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Posts tagged with: Benazir

Benazir, Eyeing a Return

Interpol BB NoticeCan you for a moment imagine a situation where our next Prime Minister of Pakistan becomes Benazir Bhutto a person who was found utterly corrupt not once but on both times she was in office, to now plan for a return to lead us for yet another stint as the Prime Minster of Pakistan. Have we no other person in Pakistan to be willing to take this job, and have to resort to being represented by a leader who is corrupt beyond doubt, she may have managed to dismiss all her corruption charges by bribing her way out of them, but the people of Pakistan will not forget and feel that the Red Notice issued by Interpol was spot on.

It will be a sad day for Pakistan to see this corrupt leader back into our midst. We can be sure that this year, Musharraf has been reeling and dealing with Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in an attempt to conjure up a plan which allows him to retain the Presidential seat in exchange for the seat of the Prime Minister. It has been rumored that of both the corrupt leaders Benazir was the favored of the two which would guarantee Musharraf an extended stay in power.

Today there are reports that the NAB Special Operations Division Head Hasan Nasim Afzal (GEO.tv video)whose agency had been directly responsible for the ongoing investigation of the numerous corruption cases against Bhutto and Zardari has been transferred to another location. This critical move which will favor Benazir comes at a very critical juncture and can be seen with suspicion since Islamabad is already abuzz with the ongoing Supreme Judicial Council hearing to decide the fate of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. It could very well be the start of the preparations which seem to lead to an eventual acquittal from all outstanding charges literally white washing everything hence lubricating a free entry into the country and maybe heading for a third term at the office.

The people of Pakistan have tried this leadership twice and each time she was kicked out primarily on charges of corruption literally across the board (link), and her husband Asif Zardari was right in the middle of the mess, popularly known as Mr 10% also had an even more extensive corruption list on his dossier.

To refresh those good ‘ol days, I quote a few lines from Ardeshir Cowasjee’s article written six years back Feb 2001

When Benazir was dismissed for the first time in 1990 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan filed six references against her alleging corruption and misconduct. None of these were decided during Nawaz’s first tenure (1990-93). So, when Benazir came back for her second round she naturally had herself acquitted on all charges. The country lost; the people lost.

In her second round, Benazir and her husband discovered a new source of income – inspection companies. Six cover companies were named and used: Capricorn Trading, Dargal Associated, Mariston Securities, Mariston Business, Nassam Incorporated, Bomer Finance. On September 8, 1997, the Swiss Federal Office for Police Matters, Berne, informed our government that sufficient evidence had been found to justify their writing to four banks informing them to block the accounts of “accused persons Bhutto Benazir, ex-prime minister, Zardari Asif Ali, husband of Madame Bhutto, Bhutto Nusrat Begum.”

When Benazir was thrown out in 1996 for the second time, charged with corruption and malpractices, and Nawaz came in for his second bout with the nation one thing he did do was to manage in 1999 to have a high court convict both Benazir and Asif. Asif is in prison whilst Benazir has embarked on a world lecture tour, posing to be as pure as the proverbial driven snow. Both have appealed to the Supreme Court against their conviction and this appeal is to be heard at the end of this month.

Its important to refresh our minds of their rampant corruption that we were all a witness to during her two tenures as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Simply having the massive list against her name should seriously worry us about allowing her to take the office for the third time, which we all know would be no different then the previous occurrences. I’d like to talk to a person who believes she has turned a new leaf and will go corruption free, I on one hand have serious doubts about allowing her to run my country.

Have we not a single person amongst the 160 million people, that we have to see the likes of Benazir Bhutto again, also to call a leader the person who has been handed an extensive charge sheet for every time she stepped into office, have we not a single soul that can salvage Pakistan from this impending doom, Have we no one !!!!


CJP & the Politico-Constitutional Crisis

By Amicus

Part One

Presently President Musharraf is faced with the most serious political crisis since he assumed the power on 12 October 1999. Briefly the unfolding of the events may be recorded in a chronological order. Read the lines and read between the lines.

