Saturday, January 7, 2012

"LIES", Lawyers Movement & Chief Justice.

ISLAMABAD, Jan 6: Extra-constitutional steps may lead the country to bloodshed and violent revolution because the judiciary would never validate such move of any adventurer. Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry expressed these views while speaking at the inauguration ceremony of lawyers` club and chambers in Rawalpinidi on Friday. He said on July 31, 2009 when the Supreme Court declared the dictator`s steps as unconstitutional, the judges of the apex court unanimously decided that at first they should bound the judiciary not to support the dictator at any cost. He said the rumour-mongers who were propounding unconstitutional change in the country were doing it just to have cheap popularity. He said that the judiciary had drawn the line against such change. He said that the dictator imposed Martial Law in 2007 in order to extend his rule but the valiant judiciary instead of supporting him gave a historic decision against him. He appreciated the struggle of the lawyers` community for the restoration of the judiciary and said after its restoration in March 2009, the judiciary had been facing severe problem of backlog of cases at every level from lower to the superior courts. Number of cases pending in the district judiciary was much higher than in the high courts and the Supreme Court. In this situation, the bars raised the voice of the people`s conscious and work as sentinels of their freedom. REFERENCE: Bloodshed if Constitution violated, warns CJP

Right after the resignation of General Musharraf from the Post of the President of Pakistan, Mr. Athar Minallah the Chief Spokesman of the then defunct Defunct Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary in Private Pakistani TV Channel [AAJ], demanded Treason Trial under article 6 of 1973 Constitutiuon of Islamic Republic of Pakistan while shamelssly forgetting that Athar Minallah, also served in the Musharraf cabinet for two years. Shouln’t Mr Athar Minallah be brought to Justice as well because abetting in a crime is tantamount to committing a crime. Athar was appointed Minister for Law, Local Government, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights by the Provincial Government of NWFP (2000-2002) by General Musharraf Military Regime. Athar Minallah joined the prestigious Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) and after serving for 10 years left the post of Additional Collector Customs to join the firm as a partner. Athar Minallah brings not only rich taxation experience but also valuable scholastic input. Athar completed his law degree from the International Islamic University (Islamabad) and his LLM from University of Cambridge, UK. And his areas of interest are taxation, judicial review, Athar was appointed Minister for Law, Local Government, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights by the Provincial Government of NWFP (2000-2002). He also was the member of the Task Force constituted by the Federal Government for revamping the Taxation regime in Pakistan. Currently he is the member of the Policy Board of Intellectual Property of Pakistan and Chairman of Alternate Dispute Resolution Committee (ADRC) for Sales Tax constituted by the Central Board of Revenue.

