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Posts tagged with: Iftikhar Chaudhry

Open Letter to CJP: Contempt of Court against Imran Khan

I am with Imran KhanHonrable Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry,
Chief Justice Pakistan,
Supreme Court of Pakistan

I couldn’t resist but write you some fan mail after seeing that you were trending as number 1 on twitter worldwide. Now that is an achievement! I’m sure you must’ve been trending a few years ago as well when party workers and general public got beaten black and blue so you, as a symbol of justice, could be restored into the judiciary. Imran Khan doesn’t have quite as exciting memories from back then, as he was stuck in jail standing for what you supposedly stood for. Forget these petty details though, who cares!

It’s been an interesting few years since then right? Your gravity defying zero force ‘tilt’ to PML-N is quite frankly nauseating but on the bright side you have developed a unique quality of inspiring some pretty interesting emotions in people across different provinces, parties and professions. Wow. So feel free to share that with the people out there who think that you have delivered nothing of significance over the past few years, how wrong they are.

I heard about this thing that happened in Pakistan recently. What was it again, I can’t remember, um hang on it will come to me…oh yes I remember! Rigging! You know that thing that was riper than a Jamaican mango in these elections, yes that. I didn’t get to vote myself but luckily I came across same pakora paper the other day which had a balla stamped on it so I felt very privileged to have my bit of election action! So thanks for not acknowledging anything about this rigging business, maybe next time there would be enough stamped ballots for us to distribute as toilet paper amongst the needy – I do need to pop a bit of social work on my C.V.
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Supreme Court Petition for Peace & De-weaponization of Karachi

The following petition was sent to the Supreme Court on 1st November 2012 for Peace & De-Weaponization of Karachi – The petition was spearheaded by Mr. Naeem Sadiq with nine other petitioners and I personally am honored that he asked me to sign this petition – Considering the lawlessness in Karachi the pressure needs to be sustained on the judiciary to clamp down hard on this deteriorating situation

A meesage to others also wanting to take similar action by Naeem Sadiq was “If you agree with its contents, you may use this or make a similar petition and post it at the Supreme Court address. (Please DO NOT email as it is possibly an easier option but of no significance).

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Kleptocracy in focus – Babar Sattar

Babar Sattar pens a very balanced article on the recent CJP crisis known as Family Gate, which involves Dr. Arsalan Chaudhry, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhae Chaudhry, Babar Sattar writes – The chief justice did the courageous thing by taking suo motu notice of the clandestine affair between Malik Riaz and his son Arsalan Iftikhar that had spread like wildfire through a crafty whispering campaign. And after putting the judicial wheels in motion to hold to account his son and Malik Riaz, and throwing his weight behind affixing the liability of the two in a transparent and impartial manner in an open court, he did the right thing by recusing himself from the cas – Read more Kleptocracy in focus – Babar Sattar


Is Iftikhar Chaudhry courting trouble?

This week’s Economist magazine has a rather odd take on the Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The article paints him as a manipulator, usurper and as someone at times even pursuing a personal vendetta. It is ironic that the Economist chose a word as strong as usurper in a week that an actual dictator and murderer was thrown off his throne. Surely one would feel some queasiness when using such a strong word for a man of law? I also find it ironic that while the Egyptian usurper, Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown due to populist rage, the man labeled as usurper by The Economist was brought into ‘power’ by the same route.

The author(s) claims that many actions taken by the Chief Justice since his return to the Supreme Court, has been to hurt the ruling Zardari regime. The Economist claims that Iftikhar Chaudhry detests Zardari and the government, that he looks down on the parliament and that he’s too driven to take executive decisions himself and hound it to carry out orders of relatively dubious nature. It is this hatred of Zardari and a patronizing, disrespectful attitude towards the parliament that is driving much of the activities in the top most court of law in Pakistan.
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Will the Supreme Court get the parliamentarians’ degrees verified?

A dozen or so of these unworthy parliamentarians have been already disqualified on grounds of fake degrees. Many more continue to be our MNAs and MPAs. For how long shall we suffer and tolerate these unethical characters?

