Guest post by Salahuddin Ahmed
Lets not live in cloud-cuckoo land.
Zardari asked for 30 days time to restore judges. It was given. He agreed with Nawaz for an extension of 12 days. We all waited in vain. Now we are expected to continue waiting for an indefinite period of time (no ulti ginti, please) to allow ‘democracy to flourish’ and his promises to bear fruit.
There is all this rubbish floated by PPP and pro-Musharraf elements around about the ‘complications’ involved in restoration of judges. 21 former judges of the Supreme Court (including 5 former Chief Justices) have publicly stated that all that is required is an executive order (with a parliamentary resolution for moral backing only – if politically necessary). As for the newly appointed incumbents, the former judges stated that they have no legal right to remain in office but their appointments can be regularised (purely for humanitarian considerations) by real Chief Justice in accordance with the Al-Jehad case. Apart from 3 or 4 (like Fakhruddin and Wajihuddin) none of these former judges were even involved in the lawyers’ movement and are completely apolitical. I take their word over PPP politician-semi lawyers like Latif Khosa, Farooq Naek, Babar Awan and Musharraf-cronies like Hafeez Pirzada and Malik Qayyum.
Now we are supposed to go gaga over the 62 constitutional amendments and Zardari’s supposed tiff with Musharraf. Lets not forget that on Jan. 6 2008, the same Zardari wrote an article in the UK newspaper Independent entitled ‘My Benazirr’s dream of democracy can live on… if Musharraf goes’. After he successfully fooled the electorate and die-hard PPP supporters with his anti-Musharraf rhetoric, he went on to adopt a ‘working relationship and reconciliation’ approach. Why should we treat his current statements differently?
As far as the supposedly ‘radical’ constitutional amendments are concerned, lets be clear that only those constitutional amendments shall be passed that have the consent of Musharraf. Zardari and his cohort repeatedly claim that they do not have the numbers (2/3rd majority in a combined sitting of the National Assembly and the Senate) required to impeach Musharraf. A constitutional amendment requires a 2/3rd majority in the National Assembly and the Senate INDIVIDUALLY (an even more onerous task). The only way any constitutional amendment can get a 2/3rds majority in the Senate is if Musharraf (and hence the PML-Q) cooperates.
The only purpose of the proposed constitutional amendments is to distract public attention and gain time. Never in the history of Pakistan has a constitution amendment bill proposing 62 amendments been presented (let alone passed). Even the 17th Amendment Bill (which had less than proposed 20 amendments) took over a year of negotiations before it was passed. Let me make a little prediction here. The next thing we’ll hear from PPP is that lawyers (and/or the PML-N) should call off their plan of public protests and long marches and instead concentrate on (fruitless) negotiations about the constitution amendment bill.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me…