Cheif Justice Speech 6th Jan 2012 - Part 1/2

“Historic”, we are being told — and told without end — is what the judgment of their Supreme Court lordships is. General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s Nov 3, 2007, action has been declared “unconstitutional” and “civil society” is ecstatic, some of our wilder drumbeaters assuring us that the doors on military interventionism have been closed forever. Ah, if wishes were horses. The Supreme Court judgment not so much revises history as cuts it up, wrapping it in neat packages. For it declares only one action of Musharraf’s unconstitutional — his Nov 3 Emergency, which came at the fag end of his rule. The inescapable conclusion we are left with is that everything else the man did fell within the ambit of the Constitution. Now what was Musharraf’s original sin from which flowed everything else? Why, his coup d’état of Oct 12, 1999, when his generals overthrew an elected government, disbanded the National Assembly, put the Constitution into cold storage and imprisoned not only the then prime minister but his closest colleagues and even members of his family. Just as Adam ate the apple he wasn’t supposed to touch and as a consequences was expelled from Paradise, the apple which Musharraf plucked and put into his mouth was on the fateful evening of Oct 12, all those years ago, when he was in the air on a flight from Sri Lanka, while his generals — chief among them Usmani, Aziz and Mahmood — went about the removal of the elected government. That was the mother of all sins. So how strange and dripping with irony this omission: about that seminal event, which set in train all the sorrows the nation was to reap thereafter, their lordships in their “historic” judgment have nothing to say. For this of course we must understand the problems of the past. For in 2000, a few months after the mother of all sins, when this matter came before the then Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan, the nation witnessed another of those electrifying performances which have made “the doctrine of necessity” so famous in our land, the Supreme Court validating Musharraf’s coup and, what’s more, allowing him a grace period of three years to hold elections. In its generosity, it also gave Musharraf the authority to amend the Constitution for purposes of holding elections. So just as the Anwarul Haq Supreme Court gave a clean chit to General Ziaul Haq’s coup of 1977, another Supreme Court signed a papal bull conferring legitimacy on another illegitimate offspring of our political adventures. Now for an inconvenient fact. On the bench headed by Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan there sat an up-and-coming jurist, stern of eye and distinguished of look, by the name of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Yes, he was among the illustrious upholders of the law and the Constitution who bathed Musharraf and his generals in holy water. Before that baptismal ceremony, Musharraf, following the example of military saviours before him, had issued another Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) requiring judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court to take a fresh oath pledging obedience to the new order. A few difficult judges — among them Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, Justices Wajeehuddin, Nasir Aslam Zahid, Mamoon Qazi, Khalilur Rehman, Kamal Mansoor Alam — spurned Musharraf’s PCO and promptly found themselves out in the cold. But a majority, preferring discretion over valour, thought it wiser to go along with the new order of things. Among this lot — the original lot, that is — was Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. And it was from this PCO crowd, which saw no evil in wearing the robes of the judiciary under a usurping general, that the Supreme Court bench was composed which in double-quick time conferred absolution on Musharraf and his triumphant generals. Chief Justice Irshad Hasan Khan wrote the judgment and the other judges on the bench, including Justice Chaudhry, without adding a word of their own (which was slightly unusual) concurred with his sweeping validation. As PCO judges they were expected to toe the line dictated by the country’s martial law masters and, to no one’s surprise, they went along faithfully, Chief Justice Irshad in front and they in his train. In the museum dedicated to the doctrine of necessity this was another trophy. So it is not a little surprising to see the present Supreme Court coming down so hard on the Nov 3, 2007, PCO judges when they themselves (most of them, if memory serves) felt few qualms in being PCO judges in January 2000. Let him cast the first stone who hath not sinned, said Christ. Their lordships of the “historic” judgment are no doubt made of sterner stuff, preferring to interpret the past as a closed and shut transaction while bringing down the executioner’s axe on those who could well plead in their defence that they were doing no more than following the example, set in times past, by their betters. What about the nation which faces a serious test? For it is being asked to believe, if we go along with all the implications of the “historic” verdict, that Musharraf’s rule was legitimate until Nov 3, 2007, and it was only his proclamation of emergency that evening which put him outside the pale of the Constitution. This is a very selective rendering with which most Pakistanis are not likely to agree. . According to this interpretation Musharraf did nothing unconstitutional from Oct 12, 1999, to Nov 3, 2007, and it was only the period of emergency — from Nov 3 to Dec 15 — which is worthy of judicial censure. In other words, according to the Supreme Court, he was a usurper not for eight and a half years — which most people in Pakistan believe — but for a mere 40-45 days. As sins of this sort go in Pakistan, this doesn’t amount to much of a transgression. But even if it is considered serious (and there are people who will), its severity is mitigated by the fact that the malefactor (Musharraf) first took off his uniform on Nov 28, 2007 (thus doing the nation a favour it had long demanded) and lifted emergency on Dec 15, 2007, thus returning the country to constitutional rule (as per the implication of the Supreme Court verdict). Not only that but he went on to hold elections. This makes him look not a demonic but rather quite a benign figure. His original sin, it can be argued, was no longer a sin in the eyes of the law because the PCO of 2000 and the oaths of the judges were validated later by parliament. Very true, but this is hair-splitting. Musharraf was a usurper as were Zia and Yahya and Ayub before him. The others too were validated by various judicial and constitutional instruments. But all these actions remain blots on our history and in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of history, they are all usurpers who — although this is quite another story — brought great harm to the nation. Musharraf deserves punishment, as did all military saviours before him. But if Article Six is to be invoked it should be for Oct 12, ‘99, rather than the secondary and much smaller sin of Nov 3, 2007. In that case it is not he alone who should be brought into the dock but all his collaborators — the generals who ordered troop movements on Oct 12, the judges who were effectively his collaborators later and all those who chose to serve under him in various capacities. Flogging Musharraf is easy because he is a dead horse. But if we are serious about retribution our canvas has to be broader. But since it is not going to be broad, and bringing Musharraf to justice is likely to remain no more than a talking point — because who wants to stir this hornet’s nest? — the more seemly thing is to move on and confront the future and inculcate some humility in ourselves by remembering that in the sins of the Musharraf many now counted among the good and the great, and even the historic, were also complicit. From such humility — or what the Chinese call self-criticism — will come the strength to face the future, and even fix it in our favour. REFERENCE: Writing of history or triumph of amnesia? Ayaz Amir Friday, August 07, 2009

