty over the assassination of the former PM. Former Rawalpindi police chief Saud Aziz and superintendent of police Khuramm Shazad were arrested last December after allegations were levelled against them for providing inadequate security to the former premier, hosing down the crime scene and destroying the evidence.

Courtesy: TOI

Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed of Jhok Sharif, Sindh

The tomb of Sufi Inayat Shaheed at Jhok in Thatta District, Sindh, Pakistan. [Click here to See tomb]

Sufi Inayat was executed by Yar Muhammad Kalhorro in early eighteenth century. Sufi Inayat was accused of leading the small farmers (Harees) of the area to challenge the domination of Delhi ruler Farrukhsiyar, local feudal landlords and Mullahs. His mantra was “Jo Kherray so Khaey” [JO KHARRENDO SO E KHAINDO…. means jo zameen ma hal chalata ha usi ka haq banta ha anaj par…] , means the one who ploughs has the foremost right on the yield. The popularity of Sufi Inayat forced the feudal landlords of the area to contact Mughal King Farrukhsiyar who on wrong information ordered the ruler of northern Sindh Yar Muhammad Kalhoro to uproot the Sufi Inayat and his companions. A prolonged siege of Jhok resulted in the offer of negotiations from Kalhora commander and Sufi Inayat accepted the offer to avoid further bloodshed. As he arrived for the negotiations in the enemy camp he was arrested and later executed in Thatto. Haq Mojood Sufi Inayat  Shaheed.

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