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An Unconstitutional Reference

The Musharraf FactorGuest Post by: Rai Muhammad Saleh Azam
The writer is an Advocate of the High Courts based in Lahore

Ever since the President sent a Reference to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) against the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, under Article 209 of the Constitution of Pakistan on that fateful day of March 9, 2007, public and legal opinion has been divided into two camps: one side opposing and the other side supporting the Reference. Various arguments have been put forward by both sides to support their contentions. Be that as it may, most seem to agree that the President of Pakistan is empowered to send a reference against the CJP under Article 209 of the Constitution.

A close scrutiny of the Constitution, however, reveals that the CJP cannot be the subject of a reference under Article 209 of the Constitution. Article 209 only permits the SJC to take up references against other Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, and not the CJP. This is why, prima facie, there seems to be an apparent inconsistency and, one may dare say, conflict between Articles 209 and 180 of the Constitution and so much confusion and divergence of views on the subject.
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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?


Sifting facts from Fiction

By Ansar Abbasi

Every brick of President General Pervez Musharraf’s palatial Pindi office vividly reminisces about what the chief justice of Pakistan had been confronted with on March 9, adding a new chapter to our chequered history.

The pleasant outside environment did not match the tense moments behind the closed doors of Musharraf’s camp office. What had transpired within the thick walls has now started unraveling.

Even a passer-by or a motorist driving through the Park Road, which graces the camp office, could now hear the reverberations of the dialogue between the two giants in their own spheres. One may give a fictional account of the dialogue between the two. While the prime minister sat through the session with muted silence but always nodding when Musharraf was speaking, the president was reading out a charge sheet while the chief justice was just scoffing at every charge.

Though the reference filed against Justice Chaudhry is still not public, the camp office reverberations are too clear about the charges framed. One can clearly hear the president saying to the chief justice: You have used your influence to pressurise the concerned authorities to win undue favours for your son Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.

The CJ says: Be specific Mr president.

The president says: Dr Arsalan sought admission in Bolan Medical College despite securing marks far below the merit. The Balochistan chief minister was approached following which your son got into the medical college.

The CJ says: Sir who is the violator me, Dr Arsalan or the chief minister?

The president says: Dr Arsalan was initially posted as section officer in the Health Department, Balochistan against a vacancy meant for initial recruitment through the Provincial Public Service Commission. On August 6, 2005 the Interior Ministry approached the Balochistan Government seeking the services of Dr Arsalan for his posting in the FIA in public interest. On August 13, 2005, the Balochistan Government conveyed its no-objection to the Interior Ministry following which the Ministry on August 15th and again on September 5, 2005 issued the posting order of Dr Arsalan in the FIA on deputation. On 30th September Dr Arsalan joined the FIA.

The CJ says: What is the point you want to make Mr president?

The president says: Without completing the mandatory period of his probation as medical officer in the Institute of Public Health, Quetta, Arsalan was transferred and posted first as section officer in the Balochistan Secretariat against a non-existing post and then sent on deputation in the FIA.

The CJ says: Who violated the law and where do I figure Sir?

The president says: In November 2005, the Balochistan Government relaxed the rules to confirm the appointment of your son as medical officer in the Provincial Health Department. Barely within 5 months of having assumed the charge of assistant director FIA in BS-17, the Balochistan Government issued an order on March 22, 2006 saying that Arsalan’s services are placed in the FIA as deputy director (BS-18) on deputation for a period of three years. On April 7, it was notified that he had assumed the charge of the office of DD FIA.

The CJ says: Who violated the law and where do I figure Sir?

The president says: Later you launched an offensive to get your son inducted into the Police Service of Pakistan, which under the law was only possible through the CSS. As first step, he was sent to the Police Academy for training with probationer ASPs as notified by the Interior Ministry on May 19, 2006. On 24th May the Interior Ministry issued another order directing the commandant National Policy Academy that Dr Arsalan should be attached with the Punjab Police after the completion of specialized police training in the academy. On May 24 2006, the Academy relieved Arsalan and directed him to report to the Elite Police Training School, Lahore. After the completion of the course, he was to report to Lahore police for six months field attachment.

The CJ says: Mr president who is the violator?

The president says: Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s Secretariat was approached for regular induction of Dr Arsalan in the Police Service of Pakistan in BS-18. The PM sought the Establishment Division (ED)’s view, which said it is not possible under the law. Later you pressurized the secretary Establishment to get Dr Arsalan inducted into the PSP no matter what the rules say.

The CJ says: Sir, who told you this?

The president says: The secretary Establishment told all this to the principal secretary of the prime minister. It was not possible but still you kept on pressing for the impossible task. Ultimately the Establishment Division had to propose an amendment in the rules to make this impossible a possible. During these days you have been regularly exerting pressure on the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.

The CJ says: Sir do you have any concrete evidence? Secondly, if my son was inducted into the Police Service of Pakistan?

The president says: You also exerted pressure on the Interior Ministry to ensure that your son is nominated for a foreign course on combating international terrorism. This was done despite the fact that your son was not a police officer.

The CJ says: Sir who was the nominating authority?

The president says: Being the CJ, you are entitled to one 1600cc car but you have seven including a Mercedez Benz 3000cc in Islamabad. You also have several cars at Lahore and Quetta. Additionally you have also, more than once, asked the provincial chief minister or governor to provide you the cars during your stay in the province.

The CJ says: Sir if I am an exception?

The president says: You have also been insisting and getting protocol that is not allowed to the CJ.

The CJ says: Hummmm…

The president says: You have been repeatedly demanding for official plane/helicopter of the provincial governments for your travelling from one place to the other and even to offer condolences whereas you are not allowed to use these luxuries.

The CJ says: At times one requires faster transport means to save time.

The president says: For sometime you and your family has been using a BMW car registration No “Razia-1”.

The CJ says: If so, is it a crime Sir?

The president says: You are also accused of passing orders but subsequently changing them when giving the same in writing.

The CJ says: Who says so Sir? I hope it is Naeem Bukhari.

The president says: You also used you influence to enhance the entitlements of your office.

The CJ says: Where was I wrong?

The president says: Face the above charges or?

The CJ says: I will.

