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Posts tagged with: Supreme Court

Dear PM, While You Were Away!

Yousaf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Presidential Suite
Churchill Hotel
London

Sub: While You Were Away

Dear Yousaf

I pray this finds you in greatest of health and highest of spirits.

It felt really good that although your trip must have been packed with various activities, meetings, etc., purely in our national interest, you decided to take along 90 most deserving individuals who have worked so very hard for long. Indeed the development which has taken place during your tenor is exemplary and those individuals must have needed a break.

While you are away, we, here, are also having a wonderful time and I thought it would only be fair to keep you abreast so that there is not a moment during your trip that you think about what is happening back home and worry about it.

As I stood waiting for a bus at the stop amidst the routine hustle and bustle of life while the heat was killing me, a bus came to an almost stop and the damn driver decided to press the accelerator. Not his fault! Another bus of the same route had pulled up and you know very well that situation becomes a life and death situation for both the drivers. As a result, three poor women fell while a few, while trying to get out of the way, tripped over the fallen women and got injured. Can you imagine, right then, as I watched, a couple of young men came and pretended to help the women get up while they both had guns and conveniently decided to rob these women off of the very few currency bills they had. You know me well! I just couldn’t just stand and watch. I tried to stop these men so one of them turned around and hit me on the head with his gun. I bled a little and some good souls took me to the hospital. Just a few stitched and I was up and about. But you know what, as I was being treated in the hospital, I felt immediate peace as I thought of you. I could just feel the pleasure you must have felt flying in that very special airplane and then being received in London in about 25 to 30 odd most expensive fleet of cars. I am sure they were air-conditioned! Were they? I have heard the roads are also like carpet and you hardly feel the car being driven. I could just feel you and the 90 people who went with you, and I tell you, all my pain went away. I just thought to myself, those who work hard for me and my nation and serve the country in the manner you and those 90 people have, deserve to be treated like kings. The feeling took over me and I almost forgot all the pain I had gone through.

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Sermons Alone wont work – Babar Sattar talks about the ruling on Karachi Violence

Babar Sattar drills holes into the Supreme Court ruling on the Karachi violence – it is high on rhetoric, light on (relevant) substance.

The Karachi suo motu case has affixed responsibility for the violence, death and destruction in the city on the federal and provincial governments, political parties and individuals perpetrating crimes. And while it has issued directions to ensure that individual offenders are effectively prosecuted, it has neither endeavoured to hold political parties accountable for their abetment of crimes nor provided for the prosecution and punishment of public office holders for their malfeasance and nonfeasance. A more thoughtful verdict could have achieved all of this. – LINK


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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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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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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From Dogar to Iftikhar Chaudhry — what a difference!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Can some thing be done to make the lives of citizens less miserable.

zakatThis is an appeal addressed to the State Bank Chairman and Members. The matter of compulsory deduction of Zakat could have been resolved had the State Bank not succumbed to an obviously unprofessional and illegal requirement imposed by the government. Alternately the state bank could have acted , in the light of Supreme Court decision (March 9, 1999), exempting all shades of Muslims to be exempted from Zakat, and stopped deducting compulsory Zakat. Alas, the State Bank is just as citizen unfriendly and insists on subjecting its clients to the yearly CZ-50 torture.

Every year ordinary citizens are asked to declare their ‘fiqh’ on a judicial stamped paper signed by a notary public and duly witnessed by two witnesses, so as to seek exemption from compulsory deduction of Zakat. This bureaucratic and misery adding document is called Form CZ-50. The zakat is not deducted if you state that your ‘fiqh’ is a recognized one (recognized by who?)
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Method of Appointing Judges

Extracted from an email sent by the Emergency Moderator to the Emergency Mailing List on 8th March 2009

Guess: Zardari or MusharrafAs stated a few days back, we are circulating a proposal on the method of appointing judges that is somewhat more detailed than the one given in the charter of democracy. In the mean time, the PPP has appointed another chamcha as the Islamabad High Court CJ. This is on top of the induction of 16 jiala judges in the LHC (Lahore High Court). All these appointments must be rejected, the judiciary should be unconditionally returned back to the Nov 2 status, with all post-Nov 3 appointments reversed. New appointments should then be based on a formula that ensures that no political party is able to install its own chamchas in the judiciary. This is the only way to ensure the real independence of the judiciary, and nothing short of this should be accepted by the civil society.

Coming to the proposal we are sharing, it is not our original idea, but is being taken from a 4-part series of articles by Salahuddin Ahmed in June last year. This can be a good starting point for a serious attempt to design a new system that makes the judiciary genuinely independent.

Those seriously interested in the subject should go to the links below and read all four of these articles completely, but I am also quoting the most relevant parts from these pieces right after the links.
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Sharif brothers declared ineligible for Elections

Sharif BrothersThe Supreme Court after prolonged hearing of Sharif brothers’ electoral eligibility case, finally declared today that the two brothers Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are ineligible for contesting elections which were held in February 2008.

This decision will actually throw into confusion Shahbaz Sharif’s position as the Chief Minister of Punjab and consequentially create a stand-off between PPP and PML-N, and their preparations for the Long March on 15th March in Islamabad. Though another case that must be brought to the Supreme Court is the eligibility of Mr. Asif Zardari as President of Pakistan who might have far more skeletons hidden in his own closet more then the Sharif bradran

Update: Pakistan Policy Blog sumaries the situation
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Mukhtar Mai being pressured by Federal Minister to drop case

Mukhtar MaiMukhtar Mai is due to appear in the Supreme Court of Pakistan tomorrow on 11th February for a hearing on her outstanding case. Since a few days reports have been emerging that she was under pressure from high level authorities to drop the case, specifically Federal Defence Production Minister Abdul Qayyum Jatoi elected from Muzaffargarh to drop the case and maybe even not appear in court.

Just now members of the Aurat Foundation, a womens rights watch group, have talked to Mukhtar Mai and she in turn has confirmed the reports of high level pressures to have been true. The womens rights groups have urged Mukhtar Mai to stay resolute and proceed to Islamabad for the hearing with full support to be extended to ensure her safety and perusal of the case

Mukhtar Mai is from the village of Meerwala, in the tehsil of Jatoi of the Muzaffargarh District. Mukhtar Mai suffered a gang rape [BBC Timeline] as a form of honour revenge, on the demands of tribesmen on the orders of a panchayat of a local Mastoi Baloch clan that was richer and more powerful than Mukhtaran’s clan, the Gujjar Tatla.