Tag Archives: Supreme

Supreme Court of Pakistan admits petition challenging Sindh local govt law for hearing

ISLAMABAD: A petition challenging the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday, DawnNews reported.

The apex court admitted the petition, filed by Barrister Zameer Ghumro, for hearing on Nov 8.

Ghumro stated in the petition that the Sindh Assembly had violated the Constitution by passing the local government bill.

He also stated in the petition that the Sindh government had transferred executive powers to metropolitan corporations without having the power to do so.

The apex court admitted the petition for hearing and issued notices to Attorney General Irfan Qadir and Advocate-General Sindh Abdul Fateh Malik, for the hearing on Nov 8.

Previously, the passing of the Sindh People’s Local Government Act 2012 had received relentless resistance from the main opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly, as well the nationalist parties in Sindh.

Continue reading Supreme Court of Pakistan admits petition challenging Sindh local govt law for hearing

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Burma’s Parliament ‘impeach supreme court judges’

Burmese MPs force out constitutional court judges

MPs in Burma have forced out all nine judges of the constitutional court, in a row pitting the government against the parliament created as part of political reforms. State media said that President Thein Sein had accepted the resignations.

Continue reading Burma’s Parliament ‘impeach supreme court judges’

Indian Supreme Court’s poignant footnote in Kasab Judgment

From Indian Kanoon:

“[45] It is reported that it was at the Taj Mahal Hotel ballroom that, on February 20, 1918, at her eighteenth birthday party, Ruttie had accepted Mr Jinnah’s hand in marriage while the band was playing the Chopin tune, So Deep is the Night. It is also reported that both Mr. Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan, and Mrs. Sarojini Naidu, the President of the Indian National Congress, often held court at Taj Mahal Hotel.

Mr. Jinnah also had an intimate connection with Mazgaon, where the bomb planted by two terrorists in a taxi exploded, killing three (3) and wounding nineteen (19) people. It is reported that Mr. Jinnah devoted Thursday afternoons to visiting the grave of his wife Ruttie at the Khoja Shiite Isna’ashri Cemetry, situated at Mazgaon, Mumbai.

One wonders what Quaid-e-Azam would have thought of the terrorist attack on his favourite city in the subcontinent and especially on Taj Mahal Hotel, with which he had a personal relationship of a very intimate kind.”

Read more » Pak Tea House

http://pakteahouse.net/2012/08/30/indian-supreme-courts-poignant-footnote-in-kasab-judgment/

Spain’s Chief Justice Quits Over Claims of Misusing Public Money

 

By RAPHAEL MINDER

MADRID — Spain’s image suffered another blow on Thursday when the chief justice of the Supreme Court resigned after being accused by a fellow judge of claiming vacations as business expenses.

The court’s chief justice, Carlos Dívar, also quit as leader of another institution, the General Council of the Judiciary, which acts as the administrator of Spain’s judiciary.

Chief Justice Dívar’s expense scandal came to light while the judiciary was being strained by several corruption cases against politicians from the country’s main parties. The monarchy has also been tainted by the investigations, with the son-in-law of King Juan Carlos I becoming the first member of the royal family to appear in court, in February.

Continue reading Spain’s Chief Justice Quits Over Claims of Misusing Public Money

Kindness of Supreme Court – Realistic Voice

By: Humza Ikram

Excerpts;

….. But in contrast to the hopeful symptoms, when I listen to the constitutional experts, none of them is optimistic. All are arguing that in the presence of SC’s judgment expecting something different is reckless because the previous decision was given by 17 judges, but now the bench has been reduced to mere five, so it is impossible to defy the verdict of 17 over 5.

In this regard, Former CJ, Saeed u Zaman Siddiqui says there cannot be any change possible in the previous judgment; they eventually have to write the letter, there is no possibility of any other option. And then we heard another remark from the CJ to the public exclaiming that whatever the court has said, it will happen, nothing can be done against it. It seems as if he is dictating the Supreme Court sitting bench.

After listening all of them, it is obvious that there is no option left for the Government to provide any middle way, then why the Supreme Court has done this gag with the nation? Aren’t they aware of it? What was the need of giving 15 days hope to the nation? If it was not just a gag from the SC, then now it is the responsibility of Supreme Court to offer a possible solution. So, after a lot of contemplation that what will be the Government’s stance on 8th of August, seeing the evident thinking of CJ. There is no other possible way for the Attorney General that in spite of submitting any argument in the court, he should straight away sing a famous song from Dillip Kumar’s golden film Devdas before the honorable court:

Continue reading Kindness of Supreme Court – Realistic Voice

PAKISTAN PERISCOPE – The case of exploding lawsuits

As the Supreme Court ups the ante against the new prime minister, the battle between various stakeholders in Pakistan is likely to get intense