Cheif Justice Speech 6th Jan 2012 - Part 2/2

We have a developed talent, honed over the years, for counting the trees and missing the larger picture. We see things in one dimension and forget that there may be other sides to reality. This leads to false conclusions and the begetting of great tragedies. Let us for argument's sake accept that Asif Ali Zardari, the luckless president of a luckless country, is the author of a thousand villainies, the darkest thing to have happened to the Islamic Republic. But let us at least weigh his real or presumed infamy in the scales of history before coming to a judgment about what he deserves. Has Zardari done anything which comes close to the unbeatable folly of the 1965 war? If anything undid us it was that foolish call to arms. We had set out to conquer Kashmir. At Tashkent we ended up lowering the casket of the Kashmir cause into the ground. Do Zardari's alleged crimes measure up to the folly of General Yahya Khan who presided over the break-up of Pakistan? If ever the larger picture escaped anyone it was that latter-day Muhammad Shah Rangila, caught up in circumstances beyond his control or comprehension. We couldn't stand the notion of meeting East Pakistani aspirations half-way, just as we are having a hard time now understanding Baloch aspirations. The frenzied crowds which poured out in 1977 to protest the alleged rigging of the elections by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto called for the establishment of Nizam-e-Mustafa (the dispensation of the Holy Prophet). Like the supposed reformers of today who think they are battling corruption, the enthusiasts of 1977 were convinced the promised kingdom was just a step away if only that incarnation of evil, Bhutto, was taken care of. Bhutto was taken care of and eventually hanged but the frothing crowds were no nearer Nizam-e-Mustafa or anything like it. Instead, for their pains, they got General Ziaul Haq and the long night of his dark tyranny. Zia first proclaimed his aim as Islamization. Then it was accountability. These were pretexts for suppressing democracy and perpetuating his rule. Zia was perhaps the greatest disaster to befall Pakistan. We are still living with the consequences. Nothing in our history has been more dangerous than the simplicity and innocence of our good intentions. Riding on their back we have stood before not the pearly gates promising everlasting bliss but the gates of hell. It is scarcely an accident that many of the voices now earnestly urging the Supreme Court to embrace an ever-widening agenda of reform were early supporters of Musharraf's military rule. Such contradictions bestride our history. Khan Roedad Khan hailed Musharraf as a messiah come to rid the country of its woes. Khan Imran Khan, to his lasting chagrin, was also part of the Musharraf-welcome crowd. At least Imran has the decency to say he was wrong. Others are not so coy. There was indeed a time when prominent media pundits, now in ultra-reformist mode, conducted themselves virtually as Musharraf spokesmen. Humein yaad hai zara zara, tumhein yaad ho keh na yaad ho. Zardari may deserve all the pejorative adjectives in the dictionary but has he committed any crime which comes close to the enormity of the disaster that was Kargil? That adventure was meant to seize advantage in Kashmir once again. It ended up exposing Pakistan to fierce international criticism and giving birth to the term cross-border terrorism, the stick with which Pakistan has been regularly beaten ever since. Are we calling for a national commission to investigate Kargil, as we should? No, we are into other things. Talking of Musharraf's military rule, what was the role of our present lordships when Triple One Brigade, our highest constitutional authority, reinterpreted the Constitution once again on the long afternoon of Oct 12, 1999? A few judges -- Chief Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui comes to mind -- did not take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) issued two months later. But if imperfect memory serves, all of their present lordships, at one time or the other, took oath under the PCO. Not only that, some of them were on the bench which validated Musharraf's takeover. A few, including