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Posts tagged with: Judiciary

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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Sick and Tired

Over the past week Pakistan has read many different news items. From the passing of the 18th amendment to the bomb blast at the US Consulate, much is happening. Some may say the stories are for the betterment of our country while others may disagree. In my mind the successful visit of the Foreign Minister and his entourage to the United States gave Pakistan some much needed positive press. However, the current witch-hunt carried out by the Chief Justice and the ugly battle over the reopening of Zardari’s corruption cases has embarrassed many of those who fought for the independence of the judiciary.

Now do not get me wrong, as much as I enjoyed protesting on the streets of Lahore for the reinstatement of the nation’s top judge, I can’t fathom Mr. Iftikhar’s current agenda of picking and choosing his enemies. When will we be able to see actual results from the “democratically” elected officials and the “independent” judiciary we as a nation have struggled to achieve for 62 years? When will stop pointing fingers and vilifying those whom we disagree with? Or have we gotten used to being stuck in this whirlpool of revengeful politics. Honestly, we Pakistanis have gotten sick and tired of the lies and broken promises.
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NRO Order, CJ Or 18th Amendment

Guest blog by Barrister Amjad Malik

16 December 2010 Supreme Court order on NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) has shattered the ruling govt which was standing on the 4 pillars of this barter orchestrated by military & Pentagon , USA &UK and (PPP) Pak people party leadership which is clutching and hanging on to a straw now. Instead of whole heartedly, understanding the tenacity of situation and implementing the order by realigning politically based on reality, the leadership went for hit and run ditto of their predecessor General Musharraf who sacked the chief justice who was considering a petition on his Presidential election in military uniform.

Same is the case with PPP govt which is willing to lock horns with the judiciary and is willing to wipe out the whole political democratic dispensation if the buck comes to shove and the issue comes to their govt’s fall. They do not wish to leave as corrupt but be drummed out with a bang as victims and history tells victims reappear in Pakistani politics. Govt is in between rock and a hard place, either to digest, accept and implement the order of 17 superior court judges and sack a few loyalists who are wanted by NAB enquiry or stall the matter, seek refuge under political dispensation and chalk out a settlement with its foes and get the gunners out of the ring, though a wishful thinking devoid of public sentiments.
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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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The Biharis, The Non Bengalis, The Stateless or The Pakistanis!

By Dr. Mujahid Ghazi

It is 16th December. Every year this day reminds me of the painful event in 1971 when Sonar Bangla, the East Pakistan fell and hundreds and thousands of patriotic Pakistanis became prisoners of ego and lost everything including their citizenship and became stateless. After 38 years those Pakistanis along with the next two generations born in the mean time are still stateless. About 300 thousand of these people are living in miserable conditions in 70 camps scattered in various regions of Bangla Desh. There hopes of repatriation to Pakistan have been exploited by different governments and political parties every now and then. The Secretary General of Stranded Pakistanis General Repatriation Council (SPGRC) Mr. Haroon ur Rasheed in a recent interview disclosed that Gen. Zia ul Haq was committed to repatriate these people and a Rabita Trust was established in 1988 for this purpose but unfortunately he was killed in the plane crash.

Listen to the interview of Haroon ur Rasheed with Dr. Mujahid Ghazi from ABN Chicago this last week [audio: ABN-Stranded-Pakistani-Haroon-Rasheed.mp3]

He also said that the only other person who was sincere was Nawaz Shareef, who started the repatriation by providing houses in Mian Chunnoo in Punjab. After only 325 persons of first 56 families were repatriated his government was taken over by General Musharraf and the whole matter went into cold storage.
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16 Dec decision of Supreme Court – A Critical Analysis

By Barrister Amjad Malik

16 Dec Supreme Court short order was an expected response of superior judiciary. Federation and all provinces through their lawyers jointly consented to its repeal, and none came to rescue the beneficiaries and even academic discussion was not made possible on the topic of powers to issue and right course of action to dispose off a bad law. 342 members of the Parliament jointly expressed their unwillingness to discuss and vote out this notorious ordinance despite the fact that it relates to them and their future on the whole as a club, and any order would have far reaching implications on the future of their brethrens good or bad. In that situation, what do you expect from judges.

