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Posts tagged with: Benazir

First Things First : Muneer Malik Op-Ed in Dawn

Op-ed article published in Dawn, 6th December 2007 by Muneer A Malik, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association who is currently hospitalised following renal failure during his detention in Attock jail

It was heartening to see Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif finally sitting together. The formation of a joint ARD-APDM committee is a positive step. The committee is to agree on a minimum charter of demands that must be fulfilled before the opposition parties participate in the elections.

Naturally, the primary agenda of the opposition parties is to ensure an atmosphere where free and fair elections are possible. But such elections are impossible without the restoration of the superior judiciary to the status quo prevailing on Nov 2. There can be no transition to democracy without an independent judiciary.

Consider this. The Election Commission of Pakistan (EC) is responsible for the overall organisation and conduct of elections. It comprises a retired Supreme Court and one serving High Court judge from each province. The actual nomination and polling process is supervised by District Returning Officers (DROs), Returning Officers (ROs) and Assistant Returning Officers (AROs). Serving district judges, additional district judges and civil judges perform the duties of the DROs, ROs and AROs respectively. The Chief Justices of the provincial High Courts have administrative control over the subordinate judiciary. They control their appointments, transfers and promotions.
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Musharraf’s Economic Deception – Part 1

Guest Post by Dr. Tariq Naeem

General Musharraf took over the reigns of power in 1999 from Nawaz Sharif with the Pakistan economy on the verge of bankruptcy. So desperate was the situation Nawaz Sharif toured the world visiting Pakistanis with a begging bowl requesting them to invest in Pakistan due to the sanctions imposed on Pakistan for carrying out nuclear tests. Incoherent, short-term policies had resulted in a minority of people benefiting immensely, who incidentally were directly linked to the Sharif family.

Both the IMF and the World Bank have consistently praised the Musharraf government for solid macroeconomic recovery and saving the Pakistan economy from the brink of economic collapse. They cite the $128bn generated under his tenure. Many commentators are eager to explain that the Musharraf government has made substantial macroeconomic reforms since taking over the economy in 1999. The argument of the few Musharraf loyalists being that he has brought a degree of stability to Pakistan that the country never knew under civilian rule.

Part 1 of this two part series will assess this claim and analyse the current state of Pakistan’s economy which shows it is in a far more precarious position:
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Pakistani Election Commission bars Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan’s Election Commission Monday barred former prime minister and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif from a January 8 general election because of past criminal convictions. “His nomination papers are rejected because of his convictions, presiding election official Raja Qamaruzaman told Reuters in Lahore.

Its interesting to note that Mr. Nawaz Sharif in his hate to get out of the country after his govt was toppled in 1999, never appealed lower court decision against him, instead opted to get a pardon from the President. So the conviction stands, and even if the Election Commission had accepted his papers, that action would have been challenged in the court by his competitors. Hence, until the rules are amended, Mr. Sharif would have to sit this one out.

All this while Benazir Bhutto continues to hide behind the protections provided to her by the NRO which were added on to the PCO allowing her full protection to contest the elections. Free and Fair… Yeah Right…

PML-N to reverse boycott decision soon

There are reports coming in from a number of news agencies that PML-N will very soon reverse their decision to boycott and succumb to the demands of their party stalwarts and contest the election. I truly feel that contesting the elections will only provide Musharraf with even more legitimacy to continue his reign on this country, he conveniently screwed up the Judiciary to pave his way to another term as the President of Pakistan, he claims to be holding free and fair elections but sadly how can anyone fall for this fib when the entire electoral process is being orchestrated under a Martial Law.

Recently Shahbaz Sharif’s papers were rejected by the returning officer but at the same time the other corrupt leader, Benazir Bhutto, continues fighting under the protection of the NRO standing to be vindicated of all her wrong doings as long as the PCO is promulgated into the constitution of Pakistan, which would effectively wash her slate clean of any wrong doings of corruption. One cannot expect PPP or MQM to work towards an independent judiciary, the PML-Q being the Kings party will not dare to call the foul while Nawaz Sharif has his balls squarely stuck in the grasp of the Saudi King and most importantly playing into the hands of Musharraf to dare utter a squeak. Sad but I see Pakistan headed into yet another sham assembly only to appease one dictators wish to rule a country

Nadeem Syed and Abrar SaeedLAHORE/ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has decided to end the boycott of the forthcoming elections and a formal announcement in this regard would be made in next few days. Highly-placed sources in the party disclosed to TheNation in Islamabad Sunday that the decision to take part in the forthcoming elections was made by Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif, in consultation with close associates, bowing to the tremendous pressure of the party leaders, mostly in favour of taking part in the elections.
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Ms. Bhutto, A free Judiciary But Detained Judges – An Open Letter by Ghazala Minallah

An open letter written by Ghazala Minallah d/o Late Justice Safdar Shah to Benazir Bhutto

Dear Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,

I was absolutely shocked and amazed at your latest statement regarding the judiciary. How could you, of all people, say that you believed in an independent judiciary BUT that personalities did not matter? If personalities did not matter then why was Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry removed? Why were some judges locked up whereas others were not? If personalities did not matter then why is Musharraf waging a personal war against the CJ? You do not have to be a genius to figure out the reason. How can you separate the personalities from the institution? What you have on Constitution Avenue right now is a besieged and helpless building. The unfortunate but harsh truth is that right now we are a besieged nation as well.