My Lord the Chief Justice, were on the bench which validated Musharraf's takeover for the second time in the Zafar Ali Shah case (2005). Of course, we must let bygones be bygones and deal with the present. But then this principle should be for everyone. We should not be raising monuments to selective memory or selective condemnation. If the PCO of 2007 was such a bad idea, in what category should we place the PCO of 2000? And if in this Turkish bath all are like the emperor without his clothes, the least this should inculcate is a sense of humility. And if we accept the logic that there can be a transformation in the nature of things, that people who did questionable things once-upon-a-time can undergo a conversion on the road to Damascus (or anywhere else) and become knights in shining armour, dispensing light and so on, should not some of the same indulgence, the same benefit of doubt, be extended to others? Zardari cut deals and earned commissions and for his talent in this field earned the sobriquet Mr Ten Percent. You reap what you sow. So if Zardari is haunted by the ghosts of his past, and if his past keeps popping up in conversation and national discourse, he has only himself to blame. But now, whether we like it or not, he is something more than a mere replica of his past. He is the constitutionally elected President of the Republic. For his failings in government, for his mistakes as President, for incompetence or inadequacy -- if these are the charges brought against him -- he can be pilloried and even ridiculed. This is part of democracy, part of the political process. But when hidden forces with their hidden agendas go about manipulating things, pulling strings from behind, and if elements in the media or other distinguished places become witting or unwitting partners in this game, then it is not democracy being served or strengthened but intrigue and conspiracy. The Supreme Court judgment on the vires of the 2007 PCO came on the 31st of July, 2009. But the knives were out for Zardari much before that. Zardari of course heads a team with no shortage of incompetents on board. In a land even otherwise dedicated to mediocrity they seemingly outshine all competitors. (Keen for a doctorate myself, I am still trying to discover the location of that celebrated seat of learning, Montecello University.) President Zardari can also be his own worst enemy. Who told him to deliver the speech he did at Naudero on BB's second death anniversary? There were things in it which were best left unsaid. Those whom the gods would destroy they first push into such speech-making. But it is also true that Zardari has been driven into a corner. The mandate he got -- constitutionally it bears remembering -- is being nullified by other means. Their lordships are all men of honour and rectitude who stood up to Musharraf's dictatorship and gave hope to the country. But their lordships are just one part of the national spectrum. If they are men of honour it doesn't automatically follow that everyone else in the equation is also playing by the same rules. There is thus a need for caution, a need to draw a line between past and present. Let us study our past and draw the correct conclusions. But let us not, wittingly or unwittingly, destabilise democracy. Cleansing the national stables is a laudable aim and makes for a heady slogan. But as our history demonstrates, good intentions, unsupported by a sense of reality or a sense of proportion, lead to unforeseen consequences. The temple of democracy is a cohesive whole. There is no such thing as smashing one pillar and hoping the rest of the structure will survive. It won't. And when the slabs come crashing down, we will be the losers while those who have always operated in the shadows will have the last laugh. So Happy New Year. Our curse is to live forever in interesting times. May the new year be a bit less exciting than the one which has just gone by. REFERENCE: The road to hell -- and similar destinations Ayaz Amir Friday, January 01, 2010 

Reality of Lawyers Movement in Pakistan.: "One wonders how an Incommunicado CJ was issuing statement often published in The New York Times/Washington Post and "successfully" telecast on CNN "during his days in Bastille"