March 9:
1. President General Musharraf summoned the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftkhar Mohammad Chaudhry, to his Camp Office, located in the annex of the Chief of Army Staffs official residence in Rawalpindi, and in the presence of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz sought his resignation. The Chief Justice refused to tender the resignation.

2. Confronted with an unexpected situation, President Musharraf, through a notification sought to make the Chief Justice of Pakistan non-functional and decided to send a reference, purportedly, under article 209 of the Constitution, to the Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the charges of misconduct and misuse of authority against him.

3. Not even a draft of reference had been prepared, perhaps owing to misplaced confidence or out of arrogance or in the hope that the Chief Justice would resign under persuasion or pressure. President only had letter of lawyer Naeem Bokhari containing some unsubstantiated allegations against the Chief Justice.

4. Simultaneously, President Musharraf, un-necessarily, appointed available senior-most judge, Justice Javed Iqbal, as the Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan. He was administered oath while the Chief Justice was still under detention in the Chief of Army Staffs Camp Office.

5. The Supreme Judicial Council was hurriedly formed. Since the senior-most Judge, Justice Rana Bhagwandas was outside the country, the Supreme Judicial Council did not fulfill the constitutional requirements.

6. If the Supreme Judicial Council was to find the non-functional Chief Justice guilty of the charges contained in non-existent or yet to be prepared reference, he was to be removed.

7. The Chief Justice was not allowed to go to his office even after several hours of detention. Against his wish, police escorted him to his residence where he was virtually placed under house arrest.

8. The Chief Justice was denied facilities of cable TV, newspapers and telephone. The flags of Supreme Court and Pakistan were removed from his hitherto official residence. Even his name was removed from the Official Web Site of Supreme Court. The Registrar of the Supreme court too was changed.

9. The legal fraternity took the Presidents action as unconstitutional and a blatant attack on the independence of the judiciary.

10.The Private TV channels exposed the hollowness and unconstitutionality of the Presidents action in their news, reports and discussion programs.

11.The nation was taken aback. The country was plunged into a deep crisis.

March 10
1. The newspapers were full of editorials and comments, and statements of lawyers and politicians condemning presidential reference. The private TV channels were seized of the matter. There was no respite. The intelligentsia and liberal sections of the society were shocked over the Presidents crude action.

2. It was vehemently contended that the government wanted to remove the Chief Justice because he had given bold decisions. His Suo- motu actions in the cases of privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills, the forced disappearance of the people, allotment of land to bureaucrats and army officers in Gwadar, etc were cited, as having presumably incurred displeasure of the government and prompted it to act against the Chief Justice. The whole exercise was rendered malafide and motivated by anything but the Constitutional diktat.

3. It was asserted with conviction that the Chief Justice had declined to promise a deputation of intelligence officials that he would uphold as lawful the actions which President Musharraf might take to get himself elected as president in uniform. And that this had left President Musharraf with no choice but to seek his removal before such actions were taken or emergency imposed.

4. The Chief justice remained incommunicado and a heavy police contingent was posted to guard his residence. His family was confined to the house and his son was denied access to his school.

5. All bar councils and bar associations decided to observe a black day on March 13 when the Supreme Judicial Council was to take up presidential reference. The lawyers began their agitation, which has continued to this date without let up.

March 11

1. Air Marshall Asghar Khan was allowed to meet with the Chief Justice. He disclosed that the Chief justice wanted the Supreme Judicial Council to have open proceedings.

2. Not sure of themselves, the ministers gave contradictory statements. The Sindh Chief Minister made wild allegations against the Chief Justice. The MQM was conspicuously silent. So did the Chief Minister of Punjab. Ironically both were, reported to have had complaints against the Chief Justice of Pakistan, which allegedly formed part of the reference.

March 12
1. Nationwide protests were reported. 40 lawyers were hurt in baton-charge in Lahore.