Ms. Bhutto, I am writing to you because your statement has shocked and disturbed me to the extent that I feel I have no option but to reach out to you in this manner. I would like to remind you, since you seem to have forgotten, that you too were the victim of a corrupt judiciary. If Justice Iftikhar had been the CJ of the Supreme Court at that time then perhaps your father would never have been hanged. Had the entire bench been like the present one then there would have been a unanimous judgment. But the judgment was not unanimous – it was a 4 to 3 split just one judge too many on the wrong side. One more upright personality on the right side and our history would have been different. So yes, personalities certainly do matter.
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Shahbaz Sharif’s nomination papers rejected

The Returning Officer Ashtar Abbas rejected the nomination papers Mian Shahbaz Sharif for one National Assembly (NA 119) seat and two Provincial Assembly (PP 141 and PP 142) seats. Tariq Badaruddin Banday, a candidate from NA 119 filed objection against nomination papers of Shahbaz Sharif that the brother of Nawaz Sharif was a bank defaulter. He submitted documents showing Shahbaz a defaulter of Rs 12 million. It must be noted that the nomination papers of Shahbaz Sharif’s son Hamza Shahbaz have already been accepted for above mentioned three constituencies.

While unsurprisingly the papers of Benazir Bhutto who has twice been thrown out of power because of corruption still stands to contest in the elections. Free and Fair, yeah right

Boycott Elections Campaign – PML-N & PPP leadership contacts

On a number of mailing lists there is a extensive list being circulated which has the contact numbers of a number of top PML-N Leadership and their contact details. It can be found at Thought Stream, the best way to get their attention is to send an SMS to their cell phone numbers or better yet call them up (if they pick it up that is) and give them your opinion, be courteous and simply convey your message as briefly as possible, remember the might not listen to you for long before hanging up on you, my SMS to them yesterday and today simply read

The People of Pakistan urge you to please boycott the elections and not be a rubber stamp for Musharraf. Please make the right decision. Pakistan Zindabad

I suspect little do they know about electronic campaigning and hope our efforts have born fruits, inside sources say the PML and PPP leadership has been getting the messages and it has been influencing the discussion. Today’s APDM meeting is at 3:00pm lets keep our fingers crossed. As the PML-N has fully authorized Nawaz Sharif to make the entire decision on behalf of the party.

The PML-N and PPP list is temporarily included here pm this blog for about 24 hours and after which it shall be removed to protect their privacy my intention here is to only coordinate a pressure group which may influence their decision
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The Path of a Patriot

Guest post by mhb

Opposing General Pervez Musharraf is not a cause worth endorsing solely by itself.

General Pervez Musharraf is not the man he was when he first usurped the seat of Pakistan’s government. Over time as his political age has advanced, he has undergone a staged metamorphosis: from an amateur idealist, to a practitioner of temperate Realpolitik, and then finally to an outright Machiavellian Prince.

It will be profoundly self-righteous of any single one of us to contend with authority that if exposed to the General’s temptations – the troika of International interests, institutional weaknesses and a manipulatable judiciary – we ourselves would not succumb to a similar fate. Opposing General Pervez Musharraf is therefore akin to focussing on the proverbial symptoms of a malady, and not its root, when in fact ours should be a struggle against the method of perpetuation of our affliction and not its recurring product. We are merely opposing a masque today.

It is high time that we question our motives before treading any further with placards in hand and slogans on tongue. The return to democracy we yearn for today can potentially be a rude awakening since General Pervez Musharraf’s successor in the wake of an all-pardoning National Reconciliation is set to be Ms. Benazir Bhutto. Notwithstanding those forgotten corruption charges of fraudulently amassing roughly $1.5B of the nation’s wealth[1], she is a more vociferous representation of strategic international interests than the General; she is the proverbial soldier of fortune.
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Nawaz Sharif’s Return and the Boycott Dilemma

Its all over the media that Nawaz Shairf has finally landed in Lahore after some serious arm bending negotiations between Saudi Arabia and Musharraf (mind you I use Musharraf as Pakistan does not figure anywhere in this equation). It was basically orchestrated to level the playing field as Benazir was apparently acting too erratic in the recent past that Musharraf could not swallow a PPP electoral sweep which could potentially hold him hostage after the elections. This move is yet another ploy which will favor Musharraf in the five years to come, as he then has more pawns to play with rather then be stuck with a Lotta-Queen Benazir Bhutto.

