Tag Archives: Selective

Say ‘NO’ to Judicial Coup – by Dr. Saif-ur-Rehman

Dear countrymen, democracy in Pakistan is gone, our country is running under “Judicial coup”[Judicial dictatorship]. Pity the judiciary that some judges have declared “Judicial coup” in Pakistan. May 24th ruling of the Speaker of National Assembly on the issue of PM Yousaf Raza Gilian’s conviction in the contempt of court case was declared void.

The court observed that the speaker had no authority to find faults in the apex court’s judgement and should have sent the disqualification reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan within 30 days. Supreme Court’s disqualification of the sitting Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on 19th June was a practical example of Judicial coup in Pakistan. And that decision was widely lamented by the world leaders, scholars and journalists round the globe. All the democratic nations, pro-democratic think tanks and groups of scholars, journalists, students of politics and people from all walk of life were deeply shocked, when they heard about disqualification of sitting Prime Minister of Pakistan by biased judiciary.

Yet again, Supreme court is on its way to hunt its prey –another elected prime minister of Pakistan. For to fulfill its nefarious designs, court has accepted petitions against contempt of court act 2012, which was signed into law. It is pertinent to mention here that CJ had already vowed to do declare contempt of court bill null and void before its passing in elected houses both upper and lower.

Continue reading Say ‘NO’ to Judicial Coup – by Dr. Saif-ur-Rehman

Judicial hyperactivism is threatening democracy in Pakistan

By: Junaid Qaiser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Judicial hyperactivism is threatening democracy in Pakistan

Restructuring of the Judicial System – Taj Haider

Article 209 (Supreme Judicial Council) lays down the composition as well the procedure to be followed to probe into capacity or conduct of a judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court.

While the said article in Sub-article (3) sections (a) and (b) looks at the possibility of looking at the capacity or the conduct of a member of the Supreme Judicial Council who is a judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice of a High Court, it clearly omits the possibility of looking into the capacity and conduct of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

There is a clear procedure laid down for the impeachment of the President of Pakistan by the Parliament in article 47. However, the Chief Justice of Pakistan is not answerable to any authority if he is accused of misconduct or is perceived to be unable to perform his duties for any reason.

The composition of the Supreme Judicial Council is also faulty in the sense that it establishes a complete monopoly of the Supreme Court and makes the provincial High Courts subservient. Only two most senior Chief Justices of High Courts are council members as against three (Supreme Court Chief Justice and two next most senior Judges from the Supreme Court). This composition clearly violates the autonomy principle and concentrate authority in the Centre and de-facto in one person, who is the Chief Justice and also above probe if accused of incapacity or misconduct.

It is thus proposed that:

1) Besides the Chief Justice of Pakistan only the one senior most judge of the Supreme Court should be member of the Supreme Judicial Council.

2) The Chief Justices of all the four provincial High Courts should be members of the Supreme Judicial Council.

3) The Senate of Pakistan shall have the power to impeach the Chief Justice of Pakistan by two third majority.

Continue reading Restructuring of the Judicial System – Taj Haider

Pakistani Liberals Are No Leap of Faith

This beleaguered minority in the country still deserves international support.

BY SADANAND DHUME

This isn’t the best time to be a Pakistani liberal. Opinion polling shows most Pakistanis thinking of America as an enemy, democracy as an unwelcome concept and the imposition of Shariah law as a no-brainer. Meanwhile, recent news out of the country involves the judiciary taking down an elected prime minister and politicians like Imran Khan riding high by invoking anti-imperialist and Islamist ideas, even as an Urdu-language media remains saturated with hyper-nationalism.

Against this backdrop, the world can’t be blamed for regarding the Pakistani liberal as an exotic hothouse flower with no roots in the country’s unforgiving soil. As the United States enters a shaky new period of detente with Pakistan following the reopening last week of supply routes to Afghanistan, it’s fair to ask if these liberals deserve notice at all. Doesn’t it make more sense for the West to instead engage more intensely with the powerful army and assertive hardliners such as Mr. Khan?

The answer is no. It’s always tempting for the West to do business with whoever’s powerful, but this is a recipe for the kind of trouble America right now faces with its troublesome “ally.” Pakistan’s liberals are not only less weak and less of a fringe phenomenon than they’re made out to be, they’re also the only ones who hold out the promise of a better future for their country.

One recurring complaint against liberalism is that though Pakistan regained its democracy four years ago, President Asif Ali Zardari’s civilian government still can’t wrest decision-making away from the military. But no civilian government could realistically be expected to immediately assert its authority over an army that has directly ruled the country for 34 of its 65 years, and continues to command the lion’s share of national resources. As the experiences of Indonesia and Turkey show, only when democracy grows roots do politicians acquire the finesse and self-confidence to take on generals accustomed to command. This takes patience.