They could not invent a defence for that ordinance so hated by the majority of the people, media and intelligentsia. If politicians were expecting leniency or a different judgment, its their own fault, and the problem lies with their capacity or capability not with the short order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. On 5 August the writer in response to 31 July 09 decision which scrapped Gen Musharraf’s 3rd Nov PCO and emergency and wrote,

“Overall, a welcoming order, full of happy tidings, but similar amount of flaws, unaddressed anomalies, and legal circles expect a lot more explanation in detailed judgement, and I hope the order does the job in the end. This order is also reflection of various ‘compulsions’ under which Pakistani society goes through daily. The short order incites that there is more to come, and a detailed judgement will open a lot of avenues for further litigation. On the outset, Superior Court is mindful of the limitations they are working under and one can say that the decision has set the track on which SC is likely to go in near future. However, it is not a final decision, this is part of a series of decisions we must expect in the days to come”.
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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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He who is Not a Sinner should Cast the First Stone

By: Amjad Malik, MA, LLM

I have been vehemently advocating the need to erect a system of accountability by invoking a new commission and an Act of Parliament to curb mal practice, plundering and looting whilst one is holding a public office. This new Commission can truly ensure compliance with the Clauses of Article 62 and 63 of the constitution too. We are witnessing many names in the list of beneficiaries of National Reconciliation Ordinance, and many names which are not in it, are either praying to be in it or cursing the said redemption order of the former military dictator who came to rid corruption on 12 October 99, and left giving this strange gift of ‘hypocrisy’ to the nation.

Mal practice, corruption and mal governance is a common phenomenon of the third world countries as wealth is confined to the elite and institutions are so weak that they do not get roots and are run on the dictat of personalities. Pakistan is amongst those few unfortunate countries where despite abundance of natural resources, talent, passion, capacity of self dependency in edible food products, the country is still rating higher in corruption, suffering from food, electricity, gas, sugar shortages. Who is to be blamed is a long short, and to me, all bear the collective responsibility to bring this country to a stage where each person of any possible public stature is not free from corruption charges, which I will call allegations.
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So what it’s just the NRO!

By: Agha Haider Raza

So the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) beneficiaries list comes out.  The media is happy that those persons who enjoyed taking advantage of the NRO have light casted upon them, while the government is trying to push forward the argument of how they have respected the Supreme Court’s judgment and have publicized the list.  It seems to be a win-win situation for all parties.  But is it really?  Calls for the resignation of ministries and portfolios have echoed from all corners.  How has this zero-sum game turned into a finger-pointing-name-calling battle?

As we all now know, the NRO was a ‘bail-out’ for politicians and businessmen, giving them a clean sheet.  This not only cleared the way for billions of rupees to be kept in the hands of defaulters, but also allowed plenty of politicians to get re-elected as their corruption charges were taken out of the court as well.  Though many readers would say that I am playing the ethnic card here, I’d like to know why 96% of the beneficiaries are Sindhi’s?  Secondly, if the PPP, claims itself to be a liberal-democratic party, why have they not asked for a majority vote on such a sensitive issue? After all, the billions of rupees that have been siphoned through this ordinance are Pakistani’s money, not the beneficiaries.  Why should this debt be written off?
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MQM’s 3800 Criminal Cases withdrawn under the NRO

nro list page 1The NRO mudslinging competition continues to go on, each party/individual boldly underplaying his/her own association with the controversial bill. What seriously amazes me, is that we still do not have access to the full and complete list of beneficiaries and are at the receiving end of confusing reports where the totals have seemingly fluctuated from a mere initial 600 to a now whopping 8000, seriously that’s one hell’uva discrepancy. While our two-timing politicians undermine their own headcount to say its between 34 to 300 victims, probably they hope to rely on the confusing mess to numb out the issue from the minds of the people of Pakistan. Such rampant corruption which as literally debilitated this nation, it is probably their right to know was eligible for this executive presidential pardon issued by Pervaiz Musharraf and its all the more important to know who cashed it in and what precisely was waived off, in the name of politically reconciliation.

The mudslinging is for now centered on some kingpins from the PPP but in the confusion it seems MQM is trying its damnedest to sneak under the media-frenzy hoping to walk away with mere statements like “National Accountability Bureau has no case against any MQM worker“. Karachi is a witness to the anarchy of the good ‘ol terror-filled days courtesy of the MQM. The time frame for pardoning of all criminal cases charged against them ironically range from 1986 and onwards.

