Saturday, February 28, 2009

History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 5

On Wed, 2/25/09, Emergency Moderator/Teeth Maestro wrote:

Sharif brothers declared ineligible for Elections Posted by Teeth Maestro February 25,2009

On Sat, 2/28/09, Jimmy Jumshade wrote:

They have created an unwanted crisis already when there is so much other crisis going on. Bloody Weirdos..... ......and Shareef brothers should have been disqualified & not allowed to participate in elections a year ago.....not after they have been in Office for a year.This is just a big time power-grab.

Excerpts from ISLAMIC PAKISTAN: ILLUSIONS & REALITY By Abdus Sattar Ghazali:

The author is a professional journalist, with Master's degree in Political Science from the Punjab University. Started his journalistic career as a sub-editor in the daily Bang-e-Haram, Peshawar in 1960. Later worked in the daily Anjam and the Tourist weekly Peshawar. Served as a News Editor in the Daily News, Kuwait from 1969 to 1976. Joined the English News Department of Kuwait Television as a News Editor in December 1976. Also worked as the correspondent of the Associated Press of Pakistan and the Daily Dawn, Karachi, in Kuwait. At present working as the Editor-in-Chief of the Kuwait Television English News.



On September 20, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, 42, brother of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and head of the Pakistan People's Party (Shaheed Bhutto) was gunned down by the police near his 70 Clifton residence in Karachi. Police said that Murtaza and six of his guards were killed in a shoot out when his guards first opened fire at the police. However, the circumstantial evidence suggested that the security forces were determined to eliminate him. One week before the police action, events were building up to some kind of a showdown between Murtaza and his faction of the PPP and the security forces in Karachi. Murtaza's followers were being rounded up and he was accused by the police of attacking two CIA centers in the city. In his last press conference, Murtaza, had indicated that since his party has become a great challenge to the ruling PPP in the Sindh province, therefore, the government machinery could do anything to break his power. According to press reports, at least 40 vehicles of police, rangers and Frontier Constabulary, were deployed to stop the convoy of Mir Murtaza near his residence while he was returning after attending a public gathering. He was fired upon at a close range and was not taken to hospital for at least one hour after the shooting. Only two police officers were reported injured in the shoot out. According to the daily Muslim, Islamabad, the police forcibly took away the record of the firing from Jinnah Hospital when doctors refused to add the name of an inspector of police, Haq Nawaz Sail, in the list of injured. Later a medical report declared that the foot wound of the inspector was self-inflicted. On Sept. 28, Sial died in mysterious circumstances. The operation against Mir Murtaza was watched by the Deputy Inspector General of Police from his house, just 100 foot away from the scene of shooting.

The spontaneous reaction of a common man was that if a member of the Sindh Assembly, chief of a political party and brother of the Prime Minister could be killed in front of his house then how he could feel safe from the hands of the security forces. The Sindh government ordered a judicial esquire into the tragic incident but political leaders and media were unanimous in calling it as a cold-blooded murder by the security forces which are given a free hand by the government to eliminate anybody in fake police encounters. While some leaders described it as the height of "state terrorism" the Nation, Lahore, pointed out "the Karachi police, a creation of the present government, has become a Frankenstein. It is inevitable that some of the responsibility for this tragic outcome of the police action would devolve on Benazir." The daily Dawn, Karachi, said there was a new priority in Karachi. "It is to check the brutality and trigger-happiness of a police force which has imbibed one overriding lesson from its drive against the MQM: to shoot first and ask questions later."

While the people speculated about the motives behind the killing of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Dr. Mubashir Hasan, a former Finance Minister and a founder member of the PPP, was very blunt in his remarks: "For those who have removed Murtaza from our midst, the real problem has been and is Prime Minister Benazir. As long as Murtaza was alive, removing Benazir carried unacceptable risks. Murtaza could take over the mantle of the elder Bhutto's legend. Else Murtaza and Benazir would be striving for a common cause, separately or jointly. That would have presented formidable political problems. Murtaza gone, the way is clear. Benazir stands perilously weakened. She is the next to go. Such are the brutal pathways of realpolitik." Dawn 25.9.1996.