NOTE from Teeth Maestro: I received this article in a chain of email messages, would appreciate if someone has a link to which I can credit the original source


Text of Reference Filed Against the CJP

Start Quote
BEFORE THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COUNCIL, PAKISTAN
ISLAMABAD

Reference by the President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan under Article 209 of the Constitution

Respectfully sheweth:

The facts and circumstances necessitating this Reference by the president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (“Pakistan”) under Article 209 of the Constitution, briefly stated, are as under:

I. The Prime Minister of Pakistan on receipt of information, from several sources, with respect to the conduct of Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (hereinafter referred to as, “the learned judge”) was pleased to advise the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to “direct” the Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan, in exercise of its powers under Article 209 of the Constitution, to inquire into the matter and report to the President whether the learned judge has been guilty of misconduct and further, whether he should be removed from office?

II. The advice of the Prime Minister was, inter alia, based on the following:

Arsalan Iftikhar

1. Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar is one of the sons of the learned judge. As narrated in paragraphs 2 to 25, the learned judge committed misconduct by employing his position to gain undue advantage for Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar. To secure this end he committed and was responsible for the commission of a number of unlawful acts. That all the acts narrated in paragraphs 2 to 25 were committed as a result of his influence and on account of the demands made by him and the pressure exerted by him. He unlawfully used his position as a judge and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan influence, harass and intimidate all concerned and compelled them to act in an unlawful manner. Such conduct is unbecoming a judge and is particularly reprehensible in the case of the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

2. Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar sought admission to Bolan Medical College in the year 1996. Having secured 639 marks with an overall “C” grade in his Intermediate Examinations he could not be admitted on merit. The threshold being 750 marks. The Chief Minister of Balochistan was approached who nominated him, “for admission in 1st year MBBS class in Bolan Medical College, Quetta, against leftover foreign vacant seats/special seats”.

3. On 22 June 2005 Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar was appointed as Medical Officer/Demonstrator in the Institute of Public Health, Quetta.

4. On 18 July 2005, a few days after Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar was so appointed, the Chief Minister of Balochistan passed the following order:

“Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar, Medical Officer, presently posted as Demonstrator, Institute of Public Health Quetta be transferred and posted as Section Officer (Technical) in Health department with immediate effect in the interest of public service. Please issue notification.” [Emphasis supplied]

The Chief Secretary, Balochistan, to whom these orders were addressed, directed these to the Health Department on that very day (18 July 2005).

5. The Health Department on 10 August 2005 referred the case to the Services and General Administration Department (“S&GAD”) as the authority “for posting/transfer of Secretariat staff is S&GAD Department.

6. On 11 August 2005, in a Summary for the Chief Minister, the S&GAD pointed out that “no … post in Technical quota is available against which Dr. Arsalan could be considered for posting as Section Officer”. It was, however, pointed out that 07 posts of Section Officers against the “quota of initial recruitment are vacant”, the case for placing the requisition of these posts with the Balochistan Public Service Commission was being processed separately. It was “proposed that Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar be considered for posting as Section Officer against one of the vacant post as a temporary arrangement”.

7. On 15 August 2005 a notification was issued to the effect that Dr Arsalan Iftikhar Demonstrator in Institute of Public Health, Quetta, was “transferred and posted as Section Officer (Dev) in Health Department, against existing vacancy with immediate effect until further orders.”

[Emphasis supplied]. It may be stated that as was pointed out in the Summary to the Chief Minister, there was no existing vacancy. The 07 vacancies had to be filled by initial recruitment through the Balochistan Public Service Commission. What was proposed was that at best Dr Arsalan Iftikhar be temporarily accommodated against one of these vacancies, till it was filled by a suitable candidate by the Balochistan Public Service Commission.

8. Nine days before the notification of 15 August 2005 was issued, the Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan, addressed a letter on 6 August 2005 to the Chief Secretary, Government of Balochistan:

The services of Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar, BS-17 officer of the Health Department, Government of Balochistan are required to be utilized in FIA in public interest [Emphasis supplied]

2. It would be highly appreciated if you could place the service of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar at the disposal of the Ministry of Interior for posting in FIA.

On 13 August 2005, two days prior to the notification of 15 August 2005, the S&GAD, Government of Balochistan conveyed to the Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan, its “no objection for placing the services of Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar (Health/B-17) at the disposal of Ministry of Interior for posting in FIA. While this letter was either in the mail or had not reached the “right” hands, the Ministry of Interior sent a reminder on 16 August 2005.

9. On 5 September 2005 a notification was issued by the Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan. Dr Arsalan Iftikhar was transferred and his services were placed at the disposal of FIA for posting as Assistant Director (BS-17) in the FIA, on deputation for a period of three years, in his own pay and scale, with immediate effect and until further order.

10. On 9 September 2005, the Secretary S&GAD brought the matter to the attention of the Chief Secretary, Balochistan. On 13 September 2005 the Chief Secretary Balochistan on behalf of S&GAD issued a notification pursuant to the notification of the Government of Pakistan. On 30 September 2005 Dr Arsalan Iftikhar received charge of the office of Assistant Director, FIA at Islamabad. This was notified on 24 October 2005.

11. Within four months of his appointment as Medical Officer/Demonstrator in the Institute of Public Health, Quetta, Dr Arsalan a BS-17 officer, who had not even completed the mandatory period of his probation, was transferred and posted first as a Section Officer in the Government of Balochistan against a non-existent vacancy and then sent on deputation as Assistant Director, FIA, to the Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan, for a period of three years; all in the public interest. And this for a person who had appeared thrice in the CSS competitive examinations and failed each time.

12. Under Rule 8 of the Health Department, Government of Balochistan, Service Rules 1984, a person appointed to the service against a substantive vacancy remains on probation for a period of two years if appointed by initial recruitment. Dr Arsalan, having been so appointed, on 22 June 2005, his period of probation would have been completed on 21 June 2007.

13. On 22 November 2005 the S&GAD, Government of Balochistan moved a summary to the Chief Minister, Balochistan proposing confirmation in services of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar “with immediate effect against the substantive post of Medical Officer in the Provincial Health Department by relaxing Rule 8 of the Balochistan Health Department (Basic Pay Scale 16 and above) Service Rules 1984 for completion of probation period of 2 years.” On 5 December 2005 the S&GAD, Government of Balochistan issued a notification whereby the services of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar were confirmed.