By: Ayesha Siddiqa Independent Social Scientist

Excerpts

…. the most challenging act seems to be the case against Chief Justice Iftikhar’s son Arsalan Iftikhar. Allegedly, Arsalan blackmailed real estate tycoon Malik Riaz into paying him more than PKR 36 crore in bribe for getting favourable judgments in cases being heard in the Supreme Court. Although nothing has been definitely proven against him as yet, the glitterati of Lahore talk about Arsalan’s extravagant lifestyle, which comes as a surprise since he didn’t have a job three years ago. The Chief Justice comes from a humble background and claims to have no property, a statement that adds to the complexity of his son’s fortune. Riaz, who is considered as being close to both the military and Zardari, has continued to point fingers at Arsalan, his father and the entire family for extorting money and favours out of him.

The Arsalan-Riaz case is now being heard by the Supreme Court and probed independently by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising members from the country’s prime anti-fraud agency, the National Accountability Bureau, the Islamabad Police and the Federal Investigation Agency. Clearly, this is a card in the government’s hand that Chief Justice Iftikhar and his team of close aides seem to try to destroy by casting aspersions on the JIT’s credibility. It is not a coincidence that after every hearing by the JIT, there is an effort by the pro-Chief Justice wing of a certain media group to point fingers at the credibility of JIT. The effort increases around every hearing by the court or the investigating team.

The yet-to-be-proven case of extortion and the players involved in it make the head spin at the complexity of the case. According to sources, Riaz, who is reputed to be an “ISI asset”, could not have taken the risk of so brutally challenging the Chief Justice without taking the security establishment on board. The question is how does one juxtapose this assumption against another that the higher judiciary has the army’s support to destabilise the government?

Continue reading PAKISTAN PERISCOPE – The case of exploding lawsuits

Dictators and the Supreme Court

by: Mohammad Khan Sial

SINDH – KARACHI: The attorney general of Pakistan told a five-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on August 2, that the Supreme Court has always exonerated military dictators by targeting democratic governments. The attorney general’s comments are based on facts irrespective of intentions. I would humbly suggest that all the judges who have validated military dictatorships in the past should be tried for their decisions under Article 6 of the Constitution.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/417939/dictators-and-the-supreme-court/

Arsalan-Iftikhar case: NAB dissolves JIT after SC’s concerns

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday dissolved the Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) which was investigating Arsalan-Iftikhar case after the Supreme Court had stopped it from conducting inquiry for two days, DawnNews reported.

A two member bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Khilji Arif heard the review case of alleged corruption of Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The Prosecutor General NAB K.K. Agha of the NAB informed the apex court that the accountability bureau will formulate a new team comprising of NAB’s officials.

In reference to yesterday’s court order of stopping the JIT to continue its investigation of the Arsalan –Iftikhar case after one of the members of the team Faisal Memon was accused of being partial, Agha said that “NAB has decided to formulate a new team comprising of its own officials.” Adding that, “the bureau does not doubt the credibility of Memon, but it is for the greater good that we form a new investigation team.”

On the petition of Malik Riaz’s attorney Zahid Bukhari, the apex court directed the investigation teams and other sub ordinate courts, who are dealing with other cases of Riaz and his family, to perform their duties without getting under pressure of the proceedings of Arsalan-iftikhar case.

The apex court subsequently adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period of time.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/08/02/arsalan-iftikhar-case-nab-dissolves-jit-after-scs-concerns/

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More details » BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2012/08/120802_arsalan_nab_supreme_court_uk.shtml

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

Ousted PM Gilani’s son won by-election

Abdul Qadir Gilani wins by-poll from father’s constituency

MULTAN: The by-poll for the National Assmebly’s seat NA-151 (Multan-IV), vacated by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after being disqualified by the Supreme Court, has been won by his son Abdul Qadir Gilani, DawnNews reported on Thursday.

The main candidate, beside Gilani, who was contesting on Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket, was independent candidate Shaukat Hayat Khan Bosan, who had informal support of both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI), [– & Jamaat-e-Islami–].

Read more » DAWN.COM

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

For Pakistan July 5 is a reminder that Military rule destroys freedom, generates oppression, fosters inequality and promotes extremism.