People were still mourning the death of Murtaza Bhutto when another tragic event rocked the country. On September 23, four gunmen opened indiscriminate fire at a Fajr congregation at Al Khair mosque in Multan, killing 23 worshippers and wounding 50 others. Ten of those killed were children between the ages of 10 and 15, studying at the Madarsa attached to the mosque which belonged to Anjuman-e-Sipah-e-Sahaba-e-Pakistan (ASSP) Sunni group. The shooting, which followed the murder, a day earlier, of Qamar Haider, leader of Shia group Sipah-e-Mohammad of Pakistan (SMP), in Bahawalpur, was the latest in a vicious feud between the Shia and Sunni militant groups. On August 14, gunmen killed 12, wounded 11 in an attack on ASSP cavalcade in Karachi. On August 18, gunmen killed 18 people, wounded dozens, in an attack on a Shia community meeting near Mailsi, in Punjab. Gunmen also killed Commissioner of Sargodha Division, Syed Tajjamal Abbas, a Shia, on August 5.

In the first week of August, Benazir expanded her cabinet by appointing 15 new ministers. Asif Zardari, her husband and Nawaz Khokhar, a turncoat, joined the cabinet as the Minister of Investment and Minister for Science and Technology. Commenting on the cabinet expansion, the Economist, London, (August 10, 1996) said Mr. Zardari's reputation is not high in Pakistan. All major public-sector institutions are headed by Mr. Zardari's friends and all are in financial distress. Pakistanis see his influence behind every unsavory investment or privatization deal struck by the government. On Benazir's selection of Khokhar, a former opposition politician, the Economist said it means that those who desert the opposition can expect handsome rewards.

The Federal Cabinet decided, on August 19, to establish an inquiry commission to identify the big defaulters of loans obtained from banks and development financial institutions. The commission will inquire into the overdue loans of Rs 10 million and above, dating from January 1980. The commission is to limit its investigations to 250 biggest defaulters and 250 cases of irregularities by bank and DFI functionaries, and submit its report every three months to the government. However, in the National Assembly, prominent opposition members opposed the idea of the commission and suggested that a parliamentary committee be set up to examine the cases of defaulters. Insiders say that most of the defaulters are either politicians, their relatives, or those recommended by the politicians. There has been an enormous increase in the bad debts on nationalized banks which could not be recovered because every government tried to protect the defaulters. Till 1984, bad debts totaled Rs 13 billion and were partly rescheduled and party written off on account of the sick units. Later the outstanding amount against the defaulters reached Rs. 82 billion in 1990, which has finally touched the unprecedented figure of Rs. 130 billion in 1996. The State Bank of Pakistan, on September 6, released a list of 250 loan defaulters. According to it, loans of Rs. 62.067 billion are over due while those of Rs. 51.958 billion are in default.


As Benazir's third year in power came to close (on Oct. 19 1996) with the tragic end of his younger brother, her alliance with President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, an old political supporter, has shown signs of strain. The government of Benazir Bhutto was dismissed and the National Assembly was dissolved by President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari on November 4, 1996. Exercising his powers under Article 58-2(B) of the constitution, President Leghari sacked the Benazir government. This was the fourth time since 1988 that the controversial article was used to dismiss an elected government and the National Assembly. President Leghari gave the following reasons for his action:

Thousands of people have been killed in security crackdowns in Karachi and elsewhere in violation of the constitution. The government neither put an end to the extra-judicial killings nor punished those guilty of such crimes. Widespread interference by members of the government and the ruling party in the appointment, postings and transfer of officers and staff of security agencies destroyed public faith in the integrity and impartiality of law enforcement agencies.

