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Musharraf vs Restoration of Judges: Showdown

An article written by Abbas Kassar in The Pakistan Weekly caught my eye which was titled Musharraf Threatens To Dissolve Assemblies If Judges Restored, it raises some serious concerns about the looming threat wielded by Musharraf and his right to exercise article 58-2(B) of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. Quite simply utilizing this threat to keep PPP at bay

…as meetings of committee continues which has been assigned task to prepare draft resolution to be put before parliament the President called his aide to president house since last two days to block way of restoration of judges. It was disclosed by source that. 3 petitions would be filed in supreme court one each by MQM, Q league and Dr. Sher Afghan to stay any resolution to be brought to parliament. Speaker, Deputy Speaker of National Assembly and Law Minister will be made respondent in the petitions. Presidential camp threatened that if judges were restored president would not hesitate in invoking article 58 (B)-2 of constitution and may dissolve national assembly.

The entire world, including most Pakistanis have continued to celebrate the return of democracy in Pakistan, amidst the chaos of full swing political adjustment which include in no short measure the ‘pardons’ being served up for the ‘men in power’ who are predominantly busy whitewashing their sins in the name of political compromise for the ‘greater good’.

When looking at Asif Zardari a phrase comes to mind ‘A leopard never changes its spots’, I wonder how much of a changed man he might actually be since his sudden transformation after his return from Dubai following the assassination of his wife Benazir in December coming back with a snazzy Gucci suit and trimmed mustaches to try and mesmerize the people of Pakistan with some sweet talk. The burning question that shall remain is to see if this is a genuine transformation or a simply a temporary tattoo for the sake of eating the Pakistan pie for a third round.

In the weeks following the elections in February, I have generally kept an optimistic view on the new found political alliances giving them a fair chance to prove their mettle, but as times passes one has to gawk at smooching circus on display, its hideously embarrassing to say the least. Should aptly be titles Pakistan Masquerade Ball 2008, a seemingly perfectly orchestrated event going on like clock work. A jog back into memory lane does not take long for the grand plan hatched in Abu Dhabi in mid 2007 when Musharraf ‘happened’ to swing by her house for a ‘chance meeting’ with the then exiled Benazir Bhutto. The plan was for her to waltz into Pakistan hopefully capturing the hearts of the nation and hopefully replacing PML-Q and become the new found buddies of Musharraf. A plan which continues to emerge perfectly to plan, sans the great leader who met a tragic assassination in Dec, rest is picture perfect scenario PPP with the populous vote replacing the ailing and fragile PML-Q standing to protect Musharraf and indirectly protecting the American adventures in the northern areas of Pakistan

Chances are that the judicial issues is headed towards a grinding halt, Zardari has made it evidently public that he has no inclination towards the restoration also being nudged along with the threat from Musharraf to exercise article 58-2(b). So without any minced words I dare say PPP might actually be a full party to the circus that was played out by Musharraf onto Pakistan in the last few months. Have we not had enough to stop and say NO.


  • Karachiite |


    I really want to say “I told you so!” :)

    The whole drama was crystal clear from the moment Benazir set foot in Karachi. May be the ‘awaam’ were too busy with their own problems to notice what was really going on but to us (living outside of Pakistan) we could see the situation more objectively and even US senators made it absolutely clear in their condolence messages for BB how America wanted to use her in Pakistan.

    I am waiting to see when UN troops take control of Pakistan now *insert a venomous smirk here*

  • Teeth Maestro |

    Well I think the problem is not the logical thinkers in and around the world, we all knew something was fishy since BB came back to Pakistan under an un-constitutional NRO agreement. But what puzzles me is how to we show the people of Pakistan what is happening to them.

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    Pakistan peoples party has apparently sold the blood of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, but i still wish it is otherwise. Mian Nawaz Sharif seems to be committed, but now we are seeing a bit of drift in his stance aswel. I wish our respected Judiciary is restored and poor people of Pakistan have some sigh of relife. The people were not waiting for this change which is only change of faces and dress oterwise we are still in pre 18th feb 2008 era. Insecurity, ambiguity, chaos and uncertainity are being faced by the poor people of Pakistan. Few why,when, who and where need answers.

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    A verse from the public of Pakistan to our rulers.

    Zeher peenay ki tou aadat ha zamanay walo
    Ab koi aur dwa dou ke main zinda hoon abhi.