14. On 22 March 2006 in continuation of its notification of 5 September 2005, the Ministry of Interior issued yet another notification, Barely within 5 months of having assumed the charge of Assistant Director FIA in BS-17:

Dr Arslan Iftikhar (BS-17) Health Department, Government of Balochistan Quetta is transferred and his services are placed at the disposal of Director General Federal Investigation Agency for posting as Deputy Director (BS-18) in FIA on deputation basis for a period of three years….(Emphasise supplied)

On 7 April 2006 it was notified that he had assumed charge of the office of Dy Director (BS-18) FIA on 22 March 2006. On 9 May 2006 by a letter issued by the Office of the Director General Federal Investigation Agency it was clarified as follow:

Now he has been upgraded as Deputy Director in BPS-18 with retrospective effect, i.e. from the date of initial joining as per notification dated 22-03-2006.

On 9 May 2006 the Ministry of Interior issued yet another notification in partial modification of its notification of 22 March 2006. It was stated:

Dr Arslan Iftikhar has assumed the charge of the post of Deputy Director /BS-18, FIA on 3rd September 2005 with retrospective effect.

15. This done, a campaign was launched to induct Dr Arsalan Ifitkhar in the Police Service of Pakistan. As BS-17 officer Dr. Arslan Ifitkhar could have joined the Police Service only through the competitive services examination conducted by the Federal Public services commission but being in BS-18 made induction possible and the FPSC route could be avoided. As a first step he was to be sent to the Police Academy for training with PSP officers all of whom had been selected by the Federal Public Services Commission. The training was exclusive to PSP officers.

16. On 19 May 2006, the Ministry of Interior addressed a letter to Commandant, National Police Academy, Islamabad, stating that Dr. Arshaln Iftikhar, Deputy Director, FIA, was attached with the National Police Academy for training with CTP batch. The Commandant was requested to attach the said officer for field training along with under training ASPs to cover catch aspect of the required training.

17. On 24 May 2006, the Ministry of Interior again issued a letter to the Commandant, National Police Academy, Islamabad, stating that after the completion of the specialized training programme at the National Police Academy, the services of Dr Arslan Iftikhar be placed at the disposal of Punjab Police for further posting at Lahore for his District Attachment Training.

18. Pursuant to the letter of 24 May 2006, the National Police Academy, Islamabad, on 27 June 2006 relieved Dr Arslan Ifitkhar, “for completion of remaining training programme of 32nd CTP, and directed to report to Elite Police Training School, Bedian Lahore on 02-07-2006 doing six weeks Orientation Course.” After completion of the course he was to “report to CPO, Punjab, Lahore for Phase III part of training which is six months Field Attachment”.

19. In the meantime, the Prime Minister’s Secretariat was approached for the permanent induction of Dr Arsalan Iftikhar in the Police Service of Pakistan in BS-18. On 16 May 2006 the Prime Minister’s Secretariat sought the views of the Establishment Division in that regard.

20. The UO Note of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat was also circulated to FIA. On 3 June 2006 the Office of the Director General, FIA, stated that, “neither FIA requisitioned his services, nor was involved at any stage for his deputation or district attachment etc.” FIA, therefore, expressed its inability to offer any views/recommendations on the UO Note.

21. On 23 May 2006 the Establishment Division noted that as per the PSP (Composition, Cadre and Seniority) Rules, 1985, “the request of the officer for induction in PSP in BS-18 is not feasible.” In a separate note the Establishment Division observed that Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar could not be inducted in the Police Service of Pakistan without an amendment in the PSP (Composition, Cadre and Seniority) Rules, 1985. Such an amendment could only be made with the approval of the President.

22. On 31 May 2006 the Secretary, Establishment, was called by the learned judge for a meeting at his residence. The meeting took place at 2100 hours. The observations of the Establishment Division were also communicated to him. The learned judge appreciated the aforementioned reservations but the meeting ended with the learned judge insisting on:

(a) the induction of Dr Arslan Iftikhar in FIA preferably in BS-18;

b) his subsequent deputation to the Punjab government without their specifically mentioning the post against which he will be posted; and

c) simultaneous initiation of a proposal to amend the rules to provide for induction of FIA officers in the Police Service of Pakistan, and sought his son’s permanent induction in (BS-18) in the Police Service of Pakistan.

The Secretary, Establishment, communicated these demands to the Principal Secretary to the prime Minister, around midnight, the same evening. Soon thereafter the Secretary Establishment received a call from the learned judge saying that he had found a number of precedents of induction into various groups. On 1 June 2006 the papers were received from the learned judge. Later, the learned judge called the Secretary Establishment on the Green Line to enquire if the papers sent by him had been examined. The Secretary Establishment stated that it would take some time. The learned judge stated that orders of the Prime Minister be obtained by referring to these precedents. He was told that a written reference would be made to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat giving the precedents as well as the legal position. The learned judge responded that a written reference would “jeopardize the case and that this was part of a package and reference to the rules need not be made.”

23. The learned judge continued to “insist” that all concerned make the necessary changes and warned of “consequences” if his desires were not met. Due to the relentless pressure and the campaign of intimidation and harassment launched by him, ultimately a summary was prepared and submitted by the Establishment Secretary on 23 June 2006 to the Prime Minister for addition of a new “Rule 7-C” in the Police Service of Pakistan (Composition, Cadre and Seniority) Rules, 1985. The amendment was tailor made for Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar.

24. Since then the learned judge has almost on a daily basis exerted all kinds of pressure on the Prime Minister’s Secretariat to secure the approval of the summary aforementioned and for the consequent induction of Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar as an officer in the Police Service of Pakistan as a BS-18 officer.

25. He also used his influence and authority to have Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar nominated to attend the 2nd Training Course in Combating International Terrorism and Organized Crime from 30 October 2006 to 3 November 2006 in Istanbul. He was the only non-PSP officer and the only under training person to attend this course.

26. The learned judge is entitled to one 1600 CC car, but he has contrary to the norms and rules on the subject secured the use of the following cars for himself at Islamabad:

i) Mercedes Bens 3000cc

ii) IDJ-166 Toyota Corona Model 1993 – 1300cc

iii) ODF 6828 Toyota Corona Model 1993 – 2000cc

iv) CIA-9 Toyota Corolla Model 2000 – 1300cc

v) GP-8695 Toyota Corolla Model 2002 – 1300cc

vi) IDM-7976 Toyota Corolla Model 2003 – 1300cc

vii) IDM-7977 Toyota Corolla Model 2003 – 1300cc

27. Besides these the learned judge has the use of a fleet of cars at Islamabad, Lahore and Quetta.

28. On more than one occasion demands have been made to the Chief Minister or Governor of the province which the learned judge is visiting to provide the cars for their own official use to the learned judge during the period of his stay in the province.