2. Two private TV channels were put off air for showing recordings of how lawyers were brutally beaten.

3. The government got visibly nervous and embarrassed.

March 13
1. The overwhelming support of the lawyers for the Chief Justice upset the government.

2. The Chief justice was roughed up on his way to the Supreme Judicial Council.

3. The Chief Justice demanded reconstitution of the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. The Opposition leaders stood by the Chief Justice.

March 14
1. The Acting Chief Justice took Suo motu notice of the manhandling of the Chief Justice.

2. The suspension of the Chief justice was challenged in the Lahore High Court.

3. Khalid Anwar and Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim declined to represent the government in the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. The US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher arrived. The US State Department announced that his visit was not linked to the current situation in Pakistan.

March 15
1. Shaken by lawyers agitation and spontaneous outpourings of public support for the Chief Justice, the government reportedly initiated talks with the Chief Justice to find a way out of the crisis.

2. Sharifuddin Pirzada expressed his inability to represent the government in the Supreme Judicial Council.

3. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court to declare the whereabouts of the senior-most judge, Justice Rana Bhagwandas.

4. President Musharraf said that he would accept the verdict of the Supreme Judicial Council.

5. Boucher described the crisis in Pakistan as sensitive and said that it needed to be handled carefully.

March 16
1. Daylong battles were fought between protestors and the police across the capital, Islamabad, on the occasion of the second hearing of the presidential reference.

2. The defense lawyers said that no copy of reference was provided to them.

3. The police stormed the office of Geo TV. President Musharraf apologized for the attack.

4. The attack on media was condemned. Journalists came out on the streets.

5. The opposition flexed its muscles. The MQM declared that it was not consulted about the reference.

6. The British lawyers assured support to the Chief justice.

March 17
1. The Chief Justice declared that he would not resign and fight the battle for the rule of law and supremacy of constitution.

2. The Federal Minister for Law, Wasi Zafar stated that the Chief Justice was on forced leave under section 2 of the Judges Compulsory Leave Order 1970, validated in 1975 under the Validation of Laws Act 1975. A belated change in governments position?

3. President Musharraf said that he had no personal differences with the Chief Justice. The president tried to save his position by claiming that the government had sent a reference against the Chief Justice to him and as president it was his constitutional duty to send it to the Supreme Judicial Council.

4. President Musharraf termed the police attack on Geo TVs office in Islamabad a conspiracy [yes conspiracy] aimed at tarnishing his image.

5. 50 were injured as lawyers and police clashed in Lahore. There is a call by lawyers for countrywide strike on 21 March.

6. Balochistan cities were hit by rockets and bomb blasts.

7. In New York, Benazir Bhutto said that the Taliban must be defeated in Pakistan this year or the country risked to fall under the sway of extremists.

Part Two

The above-mentioned developments from March 9 onwards suggest that the situation is very tricky and has all the potentials to drift out of control.

President Musharraf needs to weigh his options very carefully and take a decision that appears to be in national interest and in the interest of his own survival.

From a hind side, on three counts President Musharraf must be very clear:

1. He did not have the authority to make the Chief Justice non-functional. His act was unconstitutional.

2. He did not have the authority to appoint an Acting Chief Jusitce nor was it called for or ever occasioned.

3. In the absence of the senior-most judge after the Chief justice, who in the present case is Justice Bhagvandas, the composition of the Supreme Judicial Council is not as per mandatory requirements of the Constitution.

In the present circumstances when the legal fraternity has discussed the whole issue threadbare in bar associations and in public through electronic media, the Supreme Judicial Council is likely to declare its own composition unconstitutional or wait for the return of Justice Bhagvandas to fulfill the constitutional requirement.

Justice Bhagvandas has a reputation for being a man of principles. He is not likely to accept any pressure from executive in dealing with the matter.

The Supreme Judicial Council under Justice Bhagvandas would more likely to declare presidential notification, making the Chief justice non-functiona,l as null and void. Such a decision would be extremely embarrassing for President Musharraf.

There is no guarantee that any fresh reference against the Chief justice as per constitutional procedure would result in his conviction and removal. If the Supreme judicial Council absolves Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, President Musharraf would become laughing stock in public.