  • nota |

    I am pasting a comment I posted on another forum in the light of two recent articles by Ansar Abbasi and Ayaz Amir:

    From the Ansar Abbasi piece (A sell-out in the making) “constitutional amendments being negotiated, if finally approved by parliament, would clip the chief justice of Pakistan’s authority to constitute benches besides restricting his discretionary power to take suo moto notice on public interest litigation cases…The PPP is also fearful of the suo moto powers of the CJ….The PPP has made it clear that it would not allow anyone to touch those pre-Nov 3 judiciary judges who took oath under General Musharraf’s PCO.”

    Am I wrong to suggest that Zardari sees CJ Iftikhar and an independent judiciary as a threat to the NRO. For no truly independent judge will put his stamp of approval on it. The whole purpose of this “constitutional package” is to prevent that from happening. If the CJcannot take suo motto notice, he cannot touch the NRO or any future illegal action by Zardari. If CJ cannot constitute benches, you know any challenge to the NRO, etc. will be “handled” by the PCO judges without a problem.

    “some PML-N leaders have also been shifting from the party’s clear stance”
    I experienced this last time I heard Khawaja Saad Rafiq who was parroting Zardari.

    “It is also learnt that the PPP has clearly told the PML-N that it would not consider the restoration of Justice Javed Iqbal, who is the second most senior judge after Justice Iftikhar. …in case of Justice Iftikhar’s reinstatement and his continuation till June 2009, the party desires to extend the retirement age of Supreme Court judges to 66 from the present 65. This change in retirement age of SC judges would allow the incumbent Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar to become CJ in June 2009 following the retirement of Justice Iftikhar.”

    Of course this is their insurance policy. If somehow something does go wrong, they can have the matter stuck in litigation until the time Dogar again takes over. It is not so much about their dislike for Javed Iqbal but more about the 100% trust-worthiness of Dogar to set things right for Zardari. Javed Iqbal might be almost as good (let’s even say 99% as “good” as Dogar but why take that 1% risk?

    From Ayaz Amir’s (Too popular for his own good)
    “Will the PML-N put up with these shenanigans? What choice does it have?

    Let’s hope Ayaz here is not playing the devil’s advocate here but I think he is.

    “We might see a compromise but it will be centred not on keeping Chaudhry out of the Supreme Court—for that is something public opinion will not countenance—but on clipping his wings and reducing his tenure. The thought of seeing Chaudhry presiding over the Supreme Court until 2013 gives the PPP the shudders. It won’t settle for it.”

    Exactly. So what we will have after restoration is a SC that is no different then the current court but I am sure media will be employed to put a pretty face on it. For show, we will have some meaningless “high-profile” case or two to “prove the court’s independence” that the politicians will throw in our face to counter arguing otherwise.

    “Talking of by-elections, Aitzaz Ahsan is being made to twist in the wind, as much by his party as by his own vaulting ambition….The PPP leadership is not too keen to give him a ticket and his problem is that he has no constituency of his own….This wouldn’t have mattered for Aitzaz if he was prepared to go his own way. His tragedy is that he wants to be a star and at the same time benefit from what his party has to offer. Through almost calculated snubs he is being made to realize that he can’t have it both ways.

    I am predicting a statement by Aitzaz soon: “Forget March 9. Forget Nov 3. Hindu-Musla Bhai, Bhai. Mufahimat. Practicality. We have achieved our goal of restoration — what more do you [email protected] want?” No matter how well meaning, let’s not forget AA is a Jiyala first and foremost.

    Some other recent articles worth reading:
    Questions for Mr. Zardari

    While talking to the media at Punjab House on April 22, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari said in a threatening tone that he would `hang` judges who would cooperate with a dictator in the future. In this regard, one would like to ask him the following questions.

    Who met a dictator secretly in Dubai. Who …

    Pakistan’s black revolution

    The best foundation for the rule of law is to build an island of legality wherever it is most needed to advance legitimate government goals — to stop corruption, to protect the environment, to clean up the financial system, or to enforce contracts with foreign investors. Within these limited areas, independent judges and the lawyers who can argue before them have a home.

    As these islands begin to form an archipelago, a legal class emerges, supported by the clients who need them. And on the day that a judge finally crosses a political line, speaking constitutional truth to usurped power, the government’s refusal to comply threatens the interests and ideals of an articulate and motivated segment of society.