Protocol over and above entitlement

29. The learned judge insists on being provided protocol which has neither been ever sought by or provided to a Chief Justice. Besides an outrider to lead the cavalcade the demand is for a number of police vehicles to follow him. The men have to be from elite units. At times specific demands have been made for an officer not below a particular rank to act as an outrider. Traffic has to be diverted or stopped while the convoy travels from one point in the city to another at high speed. Such actions are completely unprecedented for a Chief Justice.

30. Demands have been made for senior bureaucrats not below a particular rank to receive him at the airport when he arrives in a provincial capital.

USE OF PLANES AND HELICOPTERS

31. The learned judge frequently demands the use of the plane or aircraft of a Governor or a Chief Minister to travel from one place to another or for a private visit to offer condolences or to attend a function. The learned judge is well aware that he is not entitled to the use of these aircraft and helicopter but is in the habit of making these demands frequently and secures these by insisting on these.

Para 32 deleted

33. For some time a BMW car registration No “RAZIA-1” remained in the use of the learned judge and members of his family. The story hit the press and when it refused to die down the car was quietly moved elsewhere.

Judicial Conduct

34. There are complaints of orders being verbally announced in open court in favour of one party and subsequently a written order at variance from the order announced in court being delivered. Two such cases have acquired particular notoriety. In one of these two cases it is alleged that amounts as large as Rs55 million may have been involved.

Reports

35. These matters have been subject of general and uncontradicted public comment, press reports, magazine articles, media comments by senior and respected members of the bar and former members of the superior judiciary.

Entitlements

36. The learned judge used the influence of his position to gain undue advantage by “insisting on an increase and enhancement in his entitlements or in securing the relaxation of the rules in that respect.

III. In the light of, inter alia, the foregoing facts and circumstances, and after a thorough consideration of the matter the Prime Minister of Pakistan advised the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to refer to the Council, for its report, the question whether the conduct of Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice of Pakistan in the following matters namely:

(a) in using his position, office, influence and authority as a judge of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of Pakistan to:

(i) secure the appointment of his son Arsalan Iftikhar as a Section Officer in the Health Department, Government of Balochistan;

(ii) to have his son Arsalan Iftikhar sent on deputation by the government of Balochistan to the Ministry of Interior, Government of Pakistan as Assistant Director, FIA in BS-17;

(iii) to have his son Arsalan Iftikhar confirmed in the service of the Health Department, Government of Balochistan, much before the expiry of the mandatory period of probation in violation of the applicable rules;

(iv) to have his son Arsalan Iftikhar upgraded as Dy Director, FIA, in BS-18 with retrospective effect;

(v) to make efforts to have his son Arsalan Iftikhar inducted in the Police Service of Pakistan in violation of the rules and/or to seek an amendment of the applicable rules;

(b) in seeking and securing official vehicles and transport for his use much beyond the sanctioned and permissible limits;

(c) in insisting on protocol to which he was not entitled;

(d) in demanding and securing use of helicopters and planes to the use of which he was not entitled;

(e) in accepting accommodation with a litigant before the Surpeme Court;

(f) in using the BMW car “Razia 1”;

(g) in writing judgements which were contradictory to orders announced verbally in open court;

(h) in insisting on entitlements or having rules relaxed for such entitlements;

constitutes a ground of misconduct on which the learned judge ought to be removed from the office of a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

IV: The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is of the opinion that the learned judge may have been guilty of misconduct and therefore, is pleased to refer the question aforementioned to the Council for the purpose of conducting an inquiry into the matter and after such inquiry as it may deem fit report to the President its opinion whether the learned judge has committed misconduct and whether he should be removed from the office of a judge of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

V. That the Prime Minister was further pleased to advise the President that besides making the reference to the Council the President may simultaneously, in exercise of his constitutional and inherent powers under the Constitution of Pakistan and all other power enabling him in that behalf, direct that as a reference would be pending against the learned judge before the Council it would be neither in the public interest nor in consonance with the norms of judicial propriety that he continues to perform the functions of his office as a judge of the Supreme Court or as the Chief Justice of Pakistan. This would be in consonance with past practices as well. For these reasons, till such time that the reference has been disposed off by the Council and final orders in the matter have been passed, the most senior of the other judges of the Supreme Court shall act as the Acting Chief Justice. The President has been pleased to pass orders accordingly.

VI. It is requested that this reference may please by taken up as soon as it may be convenient, an inquiry into the matter be commenced and the reference be disposed off as expeditiously as may be possible for the Council.

General Pervez Musharraf President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Through

Mr Justice (Retd) Mansoor Ahmed
Secretary, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary affairs Islamabad
Date: 9th March 2007

End quote


Lawyers Mobbed by Punjab Police

whiteband_v20_m.jpgReported by: Rai Muhammad Saleh Azam

The All Pakistan Lawyers Convention was held under the auspices of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) and the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA), attended by approximately 3,000 lawyers, some political leaders, NGOs and even some students and faculty members from LUMS.

The Convention commenced at 10:00 a.m. at the Karachi Shuhada Hall of the LHCBA and the LHCBA Courtyard, both packed to capacity. The plan was that, after the convention, the lawyers would take out a peaceful procession to the Punjab Assembly and back. At about 11:00 a.m., lawyers started to march out from the LHCBA courtyard and towards the GPO Gate of the Lahore High Court (LHC). They were still in the precincts of the LHC parking lot when the police, without provocation, started teargassing the lawyers. Teargass shells were fired indiscriminately into the crowds, injuring dozens of people and temporarily incapacitating hundreds. Teargas cannisters were falling even inside the courtyard of the LHCBA.


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An Executive Assault on the Judiciary

Guest Post by: Rai Muhammad Saleh Azam
The writer is an Advocate of the High Courts based in Lahore

The reference filed by General Pervez Musharraf against the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and his “suspension of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) adds to the many instances of attacks on the judiciary by the executive branch of government in Pakistan, which, more often than not, has been dominated by military rulers. It is a direct and frontal assault on the independence of the judiciary intended to ridicule the judiciary, to undermine its constitutional authority and to prevent it from freely exercising its power of judicial review of executive actions. It is an assault that is most shameful, deceitful and Machiavellian in its scheme.

