Friday, January 29, 2010

NRO: Kamran Khan & Dishonest Lawyers.

Sometimes Intellectual Dishonesty is more fatal than the Financial or Moral Corruption. Financial/Moral Corruption is mostly related with a few and destroys a few [Of course I condone neither] but Intellectual dishonesty destroys nations e.g. Sharifuddin Pirzada, A K Brohi and their Protégé i.e. Barrister Mr Khalid Anwer. Once again it is proven beyond doubt that Human Memory is very weak particularly of Jang Group/Kamran Khan when they discuss PPP/NRO/Zardari and that's what happen during a talk show on NRO with Legal Wizzard Mr Khalid Anwer. Mr Kamran Khan/Jang Group/GEO TV/Mr. Khalid Anwer "conveniently" forget as to what the same Jang Group used to publish 10 years ago on the "Dirty Role of Barrister Mr. Khalid Anwer" and other Lawyers whom nowaday GEO TV/JANG GROUP/THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL call for "Expert Opinion" on NRO [READ TO DISCUSS WAYS AS TO HOW TO SACK ELECTED GOVERNMENT OF PPP OR GET ZARDARI THROUGH WITCH HUNTING]

This happened last night i.e. 29-Jan-2010 during a GEO TV Show Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath. Profile: Barrister Dr. Mohammad Farogh Naseem KARACHI: Youngest AG for Sindh By Our Staff Reporter January 08, 2008 Tuesday Zilhaj 28, 1428

Saturday, January 30, 2010, Safar 14, 1431 A.H


RAWALPINDI: Any case can be initiated against President Zardari under Section 4 of Article 248 of the Constitution, but neither the Supreme Court has mentioned it nor the media discussed it, said former Law Minister and constitutional expert Khalid Anwar on Wednesday. He was talking to Kamran Khan in Geo News programme ‘Aaj Kamran Khan Kay saath’. He said there should be no doubt that the Supreme Court’s decisions should be implemented. He said the government made a mistake by not implementing the short order of the SC. Now the apex court can take a suo moto notice on why the government didn’t act as the short order was announced a month earlier. Khalid Anwar said under the Constitution, the Supreme Court cannot issue notice to the president of Pakistan, but it can order the government to get the court verdict implemented. On this the government would apply in the court that the president has got immunity under the constitution, and the SC can issue a stay order in this regard after receiving the government’s application to review the decision. On this application the court will decide whether the president has got the immunity or not. REFERENCE: Any case can be filed against Zardari, says Khalid Anwar Thursday, January 21, 2010 News Desk

Thursday, January 28, 2010, Safar 12, 1431 A.H

Mr Khalid Anwer is a renowned 'Lawyer' and as per his Legal Firm Profile " Khalid Anwer & Co. is a premier law firm having a total strength of eleven lawyers in Karachi and associate firms in Lahore and Islamabad. It was formerly known as A.K. Brohi & Co. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in Pakistan." Everybody who know Pakistan History also know that "The Law of Necessity" was basically the brainchild of Late. A.K. Brohi - As per Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee in Daily Dawn.


HOW fortunate can a man be? Take me, for example. I have had the pleasure of knowing, partaking of their wisdom, and enjoying the company of Allah Baksh Kadir Baksh Brohi, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, and Brohi’s protege, Khalid Anwer. Friend Brohi is with us no more. Friend Sharifuddin is very much around, but for the time being enjoying a sabbatical. One can but admire his self- confidence, as he is still sure that he can convince his Maker (if his Maker will hear him) that all he has done upon this earth has been good and just. Khalid is on his way up. He successfully had Nawaz’s dissolution overturned. He successfully had Benazir’s dissolution upheld. Now he has had 58(2)(b) erased from the Book. As a member of the government, he bears a great deal of the collective responsibility for any action taken by this government, for he is by far the brightest, the most finely educated, the most well-read, and the most balanced of the democrats amongst whom he sits. How often can a man write the same thing, over and over again:

"Every citizen of this country who can read, write and think, can say without any fear of contradiction that it is, and always has been, the intent of all our leaders (barring the first), to enforce their will, to tailor the constitution and all of the laws of the land and to interpret them to suit their own special needs so that they may remain in power for ever. During the early years, the leaders did make some sort of effort to pretend that they had the interests of the country and its people at heart, bogus though it may have been, but since 1 -- 1 even pretence has been discarded. Now, it is total blatant glasnost; machinations, schemes and scams are publicly, fearlessly and contemptuously aired. REFERENCE: Consistent honesty? Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending: 12 April 1997 Issue : 03/15 DAWN WIRE SERVICE


MORE DIRT ON Former Judge MALIK QAYYUM, Former Law Minister KHALID ANWER PML-N, Ehtisab Bureau Chief[Accountability Bureau of PML-N] SAIFUR REHMAN [NOW General Musharraf Advisor] AND Justice Rashid Aziz of Lahore High Court.

Judiciary's/Lawyers Checkered History as compiled in a book The Hegemony of the Ruling Elite in Pakistan (2000) by Mr. 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. [Courtesy: HEGEMONY OF THE RULING ELITE by Abdus Sattar Ghazali]

Excerpts from the book:


Absolute power has corrupted our rulers absolutely. They have had their way since the demise of the Quaid-i-Azam. Corruption is a universal weakness and is hardly confined to Pakistan. But, whereas in other countries it is abhorred and severely proscribed and punished, we have allowed corruption to thrive and spread with total impunity. Today, it has pervaded the whole structure of our society, not excluding politicians, bureaucrats and even some sections of the army.[1] Rampant corruption has now reached its peak and has engulfed every segment of the society. Successive governments always made vocal claims and hollow promises to weed it out. But it all sounds false, as all these people were themselves involved in all types of corrupt practices. Pakistan's credit-rating has been lowered by several foreign agencies, and it has been labeled as the third most corrupt country in the world by Transparency International. However, our rulers believe that corruption is a necessary evil in the developing countries that provides incentive for developments.[2]

Corruption has been a perennial charge against all outgoing regimes and its eradication has been on the top of the agenda of all successive regimes. Unfortunately, the ground realities have only worsened in our country despite tall claims and promulgation of a heap of laws to arrest and contain corruption. It's not been the inadequacy of the laws but the failure to implement them, as well as the erroneous approach to contain corruption, which has thwarted every such attempt in the past 52 years.

The first statute, commonly known as PRODA, was enforced by the first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1949. Later, General Ayub Khan, as chief martial law administrator, promulgated PODO in March 1959 which was then substituted by EBDO in August 1959. Under the government of prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Holders of Representative Offices Act and the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies (Disqualification for Membership) Act were passed in 1976. But no case was registered under these two acts which were later repealed by General Ziaul Haq who instead issued two presidential orders, commonly known as PPO No16 and PPO No17 (1977).

In September/October 1996 the then opposition under the leadership of Mian Nawaz Sharif and the then government of prime minister Benazir Bhutto tabled in Parliament their respective bills on accountability. These bills lapsed with the dissolution of the National Assembly. The caretaker government of Malik Meraj Khalid had promulgated the Ehtesab Ordinance (1996) which was replaced by a new act of parliament called the Ehtesab Act (1997). Even this Ehtesab Act was subsequently amended repeatedly by Nawaz Sharif through ordinances. The general elections in 1997 were held on the basis of the laws whereby defaulters of loans and utility bills were disqualified and every candidate was required to submit declaration of his assets not only at the time of election but also every year after becoming members of parliament. The Nawaz Sharif regime had deliberately allowed this law to lapse as it was made through an ordinance.

