Tag Archives: Yousaf

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

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

More of a political vendetta than a legal crusade – Los Angeles Times

Pakistan highest court ousts Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

The ruling stems from a conviction involving a graft case against Pakistan’s president. It sets up a clash between President Asif Ali Zardari and the judiciary.

By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

ISLAMABAD, PakistanThe Pakistani Supreme Court ousted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday, leaving an important U.S. ally without a chief executive and setting up a showdown between the country’s president and judiciary that could lead to political chaos.

The ruling, triggered by Gilani’s contempt conviction in April for failing to revive an old corruption case against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, potentially sets up a constitutional clash between the judiciary and parliament, which is controlled by Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP, and a fragile coalition of allied parties.

For now, Zardari’s party appeared to accept that Gilani and his Cabinet are no longer in government.

“Technically, after this Supreme Court decision, Gilani is no longer prime minister,” Qamar Zaman Kaira, a top party leader who up until Tuesday was information minister, said at a news conference. “And if the prime minister isn’t there, then the Cabinet is no longer there.”

Though Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry is revered in Pakistan as a bulwark against corruption, many experts believe his pursuit of the graft case against Zardari may be more of a political vendetta than a legal crusade. ……

Read more »Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan-gilani-20120620,0,2429553.story

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has nominated the name of Makhdoom Shahbuddin for the office of Prime Minister, sources said.

According to the sources, the decision was taken in a meeting of senior leaders of PPP held here on late Tuesday under the chairmanship of President Asif Ali Zardari.

The meeting also decided that the National Assembly session would be summoned on Thursday for the election of the leader of the house, sources added. …

Read more » The News

No, Prime Minister: Pakistan’s Highest Court Plunges Country into Uncertainty

In a controversial ruling, Pakistan’s Supreme Court axed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani—a verdict that speaks volumes of the enmities and uncertainties haunting the country

By Omar Waraich

For anyone hoping to see a Pakistani civilian government complete a full five-year term without any interruption, this verdict was sorely disappointing. On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that Yousaf Raza Gilani can no longer continue as Prime Minister, raising tensions between the government and the judiciary to their highest point and leaving the country vulnerable to a new phase of political instability.

In its unusually terse ruling, the Supreme Court instructed President Asif Ali Zardari to arrange a successor for Gilani. While there is little prospect of Zardari’s government falling, his ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has accepted that there is no Prime Minister at the moment, and, therefore, no cabinet. The PPP is currently in crisis talks with its political allies to decide on a new Prime Minister. The challenge for the ruling coalition will be to hold on to its numbers, achieve a consensus on a new premier and survive a vote of confidence expected in the coming days.

Continue reading No, Prime Minister: Pakistan’s Highest Court Plunges Country into Uncertainty

One suo motu too many – By: Tausif Kamal

Whenever some of our preconceived myths are shattered by a stark, unyielding and yet truthful reality, we tend to revert to denial and a refusal to face up to the facts as they are

The Supreme Court’s short order in the Arsalan Iftikhar case absolving the Honourable Chief Justice (CJ) without any investigation or examination of any evidence in the underlying imbroglio is premature. It is in fact contradicted by the Supreme Court’s own statement in this order: “…the Supreme Court (SC)…cannot judge the guilt or innocence of the parties without evidence or trial…” So how is this ruling not applicable to the CJ, who is so intertwined in this scandal being the father of one of the main suspects, and whose judicial power is at the heart of this corruption scandal?

This is in way to imply that the CJ is guilty but there cannot be an exemption from inquiry and investigation along with other participants and witnesses, for possible criminal violations based just on mere words of one of the parties. Who is Malik Riaz to give a clean bill of health to the CJ? It is strange that the SC is relying on the good word of Malik Riaz whom the former considers to be an accused fit to be prosecuted for some serious criminal offences under Pakistan’s criminal laws.

To contend that the media is maligning the judiciary by highlighting this scandal is to blame the messenger and not the message. Let us not be sidetracked, for now at least, by corruption in the media, which no doubt prevails, but which is less important than the imperative of our judiciary to have an unassailable reputation and an image above reproach. Conducting a thorough probe or inquiry of all those allegedly involved, including the Honourable CJ, will clear rather than tarnish the judiciary’s reputation and remove the dark clouds hanging over our most esteemed institution.