Ever since Pervez Musharraf came into power through an unconstitutional military takeover on 12 October 1999 (which the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 terms as “high treason), he has been persistently and consistently acting in violation of constitutional norms and undermining and weakening Pakistans civilian institutions. This latest move against the CJP is intended to browbeat the judiciary into submission and subservience so that it cannot challenge executive authority or hold the government accountable for its misdeeds.

One does need to strain ones eyes to see that this move is underpinned by ulterior motives and a mala fide intent on part of the executive branch. This is a move to check a Chief Justice who was

  • (i) increasingly becoming judicially active,
  • (ii) taking bold and daring steps to hold the executive branch accountable on multiple fronts,
  • (iii) genuinely concerned with the cause of justice and the plight of the common masses of Pakistan
  • (iv) taking practical steps to reaffirm the rule of law and independence of the judiciary and
  • (v) exercising his suo moto powers to take judicial notice of illegal omissions and commissions of both the federal and provincial governments.
  • Particularly, a series of decisions and posturing by the CJP on key economic and social issues put the CJP-led Supreme Court on a collision course with the executive branch. The CJPs judgment which set aside the privatization of the Pakistan Steel Mills in which allegations of impropriety and lack of transparency were leveled against the Privatization Commission was the first blow against the government. It put a question mark on the entire privatization policy of the government and the credibility of the Privatization Commission, of which the Prime Minister himself was such a key player. Never, in the course of Pakistans history, had a court set aside such a major privatization. It was judicial activism at its finest.

    Subsequently, the CJPs position a number of issues further perturbed the executive branch. These included the CJPs position on the increasing number of missing persons in Pakistan on a petition filed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, his position on the negative environmental impact of the New Murree development project, his blocking of a scheme to convert public parks into private sector commercial ventures, his reprimanding of the police for dereliction of duty in the face of the spiraling crime rate, lawlessness and the deteriorating security situation in the country and his position on the dual nationality of Parliamentarians that threatened to disqualify a number of Parliamentarians.

    The government was feeling increasingly insecure and threatened by the CJPs brand of bold judicial activism. Musharraf was, personally, feeling threatened because he felt that the CJP was a wild card on key political and constitutional issues affecting his future, particularly on the question of whether or not Musharraf could, constitutionally, continue to wear the uniform whilst holding the Office of the President of Pakistan. So, in Musharrafs view, the CJP had become a liability that had to be dealt with and, true to his cavalier and reckless style of going about governing, this is the manner in which Musharraf sought to resolve his problem.

    Musharraf hoped that he could twist the CJPs arm and he would capitulate under pressure and resign. However, it is now clear to the nation that this CJP is made of a different ilk. His refusal to bow down to military and executive pressure has renewed the faith of millions of Pakistanis in the judiciary. It is heartening to note that there still are (albeit a few) public functionaries who will not be afraid of standing their ground in face of injustice, who will not capitulate in face of immense pressure and who will take on the powers that be for the sake of doing the right thing. The CJP, in refusing to resign, is not only standing up for himself, he is standing up for Pakistan and its people.

    This entire episode underpins some fundamental issues. The judiciary is not subservient to the executive under the scheme and spirit of the Constitution. The CJP is not answerable to the Prime Minister or the President. He is only answerable to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and his peer judges and, of course, to the court of public opinion. The manner which he was “called to answer frivolous allegations by the President and the Prime Minister was deliberately intended to insult and undermine the Office of the CJP. Pervez Musharraf, who illegally and unconstitutionally holds two offices that of the President of Pakistan and the Chief of the Army Staff had no right to summon the CJP, let alone to suspend him.

    If Musharraf had called the CJP in his capacity as the President of Pakistan, then, one wonders, why did Musharraf, dressed in his military uniform, chose the Army House, Rawalpindi (so-called “camp office) as the venue for the meeting? If, indeed, Musharraf wanted to talk to the CJP in his capacity as President, then Musharraf should have adorned civilian attire and called the CJP to the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad. The fact that the CJP was summoned to Army House, Rawalpindi and Musharraf met him in his military uniform means that Musharraf was misusing his position as the Army Chief to exert pressure on the Chief Justice to resign. It was a threat. Musharraf has, once again, abused his position as Army Chief to undermine, intimidate and threaten an important civilian institution. Prime Minister Shaukat Azizs presence in Army House was also insulting because it implied that the CJP (head of the judicial branch) was answerable to the Prime Minister (head of the executive branch), which is not the case. The CJP does not report to the Prime Minister under any circumstances because the Constitution envisages a system of checks and balances where the judiciary acts as a check on the executive branch. If the CJP were to be hauled up to explain frivolous allegations against him before the Prime Minister, then it would undermine the judiciarys constitutional role as a check on the executive branch. The right thing for Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to have done was to decline Musharrafs invitation to be present on such an occasion to humiliate the CJP.

    President Musharrafs move itself is unconstitutional because:-

  • (i) The President has suspended the CJP, which he does not have the power to do under any provision of the Constitution. Nor is there any provision in the Constitution that empowers the President to declare a judge to be “non-functional. In fact, the announcement of the CJPs suspension or, rather, “non-functionality was made before sending the reference to the SJC under Article 209 of the Constitution.
  • (ii) Under Article 209 of the Constitution, the President does not have the power to remove or suspend the CJP without the recommendation of the SJC, which comprises of (a) the CJP; (b) the two next most senior Judges of the Supreme Court; and (c) the two most senior Chief Justices of High Courts.
  • (iii) The President can only send a reference to the SJC against a judge. The SJC then conducts a hearing into the allegations and, after inquiry, submits its recommendations to the President. Only in the event that the SJC reports to the President that a judge is guilty of misconduct can the President proceed against that judge by removing him.
  • (iv) The constitution of the SJC itself is unconstitutional because even if the CJP himself is being inquired, then, by virtue of Article 209(3), the next senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court shall act in his place on the SJC. Supreme Court Judge Mr. Justice Javaid Iqbal has been appointed as Acting Chief Justice whereas Mr. Justice Rana Bhagwandas is the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after the CJP. So the SJC, as presently constituted, is a forum non judice and lacks the competence to function under Article 209.
  • (v) Under Article 180 of the Constitution, only the senior-most Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan can be appointed the Acting CJP if (a) the office of CJP is vacant; or (b) the CJP is absent or is unable to perform the functions of his office due to any other cause. So the appointment of Mr. Justice Javaid Iqbal is also in violation of Article 180 of the Constitution since he is not the senior-most judge. Secondly, the criteria for appointment of an Acting Chief Justice has not been met since neither the Office of the CJP is vacant nor was the CJP absent or unable to perform his duties.
  • This entire sordid affair gives rise to the following questions:-