It so seems that all the moves are being played by Musharraf from day one to the extent that he calls a ‘check’ every time expecting a predictable reaction from the opposition which quite often is forced to respond predictably and according to the plan. Yesterdays apparent announcement by Raja Zafar ul Haq from the APDM platform to boycott the forthcoming sham elections was a brilliant move as it actually meant that the opposition was not suckered into the pre=planned circus of elections, an apparent unified opposition boycott can throw the legitimacy of the elections out the window, yes it may severely impact the voice of the opposition as the would sit on the sidelines while the sham rulers will make legislatures at their free will, but then again how could one seriously believe in a so called elections governed by a slave judiciary and a severely compromised Election Commissioner sworn in by Musharraf himself, its highly unlikely that any one of the critical postions would resist in validating the elections as free and fair
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Update @ 1648: APDM Boycotts Elections – sans JUI

APDM in full unity has resolved to boycott this sham elections. On a number of grounds of which was the restoration of judiciary to the pre Nov 3rd status was very much highlighted. The insistence of boycotting the elections was strongly tabled by Imran Khan as he felt that the opposition should boycott to expose the sham elections. I am told that JUI (Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam) did not attend the meeting and hence it could be speculated that they will contest the elections.

I believe this decision should be applauded as the spam election would only go to approve the circus created by Musharraf and his reeling and dealing with Benazir Bhutto and the crooks all combined into one. Musharraf announced the elections as if to challenge the opposition to fall for this trap and in effect validate his attempt to present the world with an electoral process.

I hail this decision as it can indeed be the start of a struggle to resist the rule by Musharraf, a larger combined opposition sitting outside will maintain an ongoing pressure on the bureaucracy even if they go through this sham elections.

Update @ 1301: Sham Courts (SC) Dismiss the final Petition against Musharraf

Today the final petition against Pervaiz Mushrraf was set aside and dismissed by the newly appointed Supreme Court (Sham Court) bench headed by Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Dogar. In a decision which was practically predicted since the bench threw out the earlier four case on a technicality the sixth case was also ceremoniously thrown out of contention paving the way for Musharraf to ascend the thrown of his second term as President of Pakistan.

The fifth case which was filed on behalf of the Peoples Party was withdrawn by Benazir Bhutto on November 19th as she did not want to oppose the Presidents bid for reelection. God Bless Pakistan …maybe its too late now

Update @ 1602: LUMS Students Movement express Poltical Autonomy

Press Release, issued by the Student Movement at Lahore University of Management Sciences

As our movement gains in strength, support, momentum and therefore, media attention, the students of the protest movement at the Lahore University of Management Sciences would like to clarify our position on a number of points.

Our movement is fundamentally a non-partisan, civil society movement which was begun by students last week as a spontaneous reaction against the imposition of a state of emergency in our country. We are united in a clear and principled commitment to the reinstatement of the judiciary and the restoration of the Constitution and of basic civil rights, the release of illegally detained prisoners and an end to preposterous curbs on the media. Our aim is to uphold and defend the autonomy of the judiciary in Pakistan. As we increase communication with students from other educational institutions in the country, we are confident and hopeful that we can all unite behind a particular principle – the critical necessity of the sovereignty of the judiciary for sustainable
political and social development in Pakistan.
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Update @ 1900: Two Young Boys killed in Karachi unrest

Two boys, aged 11 and 12, have been killed during unrest in a neighborhood of Karachi where supporters of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto have clashed with police since Thursday morning. Police said. “Two children have been killed in firing by unidentified men in the Lyari area,. “They’re also firing at the police. The firing occurred as police chased small groups of young men protesting over President Musharraf’s imposition of a state of emergency.

Its time for street protests : Imran Khan

Published in DAWN on November 13th
By Shehar Bano Khan

Looking defiant and all set to mobilise students on the streets on Wednesday (tomorrow) against Gen Musharrafs emergency rule, Pakistan Tereek-i-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan lashes out at the Washington plan of installing its dream team of moderates.

Dismissing the election formula for being devised and dictated by the US administration, Mr Khan proclaims the students march will be the most momentous since the independence movement.

“It is going to be the most important movement since the movement for the independence of this country. Our theme is the restoration of the pre-emergency judiciary. Our party has been carefully planning this movement and we feel now the time is right to come out on to the streets to protest against the Provisional Constitutional Order, and reject the holding of elections under emergency. How can elections be held when the country has been put under emergency, when theres suspension of fundamental rights, no recourse to justice and rampant rule of the jungle? blitzes Mr Khan.
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Update @ 2013: Police raids, more arrests and websites blocked

Via an IPS journalist and one of our SMS reporters on the ground:
– The central leader of the Communist Party of Pakistan — Jam Saqi, was away while police raided his house in Hyderababad

– A heavy police contingent is visible outside the Karachi Press Club while PPP activists Saeed Boota, Anis Fatima and Jahanzeb have been arrested.

– Benazir Bhutto’s press conference is now underway in Lahore after having started at 1945 (PST).

– The Government of Pakistan have blocked the website of The News, although Jang and DAWN News are still accessible.

– Deputy General Attorney — Yawar Ali Khan, has resigned from his office on Saturday to protest the imposition of emergency. Khan is the son of former chief justice of Pakistan, Yaqoob Ali Khan, and brother-in-law of Supreme Court judge Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday (one of the non-PCO judges).