Reality of Lawyers Movement in Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD, March 10: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry remained incommunicado on Saturday for the second consecutive day and a heavy police contingent was posted to guard his residence. The Pakistan Bar Council described the action as a case of ‘illegal house arrest’. “Yes, he is in illegal detention,” Ali Ahmed Kurd, vice-chairman of the PBC, told reporters outside the official residence of the chief justice. “There is no other way to describe the situation as no one is being allowed to meet him,” he said after police officials stopped him and other lawyers from going inside the chief justice’s residence. The views expressed by Munir A. Malik, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, were equally strong as he described it an attempt to pressure the chief justice into resigning. Nestled in the Margalla hills, the judges’ colony in Islamabad remained the focus of intense activity throughout the day as several leaders and members of lawyers’ associations gathered outside Justice Iftikhar’s residence. A battery of newspaper reporters and television teams also accompanied them, trying to get a glimpse of the ‘suspended’ chief justice, who has not been seen in public since his fateful meeting with President Gen Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi on Friday. After the meeting at the President’s camp office in Rawalpindi, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry tried to return to the Supreme Court on Friday evening, but was stopped by police officials. They then escorted him to his official residence. Although there has been no official order of ‘arrest’ or ‘detention’, the gate of his house has remained in control of the police. Security was further stepped up on Saturday with the deployment of more policemen and officials in plain clothes in the vicinity of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s house. Police were under instructions not to let anyone into the building. The officials posted there were polite but firm in their stand that the chief justice’s residence was out of bounds for lawyers and journalists. They did not say anything about judges, but a Supreme Court judge, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, was not allowed to enter the premises. A good number of lawyers stayed around after security officials informed them that permission was being sought from the higher authorities to allow them to go inside. But after waiting `for over an hour’, the Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council, Ali Ahmed Kurd, and the President of SCBA, Munir Malik, decided to leave the place to hold a joint meeting in the Supreme Court building. The meeting adopted yet another resolution accusing the authorities of trying to obtain Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s Resignation by force. By removing the national as well as the Supreme Court flags from the official residence of the chief justice, they said, the government was sending him a signal that he was no more the chief justice. They regretted that the chief justice was not allowed to move freely and was not allowed to meet even his counsel. All bar councils and bar associations have decided to observe a `black day’ on March 13 – the day the Supreme Judicial Council takes up the presidential reference. Black flags will fly atop all premises housing bar associations. While demanding proceedings before the SJC to be held in the open court with full access to all lawyers and journalists, they offered legal assistance to the chief justice and resolved to defend him at the SJC on March 13. No complaint has ever been converted into a reference even though 27 complaints against sitting judges — one of them against a sitting chief justice of a high court — is pending before the SJC, chairman of the PBC executive committee, Qazi Anwar, alleged. Condemnation: The executive committee of the PBC, through a resolution, condemned the summoning of the chief justice to the Army House and ‘confining’ him there for over five hours. “By doing so President Musharraf has insulted the entire judicial institution while the prestige of the country as a democratic and independent state has also been undermined,” the resolution said. The committee also condemned the appointment of the acting chief justice and said only Justice Rana Bhagwandas, being the senior most judge, could act as the chief justice. The committee also called upon the chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take a firm stand and face the allegations boldly to vindicate himself. PETITION: A joint petition was filed with the apex court on Saturday by Advocates Athar Minallah and Yahya Khan Afridi against the president’s move to suspend the chief justice. They urged the court to declare the decision of March 9 and detention of the chief justice as illegal and unconstitutional. The SJC should suspend its proceedings till a decision on this petition, the advocates said. REFERENCE: CJ held incommunicado; lawyers slam ‘arrest’ By Nasir Iqbal March 11, 2007 Sunday Safar 21, 1428 
Judicial Dictatorship & Lawyers - Part - 1 (GEO 22 Dec 2009)

House Arrest CJ & Successful Meeting of Asghar Khan:) How Cute!