  • (a) What was the hurry in filing this reference against the CJP, when Justice Rana Bhagwandas, the next senior-most judge of the Supreme Court was outside the country? Couldnt the President have waited for Justice Bhagwandas to return? Couldnt the President have requested Justice Bhagwandas to return to Islamabad before filing the reference?
  • (b) If the President is going to file a reference against the CJP on the basis of a vague and frivolous letter written by a lawyer, will the President then also file a reference against a Chief Justice if, tomorrow, another lawyer were to write an open letter to some sitting Chief Justice with more serious allegations leveled against him? Is a letter all that it takes for the President to invoke Article 209 of the Constitution against the CJP?
  • (c) If the transfer of the CJPs son to the Punjab Police was illegal, then what action is the government going to take against all those in the executive chain of command who approved such a transfer? Would the government care to make the prosecution of all those officials public who were a party to this transfer?
  • (d) If Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is innocent until proven otherwise, if he is still the CJP and has not been found guilty of any misconduct by the SJC, then why is he and his family under house arrest and being held incommunicado? Why have his telephone links been severed? Why have the passports of the CJP and his family been confiscated? Why are the CJPs relatives being hounded by the intelligence agencies after speaking out against his illegal detention? Why were the flags of Pakistan and the Supreme Court removed from the CJPs official residence? Why has his name been removed from the website of the Supreme Court?
  • One hopes that the Honble Judges of the SJC realize that that this is not just a move against the CJP by the President, it is a move against the judiciary by the executive intended to undermine, tarnish and erode the image, integrity and authority of the judiciary. Removing the CJP in such circumstances would not be conducive to the judiciary or the interests of Pakistan. This is a turning point in the constitutional and political history of Pakistan. It is a moment of historical significance that will define executive-judicial relations for years to come. This is a time to protect the collective honour of the judiciary and to defend the Constitution of Pakistan. Let it not be said that we were not equal to the task.


    Kidney Hill – Rumors of Progress

    The grapevine of Karachi claims that a resolution has been reached as regards to the issue of Kidney Hill, which has been a burning issue for the past month which lead to a post a few days back titled Kidney Hill & the Ongoing Saga & later Kidney Hill, a Pictorial.

    In the few days following the Cowasjee’s article a high level meeting took place at the Governor House and people walked out having said it was a successful meeting, though utterly complicated. We all know that a year back the Governor and The President of Pakistan had promised the residents of Overseas Cooperative Housing Society some 20 acres of land to be distributed to its residents in the peripheral locations of Kidney Hill, some 10 acres were allocated for roads while the rest were to be preserved for utility services and would be fully developed.

    The dispute we have been following is NOT the entire 62 acres of land at Kidney Hill, but actually only the 20 acres which were being allocated to the members of OCHS. What actually happened, in typical Pakistani style, was that a few gentlemen belonging to the greedy developer mafia obtained membership of OCHS, in hope of getting a few pieces of land within the said territory, they were successfully able to push their own applications up to the top of the food chain, using any and all types of lubricating paraphernalia. Once satisfied with their homework at the local society level they turned up the pressure on the bureaucracy to cough out the allotments of these plots for development.

    A number of OCHS residents spotting this apparent problem felt rightfully irritated and approached the court for a stay order. Fearing the worse, the gentlemen, recruited two hoodlums for a rumored sum of 2 crores from Lahore and were entrusted to take care of all hurdles that stood in their way to fame and fortune, the hoodlums wasted no time in harassing the 12 OCHS appellants which forced their quick withdrawal and then later the hoodlums worked on the Shehri group threatening dire consequences.

    The bureaucracy was stuck in a dilemma as they did not want to reverse their decision to allot this area to OCHS but were also concerned about the irregularities taking place, I have been told for a fact that MQM was not involved in this fiasco as the Governor was genuinely working hard not solve this issue.

    What has finally happened is that the two new OCHS members have been identified and their hoodlums have been arrested and placed behind bars, the Government is carefully reviewing the entire project but has not made a decision, it is quite possible that the order issued a year back may be reversed, but nothing is certain.

    DISCLAIMER:
    Please remember this is reported as per the grapevine of Karachi, though I report it after thoroughly clarifying the chain of events and occurrences but may be drastically wrong, it might be possible that some solid news might resurface within the week, if it has not done so already. If I am incorrect at any specific point, I am fully prepared to append the post to correct the anomaly. It must also be noted that I have not used any names to identify the people involved in this chain of events so as to avoid any embarrassments if any news report is deemed incorrect

    THIS REPORT IS BASED ON NARRATIONS HEARD THROUGH SOME CREDIBLE SOURCES BUT THE ENTIRE STORY CANNOT BE FULLY VERIFIED FOR ITS ACCURACY


    Letter to CJ from Naeem Bokhari

    I would like to share a very interesting letter I just received on email, written by Supreme Court Advocate Naeem Bohkari addressed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. It is a definite ‘must read’ for all Pakistanis

    Start quote
    Justice Iftikhar Muhammad ChaudhryMr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
    Chief Justice
    Supreme Court of Pakistan
    Islamabad
    Pakistan

    My Lord:

    I write this letter as an Officer of the Supreme Court of Pakistan; as an Advocate enrolled in the apex Court since 1984 and in the High Courts since 1972; as an Attorney who has paid more income tax from his earnings in the legal profession than many of my friends, colleagues and seniors elevated to the Bench; and as a stake-holder in the dispensation of justice, intimately and vitally interested in the functioning of the Supreme Court.

    Many judges who adorn the Bench in the Supreme Court and the High Court know me over decades, as a person endowed by nature with a pleasant disposition and acceptance of human failings. Towards the courts, my approach has always been of consistent and continuous display of respect and humility. I bow out of conviction, not compulsion. I use the words “My Lords”, because I want to, not because I have to. As an Attorney, I look up to the Court and want to see it on a high pedestal of dignity, compassion and justice, tempered with mercy.