The nation has a right to know answers to such vital questions as how long the CJ knew about his son’s involvement with Malik Riaz and how many meetings the CJ had with Malik Riaz before the matter was seized through a suo motu action. The only other acceptable alternative to such an inquiry would be for the CJ to quit honourably in the larger interests of the judiciary and the country.

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

The 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.

Continue reading Pakistan – Things Fall Apart

Democracy under threat

By: Asma Jahangir

THE masks are off and daggers drawn. Pakistan’s democratic process may once again become a part of history, leaving the world to wonder how we could so willingly poison ourselves in the belief that it would lead to better days.

Those in power have consistently let their people down — ruthlessly. But no one is being fooled. They may feel helpless in the face of manipulation by everyone trying to save their skins — the judiciary included — but as the courts have often held themselves the truth does eventually prevail.

In the meanwhile, the country is headed for another phase of political instability that may finally lead to yet another autocracy. Sense may prevail at the end, but in the process, many heads will roll and hopes will be demolished. These are sad days for Pakistan.

Continue reading Democracy under threat

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

Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63: Speaker National Assembly

Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, finalising her decision in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s contempt case, said that Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution, Express News reported on Thursday.

The speaker said that according to Article 63 of the Constitution, the question of the prime minister’s qualification “does not arise”. She has also decided against forwarding the Supreme Court’s reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Quoting the Supreme Court’s order in her 11-point long ruling, Mirza wrote, “no specific charge regarding the propagation of any opinion or acting in any manner against the independence of the judiciary or defaming or ridiculing the judiciary as contemplated under Article 63 (1) (g) has been framed.”

She added: “I am of the view that the charges against Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani are not relatable to the grounds mentioned in paragraph (g) or (h) of clause (1) of Article 63, therefore, no question of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani from being a member arises under clause (2) of Article 63 of the Constitution.”

Sources affiliated with Express News revealed that Dr Mirza said the Supreme Court did not raise the issue of Gilani’s disqualification when it announced the verdict in the contempt case, hence there was no need to send the reference against Gilani to the ECP.

Dr Mirza consulted law experts including Aitzaz Ahsan, Fakhruddin G, Asma Jahangir and Justice (retd) Sajjad Ali for the decision, which she dictated to the secretary national assembly.

Continue reading Gilani cannot be disqualified under Article 63: Speaker National Assembly

New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

ON the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in which hundreds of demonstrators gathered to show solidarity with the dead terrorist figurehead.

Yet rather than asking tough questions about how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in Pakistan for years, the Pakistani Supreme Court instead chose to punish the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari. (Never mind that Swiss officials say they are unlikely to revisit the charges.)

In handing down the decision, one justice chose to paraphrase the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. He held forth in a long appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment that began with the line, “Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion but pays little heed to truth, righteousness and accountability, which are the essence of every religion.”

That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.

Today, Pakistan is polarized between those who envision a modern, pluralist country and those who condone violence against minorities and terrorism in the name of Islam. Many are caught in the middle; they support the pluralist vision but dislike the politicians espousing it.

Meanwhile, an elephant in the room remains. We still don’t know who enabled Bin Laden to live freely in Pakistan. Documents found on computers in his compound offer no direct evidence of support from Pakistan’s government, army or intelligence services. But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.

In Pakistan, most of the debate about Bin Laden has centered on how and why America violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by unilaterally carrying out an operation to kill him. There has been little discussion about whether the presence of the world’s most-wanted terrorist in a garrison town filled with army officers was itself a threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan.

Pakistanis are right to see themselves as victims of terrorism and to be offended by American unilateralism in dealing with it. Last year alone, 4,447 people were killed in 476 major terrorist attacks. Over the last decade, thousands of soldiers and law enforcement officers have died fighting terrorists – both homegrown, and those inspired by Al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology.

But if anything, the reaction should be to gear up and fight jihadist ideology and those who perpetrate terrorist acts in its name; they remain the gravest threat to Pakistan’s stability. Instead, our national discourse has been hijacked by those seeking to deflect attention from militant Islamic extremism.

The national mind-set that condones this sort of extremism was cultivated and encouraged under the military dictatorships of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq from 1977 to 1988 and Gen. Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008. A whole generation of Pakistanis has grown up with textbooks that conflate Pakistani nationalism with Islamist exclusivism.

Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan’s return to democracy, after the elections of 2008, offered hope. But the elected government has since been hobbled by domestic political infighting and judicial activism on every issue except extremism and terrorism.

Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.

This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.

Asma Jahangir, who helped lead the lawyers’ movement, has become a critic of the courts, accusing them of overstepping their constitutional mandate and falling under the influence of the security establishment. And Aitzaz Ahsan, who represented the Supreme Court’s chief justice during the lawyers’ showdown with Mr. Musharraf, is now Prime Minister Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt-of-court case – a clear indication of the political realignment that has taken place.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s raucous media, whose hard-won freedom is crucial for the success of democracy, has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism. The Supreme Court, conservative opposition parties and the news media insist that confronting alleged incompetence and corruption in the current government is more important than turning Pakistan away from Islamist radicalism.

Continue reading New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

Pakistan – As always, too late

The ignored Baloch

By: Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

As always, too little too late

Rehman Malik has announced the withdrawal of cases against the Baloch militant leaders driven to the mountains or forced into exile by what they call the brutality of the security forces. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani wants to convene an All Parties Conference on Balochistan.

Had these cases been withdrawn four years back and a genuine reconciliation process initiated, this could have led to talks and arrested the situation from reaching a point of no return.

There was enough goodwill in Balochistan for the PPP-led government when it took over in 2008. There were also hopes that parliament would act forcefully and the courts would exert their authority to end the atrocities initiated by the Musharraf regime.

The PPP government simply failed to pursue the peace process meaningfully. Instead, it willingly agreed to follow the policy being pursued under Musharraf. This meant continuing the military-cum-FC operations in Balochistan that displaced thousands of people, allowing forced disappearances and the torture, killing and dumping of the disfigured corpses on roadside.

In June 2008, Senator Sanauallah Baloch who had returned from exile after the restoration of democracy resigned from the House after a speech that moved the entire Senate. Soon after Baloch leaders rejected the move by the government for an All Parties Conference. They instead demanded direct talks on issues highlighted by leaders like Akhtar Mengal that included end to operations in the province, tracing persons forcibly taken away and the ownership of Balochistabn’s resources by the Balochis.

Month after month, there were peaceful protests all over Balochistan to press for their demands. There were calls by nationalist parties for shutter down closures, hunger strikes, and hoisting of black flags. Baloch representatives in parliament underlined the dangers if no measures were taken to improve the situation. Year after year, the government continued to look the other way.

Raisani complained of being powerless and accused FC of running a parallel government that was harming the process of reconciliation. Gilani, however, failed to take any notice as the federal government had decided to follow the policy formulated under Musharraf. It was willing, as before, to bribe the tribal leaders in the provincial assembly and offer crumbs to the population. It was not willing to concede what Baloch considered their rights.

Continue reading Pakistan – As always, too late

21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- Sindhi Adabi Sangat will hold a `National Language Conference’ in Islamabad to mark the day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.

Mother Language Day: National Language Conference to be held tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS) will hold the `National Language Conference’ tomorrow (Tuesday) to mark International Mother Language Day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.

The national conference is being arranged in collaboration with the National Language Authority (NLA), which will be attended by writers, intellectuals, linguists and leading politicians from across the country.

Talking to APP, SAS Secretary Sarwan Chandio said the national conference was expected to prove a milestone in the promotion of mother language, besides providing an opportunity to intellectuals to sit together and understand each other’s viewpoint.

“The national conference is being arranged for the first time in the history of the country where intellectuals and politicians will highlight the issues related to mother languages,” he added.

Member of the Federal Assembly Nawab Yousaf Talpur will be the chief guest, while the conference will be presided over by Sindhi Adabi Sangat Secretary General Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Phull.

Senators Sabir Baloch and Zahid Khan, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, Jami Chandio and senior journalist Ejaz Mehar will be the honorary guests.

Writers from across the country, including Saleem Raz, Dr Shah Muhammad Marri, Abdul Rehman Baitab, Wahid Bozidar and Khalid Majeed, will highlight the importance of mother tongue as a national language on the occasion.

Continue reading 21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- Sindhi Adabi Sangat will hold a `National Language Conference’ in Islamabad to mark the day and highlight the importance of mother language in history and the culture of people.

Army, not a mafia! – Chaudhry Nisar, the leader of the opposition, fiercely criticized the killing of missing citizens in the custody of a spy agency asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army

Ch. Nisar

Rein in agencies, Nisar asks Gilani, Kayani

ISLAMABAD – Strongly criticising the role of agencies in the missing persons’ case, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday asked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani to rein-in the intelligence agencies.