Human and legal rights of the people were not respected and harassment of innocent people continued in the fight against terrorism.
The government deliberately violated, on a massive scale, the fundamental rights of privacy.
The phones and conversations of judges of the superior courts, leaders of political parties and high-ranking military and civil officers were tapped.
The prime minister ridiculed the March 20 verdict of the Supreme Court which had curtailed her authority to appoint judges to the superior courts.

She inducted in her cabinet an MP against whom criminal cases were pending.
Benazir maliciously insinuated, without any factual basis, that the presidency and other agencies were involved in the killing of her estranged brother Murtaza Bhutto and seven others in a police shoot-out in Karachi on September 20. The President noted that Murtaza's widow and friends have accused Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and some government functionaries of being involved in the murder conspiracy.

Corruption, nepotism and violation of the rules have become so grave that in some cases national security has been endangered.

Despite a presidential directive the sale of shares of several important units including Burmah Castrol and Qadirpur Gasfield, involving national assets worth billions of rupees, were not reconsidered by the cabinet.

Public faith in the integrity and honesty of the government has disappeared.
A situation has arisen in which justice can not be ensured because powerful members of the federal and provincial governments who are themselves accused of crime are influencing and controlling the law enforcing agencies.

The President appointed Mr. Meraj Khalid, a veteran politician from the Pakistan People's Party, to head an interim administration and to hold elections on February 3, 1997.


The most controversial decision of the caretaker cabinet had been the formation of the Council for Defence and National Security (CDNS) that provided a role to the army in the affairs of the government. On Jan 6, 1997, President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari amended the Rules of Business, 1973, thereby establishing a "Council for Defence and National Security to aid and advise the government of Pakistan in determination of national strategy, formation of defence policy, co-ordination of defence policy with external and domestic policies, economic and financial policies affecting defence and national security and recommendations relating to internal security (including proclamation of emergency." The CDNS has been accused of being extra-parliamentary, supra-government or even supra-constitutional.


Parts of the report of the Mehran Bank Scandal probe commission were released in December, 1996. In July 1994 a commission, comprising five judges, was formed to investigate the Mehran Bank scandal. It took eight months to complete its inquiry in February 1995 but its report was never published. However, parts of the reports were released on December 8, 1996, according to which the commission exonerated President Leghari from any wrong doing in his so-called benami deal. But the commission did not mention to whom the land was sold by the president for Rs. 15 million and from which account the money was debited to make the payment. The Commission also cleared the former chief minister of the North West Frontier Province, Aftab Sherpao and Senator Anwar Saifullah, who were accused of being the main beneficiaries of the Mehran Bank, of all the allegations. (DAWN 9.12.1996) On May 13, 1997, the Commerce Minister, Ishaq Dar informed the Senate that the report was missing from the Law Ministry. According to Dar, the Mehran Bank scandal cost a total of Rs. 9.92 billion to the national exchequer.


On November, 1996, Benazir Bhutto filed a petition with the Supreme Court challenging the dissolution of the National Assembly and dismissal of her government. The apex court twice returned her petition saying it is argumentative. On December 2, the court turned down Benazir's request for early hearing of her petition and takes up a similar petition filed by the NA Speaker Yousaf Raza Gilani. On December 14, the supreme court started hearing of several identical 8th constitutional amendment. On Jan 12, 1997, the court held that the 8th amendment was a valid part of the constitution and Article 58(2)b, giving power to the president to dissolve the National Assembly was a deterrent to the imposition of martial law in the country. The seven-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, dismissed the petitions of Mehmood Khan Achankzai and five others challenging the validity of the 8th amendment. One day after validating the 8th amendment, the Supreme Court began hearing of Benazir Bhutto's case.

On January 29, 1997, only six days before the general elections, the Supreme Court rejected a petition by Benazir Bhutto to revive her government and upheld President Leghari's November 5, 1996 proclamation dissolving the National Assembly and dismissing Benazir's government. The majority decision of the apex court said "the presidential order contained enough substance and adequate material had been provided to conclude that the government could not be run in accordance with the provision of the constitution and that an appeal to the electorate had been necessary." Six of the seven judges on the bench upheld all the charges leveled by the president excluding the murder of Mir Murtaza Bhutto saying this issue was before a tribunal.