Continue reading Pakistani Liberals Are No Leap of Faith

Rough justice

By Asad Jamal

June 2012 will go down in the legal and political history of Pakistan as a watershed month as the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan intruded not only the domain of other state institutions and violated the code of conduct for the superior judiciary but also disregarded some of its own recent and not-so recent pronouncements.

It was the June 19 decision to disqualify Yousuf Raza Gilani as a member of the National Assembly (NA) and as Prime Minister of Pakistan that really stole the limelight. The decision, delivered through a short order which states that the reasons for disqualification will be recorded later, has been criticised on various grounds. The critics of the verdict variously call it legally infirm, an encroachment upon the domain of parliament and other constitutional offices, lacking impartiality and being potentially detrimental to democracy in Pakistan.

On the lack of impartiality first: while the decisions of a court may be debated and questioned, the judges should never lose the appearance of impartiality. In a 2006 speech during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the SC, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had said “… independence of judiciary is not an end in itself; it is only a means to the end, and the end for sure is impartiality of judiciary.” Unfortunately, the order for Gilani’s disqualification is a glaring example of the court’s transgression into the jurisdiction of other constitutional offices, if not outright bias.

Continue reading Rough justice

CJ’s remarks

CJ’s remarks

CHIEF Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on Saturday fired the latest salvo in the perceived escalating fight between the superior judiciary and the PPP-led federal government. The Supreme Court, according to Justice Chaudhry, can strike down any legislation that is incompatible with the fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution. While this is a well-established principle, the timing of Justice Chaudhry’s comments is impossible to ignore: the chief justice’s dilation on the ins and outs of the constitution came in a week that the government proposed legislation to protect its constitutional office-holders from suffering the same fate as former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani suffered recently. Unfortunate as it is that the past judicial practice of justices speaking only from the bench and through their judgments has been discarded in recent years, the comments by the chief justice come very close to pre-empting the legislative process. Astonishingly, however, the chief justice did not just stop there: he indicated that the supremacy of parliament was ‘out of place in the modern era’, the constitution itself enjoying pre-eminence over the will of parliament. This is explosive, particularly given the backdrop of the judiciary-government battles. Start with the claim that the constitution, not parliament, is supreme, add the corollary that the SC is the final and unquestioned interpreter of what the constitution does or does not permit — and suddenly Pakistan is in the realm of a supreme judiciary, an unelected institution dictating the contract by which state and society interact. This would be a fundamental shift in the way Pakistan’s constitutional arrangement is imagined and it is quite extraordinary that a serving chief justice would see fit to make such a pronouncement outside a judicial forum. In the SC, the chief justice is the administrative head but his vote is equal to that wielded by any other justice in any given case. Surely, then, at the very least, this is a matter to be decided before a full court, if and when the matter comes before the court.

But returning to the issue of fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution, why is it that the court keeps invoking fundamental rights when it comes to engaging with the government instead of concentrating on securing the fundamental rights of the people? Why not focus on the broken judicial system in which the average complainant has virtually no hope of ever getting justice, and none of getting it on time? Why not focus on the abysmally low rate of successful prosecution that allows criminals to walk free? Must the court be so obviously selective?

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/07/09/cjs-remarks-3/

Our right to know

By Saroop Ijaz

The refusal of the Supreme Court Registrar to render to the Public Accounts Committee any details of the plots ostensibly allotted to the Honourable Judges leaves a distinctive and familiar bad taste in the mouth. The reason put forth by the Registrar is that according to Article 68 of the Constitution, no discussion can take place in parliament regarding the conduct of any judge of the Superior Courts  “in discharge of his duties”. The argument is indeed peculiar since I certainly hope that the Registrar is not implying that the land was acquired in discharge of duties. Let us get a few things clear at the outset; firstly, no allegation has been made against any judge or the judiciary. Secondly, even if an extra plot was accepted, it forms no basis of a prima facie misconduct. In this light, the reluctance or the outright denial seems faintly paranoid and defensive, in any event puzzling. I have a feeling that because the Supreme Court thinks that parliament is made up of incompetent crooks, it (the SC) cannot and should not subject itself to scrutiny by them. If that is so, the problem should be obvious: clichés likes “checks and balances”, “who will guard the guards” etc. The SC is empowered to interpret the law and decide what is permissible, yet the refusal comes too close to ambitiously high-minded self-comparisons with two of the four Caliphs. I am against anyone being held to the standards of the pious Caliphs and quite content with imperfect temporal constitutional standards. Yet, to the cynic it may seem as what can be colloquially termed as a “having-it-both-ways” approach.