Since the tenure of the first prime minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, across-the-board accountability has remained the unanimous demand of all sections of the public and, after the dismissal of the Sharif government on October 12, 1999, it was once again a burning issue. Ironically, despite unanimity on this issue, the mode, manner, period and extent of the accountability to be undertaken has never been resolved decisively. In Pakistan, the word ‘accountability’ has only one meaning: to malign and persecute political opponents.

Ehtesab (Accountability) Law

The National Assembly, on May 29, 1997, amended the Ehtesab Ordinance to introduce major changes in the accountability process. The most significant amendment was the shifting of the starting date for accountability from the original 31st December, 1985 (when General Zia lifted the martial law) to 6th August, 1990 (when the first government of Benazir Bhutto was dismissed). The amendment also transferred the power of investigating charges of corruption from the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to the Ehtesab Cell set up by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.






Although the amendment excluded the first Benazir government from the purview of accountability but the exemption for the 1985-90 period is significant since it was during this period that Mr. Nawaz Sharif, in his capacity as the Chief Minister of the Punjab, was strengthening and consolidating his industrial and political base. At the time of passage of the Ehtesab Law, there were reports that there were 167 cases of major loan default which include 107 cases involving top leaders of the PML(N) who got the benefit of huge write-offs and rescheduling during 1985-1990.

BBC Documentary on Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Corruption

The transfer of the power of appointment of the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner from the president to the federal government reduced the office of the CEC to a mere post office. The real power was transferred to the accountability cell in the Prime Minister's secretariat. The head of the Cell, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan, was accountable only to the PM. The amendment also extended ex post facto legal sanction to the PM's accountability cell, which was under attack in a number of writ petitions in the Lahore High Court.

The original ordinance had empowered the CEC to initiate a case on a reference received from the appropriate government, on receipt of a complaint or on his own accord. Under the new amended law, if the CEC deems a reference necessary, he must refer it to the accountability cell for investigation. With all the accountability functions and powers concentrated in a cell functioning in his secretariat, the prime minister was able to keep a strict check not only on the opposition and the bureaucracy but on his own party-men also.

Ehtesab officials get SHO's power

The federal government, on Feb. 4 1998, amended the Ehtesab Act, replacing the name, "Ehtesab Cell", with "Ehtesab Bureau", and provided powers of an SHO to the chief of Ehtesab Bureau or any other official designated by him for the purpose of investigation. The amendments were introduced into the Ehtesab Act through a presidential ordinance, the first by President Rafiq Tarar.

The chief of Ehtesab Bureau or any officer designated by him enjoyed all the powers of an officer-in-charge of a police station. The chairman or designated officer were empowered to require the assistance of any agency or police officer. The amended law provided indemnity to officials of the Ehtesab Bureau on acts deemed to have been done on "good faith".

By amending Section 3 of the Ehtesab Act, the government had again brought in the original definition of "corruption and corrupt practice". In the original Ehtesab Ordinance, corruption by a government official was defined as "favours or disfavours to any person." Through a subsequent amendment in the original Ehtesab Ordinance of 1996, the words "any other person" was replaced with the words "his spouse or dependents." The government again restored the original meaning that any favour by a government official to other person other than his/her spouse or dependents would also fall in the definition of corruption, and he would be held responsible for that.

A reference made to the Ehtesab Bureau was to be treated as a report under section 154 of the Penal Code. After the reference of any case to the Ehtesab Bureau by the Ehtesab Commissioner, it would be an exclusive responsibility of the bureau to examine all the material, evidence and proof. No other agency had a power to look into the matter. For the purpose of inquiry into any matter referred to the Ehtesab Bureau, the chairman and the bureau had the powers of an officer in charge of a police station, including the power to ask any citizen to appear before it. Every government agency, police official or any other government official was bound to assist the Ehtesab Bureau in investigation.

After the amendment, the Ehtesab Bureau was also empowered to ask the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner to make a request to any court for the withdrawal of any case pending in a court. If the application was granted by the court, the case will be transferred to the Ehtesab Bureau. The Chief Ehtesab Commissioner had the powers at any stage of proceedings against an accused under the Ehtesab Act, to order the arrest of the accused..

The Bureau became an independent investigating agency with teeth of its own and therefore not dependent, as it formerly was, upon the powers of the FIA. This may be a sequel to the turf war between Senator Saifur Rehman's ehtesab machine and Ch. Shujaat Hussain's interior ministry, both of whom were vying for control over the FIA. The first and most striking change of course was to strip the original law of its neutrality and place the powers of investigation and prosecution firmly in the Prime Minister's Secretariat.

How FIA kidnapped notables to please Saif-ur-Rahman

Chairman of the Ehtesab Bureau, Senator Saif-ur-Rahman, used his power to harass political opponents and kidnapping leading businessmen. He operated mostly through a select group of FIA officials while Nawaz Sharif had first-hand information about Saif's involvement in the kidnapping of some of the very reputed citizens as he ignored strong complaints against this nasty operation even from his cabinet colleagues. [3]

For instance when the FIA sleuths kidnapped Farooq Hasan, owner of Hasan Associates, a renowned builder and developer of Karachi in 1998 and locked him at a Saif-run safe house in Islamabad, federal minister Halim Siddiqi had rushed to Nawaz Sharif to inform him about Saif's involvement in the kidnapping of a well-known Karachi businessman. Halim Siddiqi's pleas both to Sharif and Saif went unheeded as Hasan had to stay for about a week in Saif's dungeon and was only released when he signed a confessional statement that had been prepared by Saif's lieutenant at the Ehtesab Cell. Saif prepared confessional statement for Farooq Hasan relating to dealings of AES power plant with the Benazir government. Throughout his confinement Hasan was physically abused, mentally tortured and was not allowed to sleep. Hasan was also kept and interrogated at Saif's personal residence in Islamabad.

Jamil Ansari, the Chief Executive of a famous trading and business group in Karachi, was also kidnapped in 1998 by the FIA while he was about to board a Karachi-bound flight from Islamabad. For the next four days Ansari's family in Karachi had no knowledge of his whereabouts. The case was soon brought to the knowledge of Nawaz Sharif, who conveniently ignored protest from an associate who thought that such daylight kidnappings of the business luminaries without any charges would bring the PML government into disrepute. For more than a week, Ansari, a businessman, was questioned for his friendship with a ranking naval official. This week-long illegal detention under Saif's orders of the chief executive of a reputed firm had sent a shock wave in Karachi's mercantile community, but the Nawaz Sharif administration was not bothered.

The FIA was also involved in the kidnapping of Shahzad Sherry, a well-known international banker, from Karachi. Like other victims, Sherry was also swiftly shifted to Islamabad, where he was locked at a government-run safe house. For several days Sherry was kept in illegal confinement and questioned by the former Ehtesab Bureau stalwarts including Senator Saif-ur-Rahman. Sherry was apparently also paying price for his friendship with certain naval officials. His detention also continued for several days before being released without bringing any criminal charges against him.