Responding to Nisar’s fierce criticism of the killing of four people who were in the custody of a spy agency and his demand of constitution of a court of inquiry by the government, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said a committee of the House could be constituted to look into the matter, but he proposed that as the matter was sub-judice, the court’s verdict should be awaited.

Gilani said all state institutions should work under their constitutional ambit and all institutions were answerable to parliament. He said the government would respect the Supreme Court’s order in the missing persons’ case. Speaking on a point of order earlier, Nisar announced that he would go to the Supreme Court on the next hearing of the missing persons’ case to express solidarity with the families whose relatives had been illegally abducted and killed by spy agencies.

He said a secret agency had dumped the tortured corpses of four people who it had abducted upon their acquittal from a court of law. Nisar also asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army and take notice of such incidents.

“This is a national army, not a mafiaGeneral Kayani must stop such things which tarnish the army’s image,” he said.

PML-N MNAs chanted slogans ofshame, shame” over the killing of missing persons. Nisar added that it was a moral and constitutional obligation of all members of the parliament to raise voice in parliament for missing persons and against the atrocities of secret agencies and to appear in the Supreme Court to express solidarity with the families of the missing persons. “Whenever the government feels threats from agencies, the prime minister wastes no time in pointing out a state within the state, but in this case no government functionary has come forward to speak in favour of common citizens,” he said, asking the prime minister to rein in secret agencies and bring their heads before parliament so that lawmakers could hold them accountable.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/02/rein-in-agencies-nisar-asks-gilani-kayani/

A million dollar question of Aitzaz Ahsan – “Why are only the Civilian prime ministers indicted for contempt of court & not military generals?”

Contempt case: Gilani summoned on February 13

By Azam Khan / Web Desk

Excerpts;

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court concluded its hearing of the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday and summoned the premier on February 13, reported Express News. The court said that it will frame charges against the prime minister during the hearing. …

…. Ahsan also questioned the court that if it can send notices to Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Gilani, then why it can’t initiate any action against the generals who were involved in arresting the judges.

Read more » The Express Tribune

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More details » BBC urdu

President Zardari asks parliament to review NRO verdict

Parliament to decide my fate: Zardari

By APP / Express

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, after consulting all coalition partners, has announced the decision to table the National Reconciliation Ordinance verdict of the Supreme Court before the parliament, Express News reported on Tuesday evening.

(Read: NRO case: Supreme Court warns president, PM of disqualification)

Zardari met with heads of coalition parties, including Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League -Quaid, Asfandyar Wali and Afrasiab Khattak of Awami National Party, Asadullah Zehri of Baloch National Party – Awami along with Muttahida Qumi Movement leaders Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri, at the presidency in Islamabad. The Prime Minister was also present in the meeting.

They discussed Supreme Court’s decision and the overall political situation in the country.

Zardari said that the parliament was a representative of the people and was the supreme most authority in the country. Hence, if he were to resign, it should be decided in the parliament.

Zardari has summoned an emergency session of the parliament for 4 pm on January 12.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the government could not be threatened with verdicts.

Zardari and Gilani are due to participate in a PPP core committee meeting as well.

Read more: nroverdict

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/319582/parliament-to-decide-my-fate-zardari/

Memogae: Was the ISI planning a coup in the days after the OBL raid

Pakistan’s “Memogate”: Was there ever going to be a coup?

By Omar Waraich

For all the fevered discussion about Memogate, one of the most arresting claims to emerge seems to have evaded even the faintest scrutiny. In the very evidence Mansoor Ijaz marshaled before the Pakistani public, he says there was a second, rival plot, set in train during the very same days in early May. It, too, involves a senior Pakistani official reaching out to foreign allies in a similarly abortive bid to take on a powerful institution back home.

About a quarter of the way down the purported BBM exchange between Ijaz and Husain Haqqani, the American businessman proffers an eyebrow-elevating tip. Some hours after the memo was delivered, Ijaz tells his alleged co-conspirator that he has learned of a clandestine effort to evict Asif Ali Zardari from Islamabad’s presidential palace.