ISLAMABAD, March 11: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has demanded that the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) should hold open proceedings on the reference against him sent by President Gen Pervez Musharraf. This was stated by seasoned politician Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan after a meeting with Justice Chaudhry here on Sunday. The demand made by the suspended chief justice indicates that he is not ready to resign and is determined to contest the allegations levelled against him. Asghar Khan is the first private citizen to be allowed by the government to meet the suspended chief justice since he was confined to his official residence after having been declared ‘non-functional’ on Friday. Justice Chaudhry, according to Mr Khan, rejected the allegations as baseless and said he had not done anything wrong. He stressed the need for an ‘open trial’ so that he got a fair opportunity to defend himself. Taking to Dawn, Air Marshal Khan quoted the CJP as saying that he had been held incommunicado and was not allowed to see his lawyers and friends. He said he was not being provided newspapers and his TV cable and telephones had been disconnected. Air Marshal Khan said security personnel asked his name when he reached the residence of the chief justice and he managed to enter the house while they were seeking instructions. He said he had met the chief justice as a citizen of Pakistan. He said the action against the chief justice was inappropriate and he should get an opportunity to defend himself. Asked if he had been told by Justice Chaudhry about pressures on him to resign, he said they had not discussed the matter. Though the retired Air Marshal got a chance to meet the ‘non-functional’ chief justice, a delegation of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) led by its acting Parliamentary Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was denied the opportunity. Observers see the meeting of Mr Khan with Justice Chaudhry as a tactical move by the government to create an impression that there are no restrictions on the non-functional chief justice. The government claims that Justice Chaudhry is neither under detention nor under house arrest. “There are no restrictions on him,” Minister of State for Information Senator Tariq Azim told Dawn. He said the opposition was trying to politicise the matter, which was regrettable. About the chief justice’s demand for open proceedings on the reference, he said it was entirely up to the Supreme Judicial Council to decide how it wanted to conduct the proceedings. “We expect that he will be given an opportunity to defend himself,” he remarked. Senator Azim said the court was completely independent and the public had full confidence in its professionalism. Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao also denied reports that the non-functional chief justice was under house arrest and said anybody who wanted to see him could do it. Talking to newsmen here, the minister termed the threats to lay siege to the Supreme Judicial Council illegal and said nobody would be allowed to take the law into his hands. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) have decided to file a joint application to the Supreme Judicial Council seeking permission to be heard during the proceedings. SCBA president Munir Malik said he would go to the residence of the chief justice on Monday morning with other members of the SCBA and try to meet him. A strike will be observed on Monday and a ‘black day’ on Tuesday by members of all bar councils, bar associations and councils of lawyers. REFERENCE: Justice Iftikhar seeks open SJC proceedings: Asghar By Iftikhar A. Khan March 12, 2007 Monday Safar 22, 1428

Judicial Dictatorship & Lawyers - Part - 2 (GEO 22 Dec 2009)

LAHORE: Judges of the higher judiciary are making up their minds about cases after reading newspaper headlines and watching TV shows, former president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Ali Ahmed Kurd said on Tuesday. Describing the present situation as “justice hurry and justice worry”, Kurd deplored the fact that the judges were visiting and addressing the bars and said they would have to “prove themselves worthy of their positions”. According to Kurd, judges in the United States neither read newspapers nor watched TV programmes, but focused only on their work. – ISLAMABAD: Ali Ahmed Kurd, the firebrand leader of the lawyers’ movement and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, who has been keeping quiet for quite some time, surprised a lot of people on Tuesday with his blunt criticism of the way the Supreme Court was behaving. Judges should “behave like judges”, he said. Speaking during a talk show on “Challenges facing the judiciary”, he said that people had reservations about the verdict handed down by the Supreme Court on petitions challenging the National Reconciliation Ordinance.According to him, the judgment appeared to be based on newspaper headlines and talk shows of private TV channels. REFERENCE: Kurd unhappy over SC verdict on NRO By Iftikhar A. Khan Wednesday, 23 Dec, 2009 Judges deciding cases on media lines: Kurd Daily Times Monitor Wednesday, December 23, 2009\12\23\story_23-12-2009_pg7_12 

Judicial Dictatorship & Lawyers - Part - 3 (GEO 22 Dec 2009)

ISLAMABAD: A reported statement by Lahore High Court Chief Justice (CJ) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif that the Hindu community was funding terrorism in Pakistan, irked members of the National Assembly, as many of whom joined minority members and walked out in protest. The lawmakers also demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry take suo motu notice of the CJ’s remarks. Ramesh Lal, a minority lawmaker from the Pakistan People’s Party, raised the issue on a point of order and censured the CJ’s remarks, saying the Hindu community in Pakistan was as patriotic as the rest of the country and the remarks were highly uncalled for. Lal announced a token walkout and was joined by a few other members belonging to different parties, including the Awami National Party. He said the remarks hurt the over three million Hindus in Pakistan, adding the statement was against national unity. Labour and Manpower Minister Khursheed Shah tried to defend the CJ, saying he could not have made such a statement and might have referred to India and not the Hindu community. REFERENCE: LHC CJ’s remarks irk NA members Wednesday, March 17, 2010