The best course for President Musharraf is to admit publicly that he had committed a procedural mistake and to withdraw his notification of declaring Chief Justice non-functional and so also his reference against the Chief Justice to the Supreme Judicial Council.

In the past we have seen that President Musharraf broke his promise of giving up uniform by 31 December 2004 and explained his reasons to the nation for that. If he is able to convince the people that some advisors misguided him regarding the procedure of filing the reference, the people are likely to excuse him for what happened.

Within a few weeks the whole issue may go into oblivion and become a thing of the past. The lawyers would go back to their business and the opposition would be left without a potentially dangerous issue.

President Musharraf would then be in a position to take a fresh stock of the situation. He may identify the people who made error of judgment or deliberately misguided him. Once the culprits are identified, he may get rid of them in a proper manner. Some heads would roll and the things would settle down.

For future, it is advisable that President Musharraf realizes the limitations in which he has to maneuver. The present political dispensation has lost its worth. If he tries to get himself elected from the existing assemblies without consent of the real stakeholders, he would face an extremely stiff opposition. The country may plunge into another major crisis, the first casualty of which would be Musharraf himself if extra-constitutional forces intervene.

Instead, a sensible option is to take all the stakeholders, including the Pakistan Peoples Party, on board and form a government of national consensus.

If needed due to genuine reasons, President Musharraf may impose emergency with the approval of stakeholders and as per constitutional provisions the term of the present assemblies may be extended by one year. The assemblies may elect President Musharraf without uniform for another five years and at the end of the assemblies extended period, free and fair elections may be held under the national government.

If the real stakeholders (foremost being the PPP) are not prepared for postponement of general elections, the present assemblies may be dissolved under relevant constitutional provisions, a national government or a government of consensus may be formed and general elections held without unnecessary delay. (This may not be to his liking owing to the fact that he, at the behest of his over zealous advisors, has squandered lot of capital for now).

The circumstances are such that if the dissolution of the assemblies is challenged, the Supreme Court is likely to uphold the legality of dissolution on the ground of state necessity or on the basis of the argument that for holding of presidential election, which is due between 16 September and 15 October 2007, it is imperative that the newly constituted assemblies should serve as electoral college.

Another sensible way is that after the budget session, President Musharraf may persuade the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers to tender advice as per constitutional provisions for dissolution of the National and Provincial Assemblies. By the second week of September 2007, the new assembles may come into existence to serve as electoral college for presidential election which is, as stated above, due between 16 September and 15 October 2007.

For all these options to succeed, President Musharraf would have to strike a deal with the Pakistan Peoples Party on future political set up. The PPP is likely to accept Musharraf as president without uniform provided it is offered a level playing field and allowed to form government in case it is able to forge a majority.

This would take the country back to erstwhile system of troika. The restoration of the troika system would be acceptable to the armed forces also. It will let the Supreme Court in its place, as the arbiters for convenience or exigency.

Other options are fraught with extreme dangers.

If the legal battle over the presidential reference takes a nasty turn due to any reason and anti-government agitation picks up, President Musharraf may be forced to have unceremonious exit by the armed forces.

If President Musharraf wins legal battle through unscrupulous means – he pressurizes the Supreme judicial Council or bribes or threatens Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to obtain resignation – neither the people would accept it nor the legal fraternity or opposition.

If President Musharraf imposes emergency without approval of the stakeholders or tries to get himself elected by the present assembly without first forging understanding with the stakeholders, he is almost certain to fail.

His emergency may then be followed by martial law.

President Musharrafs own constituency is already uneasy with him. Some of his policies are resented by strong quarters in the armed forces. It is advisable for him not to go for head-on collision with the opposition.

A recent, motivated, article in The New York Times, has indicated that the United States no more considers General Musharraf as indispensable. If Musharraf goes, the Vice Chief of Army Staff would simply become the Chief of Army Staff and the Chairman of Senate would assume presidency. It would be a re-enactment of what happened in 1988 after President and Chief of Army Staff General Mohammad Zia ul Haq was killed in a plane crash.