Why must the SC not task the HEC to verify their degrees and get rid of those who entered the parliament on the basis of deception and fraud. Regardless of their party, they must be removed and also made ineligible for any future elections.

Here is an appeal to Supreme Court requesting suo moto action. If you are sufficiently moved, do write a supporting letter to the SC CJ or a letter to Pakistani newspapers.
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Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim Comments about the Present Judicial Crisis

by Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim

We are again faced with a judicial crisis – not a bonafide crisis but a crisis created for ulterior reasons.

Ostensibly the crisis is the elevation of chief justice for the Lahore High Court in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the elevation of the next senior most judge Justice Saquib Nasir, as acting Chief Justice of Lahore High Court (a la Zia ul Haq style). Being of the view that more harm is done by ignoring seniority, which opens the door for exercise of discretion in principle, I am against seniority being ignored, particularly in judiciary.

My first reaction, therefore, was that the appointment of Chief Justice Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court and elevation of the next senior-most judge as Lahore High Court Chief Justice was justified. I had assumed that in accordance with the Article 177 of the constitution, these appointments were made by the president after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, and that the president was bound by such consultations.

Was the Chief Justice of Pakistan even consulted?
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My Judges or the Highway

In a frenzy of political maneuvering in Islamabad today, Pakistan is yet again precariously positioned in yet again another stand off. Today the President of Pakistan chose to elevate the chief justice of the Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Khwaja Sharif as a judge of the Supreme Court. The decision was taken and official notification issued without any consultation with Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, prompting him to take a suo motu notice of the judges’ appointment.

This stand-off happened more in the form of a tit-for-tat snub reaction by the President of Pakistan to the Chief Justice of Pakistan. It was in the same token, approximately three weeks back the CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry tried to appoint Justice Ramday as an ad hoc judge to the Supreme Court but then the President had snubbed this appointment and rejected the request quoting seniority issues. So today when the President tried to elevate a Lahore High Court judge into the Supreme Court, CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry reacted to quickly create a three-member bench and it in turn struck down the order declaring it null and void. Its scary to even begin to imagine that in such a stand-off situation we probably might never have any more judicial appointments as one or the other executive appointed with Pakistan will end up striking it down.
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NRO declared Null and Void – What Now?

Asif Ali Zardari in PresidencyAfter a lapse of over two years, today a full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan came through with a historic judgment declaring the 2007 National Reconciliatory Ordinance null and void. It must be recalled that the NRO was the mastermind of the then President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf who in October 2007 orchestrated this pact with the exiled PPP leader Benazir Bhutto in an attempt to negotiate his own extended stay on the Presidential seat of power and in this process pardoned most of the corrupt criminals whom he himself detested so vehemently in his autobiography a few months earlier all in the name of political compromise. Since then history stands witness to have watched the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the people of Pakistan stood embarrassingly dumbfounded as one of the most corrupt politician Mr. Asif Ali Zardari snuck through the back doors of diplomacy to land into the Presidency of Pakistan.

Today the year-old restored judiciary stood strong to declare the NRO null and void, a short order issued outlined some important aspect of this new judgment but the exact specification and its affect on the Presidency remains to be ironed out. But it might be in the interest of Pakistan to not embarrass and ridicule Asif Ali Zardari and the Presidency any further and it might serve us all well to settle for a negotiated compromise, possibly having him to hand over most of the illegally amassed wealth back into the national treasury in lieu of his respect and freedom

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From Dogar to Iftikhar Chaudhry — what a difference!

Sohail Khan, a journalist from The News writes an explosive artcile sharing the remarkable proceedings at the Supreme Court of Pakistan where Sheikh Afzal owner of Haris Steel Mills names big bribe takers Agrees to settle Rs9 billion Bank of Punjab claim, the main accused in the Rs9 billion financial scam at the Bank of Punjab (BoP), on Tuesday revealed before the bench of the Supreme Court that he paid Rs35 million to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Babar Awan for winning the case in the apex court. He alleged that Dr Babar Awan took Rs40 million, Sharifuddin Pirzada Rs10 million, Malik Muhammad Qayyum, the then attorney general, Rs20 million and Ali Waseem, the son of Waseem Sajjad, Rs7.5 million.  Afzal said Dr Babar Awan took Rs5 million as fee and Rs35 million for getting a favourable verdict from the then Islamabad High Court.