رات جو رهزن  …….. ضياءالحق

Courtesy: YouTube Via – Twitter

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ضیاء زندہ ہے

محمد حنیف

بی بی سی اردو سروس، کراچی

نہ کہیں ماتمی جلسہ، نہ کوئی یادگاری ٹکٹ، نہ کسی بڑے چوک پر اسکا بت، نہ کسی پارٹی جھنڈے پر اُسکی کی تصویر، نہ اُسکے مزار پر پرستاروں کا ہجوم، نہ کسی کو یہ معلوم کہ مزار کے نیچے کیا دفن ہے۔ نہ کسی سیاسی جماعت کے منشور میں اُسکے فرصودات، نہ ہر لحظ اُٹھتے سیاسی ہنگاموں میں اسکی بات۔ نہ بڑے لوگوں کے ڈرائنگ روموں میں اُسکے ساتھ کھنچوائی ہوئی کوئی تصویر، نہ کسی کتب خانے میں اُسکے کے ہاتھ کی لکھی ہوئی کوئی تحریر۔ نہ کوئی سیاستدان چھاتی پر ہاتھ مار کر کہتا ہے میں اسکا مشن پورا کروں گا۔ نہ کوئی دعا کے لیے ہاتھ اٹھاتا ہے کہ مولا ہمیں ایک ایسا ہی نجات دہندہ اور دے۔

Continue reading For Pakistan July 5 is a reminder that Military rule destroys freedom, generates oppression, fosters inequality and promotes extremism.

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

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

Twitter alert: Asma Jahangir a target for defamation

By Web Desk

How far does the tolerance of a political activist or a party supporter go? Not too far, apparently.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf supporters and workers have been known to lash out at political opponents or rather anyone for speaking against their party or chief Imran Khan.

Their current victim? Prominent lawyer, human rights activist, ex-Supreme Court Bar Association president and former UN rapporteur, Asma Jahangir.

The News had earlier today reported that Jahangir had termed the Arsalan Iftikhar case a conspiracy against the judges. The report quotes Jahangir as stating that the motive behind bringing up the case was to “wrap up” the democratic setup and to “threaten” the judiciary.

The icing on the cake? She was quoted as saying that the PTI were conspirators in this.

The senior lawyer, who has in the recent past represented former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani in the Memogate scandal, is a known outspoken advocate for the rights of women, minorities and others. Additionally, she is also a vocal critic of the military and its “control” of the civilian government.

Continue reading Twitter alert: Asma Jahangir a target for defamation

CMKP Rejects Judicial Coup in Pakistan

In his statement Dr. Taimur Rahman, General Secretary of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party Pakistan (CMKP) opposes the recent judicial coup against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. This decision by the SC, which is completely outside of the power of the Supreme Court, is simply one more coup in a series of coups that have been organized time and time again in the history of Pakistan against elected governments. These successive coups have destroyed the democratic process in Pakistan, destroyed any chance of the development of a mature political leadership. And finally contribute to nothing except to further fragment politics along reactionary right wing lines.

We would have been the first to support a change in government if it was the product of a mass movement of workers and peasants fighting for their rights. But nothing of the sort is taking place. In fact, the elected government and the right wing judiciary have been trading punches only within the framework of their own narrow class interests for the last four years.

When little over a week ago the moral authority of the judiciary was questioned in a fundamental manner over serious charges of corruption, the judiciary decided to act immediately before its own corruption was completely exposed to the public. Today all those allegations of corruption of the judiciary have been buried in an avalanche of right wing propaganda hailing the decision of the Supreme Court as a great step against corruption. Nothing of the sort has been achieved. In fact, a new PM will be elected very soon. The same case of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to open cases against the President will be opened against the new Prime Minister. And the musical chairs will continue.

Continue reading CMKP Rejects Judicial Coup in Pakistan

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)

Daily Times Editorial : Virtual judicial coup

The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) verdict on the petitions challenging the ruling of the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) that rejected the argument that Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani stood disqualified after being convicted and sentenced for contempt of court has pronounced that he does stand disqualified, not only from the premiership, but from membership of parliament as well. Not just that, the SC in its short order has laid down that he cannot stand for election for five years. To that end, the SC has sent instructions to the Election Commission (EC) to issue a notification to that effect. Meantime the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), which happened to be meeting when the verdict was announced, revealed its decisions on the crisis through a press conference by PPP leaders. The gist of the CEC’s decisions was that despite having reservations about the SC’s verdict, they had accepted the court’s finding that the conviction and sentencing till the rising of the court of Gilani for contempt on April 26 meant that he was no longer the PM, and with retrospective effect, had been removed on and since that date. The PPP has appealed to its workers and supporters to remain calm and restrained, despite the fact that the verdict is bound to inflame opinion in the PPP and allied camp. The CEC has empowered party Co-chairperson President Asif Ali Zardari to take whatever decisions he thinks fit regarding a replacement for Gilani. The intriguing question of course is whether the new PM will suffer the same pressure from the SC to write the letter to the Swiss authorities regarding President Asif Ali Zardari that the court was insisting on Gilani writing, and refusal to comply with which had attracted the contempt conviction for the former PM. In that case, the looming confrontation between state institutions, which began as a confrontation between the judiciary and the executive, could expand to now a confrontation between the judiciary and parliament as well. After all, the SC’s verdict overruling the Speaker of the NA too has set an unprecedented example, one that will reverberate in our jurisprudence for a long time to come. Questions have also been raised whether all the decisions and acts of the former PM since April 26 to date stand. The most important of these acts was the passing of the budget. It is possible that the detailed judgement may throw more light on this matter. Normally, courts are mindful that retrospective judgements should not disrupt things done and transactions closed to an extent that causes greater difficulties.