I was just informed by senior US intel,” Ijaz writes in a message on May 10, “that GD-SII Mr P asked for, and received permission, from senior Arab leaders a few days ago to sack Z. For what its worth.” It’s worth a great deal, if only because it carries the same weight as what else appears in the apparently incriminating exchange. In his hasty typing, where he manages to turn “DG-ISI” into an anagram, Ijaz was saying that top American spooks have told him that Lieut. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha secured a green light from Gulf potentates to overthrow the government.

Intrigued, I asked Ijaz to furnish some context. When the memo was being crafted, he told me in a telephone interview some days ago, he wanted to independently verify whether the Zardari government was truly imperiled. “One of the things I had done,” he explained over his London cell phone, “was to make sure that a senior person that I know in US intelligence would have had the opportunity to review what was about to sent over.” This, he added, was why Leon Panetta came to know of the memo, hinting at a CIA link.

Ijaz said he felt the measure was necessary “to make sure that there was nothing we were doing that was against US interests.” The well-placed source got back to him about a day later. “And the person told me,” Ijaz said, “that their information was that Pasha had traveled to a few of the Arab countries to talk about what would be necessary to do in the event they had to remove Zardari from power and so forth.”

Did he find the information credible? “Of course I thought it was credible,” Ijaz replied, slightly exasperated by the question. “I wouldn’t have repeated it if I didn’t. When I say, ‘a senior intel source,’ I mean senior,” he said, laying stress on the last word. Based on what his source told him, Ijaz said he had “confirmation that there was a real threat there at some point.”

The question of whether the shadow of a coup ever fell on the early days of May lies at the very root of Memogate and remains unresolved. Ijaz has claimed that coup jitters spurred Haqqani into action. Indeed, all claims in this regard emanate from Ijaz. They appeared in his column on the pink pages of the FT and in the memo that he dispatched. Haqqani, by contrast, denies there was ever talk of a fourth phase of Pakistani military rule. The army and the ISI, at least on this occasion, won’t disagree with the former ambassador.

And judging by the government’s reaction at the time, the need never arose. Before the memo even reached Admiral Mullen’s inbox, Yousaf Raza Gilani had already bellowed his support of Pakistan’s military-led spies. “Indeed, the ISI is a national asset and has the full support of the government,” the prime minister told parliament on May 10. “We are proud of its considerable achievements…” Gilani also failed to call for the “independent inquiry” floated in the memo, handing the responsibility instead to the army’s adjutant general. And a day later, the prime minister told me that the government, the army and the ISI were “all on the same page.”

So, the only one claiming that Gen Pasha was busily touring Arab capitals enlisting support for a coup is his London host. Like other allegations made in the Memogate affair, it rests on Ijaz’s credibility. If he is telling the truth, and his entire account is to be accepted, then both Haqqani and Gen Pasha were involved in shadowy schemes that merit further inquiry. And in each case, questions will inevitably arise about how much their respective bosses knew.

We already know that Ijaz has at least been right about Haqqani’s travel itinerary. The former envoy concedes that he was in London on the dates his accuser mentions. Gen Pasha’s movements are more opaque. According to news reports of May 7 – two days before Ijaz alleges Haqqani contacted him – the spy chief slipped out of Pakistan that day for “a sudden foreign visit”. The Nation newspaper, among others, reported that its sources said the “ISI chief’s visit could be to China, Saudi Arabia and UAE where he is expected to meet senior defence and military officials of these countries to brief Pakistan’s stance.”

Even if Gen Pasha did travel to these countries, two of which clearly qualify as homes to “Arab rulers,” perhaps nothing unseemly took place. Perhaps all that was discussed, quite appropriately, was Pakistan’s reaction to the bin Laden raid. But if Ijaz is wrong about the nature of Gen Pasha’s trip, then his other claims begin to crumble. It becomes very difficult to sustain the argument that he was telling the truth about Haqqani but lying about Gen Pasha.

Courtesy » The Independent

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/12/13/pakistans-memogate-scandal-was-the-isi-planning-a-coup/

With bin Laden gone, now’s the time to push Pakistan

By Fareed Zakaria

The killing of Osama bin Laden has produced new waves of commentary on the problem of Pakistan. We could all discuss again its selective policy toward terrorists, its complicated relationship with the United States and its mounting dysfunctions. But there is more to this opportunity than an opening for analysis. This is a time for action, to finally push the country toward moderation and genuine democracy.