    I have seen my Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Hamood-ur-Rahman, Chief Justice Muhammad Yaqub Ali, Chief Justice S. Anwar-ul-Haq, Chief Justice Mohammad Haleem and how the Court functioned under them in the 1970s/1980s.

    I witnessed the proceedings for the ouster of Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, became aware that the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, had ‘worked’ on some judges of the Supreme Court and saw the physical assault on the Court.

    I was appalled at the manner in which Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan led the Supreme Court and pained at the insinuations against Justice Sheikh Riaz Ahmad, when he was the Chief Justice.

    I was horrified by the establishment of a Bench of five judges constituted by Chief Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui to determine whether reduction in the retirement age for judges was constitutional or not. This was clearly designed to block your appointment. I was against the idea of Mr. Amirul Mulk Mengal being made the Chief Justice before you. Within the limits of my influence (which I readily admit to be very limited), I was totally for you to become the Chief Justice. Justice Javed Buttar is aware of my position, as is the Attorney General of Pakistan. The accelerated issue of the notification appointing you the Chief Justice put Justice Siddiqui’s move to rest.

    I believed that you were vigorous, capable of lifting up the Supreme Court, creating an espirit-de-corps among your brother judges, restoring the dignity and grandeur of the apex Court, particularly considering the long tenure before you.

    Alas this has not come about.

    I am not perturbed by your insistence on protocol (despite my belief that the Chief Justice would rise in the eyes of everybody if he walked from his residence to the Supreme Court and hooters, police escort, flags is just fluff, not the substance of an office).

    I am mildly amused at your desire to be presented a guard of honour in Peshawar. I am titillated by the appropriation of aMercedes-Benz car or is it cars, the use of the Government of the Punjab’s airplane to offer Fateha in Multan, to Sheikhupura for Fateha on a Government of the Punjab helicopter, to Hyderabad on a Government of the Sind’s plane for attending a High Court function, the huge amount spent in refurbishing the chamber and residence of the Chief Justice, the reservation for yourself of a wing in Supreme Court Judges guest house in Lahore, the permanent occupation by the Supreme Court of the official residence of the Chief Justice of Sind, who per force lives in the basement of his father’s house. As his class fellow in the Government College, Lahore, I can vouch that living in the basement will do him no harm.

    I am not perturbed that Dr. Arsalaan (your son) secured 16/100 in the English paper for the Civil Services Examination, that there is a case against him in some court in Baluchistan, that from the Health Department in Baluchistan he has shifted to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), that he has obtained training in the Police Academy, that he reportedly drives a BMW 7-Series car, that there is a complaint against him with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

    My grievances and protests are different.

    I am perturbed that the Supreme Court should issue a clarificatory statement on his behalf. I am perturbed that Justice (Retd.) Wajihuddin Ahmed should be constrained to advise you on television that “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others”. I am perturbed that the Chief Justice should summon Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to his chambers on Dr. Arsalaan’s account.

    I am appalled that you announce decisions in Court, while in the written judgment an opposite conclusion is recorded.

    In the Petition for leave to appeal filed by Dr. Sher Afghan Niazi, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs (in which Respondent’s Counsels were Mr. Khalid Anwar and Mr. Qadir Saeed), you refused to grant leave in open Court and yet in the written order, leave was granted to Dr. Sher Afghan Niazi.

    On 15-2-2007, Mr. Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim complained that in open Court you had accepted his appeal but dismissed the same in the judgement, subsequently recorded.

    If Mr. Khalid Anwar, a former Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, and Mr Fakrhuddin, Senior Counsel, are treated in this manner, the fate of lesser known lawyers would certainly be far worse.

    My grievances also concern the manner in which the last and highest court of appeal is dispensing justice, under your leadership.

    My Lord, the dignity of lawyers is consistently being violated by you. We are treated harshly, rudely, brusquely and nastily. We are not heard. We are not allowed to present our case. There is little scope for advocacy. The words used in the Bar Room for Court No. 1 are “the slaughter house”. We are cowed down by aggression from the Bench, led by you. All we receive from you is arrogance, aggression and belligerence. You also throw away the file, while contemptuously announcing: “This is dismissed”.

    Yet this aggression is not for everyone. When Mr. Sharifuddin Pirzada appears, your Lordship’s demeanour and appearance is not just sugar and honey. You are obsequious to the point of meekness. So apart from violating our dignity, which the Constitution commands to be inviolable, we suffer discrimination in your Court.

    I am not raising the issue of verbal onslaughts and threats to Police Officers and other Civil Servants, who have the misfortune to be summoned, degraded and reminded that “This is the Supreme Court”.

    The way in which My Lord conducts proceedings is not conducive to the process of justice. In fact, it obstructs due process and constitutes contempt of the Supreme Court itself.

    I am pained at the wide publicity to cases taken up by My Lord in the Supreme Court under the banner of Fundamental Rights. The proceedings before the Supreme Court can conveniently and easily be referred to the District and Sessions Judges. I am further pained by the media coverage of the Supreme Court on the recovery of a female. In the bar room, this is referred to as a “Media Circus”.

    My Lord, this communication may anger you and you are in any case prone to get angry in a flash, but do reflect upon it. Perhaps you are not cognizant of what your brother judges feel and say about you.

    My Lord, before a rebellion arises among your brother judges (as in the case of Mr. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah), before the Bar stands up collectively and before the entire matter is placed before the Supreme Judicial Council, there may be time to change and make amends.

    I hope you have the wisdom and courage to make these amends and restore serenity, calm, compassion, patience and justice tempered with mercy to my Supreme Court.

    My Lord, we all live in the womb of time and are judged, both by the present and by history. The judgement about you, being rendered in the present, is adverse in the extreme.

    Yours faithfully,

    Naeem BokhariNAEEM BOKHARI
    Advocate
    Supreme Court of
    Pakistan
    Islamabad, Pakistan

    End quote

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    Supreme Court questions Malik’s Ban

    Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has questioned the life-ban imposed by Pakistan Cricket Board on Saleem Malik back in 2000. The court has for now delayed the hearing for a week upon the request of the PCB lawyer as he would need a little time to provide sufficient proof as to why Saleem Malik had been banned, if failing to satisfy the court Saleem Malik can potentially claim for damages.