BARELY days after the Punjab chief minister was caught playing to the Taliban gallery, another high official from the province is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This time, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif has sparked outrage for reportedly saying that Hindus were responsible for financing acts of terrorism in Pakistan. The remarks came while the judge was hearing two identical petitions against the possible extradition of Afghan Taliban suspects. It may well have been a slip of the tongue by Mr Sharif, who might have mistakenly said ‘Hindu’ instead of ‘India’ — nevertheless it was a tasteless remark to say the least. Although such remarks warrant criticism what makes them worse is the position of the person who makes them. These sort of comments are the last thing one expects to hear from a judge, that too the chief justice of a provincial high court. What sort of message are we sending to our minorities, as well as to the world, when the holder of such a respected public office makes comments that come across as thoughtless? The Hindu members of the National Assembly walked out of the house on Tuesday to protest the remarks. The members said the comments had hurt the feelings of Pakistani Hindus — and there is no doubt that they had. REFERENCE: Tactless remarks Dawn Editorial Thursday, 18 Mar, 2010

Judicial Dictatorship & Lawyers - Part - 4 (GEO 22 Dec 2009)

ISLAMABAD, March 16: It was a rare, judge’s turn to be judged in the National Assembly on Tuesday as Hindu members staged a walkout to protest at reported remarks by the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice alleging Hindu financing of terror attacks in the country. Some members of the Awami National Party too joined the first walkout against the judiciary in Pakistan’s parliament before the protesters were brought back to hear words of sympathy for the injured sentiments and some advice for judges to focus on delivering justice rather than publicity despite a government minister’s statement that the remark by Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif while hearing a case in Lahore on Thursday seemed to be “a slip of the tongue”. The protest was the second raised in the house over press reports in as many days after sharp criticism of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif over his appeal to Taliban in a speech to a seminar in Lahore on Sunday to spare his province terror attacks because of some shared views with his PML-N party. PPP’s Hindu member Romesh Lal, who raised the issue, said sentiments of an estimated four million Pakistani Hindus had been injured by the LHC chief justice’s remarks, as reported in a section of the press, that while terrorist bomb blasts were being carried out by Muslims, “money used for this came from Hindus”. The member said if a country was suspected of sponsoring such attacks it should be named, but blame should not be put on just Hindus who, he said, were as good patriots as other Pakistanis. While drawing attention of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to what he called worry caused to Hindus, he appealed to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of Justice Sharif’s remarks. As Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani and some other members of the ruling PPP went out of the chamber to persuade the protesters to return, party chief whip and Labour and Manpower Minister Khurshid Ahmed Shah told the house the judge seemed to be blaming India for financing the Taliban rather Hindus, adding he was sure a clarification would come “by tomorrow”. PML-N’s Rashid Akbar Niwani said judges should devote to dispensation of justice instead of seeking publicity as he also advised the media to exercise “restraint”, particularly blasting unspecified television anchorpersons who, he said, should also be held accountable for their earnings together with “heads of (government) institutions” as often-maligned elected politicians. REFERENCE: A judge is judged in NA, with walkout By Raja Asghar Wednesday, 17 Mar, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice chairman (VC) Latif Afridi has backed Asma Jahangir’s stance regarding court’s judgement in the controversial memo scandal, saying that the superior judiciary cannot play the role of an investigator in any matter. Talking to Daily Times, the PBC vice chairman endorsed Asma Jahangir’s stance that the Supreme Court has wrongly assumed its jurisdiction in the memo scandal. Regarding the memo probe commission, consisting of three high courts chief justices, Afridi said that ordinary litigants would face difficulties in this situation. “The nation is already divided politically, ethnically and economically... it cannot be allowed to further divide on judicial consideration,” he added. The VC hoped the judiciary would not become a source of conflict and things would proceed in accordance with the constitutional division of powers. “Pakistan needs coherence, unification and support of all the federation units and democratic forces, minus those who make hay while the sun shines,” Afirdi said. He urged the SC not to adopt dual standards, and take notice of Mansoor Ijaz’s other statement regarding the ISI director general’s visits to the Arab countries for the removal of President Asif Ali Zardari. The PBC VC urged the court to adopt the policy of judicial restraint, and refrain from entertaining political cases, as the move could make the SC prone to allegations of favouritism. On the other hand, he urged the chief justice of Pakistan to take up the Asghar Khan case. Concerning Pervaiz Musharraf’s return, he said the lawyers would agitate against the former dictator upon his arrival. hasnaat malik. REFERENCE: PBC backs Asma’s stance on memogate Tuesday, January 03, 2012