In addition to these leading lawyers, Afzal said he had given Rs400-500 million to Hamesh Khan, former BoP president, Rs30 million to Aziz Ahmed, BoP Control Risk Manager, Rs50 million to Haroon Aziz, Rs10 million to Shoaib Qureshi, Rs40 million to Saleem Mirza, treasury head of the bank, Rs5 million to Fazil Asghar who helped him escape despite being on the Exit Control List (ECL). Read the full artcile in THE NEWS


Gen. Musharraf’s re-launch from Britain, a Challenge to Democrats

cartoonmusharrafiron-fistGeneral Musharraf , no doubt is counting on the follies of the signatories of ‘Charter of democracy’ which is the core reason of his re launch from UK. He could not successfully achieve any one item of his 7 points agenda when he came in power on 12 October 1999 and he is now coming out as an expert on Pakistan or a statesman which is ironic to many. I think story is not that simple as it seems. People quickly forgets that he is the one who detained judges with their children, but what his successors did was unforgiveable. However they must be ready to face the music as they themselves saw him off with a ‘guard of honour’ and now his return is ringing an alarm bell to their ears as his claims may not be hollow.

First of all his statements on important national and political issues are creating embarrassment for the Executive which is struggling with its internal management issues. They some time are achieving some mileage and Musharraf issues a statement which is an attempt to say, ‘he was doing better on this front’. Well of course, he caved in meagrely before Richard Armitage and no politician can beat that record, hence Gilani seems not doing enough. He is a lone guarantor with western friends of the notorious ‘Nation Reconciliation Order’ which is a sigh of relief to the Presidential camp who is surrounded by many of the beneficiaries of that ‘NRO’ which is sub judice so far. It is ironic th at a little fish is threatened of exemplary punishment by superior court and big fish is laughing out loud as no one can do anything about it. Musharraf’s return is a solace to ruling party too. As long as he aspires to acquire the top slot of ‘Q’ league, he will keep the Muslim league vote divided and any unity attempt will remain in jeopardy hence no threat to current administration. Unless a miracle happens and a new elections are called which will dissolve the ‘Q’ like salt in water.
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The Carbon Tax Fiasco

oil tankers in pakistanCyril Almeida a columnist in Dawn has penned an excellent article on the recent controversy regarding the petroleum carbon tax. It is a fact that in March 2009 the government had imposed a Petroleum Developmental Levy which resulted in an increase in the price of petroleum goods by a few rupees. The then, newly restored Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took matters into his own hands and reversed this developmental levy and rightly said “the welfare state had the authority to recover tax on petroleum but not to make profit”.

Having been forced to undo a lucrative indirect petroleum taxation by the Supreme Court the government returned with a new Carbon Tax piggy-backed onto the Finance Bill of 2009 which went through unanimous approval across the parliament with practically not a single politician objecting to this steep rise in petroleum prices in the debate. Interestingly once the Carbon Tax came into effect the Supreme Court knee-jerked to issue an immediate order to stop this implementation of the carbon tax which was actually going to result in atleast a Rs. 10 hike in all petroleum goods across the board.
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Judicial Taliban

Lawyers have emerged as a great force in Pakistan who carries weight in the future law making and day to day running of the judiciary as well as executive in the country. Pakistan’s short history is full of lawyer’s contributions and in particular judges who never bow before a dictator to take oath under any PCO and preferred to go home honourably.

In any adversarial system, there is a lawyer for and against and a judge hears the case, decides on facts and law giving confidence to both parties on the ‘judgement’ he is about to give on its merits. On the day, a judge has to dispense justice, and of course justice needs to be seen to be done, and if judgement is known in advance, it does not meet the norms of justice. Recent events in Pakistan post liberation of judiciary has given an impression as if lawyers have a carte blanche and as if they are not willing to tolerate the other side view, I hope I am wrong. That is, and it will be dangerous for the promotion of tolerance, rule of law and good governance leading to true democracy as there is always the other side view and the story.