When some sensible options are available, why take risk?


Justice or Martial Law?

Ever since the attack on the Judiciary in Pakistan, last Friday (post) practically the entire country is abuzz with a number of confusing questions of which probably the least addressed is when does Pervaiz Musharraf enforce a proper Martial Law. In my opinion Pakistan is already under a full fledged Martial Law since 1999 but disguised as a torjan horse titled Enlightened Moderation.

Iftikhar beaten up
Police escort Manhandling the
Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry,
A picture not aired in the media outlets in Pakistan

A number critics say that it just can’t happen, while many believe that martial law is inevitable. I belong the latter group, in my opinion Musharraf had been buttering the people of Pakistan for the past year in preparations to make them swallow the presidency pill for another five years. The stage was prepared when he successfully masterminded a thumbs up from Uncle Sam, it was during his US-Book Tour visit that Pakistan went through an interesting roller coaster ride, I had protested back then that the simple revelation of Pakistan being bombed back into the stone ages should have been enough for any decent Pakistani leader to walk off, but not Musharraf as he was their for a more personal reason far more important then Pakistan. Millions back home reacted simply How Dare They?. It was actually Musharraf who expertly handled the ABC interview threw out this ball-busting comment to force George Bush onto the back foot and then was able to pull out the trump card right from the grasp of Uncle Sam getting himself a sexy peck on the cheek and a pat on the behind for a job well done. Musharraf finished the cake with a hilarious gig with Jon Stewart where he displayed stand-up comedy type of showmanship but the icing was when he got Bush to publicly plug his autobiography on live TV, asking people to ‘Buy the Book’, literally a dream come true for any aspiring writer.

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She Magazine Pilfers from Teeth Maestro

She Magazine OctoberA month back I had made a post on Karachi Metblog discussing a TV show on AAJ.TV called Begum Nawazish Ali. The review a month back was a sarcastic reivew of the show but now a month later if you pick up the October issue of She Magazine and turn to page 77 you could read an exact replication of the intial post, spare for a few editing changes and the addition at the end the gist of the article was pilfered from my post Hijra on Aaj.Tv. Its flattering to see that someone actually cares to read our blog around here, but pilferage by a reputable money making magazine !!!!!

Pilferage if found internationally is taken very seriously, but sadly in Pakistan people have no respect for copyright of intellectual property. Personally I have no axe to grind but only ask the editors to show some respect and atleast acknowledge Karachi Metblogs. I am arguing this case to provide a issue to promore the Karachi Metblog only and might agree on a compromise if the editors mention Karachi Metblogs in one of their future editions of the magazine. For the Evidence
Continue reading “She Magazine Pilfers from Teeth Maestro” »


British born Pakistanis

Ain’t it ironic that the word Pakistan seems to creep into every terrorist incident worldwide? In the recent London Bombings three out of the four terrorists are British nationals of Pakistani descent: Shehzad Tanweer, Mohammed Sadique Khan and Hasib Hussain have been accused to be the primary suspects in the on going investigation.

Following the recent active investigation by the UK Police I am sure it wont be long before they start to investigate all muslim families residing in the UK in an attempt to root out other threatening sleeper cell organiststion, ineffect making life miserable for muslims peacefully settled there. It also is bad news for us Pakistani green passport hilders where is it likely to become difficult to get a UK visa as surely there will be a strict visa policy in-effect after these bombing incidents

Are we really a nation that breeds these terrorists?
My analysis is that our nation is no different as compared to any other country, poverty along with social frustrations, pushes people towards the ‘wrong sort of company’ and slowly the individual is turned into a extremist. A good example can be taken from the MQM faction that invaded our youth in the 1980’s and has now left us with a corrupt terrorising generation. With the same breath I also accuse the US and the UK government to have grown these terrorist in Pakistan for their own personal goals in the past and now these extremist have turned against them.
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