    The coming weeks will reveal whether Pakistan’s new government has the courage and integrity not only to release the fired judges, but to restore them to the bench and perhaps to face their scrutiny down the road. If it does, Pakistan’s lawyers will be able to return to the courtrooms, and Pakistani citizens will have another chance to make democracy work. If they succeed, perhaps they should add a black border around the proud Islamic green of their flag — the black not of mourning, but of justice.

  • nota |

    By the way did you catch Gillani’s speech where he resurrected Zia-ul-Haq?

    Zia’s original statement was:

    “The armed forces of the Land of the Pure have an implied duty to safeguard the thought boundaries of this nation in addition to the physical border of this land”


    “Unlike other armies of the world, the Pakistan Army carries a unique and delicate responsibility. It has to defend the ideological boundaries along with the geographical boundaries of this country”

    Here’s the Dawn editorial on it (Harking back to Zia days? and some of the points Gillani made:
    – “We don’t have time to discuss the past mistakes”
    – ” Pakistan army has different and important responsibility than other armies of the world, in that they have to safeguard both geographical borders and ideological borders of the country”
    – He thanked everybody who supported in this journey towards democracy , “SPECIALLY PAKISTAN ARMY who with their far-sight and keeping in view political realities acted very prudently.”

  • nota |

    Will Nawaz fall prey to Zardari’s trap? by Ansar Abbasi

    So will we have Nawaz stating something like:
    We formed the coalition to save the judiciary
    Now we must destroy the judiciary to save the coalition.

    Kind of reminds me of My Lai (”We destroyed the village in order to save it”)

  • Raja Khan |

    Look slike the judges wont be restored and ppp has sold out no wonder the sheik was saying ppp govt will last a year no more.

  • AMMAR |

    I guess Nawaz is of the same breed, the same corrupt politician era and he is not different from others. The other confusing thing which surprises me after reading the articles of ANSAR ABBASSI is his ill informed journalism. He is playing with the sensational nature of the people of our country and projecting that PARLIAMENT IS NOT SUPREME. I am folding with laughter. Parliament can do every thing and there is nothing over it. The can held anyone responsible and their committies can do every thing. Wish he can understand that and dont make the people fool.

  • Mohsin Jami |

    Lets wait and see. PML(N) has not relinquished its stance as yet. Next few days are important. PML(N) is bound to gain in both cases and to me Nawaz Sharif has become a shrewd politician.

  • Jawan |


    You will be disappointed soon Insha Allah. Nawaz Sharif will never change stance. Your wishes will not come true. And remember Judiciary will have to be revived sooner or later. Else the same people of Pak who voted against the dictator and for the revivial of judiciary, are going to throw this govt (if it does not revive the judiciary) out of power. After all a democratic govt cannot baton charge / tear gas lawyers & civil society so easily like dictor and his chums did.

  • nota |

    I am already disappointed. How long has it been since the “new” “government” took over? I still see Mush occupying the Army House and shouting “Al Qaida! Al Qaida!!”, Qayyum still the AG, Dogar still the CJ, Missing still missing, Army still is Baluchistan and Fata, Privatization of national assets still continuing, Atta still heading HEC, Naseem Ashraf still the Chairman PCB, etc. No I won’t mention inflation, wheat crisis, load shedding, and things like that that I know are harder to do. But the things I did mention could ALL have been DONE IN A DAY if the government had an ounce of backbone. Instead alll I am getting is BULLSHIT from Zardari and his attacks on the lawyers and the HONORABLE JUSTICES, and our PM channeling the ghost of Zia. What a prick. Sure they have no problem deep tonguing Altaf Hussain and Fazlu but talk of justices and they spew sh!t like you mentioned some untouchables.

    I do love what Nawaz is saying and the stand Javed Hashmi is taking but what the way I have seen Khwaja Saad Rafiq switch to parroting Zardari has been shocking to me personally.

    Anyways, It will all be clear in a day or two.

  • Ali Murad |

    Dear All You Stupid Pakistani’s who don’t know the reall game behind this “Adlia Bohran” and love Nawaz Sharif just because he is talking sweet for Judiciary.

    First I will quote few lines from a report regarding Top 44 Richest Families in Pakistan. According to this report Mian Muhammad Mansha Yahya Ranked 1st with $2.5billion worth earned being a businessman. No. 2 is Mr. Asif Zardari with $1.80billion earned by corruption, 3rd is Sir Anwar Pervaiz UK with $1.5billion earned being businessman, 4th is Nawaz Sharif family with $1.4billion. Bellow are few lines from this report how he earned this money.