It might serve us well to first look at the Section 2 of the NRO which centers exclusively around the criminal cases of the MQM
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Corruption threatens the civil system of Pakistan

Amjad Malik specially writes on post NRO scenario on corruption

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) presented to the government on Thursday a list of 248 politicians and bureaucrats, who were alleged to have plundered hundreds of billions of rupees but were cleared by the NAB under the National Reconciliation Ordinance 2007. Luckily, the presidential order could not be enacted by Parliament and averted national and international embarrassment though the order was initially styed by the top judge of the land, however, public pressure is mounting to bring those to books and a debate has ensued to have a national mechanism to rid, curb and deter corruption once for all in the country. Public demand is ever growing for imposition of a death sentence for corrupt across the board nationally in order to hold those on public position(s) accountable in order to recover public money, disqualify them from public offices and award those culprits exemplary sentences including that of a death sentence (if needed). The message is clear that nobody is above the law, and no one is immune when the matter is of dishonesty and corruption especially in public purse.

Islamic history and jurisprudence is full of incidents where the head of state remained sub judice to Qazi and answerable to public. Caliph Omer freely appeared before a Qazi so as Hazrat Ali who appeared in a case of dispute with a Jewish businessman, and off course nothing can be legislated against the Quran and Sunnah in Pakistan but critics will argue that its 21st century, law, constitution etc.
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Psychoanalysis of an Extremist

I am stuck, in middle of nowhere, or at the extremes of somewhere, I don’t know what is right or what is wrong, rather who is right or who is wrong. Height of epistemocracy I might be at, rather in a quest to know more, but got more questions than answers along the way. I am an empiricist, I want to see the missing links, between the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle of reality, but cannot; others though assumes, theorize the nature of connections among events, the reasons of causality, the triggering points of incidents, but I prefer not to deduce, as I don’t get pleased by the release of the excruciating mental tension, due to confusion, but people do rather, like those who train innocent children as suicide bombers.” … I might be lying…

It’s a cognitive requirement, to have a logic (illogic) of what is what, who is who and where is where, how is how, if not, our neural networks don’t abide, rather strive to connect the missing bits, scattered pieces, seemingly random events happening all around us. It happens naturally, unintentionally. Though intentionally we tend to resist, not often though, to keep events from explanations, and people disconnected from our judgments, labels, and tags like Kafir, Murtids, Taliban, etcetera.
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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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‘Judicial Coup’ Democracy in Pakistan is under threat

Long term military dictatorships, shorter civilian rules, where accountability of politicians takes place on the name of corruption with the nexus of judges with civil & military establishment, is the destiny of Pakistan’. Thanks to our rulers as this notion is well supported by their inefficiencies. People came whenever the true leadership called. They came in 1947 on Quaid’s call. They came for Bhuttoo senior. They came for Be Nazir when she landed at Lahore from exile. In near history they came for Chief Justice when he said ‘no’ to Gen. Musharraf. They again came on 18 Feb on joint call of political parties and rejected the dictator. Finally they came on the call of Sharif’s when Zardari was adamant that justice is no more desired under Iftikhar Chowdhary. On 16 March 08, they came like a flood and made an impression, so we can never under estimate the people’s power.

18 February 2008 election of change could not be translated in its true sense as PPP preferred to hold on to government of up to 2 years than a full scale democratic practice. ‘charter of democracy’ was compromised to feed the empty bellies of the workers who had been shouting slogans of ‘change’ for last 12 years. First 6 months of PPP reign was crucial where establishment was divided, but a little chance given to them and they tear both top political leaders apart and the rest is history. First President Zardari lost sanctity of his words on ‘Chief Judge’ and ‘COD’ and later drowned the dream of democracy by imposing governor rule and disqualifying the ‘N’ leadership. The rest is all a damage control exercise. Who is to be blamed for the failure of inept politicians who never are trained to take the reign of Pakistan post 1971 lost war as sovereignty of the state has been assumed by the troika as mentioned above. President Zardari though retained power, but despite taking the PPP to the heights it could never imagine, has damaged the party to an extent which was a dream for the military led establishment. He saw the PPP ship sinking whilst sitting on the chair of head of state.
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