Karachi-based Jamil Hamdani, another representative of an international bank, was kidnapped from his house in Defence Society Karachi in Oct. 1999 and was forced to board an Islamabad-bound flight for an urgent meeting with Saif-ur-Rahman and his team. Saif pointedly informed Hamdani about his disliking for his bank's interest in the privatisation of Habib Bank Limited. Jamil Hamdani was believed to be working on an international consortium that was interested in the management of overseas operations of Habib Bank. No apologies were offered after Hamdani was set free three days later by the Ehtesab sleuths who also warned him not to talk to the press about his ordeal.

Saif's frenzy to get private citizens abducted through the FIA touched its peak last year when he used the federal agency to kidnap Arif Zarwani, a UAE national and a reputed businessman, from his friend's house in Defence Society Karachi. Zarwani, who had been arrested in an FIA-cum-police raid, was quickly flown to Islamabad, where he was handed over to Wasim Afzal, a close associate of Saif-ur-Rahman. The Ehtesab action created a stir in the UAE as Nawaz Sharif was personally told that Zarwani's kidnapping in Karachi had endangered his official visit next day to the UAE. Zarwani, who was apparently picked up for his ties with Asif Zardari, was freed from the Ehtesab clutches, two days later, only after he was forced to listen to a telephonic sermon from Saif who was then touring Europe. No reasons were given for Arif Zarwani's arrest nor any criminal charges were brought against him. Despite an official protest from the UAE Nawaz Sharif did not question Saif or the FIA for the kidnapping of a foreign national.

In another case Ghulam Mustafa Memon, a well-known petroleum dealer and a former friend of Asif Ali Zardari, was kidnapped in an FIA action from his house in Defence Society, Karachi in 1998. During the operation the FIA sleuths ransacked his house. Memon, like other victims, was quickly flown to Islamabad where he was kept at a safe house for about a week. Mustafa Memon said that during the detention, he went through severe physical torture and mental harassment at the hands of senior Ehtesab officials. At last a week later Mustafa was quietly released from Islamabad and no criminal charges were brought against him.

Among others who made the hostage list of Saif-ur-Rahman was Naeemuddin Khan, a senior United Bank Limited (UBL) executive responsible for recovering Rs 1.2 billion loans from Saif-ur-Rahman's Redco Textile Mills. While using the FIA in the kidnapping of Naeemuddin Khan from his room at Karachi's Pearl Continental Hotel, Senator Saif is understood to have told the FIA that Naeemuddin was involved in money laundering. Without verifying the facts an FIA team barged into Naeemuddin's room in August this year and in the next few hours he was facing a Saif-ur-Rahman interrogation squad at an unspecified location in Islamabad. Naeemuddin's ordeal ended after Nawaz Sharif listened to a strong complaint in this regard from National Assembly Speaker Illahi Bukhsh Soomro and ordered the bank executive's release. Sharif, however, refused to order any probe into the kidnapping of a bank executive who was being punished for his attempt to recover Rs 1.2 billion of loan from Saif-ur-Rahman.

Leading newspaper columnist Hussain Haqqani had been kidnapped by the FIA sleuths along with his brother, an active service Army Colonel, during an evening stroll on direct orders from Saif-ur-Rahman in early 1999. It was at least three days after Haqqani's kidnapping that Saif-ur-Rahman ordered the FIA bosses to "produce" a case against him. Official sources confirmed Haqqani's account that he was beaten and kept awake during the first week of his arrest. Haqqani was of the few Saif victims whose captivity brought criminal charges, vehemently denied by Haqqani who said that the cases against him was the figment of Saif's imagination.

The annual 1997 Human Rights Report of US State Department said the Accountability Commission, established by the caretaker government and headed by a retired judge, had been overshadowed by an "accountability cell," headed by a close associate of the prime minister. This cell had been accused of conducting politically-motivated investigations of politicians, senior civil servants, and business figures, designed to extract evidence and, in some cases, televised confessions of alleged wrongdoers. The report gave the examples of televised confessions extracted from Salman Farooqi, secretary of commerce under Benazir Bhutto; Ahmed Sadiq, Benazir Bhutto's principal secretary; and Zafar Iqbal, chairman of the Capital Development Authority. It said most politicians and bureaucrats, who had been charged with corruption or other crimes, were out on bail.

1. Sardar Sherbaz Mazari, Corruption: Stench is everywhere - Dawn 4-7-1994

2. Bare bones - unrefuted, Dawn 6.10,1995

3. The News 6-11-99


Pakistan has a very poor human rights record since the rule of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who established the Federal Security Force to eliminate his political opponents. Ironically, his implication in a political murder led to his execution. General Ziaul Haq's 11-year military rule witnessed lashing of anti-government elements in the name of Islam. However, the 11-year post-Zia psedo-democratic era experienced the worst kind of human rights violations.


The Benazir government made even General Zia, the military dictator, look like a liberal by its decision to consider deposition of an accused before the police as a valid evidence against him. The President promulgated an ordinance in April 1995 that permits confessions or statements against third persons obtained during police interrogations in parts of the country, declared to be terrorist affected areas, to be used in court. Human rights monitors view this ordinance as an endorse ment of police torture to obtain evidence, while the gov ernment argues that the law is currently not applied, because no part of the country has been declared a terrorist affected area.[1] The law authorizes the police and the civil armed forces (Rangers, Frontier Corps, Frontier Con stabulary, or any other forces designated by the government) to use force against suspects. By allowing confessions to police as proven evidence the policemen are being given a legally protected excuse to liquidate their quarry in the so-called encounters.[2]

It is ironic indeed that the government of Pakistan -- that is (as our leaders keep reminding us ad nauseam) free and democratic -- has seen fit to do away with a protection against police brutality that in fact antedates even the British Raj. The origins of section 38 can be traced to 1817, i.e. the days of East India Company. More than a hundred years ago, in Queen-Empress vs Babu Lal (1884) 6 All 509, a Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court had the occasion to examine sec tion 25 of the Evidence Act. The observations of the learned judges as to the absolute need for protection provided by this section (or its pre sent form, section 38) still ring true and can, unfortunately, be readily appreciated by modern day Pakistanis as representing the harsh reali ties on the ground here today. One of the judges, Justice Mahmood (who, incidentally, was one of the first Muslims to be elevated to the High Court), observed:

"These legislative provisions leave no doubt in mind that the Legisla ture had in view the mal-practices of police officers in extorting con fessions from accused persons in order to gain credit by securing con victions and that those malpractices went to the length of positive tor ture The object of the rules was to put a stop to the extortion of con fessions, by taking away from the police officers the advantage of proving such extorted confessions during the trial of accused per sons." [3]

By Ordinance XXXIX of 1995, a new section 11A has been intro duced in the Terrorist Affected Areas (Special Courts) Acts, 1992. The material portion of the new section is as follows: "Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 38 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat, 1984, the confession made by a person...before a police officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police may be proved against him..." In other words, section 11A attempts, insofar as offenses tri able under the Terrorist Affected Areas Act are concerned, to do away with the protection contained in section 38 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat. Section 38 provides with admirable brevity as follows: "No confession made to a police officer shall be proved against any person accused of an offence."

Commenting on this retrogressive piece of legislation, the daily Dawn_ said: Do we need to be reminded how our police work and what sophisticated methods they use to carry out their investigations? In the armory of our police force no tool of investigation is more fre quently used than what in the local lingo is called the chittar, a vicious piece of leather with a handle which no police station through the land is without and which is used indiscriminately not only on offenders but on anyone else foolish enough to provoke the police's anger. Indeed, even a more reprehensible feature of the ordinance than the threat to innocent detainees is the danger that it will further undermine public faith in the system of justice.