Continue reading Our right to know

Supreme Court and Public Accounts Committee

by Marvi Sirmed

Sharing with you this important document, which has left me shocked and extremely disappointed in the ‘wisdom’ of those who need to be the wisest. Amid all kinds of corruption allegations on politicians being pursued by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCOP), one case got special treatment by the worthiest men of this country – the graft case of Mr. Arsalan Iftikhar. Iftikhar is a 34 years old ‘innocent boy’ who was reportedly ‘lured’ into accepting a not-s-small sum of money from one Malik Riaz, the real estate tycoon who knows how to make the mare go. The innocence of Mr. Iftikhar is further proven by the fact that he happens to be the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan. The case was thus, taken up by none other than CJP himself, as a suo-moto action under Section 184(3) which allows the CJP to move the court if the case pertains to violation of fundamental rights and is of public interest. The case, definitely is of public interest and violates Mr. Iftikhar’s right to remain innocent for the rest of his life! The case, as was right thing to do, was disposed of by mildly lecturing all parties to ‘behave’.

Why is it important to recall Mr. Iftikhar? Because his was not the only case where the worthy court to be partisan for its own interest. Responding to Public Accounts Committee, the elected watch body over the Auditor General of Pakistan that called Registrar of Supreme Court to present himself before the Committee and explained some overspending by the SCOP. Guess what happens next? The wise men in SCOP, came up with a document that conveniently leaves everyone in the SCOP outside the ambit of any elected watch body that oversees the transparency of financial transaction by public institutions including SCOP. Have a lok over how the Registrar of SCOP – an official who is not a judge – exonerates himself from legislature’s scrutiny.

One wonders who is going to ensure transparency when even the most responsible institutions of this country try to evade law on the pretext of law. Ironic and sad. The language used in this document and disregard for transparency makes my wish it must not be what the worthy men in SCOP meant. Have a good reading experience please!

Supreme Court, Pakistan, Chief Justice, Arsalan Iftikhar, Auditor General, Public Accounts Committee, Parliament, Judiciary, Pakistan …..

Read more » BAAGHI

http://marvisirmed.com/2012/07/08/supreme-court-and-public-accounts-committee/

Gilani’s sentence proves no one is above the law: Chief Justice

By Zeeshan Mujahid

KARACHI: The contempt of court case against former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani proves that every individual, irrespective of his position, is subject to the law, said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry while addressing a lawyers’ ceremony at the Supreme Court Karachi registry on Saturday.

The chief justice added that action was taken against Gilani under the contempt of court law because the chief executive of the country defied court orders, and added that the implementation of court orders is the duty of the executive, which has been explained adequately in Article 190 of the Constitution.

Addressing the issue of immunity provided to the elected representatives, the chief justice said that if a person elected by the people violates the Constitution, then it is the duty of the courts to stop him.

Continue reading Gilani’s sentence proves no one is above the law: Chief Justice

Foreign magazine castigates CJP as an ‘unelected judge’

ISLAMABAD – Time magazine, a foreign-based magazine, has targeted CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for being ‘a lazy-eyed abrasive, un-charismatic, and visibly uncomfortable for scripted speeches’.

Expressing fears that taking suo motto notice, and by keeping ‘ his (CJP’s) unending pursuit of President Zardari, might endanger democracy’ (a notion often wielded by ruling party as a sword of Damocles over any critic /analyst or even a well-wisher), the media source terms CJP as “an unelected judge (elected judges!?) , who has shown no letup in his vendetta against an elected prime minister and President Zardari, even at the cost which the country would end up paying(!?)

This, despite the fact that Pakistan/democracy has nevertheless withstood countless ‘indispensable democratic (and non-democratic) heroes’ in past with aplomb.

The media source does not even spare CJP’s accepted ancestral honesty amid a hornets’ nest infested with blatant corruption and blind power, terming it as the source of CJP’s ‘obdurate and unending Robin Hood attitude’.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/07/07/news/national/foreign-magazine-castigates-cjp-as-an-unelected-judge/

Parliament not sovereign – Justice Khawaja

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.

Continue reading Parliament not sovereign – Justice Khawaja

Parliament cannot discuss SC judges’ conduct: SC

Supreme Court has said PAC cannot carry out audit of apex judiciary as per Article 58.

According to a report presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday morning three existing and twelve retired judges of the Supreme Court received two residential plots each worth millions of rupees in expensive sectors of the federal capital.

The Supreme Court (SC) refused to provide audit report details to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) saying the Parliament cannot review judges conduct.