So far, Pakistan’s military has approached this crisis as it has every one in the past, using its old tricks and hoping to ride out the storm. It is leaking stories to favored journalists, unleashing activists and politicians, all with the aim of stoking anti-Americanism. Having been caught in a situation that suggests either complicity with al-Qaeda or gross incompetence — and the reality is probably a bit of both — it is furiously trying to change the subject. Senior generals angrily denounce America for entering the country. “It’s like a person, caught in bed with another man’s wife, who is indignant that someone entered his house,” one Pakistani scholar, who preferred not to be named for fear of repercussions, told me.

This strategy has worked in the past. In 2009, the Obama administration joined forces with Sens. Richard Lugar and John Kerry to triple American aid to Pakistan’s civilian government and civil society — to $7.5 billion over five years — but with measures designed to strengthen democracy and civilian control over the military. The military reacted by unleashing an anti-American campaign, using its proxies in the media and parliament to denounce “violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty” — the same phrase that’s being hurled about now. The result was that the United States backed off and has conceded that, in practice, none of the strictures in the Lugar-Kerry bill will be implemented.

The military has also, once again, been able to cow the civilian government. According to Pakistani sources, the speech that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani gave at a recent news conference was drafted by the military. President Asif Ali Zardari continues to appease the military rather than confront the generals. Having come to power hoping to clip the military’s wings, Pakistan’s democratically elected government has been reduced to mouthing talking points written for it by the intelligence services.

There have been almost no marches to protest bin Laden’s death or the American operation, although one 500-person march in Lahore was replayed endlessly on television. The fundamental issue for Pakistan is surely not how America entered the country. The United States has been involved in counterterrorism operations in Pakistan for years, using drones and people. Rather, the fundamental question is, how was it that the world’s leading terrorist was living in Pakistan, with some kind of support network that must have included elements of the Pakistani government? How is it that every major al-Qaeda official who has been captured since 2002 has been comfortably ensconced in a Pakistani city? And how is it that any time these issues are raised, they get drowned out by an organized campaign of anti-Americanism or religious fanaticism?

Washington has given in to the Pakistani military time and again, on the theory that we need the generals badly and that they could go elsewhere for support — to the Chinese, for instance. In fact, the United States has considerable leverage with Islamabad. The Pakistanis need American aid, arms and training to sustain their army. If they are going to receive those benefits, they must become part of Pakistan’s solution and not its problem. With some urgency, Washington should:

l Demand a major national commission in Pakistan — headed by a Supreme Court justice, not an army apparatchik — to investigate whether bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders have been supported and sustained by elements of the Pakistani state.

l Demand that the provisions of the Lugar-Kerry bill on civilian control of the military be strictly followed or aid will be withheld.

l Develop a plan to go after the major untouched terror networks in Pakistan, such as the Haqqani faction, the Quetta Shura and Lashkar-i-Taiba.

In the longer run, as the United States scales back its military presence in Afghanistan, it will need the Pakistani military less and less to supply its troops in theater.

Pakistan’s civilian government, business class and intellectuals have an ever-larger role in this struggle. They should not get distracted by empty anti-American slogans or hypernationalism. This is Pakistan’s moment of truth, its chance to break with its dysfunctions and become a normal, modern country. The opportunity might not come again.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

Pakistan assembly fails to denounce Bhatti’s death

by Imtiaz Ahmad,

While Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced a national mourning for the slain minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, many politicians and political parties in the country have chosen to remain silent on the issue. In the country’s parliament, a joint statement also could not be iss ued as many MPs refused to condemn the killing.

The main opposition parties, headed by the PML-N party of Nawaz Sharif, has remained strangely silent. Religious parties, which include the Jamaat-e-Islami party have termed the murder a plot to malign Pakistan.

A similar silence was seen when Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was shot earlier this year. After that killing, most political figures including Nawaz Sharif, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is the chief minister of Punjab, stayed away from the funeral prayers of the slain governor.

This silence is seen as an endorsement for the murder,” MP Asia Nasir, a Christian, said in parliament. Nasir also pointed to the picture of Muhammad Ali Jinnah hanging on one wall in parliament and told the assembly that it was a sad day for minorities.

Read more : Hindustan Times

Watch Maulana Fazul Rehman showing his distrust in Nawaz Sharif & superior judiciary of Pakistan

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Courtesy: Dunya TV, News Watch – Via >> ZemTV

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