Ghulam Hussein Unnar's case symbolizes the height of "state terror ism."[4] The hereditary chieftain of the Unnar tribe contested the 1985 partyless elections from Larkana and was elected. In 1988, elections he stood on a PPP ticket and was again elected to the provincial as sembly. During Benazir's second stint he emerged as a popular politi cian on the wrong side of the fence. He contested the 1993 elections on a Pakistan Muslim League [Functional] ticket and lost by only 2,000 votes. Unnar claimed it was due to rigging. Between November 1993 and February 1994, 17 anti-corruption cases were brought against him, for 14 of which he managed to get bail before arrest from the Sindh High Court, and for the remaining three bail from the special anti-corruption court in Larkana. Between February and June 1994 he was detained four times under the Maintenance of Public Order Ordi nance. The blind FIR cycle of arrests was brought into play against him in July 1994, and it kept him continuously in custody until De cember 5, 1995. He was too sick to be flown abroad and was admitted to the Agha Khan hospital where he expired on January 25, 1996. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court, Nasir Aslam Zahid, on April 3, 1994, or dered that Unnar be examined by a medical board, which was done on April 4. The board recommended that he be hospitalized forthwith and the CJ ordered so on April 8. His orders were disregarded, and a con tempt application had to be filed on April 12. CJ Zahid reprimanded the authorities and very ill Unnar was taken to the Larkana hospital on April 15. On April 16, 1994, Justice Zahid was removed from his post as Chief Justice of the SHC and he took his oath as a member of the Shariat Court. It is clear that Unnar was made to pay for his collabora tion with Jam Sadiq Ali's government, which persecuted several senior members of the PPP in Larkana, Benazir's home district.

Ironically, it was Jam Sadiq's government which demonstrated that "blind FIRs" as the former Sindh Chief Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid termed them, are a convenient tool to harass political opponents and settle old score. The MQM has also alleged that its senior members and activists have been falsely implicated in several such FIRs, and that no elected member of his party has less than 50 cases to their name.

A blind First Information Report (FIR) is an FIR for which no case can possibly be made. It can be used in the so-called 'blind' system to hold in remand those whom the 'authorities' wish to harass for political or vengeful or other reasons. A cop whips out a dormant case file, asks his obliging magistrate to remand the victim in his custody for 14 days (maximum permissible) for 'interrogation,' at the end of which he pro nounces his suspect to be innocent and releases him. But before the victim is freed, another cop takes over and the cycle continues till the 'high-ups' feel that the victim has had enough. The blind FIR system is operated by Station House Offices who have bought their police sta tions - the purchasing having been acknowledged by none less than the President of the Republic.[5]


On November 30, 1994, the Benazir government withdrew army from Karachi and other towns of Sindh as it failed to restore lasting peace in its 29-month operation. The army was replaced by the Rangers force which launched ruthless operations of mass arrests, siege of Mohajir localities, and at random killings of alleged terrorists in order to root out what the government called "the MQM terrorists." According to the Pakistan Human Rights Commission report, 353 people were killed and 649 were injured between October 1993 and November 1994 while the army was operating in Sindh.[6] But more than 850 people had been killed within seven months of the operation by June 1995, including 280 in June alone. By the year end, 1800 people had been killed by the official count.

Benazir enraged the Mohajirs when she called them as 'buzdil chu has." While addressing a rally in Kasur on May 25, 1995, she said "cowardly mice had come out to spread terror."[7] Sindh remained disturbed with crime, terrorism, ethnic prejudices and gang warfare between MQM factions. The top PPP leadership recognized only three aspects of trouble in Karachi and rest of Sindh: politically a suspect MQM with which it is necessary to keep talking; terrorism that still stalks needs to be fought tooth and nail; and there is subversion and sabotage by India. It does not suspect that there can be a political di mension to terrorism or that negotiations with an opposition party, un less they are seriously intended and are purposeful, can do more harm than good. [8]

On the situation in Karachi, the US Human Rights Report for 1995 pointed out: "The number of extra-judicial killings, often in the form of deaths in police custody or staged encounters in which the police or paramilitary forces shoot and kill the suspects, increased in 1995. Most of such killings occurred in Sindh province in clashes between the gov ernment and factions of the MQM. In trying to restore order in Kara chi, the government regularly used excessive force, including tor ture and alleged encounter killings, against MQM activists. The rate of po litically motivated murders in Karachi reached an average of 10 per day in July; by year's end, over 1,800 people had been killed. Accord ing to the Karachi police, 500 police officers had been sus pended for misbehavior as of September. None was known to have been prose cuted for abuses.

"Many observers believe the government to have been responsible for the murders of Altaf Hussain's brother and nephew in retaliation for the murder of the brother of the Sindh Chief Minister.

"Both main MQM factions, the MQM/A and the Haqiqi faction, re sorted to extra-judicial killings and torture of their opponents and tar geted police and security officials. Although the MQM/A consistently claims that its activists are innocent, unarmed victims of ethnic vio lence, disinterested observers believe that cells of armed MQM/A ac tivists are responsible for a considerable amount of Karachi's violence and crime. This includes extortion of large sums of money from Mo hajir businessmen as well asothers.

"The government uses mass arrests to quell civil unrest. During at tempts to reduce crime and violence in Karachi, the MQM/A claimed that police and Rangers arrested 7,000 Mohajirs in numerous police sweeps. Many of those arrested were not suspected of committing a specific crime, and were allegedly held until family members paid po lice officers a ransom for their release."

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its report on the state of human rights in 1995 noted that several hundred persons in Karachi and around 180 in Punjab were killed in the so-called police encoun ters or police custody.[9]

The Amnesty International, in its 1995 report on "Human Rights Crisis in Karachi,"[10] apportioned blame for continued violence in Karachi to both the law enforcement agencies and the armed opposition groups. It documented cases of arbitrary arrests, torture, deaths in custody, ex tra-judicial executions, "disappearances" allegedly committed by law enforcement personnel and the human rights abuses allegedly perpe trated by armed opposition groups.

However, the AI emphasized that human rights abuses perpetrated by armed opposition groups may never be used by law enforcement per sonnel as an excuse to ignore national and international human rights safeguards and to commit human rights violations themselves; to tor ture, kill or "disappear" people described by the government as "terrorists." The report criticized the government for failing to protect political activists, journalists and ordinary residents of Karachi from human rights abuses. It found that in some cases, those in authority appear to have condoned abuses by some armed opposition groups.

"Killings have been taking place due to an ongoing struggle between the two factions of the MQM and a government campaign to restore law and order implemented by the police and paramilitary Rangers. The government holds the MQM responsible for most of the human rights abuses, while the MQM has declared that the government is at tempting to crush them as an organized political force by unlawfully detaining its workers, torturing and extra-judicially killing them, forcing them to change their political allegiance and perpetrating crimes for which the MQM is held responsible.

"The government in its determination to restore law and order has called upon the police to use "ruthlessness," and they have been tempted to use harsher, and sometimes unlawful methods in dealing with armed opposition groups who have targeted law enforcement per sonnel. The slowness of judicial process has also led police officers to take law in their own hands. The government's heavy-handed searches, the harassment to which Mohajirs and MQM members are subjected, and other human rights violations, it is feared, may drive young Mohajirs to extremism. Some observers told the Amnesty Inter national that the MQM leadership may already have lost control over some of its militant youth groups.