This was said in a reply written by Registrar Supreme Court to the Chairman Public Accounts Committee with the consent of full court bench of the Supreme Court in which it is mentioned that constitution prohibits PAC to call any official including Registrar of the apex judiciary, however President, being head of the state has the authority to decide about the consultative sphere of the Supreme Court, so the committee should consult President of Pakistan

If the committee is interested in a formal court order, it should approach the president , the letter said

The letter referred to Article 68 which said: “No discussion shall take place in [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] with respect to the conduct of any Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties”.

It is worth mentioning here that on the orders of former Chairman PAC Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, a letter was written to the Registrar Supreme Court for presenting its accounts before the committee, however it was not dispatched at that time. But new chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan ordered to dispatch it.

Courtesy: Dunya News Tv

http://dunyanews.tv/index.php?key=Q2F0SUQ9MiNOaWQ9ODgxMzc=

Via – twitter

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More detials » BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2012/07/120703_pac_judges_sa.shtml

Chief Justice is responsible for the crisis – by Sikandar Mehdi

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.

Fawad

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

Courtesy: LUBP

http://criticalppp.com/archives/82076?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Via – Siasat.pk » YouTube » Twitter

Humor on current situation of Pakistan – 7th Nuclear Power

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.

‘Ousting PM instead of Parliament is the new khaki tactic’

By: Adnan Farooq

It goes without saying that the first thing which the Supreme Court will ask the next PM to do is to write the letter to the Swiss authorities. He will refuse too and the game continues

The Supreme Court’s verdict to disqualify Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani “is not a routine democratic change”, according to Ayesha Siddiqa. “In fact, it represents the new tactics of the military and its agencies,” she says.

Author of ‘Military Inc’, Ayesha Siddiqa is internationally known analyst on military and political affairs.

Commenting on the latest political developments in the country in an interview with the Viewpoint, she says: “Instead of ousting the entire Parliament, the military gets rid of prime ministers which has the same effect meaning a weak democracy. The judges seem to have become party to this”. Read on:

The opinion on Supreme Court’s verdict on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani’s disqualification is divided. In general, the Opposition is hailing the verdict while the PPP and liberal circles are presenting it as a coup by other means. How do you assess the situation?

This is an intense political battle in which the Supreme Court is not neutral but a party as well. Look at the Supreme Court’s comparative behavior. There are times when it bails out murderers and looters but does not spare the ruling party in particular. Its wrath is mainly for the PPP and the chief judge seems to be making sure that he can ensure the PPP government’s ouster especially since he is now worried about his son being investigated.

Continue reading ‘Ousting PM instead of Parliament is the new khaki tactic’

The shadow of Zia (dictator’s ghost) still looms large over the Parliament

Rights activist and former Supreme Court Bar Association president Asma Jahangir.

Constitutional trap

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.

Continue reading The shadow of Zia (dictator’s ghost) still looms large over the Parliament

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

When is the full coup? – by Mazhar Arif

The decision is being seen as the ‘decision by the Punjabi court’. The disqualification was celebrated and sweets were distributed only in Punjab

At last, the judicial coup!

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has finally been toppled. By whom? By the opposition parties with the support of ‘independent’ judiciary or by the ‘Supreme Judicial Party’ with the facilitation of opposition parties which challenged the National Assembly Speaker’s ruling through petitions? This is still under discussion. Some people say the court had the blessing of the army to do the task which the army itself could not do, though it has much experience of the sort, because of perhaps unfavourable strategic and geo-political conditions.

Others, however, are of the opinion that the apex court is a crucial part of the Pakistani establishment, which hardly believes in the supremacy of the parliament, and the verdict is outcome of its own loyalty towards the ideology of the state and the establishment. In this regard, they quote a recent observation made by Mr. Justice Jawad S Khwaja while hearing the contempt of court case against Mr. Gilani. Justice Khwaja remarked: “the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people not the parliament.” This is, however, not clear how the judges are answerable to the people when they are not elected by them. People hardly know how and by whom they are chosen, selected and nominated.

The disqualification of the prime minister by the apex court is under criticism by a part of the lawyers’ community and a section of the media. The Express Tribune in its editorial under the headline “A Judicial Coup?” on June 20 says, “The Supreme Court, in claiming to represent the will of the people, has removed from power the people’s representative saying that he stood disqualified from being a member of parliament and hence the office of the prime minister since April 26 — the day he was found guilty of contempt. Support for the decision may not be unanimous mainly because of recent developments, especially where the Honourable Court was dragged into the Arsalan Iftikhar matter

Continue reading When is the full coup? – by Mazhar Arif

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

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