Justice Zia Mahmood Mirza was the only judge who said the presidential order was illegal and could not be sustained and the National Assembly and the prime minister and the cabinet stood restored. The seven-member bench was led by Chief Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah and included Justice Saleem Akhtar, Justice Fazal Ilahi Khan, Justice Zia Mahmood Mirza, Justice Irshad Hasan Khan, Justice Raja Aforesiab Khan and Justice Munawar Ali Mirza. Earlier the Supreme Court rejected Benazir's request to form a full court to hear her petition. [51]

The short order of the court said:

* It was not necessary that all the material should be before the president to form his opinion before the dissolution of the assembly as claimed by the defence lawyer Atizaz Ahsan. Partial evidence was enough for forming the opinion and that there was no harm if corroborative and supportive material was produced after the dissolution of the assembly.

* There was enough material in support of the president's charge that the government had failed to implement the Supreme Court decision in the appointment of judges case. The belated implementation of the apex court's judgment by the government was short of total compliance. There was adequate material to establish that the former prime minister had ridiculed the judiciary during her speech in the National Assembly.

* The government had moved a constitutional bill in parliament which sought to send a judge on forced leave if 15 per cent of the members moved a motion against him. It was meant to harass the judges of this court.

* The separation of judiciary from the executive was also delayed and executive magistrates were given judicial powers in certain matters which was against the spirit of the judgment.

* There was enough evidence to establish that the telephones of the judges and politicians were tapped and transcripts sent to the petitioner for reading.

* Adequate material had been produced in the court in support of the charges of corruption, nepotism and violation of rules leveled by the president against the previous government.

* In Nawaz Sharif's case the attorney general had conceded that the dissolution order was mainly based on the speech delivered by Nawaz Sharif on radio and television which was construed an act of subversion and that the session of the National Assembly was convened and the president thought it was meant to impeach him. It was in those circumstances that the dissolution order was not sustainable.

Commenting on the supreme court judgment, the former Chief Justice, Dr. Nasim Hassan Shah, the author of the only apex court judgment that revived a dissolved central legislature and restored a sacked prime minister said" that the 1993 and 1996 dissolution cases stood on entirely different footings. The attorney general's emphasis in the 1993 case was on the irreconcilable differences between the president and the PM as evidenced by Nawaz Sharif's speech of April 17, 1993. The conflict, according to the AG, created a constitutional deadlock that could only be resolved by the dissolution of the NA and removal of the PM. The Supreme Court held that dissolution order was based on an incorrect appreciation of the role assigned to the president and of the powers vested in him by the constitution.
"The Benazir Bhutto case was distinguishable because extra-judicial killings in Karachi had reached the level of state terrorism and corruption a magnitude that threatened the very security of the state.

"The government acted in violation of Article 190 of the constitution, which says all executive and judicial authorities in Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. Instead of readily and honestly complying with the Supreme Court verdict in the Judges' case, the prime minister castigated the ridiculed it and implemented it reluctantly in phases. Then there was the allegation of wiretapping of state functionaries, which is also a violation of a fundamental right." [52]

Notes and References:

1. The air-crash mystery, like the assassination of Pakistan's first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, in October 1952 remained unresolved since few seemed to care to know.

2. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, in active collusion with the openly politicized COAS, Mirza Aslam Beg, had asked the then Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief, General Hamid Gul, to organize an effective alliance of right wing parties to counter Ms Benazir Bhutto's seemingly bright prospects of winning the 1988 general elections. Imtiaz Alam, Towards a government by the people, The Frontier Post, Peshawar, July 23, 1993

3. Chaudhry Fazle-Ilahi became president when Zulkifar Ali Bhutto stepped down as President and became the Prime Minister when parliamentary system was introduced under a new constitution in 1973. Under the original constitution of 1973, the President was bound to accept any recommendation by the Prime Minister.