The report also looked at complaints of torture, ill-treatment and in timidation of prisoners, and detainees in the police custody. The blind-folding of people during cordon-and-search was also reported. The detained persons are known to have included boys as young as 12 and old men. There have also been reports that torture of prisoners was carried out with intent to extract money from concerned family mem bers. "The frequency with which people believed to be MQM mem bers, or to be closely associated with MQM members are subjected to torture and extortion, suggests that the police assume that they can do so with impunity," the report concluded.

When it suited successive governments in Islamabad, the MQM was accommodated, but when Altaf Hussain was no longer required, he was unceremoniously dumped. However, all along, the MQM re mained an armed and very dangerous group: for this government to pretend that it has just discovered the true nature of this ethnic party is a bit disingenuous.[11]

During Benazir's first stint in office, on 27 May 1990, the Sindh government launched a crackdown in Hyderabad, the bastion of the MQM power. Shoot-on-sight curfew was imposed, and a police house-to-house search be gan. There were conflicting reports over what happened next but, in what became known as the Pucca Qila massacre, crowds of Mohajirs emerged from Hyerdabad fort, fronted by women and children holding the Holy Quran over their heads. The PPP claimed that behind them were snip ers who began shooting at the police, while the MQM claimed that the police, unprovoked, brutally began firing at the women. Thirty-one women and children were killed, sparking off as usual a chain reaction in Karachi. According to some reports, the final death toll was 70 in Hyderabad and more than 250 elsewhere.

Finally the army intervened, quickly restoring peace and wel comed by banners calling for martial law. Iqbal Haider, an ad viser to the Sindh Chief Minister, said that the army's interven tion caused con fusion be cause neither the federal nor the pro vincial government had called on their support. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan denounced the Pucca Qila operation and pointed out that the terrorists were present in all the parties, and should be eliminated without discrimination.


The US report described the overall human rights situation in Pakistan as "difficult" and mainly blamed the government for the failure. Mem bers of security forces committed numerous abuses in 1995. Although the government has publicly pledged to address human rights concerns, particularly those involving women, child labor, and minor ity relig ions, the overall human rights situation remains difficult.

"Police and prison officials routinely use force to elicit confessions and compel detainees to incriminate others; the practice has become a stan dard procedure. Common torture methods included: beating, burning with cigarettes, whipping the soles of the feet, sexual assault, prolonged isolation, electric shock, denial of food or sleep, handing upside down, forced spreading of the legs and public humiliation. Some magistrates and doctors helped cover up the abuse by issuing investigation and medical reports that the victims died of natural causes.

"The overall failure of successive governments to prosecute and punish the abusers, however, was the single largest obstacle to ending or even reducing the incidence of abuse. The authorities sometimes trans ferred, arrested, or suspended officers, but seldom prosecuted or pun ished them. Investigating officers generally shielded their colleagues. Persons attempting to bring charges against police officers were often threatened by other officers and dropped the charges."

In March 1995, a contingent of Rangers surrounded the City Courts in Karachi and searched the court rooms. Sixty persons were taken into custody.[12]

On 13 August 1997, one day before the nation celebrated 50th anniversary of its independence, the Anti-Terrorism Act was bulldozed through parliament without so much as a debate. The Act has justifiably been criticized by almost across the board, even from within the ranks of the ruling party and its coalition allies. Yet on the day that it was introduced in parliament, the ATA was endorsed within three hours. Its numerous critics maintained that the ATA turns the country into a police state and it violates the constitution. The ATA, in effect, gives the law enforcing agencies and army a license to kill as it empowers the police to kill a person on mere suspicion. It also empowers the police to search a house and arrest a person without warrant.

The judiciary also opposed the ATA and many feared that the law would be grossly abused. Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, failed to convince Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, on August 20, of the need to establish special courts under the ATA. The bar associations also condemned the law.

Adding to the credibility problem of the anti-terrorism law was the attitude of law minister Khalid Anwer who first surprised his colleagues by allowing the government to push through this piece of dubious legislation. Khalid Anwer then proceeded to distance himself from the ATA a few days after it was enacted. He even went so far as to declare that he would have opposed the law, had he been in the opposition. This was then followed by the claim that the law would be phased out once the situation was under control.

Six special courts started work in the Punjab province on August 25 while the special courts were established in the Sindh province on August 25. The critics fears came true when the police started sending cases to special speedy trial courts set up under the ATA. The Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory was reported under pressure from the government to issue 'positive results' about weapons used in cases being tried by the special courts set up under the ATA.

According to a reported published by Dawn Karachi on 13.2.1998 weapons used in more than 1,000 cases were sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory to ascertain whether or not they were used by the accused during the terrorist or sectarian act for which he was being tried. Interestingly, all the weapons tested positive with the experts, providing sufficient evidence for the prosecution to obtain maximum punishment for the accused. These reports formed part of the evidence against the accused and on its basis as many as 55 people have been sentenced to death, including three sectarian accused. Some 32 people have been sentenced to life imprisonment or for seven years rigorous imprisonment.

Following the establishment of anti-terrorist courts police started sending cases of sectarian and terrorist incidents to these courts for speedy adjudication. However, in a majority of cases sufficient evidence was not available to establish the guilt of the accused and the government feared that the courts might acquit them.

The officials of the Forensic Science Laboratory were reportedly directed by the government to issue 'positive results' in all cases involving sectarian incidents. After every incident police collected shells of the weapons from the scene of crime. Whenever an accused was arrested, police claimed having recovered automatic weapons from his custody. In some cases the bullet shells collected from a crime scene years ago matched with the weapons recovered from the accused on arrest. It was ironic that some officials insist on matching the shells recovered from a scene of crime in 1990 with that of a weapon recovered from the custody of the accused in 1997. [13]

The government, on Oct. 24, 1998, promulgated the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance with substantial changes in the controversial ATA and widened its application. Now cases of gang-rape, child molestation or robbery coupled with rape could also be tried in the ATA courts. One of the most controversial sections of the ATA, regarding confession before a police officer as valid piece of evidence was omitted totally. Under the amended ATA, the law enforcers still enjoyed the power to shoot at person or persons who have committed or are committing act of terrorism

The Supreme Court, on May 15, 1998, declared 12 provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) as invalid, and brought special courts on par with ordinary courts working within the existing judicial system. The court ruled that the power to law enforcement agencies to open fire on suspicion of terrorism and accepting a confession before a DSP as valid piece of evidence, were untenable and needed to be amended. The court also directed the government to make an amendment in the ATA to vest the appellate power in a high court instead of an appellate tribunal.

During the hearings of constitutional petitions, the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ajmal Mian observed that the anti-terrorism act (ATA) had given law enforcement agencies a license to kill. He also observed that to deal with the menace of terrorism, it was not mandatory that special courts, bypassing the existing judicial system, should be set up.

The President promulgated an ordinance, on April 28, 1999, to make it possible for the Anti-Terrorist courts to function in the light of the Supreme Court decision on military courts. The ordinance called as Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Ordinance 1999, was promulgated on the official holiday of Ashura (10th of Moharram). Three days later, the government amended the schedule of the Anti Terrorism Act, expanding its application to the 'unnatural' offences committed with a child under the age of 12 years.