Continue reading Daily Times Editorial : Virtual judicial coup

“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

The Wall Street Journal on Islamabad’s Judicial Coup

Islamabad’s Judicial Coup

The Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday to dismiss Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani signals the unnatural death of another civilian government. While less dramatic than the military variety, this judicial coup—carried out on the pretext that Mr. Gilani refused to pursue corruption charges against President Asif Ali Zardari—perpetuates the cycle of unelected institutions “rescuing” Pakistanis from their own chosen leaders.

The man responsible for this constitutional crisis is Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry,

Continue reading The Wall Street Journal on Islamabad’s Judicial Coup

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.

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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.

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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.

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Barbaric attitude of Karachi Bar Association – Zahid Bukhari, Aitzaz Ahsan barred from law bars

Zahid Bukhari, Aitzaz Ahsan barred from Sindh law bars

Excerpts;

KARACHI: Advocate Zahid Bukhari and Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan have been banned from entering all law bar associations …

The decision to bar the entries of Bukhari – the counsel for Malik Riaz – and Aitzaz was taken during a meeting of Sindh lawyers, organised by the Karachi Bar Association.

The Karachi Bar Association president, while announcing the decision, said that the step was taken to express support for the Supreme Court. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

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 son also rises

 

By Amina Jilani

When former president General Pervez Musharraf decided to embark upon his politically suicidal path in March 2007, the first step was the production of a reference against the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry — a fatal move. The first item of the reference concerned the CJP’s son, Arsalan Iftikhar, a doctor, who since then has now come somewhat full circle.

Justice Chaudhry was charged with having influenced the upward mobility of his son’s career. In 1996, the son of a judge of the Balochistan High Court managed a ‘C’ grade in his intermediate examination. This being insufficient for him to gain admission to the Bolan Medical College, Quetta, the judge allegedly approached the Balochistan chief minister with the request that the son be admitted to the college, regardless of his grade and given a special or vacant seat. Apparently this was done.

Nine years later, in June 2005 (his father, by then on the Bench of the Supreme Court), the young doctor was appointed as a medical officer in Quetta’s Institute of Public Health. In July, a short time following this appointment (by this time Justice Chaudhry was chief justice of Pakistan) the Balochistan chief minister again allegedly came to the aid of Arsalan Iftikhar, ordering his promotion as a section officer in the health department.

According to the reference, in that same year, August 2005, the young man decided to redirect his career. A letter was sent by the interior ministry to the Balochistan chief secretary informing him that the FIA wished to acquire the services of Dr Iftikhar. By September 2005, the doctor had a job as an assistant director in the FIA. This was followed up in April 2006 by his promotion to the position of deputy director.

Then, Arsalan, as claimed the reference, decided he would prefer a career in the police service. So, the ministry of the interior acted again, allowing him to bypass the necessary competitive services examination and the commandant of the National Police Academy was instructed to take him and put him through a course of field training, usually exclusive to Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) officers, after which, he was scheduled to move over to the Punjab Police.

But it was not that simple. For the doctor to be admitted as a permanent employee of the PSP, an amendment would have to be made in the Police Service of Pakistan Rules, which required presidential assent, the reference alleged. The prime minister’s secretariat was requested to do the needful but apparently the desired amendment did not materialise. The reference claimed further that in October 2006, he was nominated as a non-PSP officer to attend a training course in Istanbul, interestingly enough on the subject of Combating International Terrorism and Organised crime, the only non-PSP and sole under training individual to do the course.

Well, if our press and Dr Iftikhar are to be believed, the young man has moved on considerably and is now involved in business. He has also done quite a bit of travelling — regularly to Europe, London and Monaco, that we know of. It would seem that he is either naïve or forgetful when it comes down to brass tacks. In his statement dated June 6, made in the Supreme Court, referring to his 2011 visit to London, he stated: “I do not know from whose credit card the rent of the flat, which I remotely remember was around 3,200 pounds sterling per week, was paid. Perhaps I stayed for four weeks…”

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