I have picked up two issues where there is a risk of miscarriage of justice and potential threat of the other party loosing chance of ever having a fair trial. In the case of 4 May 2007 lawyers procession in Sahiwal, in Punjab, which was intercepted by Police on orders of its superiors. A case has been registered against district police officer and others, but open alarming statements are being made by top judicial leadership for accelerating the process by doing a quick justice with warnings that someone else will do the job suo moto. No lawyer is willing to represent the said officer in the whole of District Multan before Anti terrorist court judge, which is an undesirable development for the profession as any accused is ‘innocent until proven guilty.
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Dorab Patel on Judicial Aloofness – CJP’s meeting Richard Holbrooke

Mr Shakil Jafri editor of The Financial Daily asked me to reproduce as an article what I had written on CJ meeting Richard Holbrooke. With the intention to expand on these few paragraphs I chanced upon some reflections of a past judge which I added to my statement and am reproducing it below.

Members of the Judiciary are supposed to stay aloof from social and political contacts. In this context let me quote from a speech delivered by Justice Dorab Patel at the Cornelius Society in Lahore in 1995. Justice Patel was a dissenting judge in the Bhutto case and had refused to take oath on General Zia’s PCO. He states that the judiciary in Pakistan inherited from the long line of judges, British and Indian, traditions of service, of learning and scholarship, of integrity, financial and intellectual, and of social aloofness.
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CJP Iftikhar meets Holbrooke?

There is a news item which may go unnoticed that the Chief Justice of Pakistan had a meeting with Mr Richard Holbrooke in his chambers on Friday.

We as members of the civil society have struggled long and hard for his restoration and we continue to respect the Supreme Court, but for matters of dignity and norms the Chief Justice should not have met a political official of the US Government, which has been responsible for kidnappings and ‘externments’ from Pakistan to say the least. A large number of cases were heard by the Chief Justice himself before and are still pending in which the US government has clearly been accused and implicated. Even the issue of encroachment of Pakistan’s sovereignty, and drone attacks in violation of the same and of our basic rights, can come up for hearing at the Supreme Court.

A statement made out by the Registrar is a clumsy effort to cover up the issue when he said that ‘Matters relating to judicial reforms as per national judicial policy and the whole judicial structure of Pakistan were discussed‘.
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The Lawyers’ win is only Partially Legal

Guest blog by Abira Ashfaq via her Note on Facebook

I just returned from a wedding and I got an icky feeling about the lawyer leaders. I saw some there. I caught a glimpse of Aitzaz, but before I could get my glamor shot with him, he had shot off to another function. I support the movement and its leadership. I support the support they got from the roots, and the movement’s progressive thrust. But there is an ickiness, and I know these leaders aren’t the radical, or even the clean hearted hippies I wish them to be. In fact some of them have only recently reignited that radical spark form the students’ movement of the 60s after years of real estate work. Some of them have vested interests. But I already knew that, and its not naivety that you accept flawed individuals, but pragmatism that you suspend your judgment as they invigorate a movement — as leaders. And learn. Hence, CJ as a symbol, as a trigger, as a mascot, as an illustration of resistance is fine – an impeccable judge or fashion model he may not be – but I’ll take the missing persons cases and applaud him anyway.

So I reserve my judgment, and hope that institutional changes are made, and the good decisions keep us afloat. The movement won, and the people are happy. But not really.

The judges were restored, but there is a constitutional problem that’ll make your head spin. As a friend in the movement tells me, there are 4 categories of possibly illegal judges – the level of their illegality depends on when the took the jinxed oath. 1) those who were judges on Nov 2 and accepted the PCO on Nov 3; 2) the new appointees under Mush; 3) the new appointees under Zardari; 4)those amongst the 43 judges of the Nov 2 who held out for months, and then when the movement waned, they took a cynical fresh oath.
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