The ordinance adopted the definition of terrorist act which was given in the Ordinance XII of 1998 (Establishment of Military Courts). The government also created a new offence in the form of "civil commotion" that is defined as: "Civil commotion means creation of internal disturbances in violation of law, or intended to violate law, commencement or continuation of illegal strike, go slow, lock outs, vehicle snatching or lifting, damage to or destruction of state or private property, random firing to create panic, charging bhatta, acts of criminal trespass (illegal qbza), distributing, publishing or pasting of a handbill or making graffiti or wall chalking intended to create unrest or fear or create a threat to the security of law and order or to incite the commission of an offence punishable under Chapter VI of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV 1986)."

The ordinance allows more than ample scope for the government to target political dissidents in the name of combating terrorism. Opposition leaders were of the view that the new law was not aimed at crushing terrorism but political dissent. The new anti-terrorism ordinance virtually suspended civil liberties.

The ordinance violated the constitution as it was retrospectively effective from February 24, 1999. Article 12 (1-a) of the constitution says "No law shall authorize the punishment of any person for an act or omission that was not punishable by law at the time of the act or omission."

This ordinance had its roots in Martial Law Order 3 and 13, promulgated during General Zia's tenure and was now finding light again in the tenure of his political heir. However, even under the Martial Law provisions the term of strikes, lockouts, go-slow, distributing, publishing or pasting of a hand-bill or wall chalking or illegal assembly was not as severe as provided in the new section 7B of the Ordinance, with a rigorous imprisonment for a term which extended to seven years, or with fine or with both.

The ATA courts could not function for 72 days as the ordinance which was promulgated in the light of the Supreme Court in Mehram Ali case, had lapsed, and the bill which was passed by the National Assembly was pending in the Senate.

Syed Iqbal Haider of Muslim Welfare Movement (MWM), challenged the latest Anti-Terrorism Ordinance (amendment) 1999 in the Supreme Court. The petitioner contended that the first Anti-Terrorism (amendment) ordinance was promulgated by the President of Pakistan on Oct. 24, 1998, in accordance with the spirit of Mehram Ali case. The ordinance was placed before the parliament for enactment which is still pending in the Senate. However, in the meantime the ordinance lapsed. He further said that the number of sections of ATO 1999 were in-consistent with the provisions of the constitution including Article 5, 8, 9, 12, 14, 17, 25, 189 and 190 of the constitution.


A nine-member bench of the Supreme Court, on Feb. 17, 1999, unanimously declared the setting up of military courts for the trial of civilians as unconstitutional and without lawful authority. The apex court, however, provided a mechanism for speedy trial of the cases relating to "terrorism". It set aside all the convictions of the military courts which had not been executed. It held that all the cases in which sentence had been awarded but no execution had taken place should be transferred to the anti-terrorist courts already in existence or which might be created in terms of the guidelines provided by the bench.

The court clarified that its decisions would not affect the sentences and punishment already awarded and executed by the military courts, and the cases would be treated as past and closed transactions.

The apex court said that an Anti-Terrorist special court should pronounce judgment within seven days, as already provided in Anti-Terrorist Act. [Military courts were also required to dispose of cases within seven days.] The appeal arising out of an order/judgment of the special court should be decided by the appellate forum within seven days from the filing of such appeal. Under the amended ATA, an appeal is provided in a high court and subsequently, in the Supreme Court.

The petitions challenging the establishment of military courts were filed by the MQM through its deputy convener Senator Aftab Sheikh, MQM parliamentary leader in National Assembly, Sheikh Liaqat Ali, PPP leader from Sindh, Nisar Khoro, Muslim Welfare Movement's Syed Iqbal Haider and Shahid Orakzai.

During the hearing, Chief Justice Ajmal Mian observed that the army could be asked to assist the civil power under Article 245 of the constitution but could not be given judicial powers. He also observed that the hanging of even 200 people through military courts would not yield the desired results, and the Karachi problem might aggravate.


On October 28, 1998, it suddenly dawned upon Mian Nawaz Sharif that his erstwhile partners in power were terrorists. At his press conference, he directly accused the MQM of involvement in the assassination of Hakeem Saeed. He even named certain people, among them that of a sitting MPA. It was unprecedented by any account. Nobody holding the post of Prime Minister had ever made such a flagrant indictment of a political party during the 50 years' history of Pakistan. Two days after the Prime Minister's public indictment, governor's rule was imposed in Sindh, but the assembly was neither dissolved nor suspended. [14]

The Sindh government was dismissed only because the MQM had distanced itself from the coalition. There was a genuine belief that the PPP could form the government in Sindh. Only this fear motivated the dismissal of the coalition government of which the PML was not the dominant partner. Muslim League depended on this party far more for ruling in Sindh than it did on ANP for staying in power in NWFP. The League's political presence in Sindh, let alone its ability to form a government there and keep the PPP out, would have been close to zilch but for the party's urban solid strength. Granted this wholly unmerited pre-eminence in the province, the Prime Minister was ready to give whatever the other asked for in return. Thus, for instance, after his meeting with Altaf Hussain in London in February 1998, the MP's spokesman Chaudhry Nisar Ali came out and announced in absolute terms that a complete identity of views and consensus was found in all the matters raised and discussed.. [15]

What all those matters were needed no guesswork: Altaf Hussain had been talking of them all the time. They included withdrawal of all cases registered against him and other MQM leaders and workers; freedom for all his party men in jail, including release on parole of those who were under trial for serious offences and speedy conclusion of their cases; compensation to those or the families of those who had suffered under the army operation and afterwards; and end to the so-called no-go areas held by MQM's break-away faction called the Haqiqis. [16]

The Prime Minister started delivering on each of these promises. But there apparently came a point were others in the establishment put their foot down. The message was that those with several murder cases against their name could not be freed even on parole and secondly, the Haqiqis had to survive even if they had demonstrated no popular support they could not be allowed to be overwhelmed by the main party. A sort of cold war then ensued between the coalition partners and as MQM's own men began increasingly to fall in the periodic terrorist mayhem the relations turned abrasively chilly with each such episode. MQM also around this time decided that its political support should not always be taken for granted. It made strong reservations on the population census, it boycotted the parliamentary vote on the declaration of the state of emergency following the nuclear tests, and perhaps, most annoyingly of all, it refused to back Mian Nawaz Sharif's 15th Constitutional Amendment. [17]

Hakeem Saeed's murder on Oct. 17, 1998 proved to be an opportunity for Mian Nawaz Sharif, on the one hand, to pacify growing resentment in certain sections within his party over what they thought was his bending over backwards to appease and pamper the MQM, and on the other hand, to control Sindh directly without any shaky intermediaries and with an iron fist. [18]

After a couple of weeks later, the armed forces were given powers under section 245 of the Constitution with the avowed objective of weeding out terrorism and restoring law and order in a city that had defied all previous attempts at doing so. The forces were supposed to set up military courts soon afterwards, but the GHQ took up to December 7 to do so. The initial plan had given just three days to decide a case, but the military authorities apparently felt the period was too short. Military courts had sentenced seven people to death within a couple of weeks, among them a thirteen-year-old boy. Hundreds of other political workers, supporters and even common men were arrested. Nearly all of them belong to Muttahida, two of whose top leaders, Shoaib Bukhari and Wakil Jamali, were among the first to be picked up, beaten up and interrogated in an unbelievable number of cases. Mr. Bokhari alone faces around 150 cases on an assortment of charges. [19]