    Back in November I had previously discussed this issue when Malik had approached the Cricketing Council after he may have seen a ray of hope when Ata-ur-Rehman was relieved of his sentence. It was my opinion then and it remains so now, that it would generally not help Malik in any significant way, hes 43 years old and definitely would not be planning to put on some pads but the only quirk could be that he may be eyeing for a job as coach in the post-Woolmer era immediately after the world cup.

    The question that lurks in my mind and many Pakistanis, could this be yet another ploy by Dr. Naseem Ashraf as I suspect something is afoot which is pushing Malik to rise from the dead after six years of a secluded life in Lahore, there is definitely something up according to the mystic tea leaves served up by the Teeth Maestro’s cup could be have another Naseem Ashraf blooper on our hands?

    There is little doubt that Saleem Malik was a key-player in a number of match fixing scandal, granted in the local Pakistan inquiry he and Ata-ur-Rehamn took the fall while a number of well-connected players walked away to have, but there can be little doubt when he was banned by PCB ater Australian players Shane Warne, Tim May and Mark Waugh who had alleged that Malik offered them bribes to under perform on Australia’s tour of Pakistan in 1994. Malik’s name then also featured in an Indian match-fixing inquiry and was also mentioned by late South African captain Hansie Cronje in another probe. Probably a little too many fingers pointing at us, might I say Mr. Malik?

    PCB has yet to defend the decision taken by its Inquiry bench, I would not be surprised if we find yet another example of an over turned decision.

    Cross-posted to Cricket Bloggers of Pakistan


    Karachi – Dubai ‘A Cruise to Hell’

    Shattered Dreams aboard Gulf Dream Cruise

    To follow up on my initial report of the Karachi – Dubai Cruise liner which I posted a week back practically a day before it set sail for its first maiden voyage from Karachi to Dubai. The ship left the berth with the cruise management and Geo.TV (Jang) promoters literally patting themselves on the back for this remarkable feat.

    During the five days on the sea, no news filtered through from any of the passengers but upon its return, I amongst many, were surprised of a strange hushed silence on Geo which should have been prancing with joy, it seemed to suggest that something was amiss. Little do these old-school media moguls realize the power of the Internet especially with the emerging concept of Citizen Journalism (blogging) where individuals can speak out and be heard, no more hidden agenda, no more governmental control, its the time of being brave to speak out, this is the true power of Citizen Journalism, commonly referred to as blogging.
    Continue Reading


    PTA Blocks FIVE more Websites

    PTA-Kaboom.jpg

    In a recent development, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has gone further encroaching upon the the free and open Internet to block five more websites that are offending the breurcats in Islamanad. This letter was issued on the 25th of April and required all the ISP’s to comply within 24 hours.

    It seems as if the situation is getting worse with time, we as Pakistanis need to challenge the unreigned supremacy and show the bureaucrats that they cannot take us for a free ride. I would also recommend you to read a very interesting writeup by The Glasshouse: Mush the Nervous

    PAKISTAN TELECOMMUNICATION AUTHORITY
    Zonal office, PTA Building, 165-Abid Majeed Road, Lahore Cantt:
    http:// www.pta.gov.pk, Ph:- 6665022, Fax:- 6654009
    No.PTA-LH/F.10-6/49
    Dated at Lahore, the 25-04-2006.

    Subject: BLOCKING OF WEBSITES ACCESS

    It has been observed that the following website providing misleading in formations.

    1. www.balochvoice.com
    2. www.baloch2000.org
    3. www.balochfront.com
    4. www.sanabaloch.com
    5. www.hinduunity.com

    ou are, requested to block access of the above websites immediately to your subscribers. Compliance report in this respect should reach to the undersigned on April 26, 2006 positively.

    Download the orginal PTA Letter in PDF format

    Links: Pakistan 451, Global Voices


    Tag me along

    I’ve been tagged with a few interesting questions by Zag……..
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    Dentistry in Karachi

    Teeth Maestro is actually the pen name of Dr. Awab Alvi who is a dentist by profession in Karachi, Pakistan. He has been practicing Dentistry in Karachi since 1999 when he graduated from de’Montmorency College of Dentistry, Lahore and has since been practicing with his father Dr. Arif Alvi at Alvi Dental Hospital, which is located at

    23-B Sindhi Muslim Society
    Karachi, Pakistan
    92-21-4524371
    92-21-4524372

    If any one wants any dental assistance you are more then welcome to email me or call us up to schedule a dental appointment at your convenience


    Pakistani Blogger: KO

    Pakistani Bloggers Khalid Omar. a blogger from Karachi has dominated the Pakistan Blogging scene since June of 2003. His blog ko.offroadpakistan.com which if I am not mistaken can be credited to being the first blog to place Pakistan on the Blogosphere map. I have been following him since September ’03 when I stumbled across his Worldcall 4-month review post which sparked some serious discussion amongst the people of Karachi and Lahore and has inspired upwards of 100 comments (My first ever comment is #6 on this post made in Sept ’03). His popularity on the blogging scene is tremendous and almost every new comer surely visits the blog ‘to pay hommage’. His posts are truly well worded and thought provoking.

    Sadly I have not met the legendary KO despite being located in the same city, I am sure one fine day we might indeed bump into each other and then I might be able to marvel at the blogging giant 😉 It is my habit to give credit where it is due and I give KO full credit to having inspired me into the world of blogging. Ones first steps are usually shaky and I too recall having the same jittery feeling while making my first comment in the blogging world, I recall, my world changing comment, one September night in 2003 where I did finally sum up the courage to make my first comment on the KO-worldcall review. But that first step did truely then start the tirade of comments by Teeth Maestro to the blogging world.

    Exploring KO further he is a genuine off-road vehicle fanatic, a person who takes those 4×4’s out into the rugged terrain and gives it a proper drive, unlike us who drive on the streets of Karachi and think that one massive speed-breaker is enough to test the Prado/Land Cruiser.

    We all have a close eye on you – Keep up the good work KO


    Mr. 10% returns to Pakistan

    It is surprising that Asif Ali Zardari is due to get a hero’s welcome when he lands in Lahore on Saturday 16th. I still can’t stomach the idea that he was released and all charges against him were dropped. He now has a smirk on his face saying he is innocent, famously known as Mr. 10% he comepletely destroyed our counrty not once but twice over can we hosnetly sit and watch him take charge a thrid time? It pisses me off. The govt is making a big Ho-Ha affair when we all know its just a game to save face and also allow him to return. We shall only find out tommorrow on what develoments take place. What do you think of this scam?


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