4. It may be recalled that during the anti-government demonstrations, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto amended the constitution (through parliament) on May 16, 1977 under which, among other things, the government was empowered to call army in aid of civil administration to "restore law and order" while the fundamental rights remain suspended during the military operation.

5. Abdul Ghafoor Awan, Sacking of three prime ministers (in Urdu), p-451

6. The IJI captured 104 seats while the Pakistan Peoples Party of Benazir Bhutto got only 45 seats in the National Assembly. The Mohajir Qaumi Movement emerged as the third largest party in the house with 15 seats.

7. Altaf Gauhar, President Ishaq stands indicted for high treason, The Muslim Islamabad, June 25, 1993.

8. Khalid Bin Sayeed, Western Dominance and Political Islam, Oxford Press, 1995, p-113

9. Zulfikar Khalid Maluka, The Myth of Constituionalism p 282-283

10. Saga of intrigue and deceit by Shaheen Shebai - Dawn - 27.5.1993

11. A Few questions to GIK, The Nation, Lahore 29.10 .1993

12. The Friday Times, May-6-12, 1993

13. Addressing a cheering crowd of several thousand people at Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi, Benazir said: "We do not want to cast any doubts on the Supreme Court as we believe in the supremacy of the constitution and the law. But the people of this country are confused and want to know the reason for upholding the presidential order when the PPP government was removed in 1990, and striking it down when the action was directed against Nawaz Sharif." She did not stop there: "We do not know what glittering thing Nawaz Sharif has, as he is the ultimate beneficiary of whether a PPP government is removed under the Eighth Amendment or his own." The Herald June 1993

14. The Herald, June 1993

15. PLD 1993 SC

16. The Herald, July 1993

17. M.H. Askari - The new political order - Dawn 21.7.93

18. The Herald May 1993

19. The Herald, Nov. 1993

20. The Herald June 1993

21. Politics of Self-Aggrandizement by Dr. S. M. Haider, The Frontier Post, Peshawar, 10.5.1993

22. Ayaz Amir, The army in Karachi - Dawn 21.3.1994

23. Ibid.

24. M. Sabhinuddin Ghausi, The Great Bank Robbery, The Herald, Sept. 1993

25. Ibid.

26. Ibid.

27. The Herald Nov. 1993

28. Parliamentary Hara-kiri by Eqbal Ahmad - Dawn 6.3.1994

29. Dawn 17.2.1995

30. Challenges before Benazir by M.H. Askari - Dawn 2.2.1994

31. Dawn 7.3.1996

32. Ibid.

33. Dawn 8.3.1995

34. Statement of the Chairperson of Pakistan Human Rights Commission, Asema Jehangir, Dawn 29.1.1995

35. Dawn 7.3.1996

36. Ibid.

37. State Terrorism-II, Ardshir Cowasjee - Dawn 2.2.1996

38. Ibid.

39. Dawn 6.3.1996

40. The US Human Rights Report for 1995.

41. A body-blow to Justice by I.A. Rehman - Dawn 11.4.1995

42. New Black Law by Munib Akhtar - Dawn 19.4.1995

43. Dawn 13.4.1995

44. Called to restore peace in Sindh, the army too fell between two stools. It behaved neither as a proper military formation with a limited agenda, nor as a political arbiter which could mend fences and bring about even partial relief to this afflicted land. Rather, it bequeathed us two MQMs where we had one. The Haqiqi's creation has since been providing the cutting edge of Karachi's wound. Eqbal Ahmad, Farooq Sumar's public FIR - Dawn 9.5.1995

45. Dawn 27.6.1995

46. Reuters news agency report dated June 27, 1995

47. Impervious to challenges by M.B. Naqvi - Dawn 16.1.1995

48. Dawn 2.3.1996

49. Dawn 12.3.1996

50. The State Under Siege by Mazdak - Dawn 15.7.1995

51. Dawn 30.1.1997

52. Dawn 30.1.1997


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