One of the prime suspects arrested in connection with the Hakeem Saeed murder case in the first round, Fasih Ahmad alias Fasih Jugnu, died in CIA custody apparently from police brutality, on Oct. 23, 1998. He was in his mid-20s and was believed to have been taken into custody at least two days before the CIA confirmed the arrest. The police claimed that Jugnu had died of poison he had taken while in custody. However, the medico-legal report identified as many as 27 injury marks on various parts of his body.A month later, 35-year old Mubashir died in police custody. He too had been arrested in connection with the Hakeem Saeed murder case. The police claimed that Mubashir had died of heart failure. [20]

After the army stepped in, there was an initial ebbing of the most common of the crimes that has plagued Karachi and other cities of Sindh for years -- extortion of bhatta by the so-called activists of political parties. But the menace soon reappeared in the form of roadside loot by the police and rangers. [21]

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had accused an MPA and seven other activists of his coalition partners, MQM, of being involved in the murder of Hakeem Saeed, and gave them three days to hand over the accused, failing which there would be a parting of ways. He told a news conference in Karachi, that he had "credible and incontrovertible evidence based on the statements of Aamirullah and others. However, onNov. 4, the Advocate General, M. Iqbal Raad, told the Sindh High Court that Sheikh Mohammad Aamirullah, accused in the murder of Hakeem Mohammad Saeed, has not so far given his confessional statement which is required to be given before a magistrate under Section 164 CrPC. He added that the accused has only confessed to having had a part in the murder before the police and notables. Qazi Khalid, a former minister, told the court that there were contradictory versions of Aamirullah's "confessional statement" given by the Prime Minister and the advocate general. He said the Prime Minister had been on record as having told a countrywide audience that Aamirullah had confessed to murdering Hakeem Saeed. He then observed that the prime minister has misled the nation on the television network by claiming that Aamirullah had confessed to the whole thing, thus maligning the MQM in the eyes of the public throughout the country through print and electronic media.


The extra-judicial killing of alleged outlaws continued throughout 1998. In all, 566 persons were recorded killed in police encounters, including 395 in Punjab . On average, one person being killed every fourth day in Punjab.

The Sindh government conceded on March 9, 1999, that at least two incidents of extra-judicial killings had taken place in Karachi since the imposition of governor's rule. The Home Department said that it has been established in two of the three judicial inquiry reports that the police had resorted to extra-judicial killings and in those cases two people had been killed in cold blood. The inquiry report in which police was found as murders pertained to Israr, who was shown by the Korangi police as killed in an encounter and to Abdul Salam, who was killed by four persons, including a policeman.

Relatives of those killed in police custody since the imposition of governor's rule in Sindh on March 17, 1999 accused the government of not doing justice by not apprehending those who had been nominated for the alleged excesses. Some of them had no connection with the MQM. They alleged that the police were behaving like bandits who kidnapped people and killed them, after subjecting them to severe torture, when their demand was not met. Narrating the ordeal of his son's arrest by the SHO Liaquatabad on 23rd Ramazan, Sabih Ahmad alleged that when he went to the police station he was asked to pay Rs. 100,000 for Arman's freedom. When he explained his inability to do so because he was a poor man, the policemen told him that in case of failure to meet their demand, he would get his son's dead body. The next day when Arman was produced in the court he could not sit and complained of severe torture by the police. Later, police abandoned Arman in Abbasi Shaeed hospital after the police obtained his signature on a blank paper. Arman succumbed to the injuries caused by police. [22]

]In a police custody murder case, Justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudry of Lahore High Court observed : It is painful to note that in a case like the instant one where a police officer is alleged to have killed an innocent man in extra-judicial manner, it is almost impossible for the higher police officers to record an adverse finding against their subordinates. It was absolutely unthinkable that police would submit a challan under Section 302 (culpable homicide or Qtal-i-Amad) of the Pakistan Penal Code against an SHO. It is a tendency and common habit with higher police officers to protect their thanedars (SHOs) and constables imprudently. This practice is highly deplorable and deserves the severest condemnation. [23]


Police high handedness against ordinary citizens is very common, often without any recourse to justice. The government's use of police for silencing political opponents has so embolden the police that it feels free to manhandle judges.

Two civil judges were manhandled by the Vehari (Punjab) police when they visited the police station to check irregularities and misuse of powers. There had been reports of the illegal detention of some people at the police station and the judges asked for the reasons for their detention and wanted to examine the daily register. The SHO responded by resorting to violence. [24]

Former Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan, Syed Sajjad Ali Shah narrating details as to how Mian Nawaz Sharif and PML - N had attacked the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1997.

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 1

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 2

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 3

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 4

Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Attacked Supreme Court 5

The Sargodha police took a special court judge, Javed Iqbal, hostage in the district jail after he convicted three police officials and magistrate of "faulty investigations" in the murder case of a former commissioner, Tajammul Abbas. When the judge asked the jail administration to handcuff the four, police personnel present in and outside the jail warned him that they would not let the judge leave the premises if anybody tried to arrest the officials. They snatched keys from the driver of the judge's car and parked official vehicles on the main gate. The siege was lifted after the four officials safely left the jail. On Jan. 28, the Lahore Court suspended the judgment of the Sargodha Special judge and released on bail the police officials and magistrate concerned. [25]


A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threat over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious manner the other day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, is picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the Sharif family. Hussain Haqqani is picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center in connection with charges vaguely to do with money embezzlement while he held government office.

The residence of Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of Herald monthly and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26,1998. The police harassed the family and also arrested his 28-year old son, Moonis, who was later released. On Feb. 13, 1999, three persons, including Senator Abul Hayee Baloch and a lady worker from Lahore, were injured when the police baton-charged, used water cannons and threw bricks on a peaceful procession of the Pakistan Awami Ittehad in front of the parliament house in Islamabad. The march, organized by the PAI for the freedom of the press, was led by PAI president Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and secretary general of the alliance Hamid Nasir Chatta, besides a number of sitting and former PPP MNAs and senators.

The owner of the Frontier Post, Rehmat Shah Afridi, was arrested in Lahore on April 2, 1999, by the army-run Anti-narcotics Force on charge of possessing 20 Kgs of charas and three guns. The Peshawar-based Frontier Post was critical of government policies, particularly the paper opposed the construction of the Kalabagh Dam. Afridi's arrest was seen by the journalists and others another official attempt to gag the Press.

On May 8, 1999, several dozen officials of ISI stormed into the house of Najam Sethi, Editor of The Friday Times, Lahore and dragged him out of his room. Before leaving the house with Mr. Sethi, they tied his wife Jugnoo's hands with a rope and locked her up in a dressing room. Later the federal government confirming the arrest said that Mr. Sethi had been taken into custody for interrogation by ISI for his alleged connection with he Indian intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).

The Lahore High Court, on May12, declined to assume jurisdiction in the Najm Sethi case saying he was being detained by a military agency (ISI) and the offence he was suspected of and was being investigated for fell within the purview of the Army Act, 1952. Consequently, all three petitions filed by Sethi's sife, Jugnoo Mohsin, for his recovery and production and miscellaneous reliefs like medical examination and registration of a case of kidnapping with intent to torture and kill against two uniformed policemen and eight plainclothes personnel were dismissed in 'limeline' as not maintainable. The Deputy Attorney General told the court that Sethi "is presently in the custody of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) authorities for his suspected links with hostile intelligence agencies." The suspected offence falls within the mischief of Section 123-A of the PPC (sedition) and finds mention in the Army Act schedule. Advocate for Sethi, submitted that the ISI does not function under the Army Act and can be headed by a retired officer and that the ISI reported to the prime minister and not to the army. One day later, the government agencies seize all copies of The Friday Times in Lahore. The Web site of The Friday Times was hacked and the pages and contents were erased.

The Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq on June 2, 1999 told the Supreme Court that the government had decided to set free Najm Sethi. In a short statement on behalf of the state, the AG said that Najam Aziz Sethi, who was detained in the case initially by ISI and was later taken into custody by the police as a result of an order obtained from the Special Court on June 1, in connection with the FIR registered with Kohsar police station, Islamabad, had been set free. [On May 31, the Supreme Court was informed that a case had been registered against Mr. Sethi in Islamabad for his alleged anti-state activities on the complaint of a ruling party MNA, Inamullah Niazi.] The AG further said that the government reserved its right to initiate proceedings afresh. However, Justice Mamoon Kazi, a member of the three-man bench which disposed Mr. Sethi's bail application, told the government that Mr. Sethi should not be arrested in future with permission of the court.


The government of Nawaz Sharif started a campaign against the Jang group in July 1998 when it refused to sack a number of journalists critical of the government policies. First, the government objected to the Jang group newspapers' reporting about the law and order situation in the country and put a ban on its advertisement for the Jang group. On Aug. 13, a report was published about non-payment of Rs. 700 million to farmers by the sugar mills owned by the Nawaz Sharif family. Three days later, the government sent notices to Jang for non payment of taxes and the case was shifted to the Ehtesab cell. On Sept. 27, 1998, the government asked the Jang group not to publish a report of The Observer London that said that PM Nawaz Sharif has siphoned off millions. The report was not published by the Jang but it was published by its sister English newspaper The News. On Nov. 5, bank accounts of the Jang group were frozen and FIA raided the Jang and the News offices in Rawalpindi and customs authorities stop delivery of newsprint to the Jang.

On Dec. 17, Sentaor Saifur Rehman said that another case is being prepared against the Jang group. On Jan 27, 1999, FIA encircles the Jang group office in Lahore and Karachi. And on Jan 28 1999, a sedition case was registered against Mir Sahkilur Rehman for publishing an advertisement of Muttahida's Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation on January 1, which according to the police, was aimed at inciting people against the state. Offices of the Jang group in several cities were surrounded by security and taxation people; its godowns were sealed and newsprint was not allowed to be delivered for its paper.

Mir Shakil-ur Rehman revealed that Senator Saifur Rehman asked him to sack a number of Jang employees who should be replaced in consultation with the government. He released to the press audio-tapes of conversation with Senator Seifur Rehman on this

Senator Saifur Rehman, addressing a press conference in Islamabad on 25th Jan. 1999 acknowledged that he had asked the Jang group to "avoid sensationalism and concentrate on objective reporting. He said the government has asked the Jang group for support on the 15th amendment because it wanted enforcement of the Islamic order according to the aspirations of the people. The Senator said he was asked to extend support to the government in what he called strengthening of democratic institutions. He particularly referred to the tragic incidents in Karachi and imposition of governor's rule in Sindh. He also said: Mir Shakilur Rehman evaded tax and customs duty to the tune of Rs. 2.6 billion during the last two years. [26]

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom organization, said on June 1, 1999 that it was conducting an investigation into a "hit list" prepared by the Pakistan government that contains 35 prominent journalists of Pakistan. According to reports received by the CPJ, the federal government had decided to establish a special media cell comprising officials from the police, Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to punish the journalists who have been writing against the government. Ehtesab Bureau Chairman, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan would head this cell which would function simultaneously at Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar with its head office in Islamabad.

According to the CPJ, the names were: Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, Rehmat Ali Razi, Anjum Rasheed, Suhail Warraich, Sohaib Marghoob and Roman Ehsan, (Jang Lahore), M. Ziauddin and Ansar Abbasi (Dawn Islamabad), Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Javed Jaidi, Nusrat Javed and Mariana Babar (The News, Islamabad), Rehana Hakeem and Zahid Hussain (Newsline), Ejaz Haider, Khalid Ahmed, Jugnu Mohsin and Adnan Adil (The Friday Times, Lahore), Mahmood Sham (Jang, Karachi), Rashed Rehman (The Nation, Lahore), Amir Ahmed Khan (Herald, Karachi), Imtiaz Aalam, Beena Sarwar, Shafiq Awan, Kamila Hyat and Amir Mir (The News Lahore), Abbas Athar (Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore), Kamran Khan and Shehzad Amjad (The News Karachi), Azam Khalil (Pulse), Mohammad Malik (Tribune), Imtiaz Ahmed (The Frontier Post, peshawar), Ilyas Chaudhry (Jang Rawalpindi), Naveed Meraj (The Frontier Post Islamabad) and Syed Talat Hussain (The Nation, Islamabad).

Commenting on the Nawaz Sharif government campaign against the press, the US Human Rights report for 1998 said: Although the press largely publishes freely, the government uses its large advertising budget to influence content, journalists practice self-censorship, and the broadcast media remains closely controlled by government monopoly.

Favorable press coverage of the prime minister's family compound/hospital/college south of Lahore was widely understood to have been obtained for a price. Rumors of intimidation, heavy-handed surveillance, and even legal action to quiet the unduly curious or non-deferential reporter are common.

The government has considerable leverage over the press through its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, its control over newsprint, and its ability to enforce regulations.

The country's leading Urdu daily, Jang, and the English-language daily News, both owned by Shakilur Rehman, were cut off for a time from critical government advertising revenue after publishing articles unflattering to the government. The Jang group also was served with approximately $13 million in tax notices, harassed by government inspectors, and pressured not to publish articles. There is credible evidence that Senator Saifur Rehman, a close associate and head of the Accountability Bureau, demanded a number of journalists and editors be fired. Jang also reportedly had difficulty in obtaining sufficient newsprint to publish.

Rehana Hakim, editor of the English-language monthly Newsline also has complained that her publication, which is highly critical of the government does not receive government advertising revenue, has been raided and harassed by tax inspectors and security agents. The editors of the weekly The Friday Times have alleged government harassment of their staff as well. On March 19, Public of Karachi, a local Urdu-language daily, was banned by the local magistrate and ceased publication on March 20. [27]


1. The US Human Rights Report for 1995

2. I. A. Rehman, A body-blow to justice - Dawn 19-4-1995

3. Munib Akhtar, New Black Law, Dawn 19-4-1995

4. Ardshir Cowasjee, State Terrorism-II, Dawn 2-2-1996

5. Ibid.

6. Dawn 27-6-1995

7. Reuters news agency report, 27-6-1995

8. M.B. Naqvi, Impervious to challenges, Dawn 16-1-1995

9. Dawn 2-3-1996

10. Dawn 12.3.1996

11. Mazdak, The State Under Siege, Dawn 15-7-1995

12. Dawn 6.3.1996

13.Dawn 13.2.1998

14. Saleem Asemi, Theatre of the absurd, Dawn 1-1-1999

15. Aziz Siddiqi, Mashroom and the Meltdown, 1998 Overview, Dawn 1-1-1999

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid.

18. Saleem Asemi, Op. Cite

19. Ibid.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid.

22. Dawn 9-3-1999

23. Dawn 23-10-1998

24. Dawn 19-3-1998

25. Dawn 23-1-1998

26. Dawn 26-1-1999

27. Dawn 27-2-1999


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