    “Mr Sharif Businessman turned politician the former Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was ousted in a military coup in 1999 and was forced to forfeit $9million dollars and some of his assets including his $5m Mansion is Raiwind near Lahore. Before becoming PM he was a major share holder along with his brother and cousins of Ittefaq Group, having assets well in excess of £50m in the 90’s. However he got richer when he took commissions from foreign companies for construction in Pakistan. He build the first motorway and many new roads and took heavy kickbacks. He then also stole $100m from the Iqra funds, he started a new scheme “Ghar Apna” in which he again looted around $40m, the “Mulk swaaro” scheme involving public & govt. money collections to help pay pf Pakistan’s debts also was pocketed.”

    Now I come to the Adlia Bohran, which is Designed by this SAINT (Nawaz Sharif).

    This billionaire had bought Mr. Iftikhar Choudhry in early 2007 so he started making the way clean for his master by doing anti Govt. activitieis. Even he called the management in his court for a Traffic Jam as this is something has not happened in past, not happens in any other countries or in any other Govt.

    When Mush got heard about this trade of CJ, he dismissed him and asked to resign. IC called his master and told the story. His master advised not to resign but resist and assure him that he will make it a big issue because Mush has no evidence.

    When SC ordered that IC should be reinstate as Mush had no right to send this reference, Mush obeyed the court and reinstated Iftikhar Ch. Then this CJ dismissed Govt. petition against Nawaz Sharif that he can’t come back to Pakistan as had signed a contract for 10 years deport. Which later on Nawaz admitted that this was actually happened but was for 5 years only.

    During this, Mush got elected in presidential elections but Nawaz Sharif wanted IC to condemn the presidential elections and while CJ was planning this with his colleges, Mush got the smell and terminated them all.

    Then Nawaz Shafir hired Aitizaz Ahsan and offered him a lucrative sum to make this the biggest issue in Pakistan with the help of media. Mr. Aitizaz did the same by buying some media persons, some lawyers and badly politicized this issue on his master expense. Then Iftikhar Choudhry was in Aitizaz car with PPP flags on. Aitizaz advised IC not to talk but let him talk to media because he was a clever person., he knew how he can gain the popularity and how to cash it later on. So you can see, he is the Hero, Has won the bar elections, going to participate in by elections and may become a Minister soon. WOW !! what a genius he is….

    And you all stupid sitting here think he is fighting for Adlia ke Azadi ??? You think Iftikhar Choudhery is Khumani of our country ?? He worked with Mush many years happily and doing all ordinary things like supporting his son for better placement, enjoying his remunerations as much as possible, keeping the CM luxury Mercedez Benz with him etc. His lower staff got corrupt seeing his character and looted millions by making false receipt of fuels on his car’s number. When he asked for it, he said he don’t know what the lower staff is doing !!!!!

    Hope by now you would have understand why Nawaz did all this (investment), SIMPLY.. TO BECOME PRESIDENT AFTER MUSH AND TAKE HIS REVANGE.

    So my dear Pakistani’s you are leaving in a fools paradise, where politics means “make all fool to get our own benefits” These politicians are mostly corrupt and have brain washed all of us that worst democracy is better than best military rule or any other system so that we can oversee their sins and keep them pleased even if we are dying with hunger…. Wake up please WAKE UP !!!!

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    Ye nairangian bhi daikheen dehar main keh loag
    Doast hain maqtool ke aur humnawa qatil ke hain

  • Liaquat Samma |

    Zardari’s conduct about the restoration is unethical and dubious. He is falling back on his own agreement and on the promise made by Benazir Bhutto to restore them as they were on Nov. 2. He should restore them as promised and then bring a constitutional package to oust Musharraf and take action against him. He does have guts to bring a 2/3 majority against Musharraf. He may take some time to oust Musharraf first to be safe. These threatening attitudes of the powers should be checked and dealt with constitutional reforms.

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    The poor public, Awam, loag who are they??? nobody among the people sitting at the helm of the affairs give a serious thought about them. Why they have been waiting so long???. If democracy means hipocracy then we do not need it any more. Hipocracy has brought us to the lowest level we all should get rid of this curse.

  • yasir shahzad |

    pakistan is treated like a prostituet by the politicains, militry , judicary etc, used it and abused it for thier bloody benifts.
    i come to the conclusion the people have power and authority they are not qualified to be normal human beings.
    they are just out of the world.
    allah khair kare