MNA Farahnaz Ispahani appeal for justice (CNN 2011)

CNN's Wolf Blitzer talks to Farah Ispahani, the wife of Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, who is involved in a scandal being investigated by Pakistan's high court. REFERENCES: 'Memogate' rocks Pakistan post-Bin Laden December 31st, 2011 Pakistan's high court investigating memo scandal From Nasir Habib, for CNN December 30, 2011

Selected Justice In Pakistan - Eye Opener 2011

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry ILLEGALLY Favours Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Shareef didn't Walk through Security Gates in Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Former Director-General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Tariq Khosa has refused to head a one-man commission to investigate the memo scandal, DawnNews reported on Saturday. The commission was set up by the Supreme Court. Khosa, who has also served as inspector general of Balochistan police, is a brother of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Punjab Chief Secretary Nasir Khosa. Earlier, former law minister Babar Awan had questioned Khosa’s nomination at a press conference by saying that he was a brother of the Punjab chief secretary and a judge of the Supreme Court. But those who worked with Khosa called him an ‘upright’ man and a ‘clean’ government officer. The scandal erupted when US citizen of Pakistani origin, Mansoor Ijaz, accused Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, of masterminding an alleged memo sent to a senior US military official asking for help to rein in the Pakistani military after the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad in May. Haqqani denied the allegation and resigned from his position of ambassador in the wake of the controversy. REFERENCES: Tariq Khosa refuses to head commission on memogate December 3, 2011 •One-man commission named •PPP’s angry reaction •President, COAS, ISI chief to explain position: SC orders memogate inquiry, tells Haqqani not to go abroad December 2, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Renowned lawyer Asma Jahangir on Sunday refused to continue acting as former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani’s counsel in the memogate case, DawnNews reported. Asma Jahangir said that she did not trust the commission formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the memo-scandal, alleging that the Supreme Court judges were under the establishment’s influence. Asma also told DawnNews in an exclusive interview that Hussain Haqqani feared the powerful spy agencies may force him into giving a statement. This fear was the reason behind the former ambassador’s stay at the prime minister’s house, she said. Moreover, she said that the Supreme Court’s decision on the memogate petition was a victory for the country’s establishment. The law was being used to transform the country into a ‘security state’, she said. REFERENCE: Asma refuses to continue as Haqqani’s lawyer

Asma Jahangir discusses memogate investigation

Noted lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir has refused to appear before the judicial commission investigating the memo case as counsel for Mr Husain Haqqani. Ms Jahangir’s decision is a serious expression of no confidence in justice being delivered from either the court or the judicial commission. This has raised some serious questions regarding the superior judiciary. From the very beginning of the memo case, it was obvious that more credence was being given by the court to the military top brass as against the civilians. Ms Jahangir expressed her disappointment with the judgement of the nine-member bench of the Supreme Court (SC) headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. She termed the judgement as a win for the military establishment, which undermined civilian supremacy: “If nine judges of the SC can be [under the establishment’s influence], then I am sorry to say I cannot have any expectations from the high court judges [heading the judicial commission].” That the court is focused on national security instead of upholding fundamental rights and civilian authority has turned the public’s expectations from the ‘independent’ judiciary into disillusionment. Those who have criticised Ms Jahangir for ‘running away’ from the fight or ‘defeatism’ must remember how hostile the bench was towards the defence counsel. In fact, it seemed like a repetition of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s case, where some quarters lamented that Mr Yahya Bakhtiar did not plead Mr Bhutto’s case well, which led to his hanging. This was despite the fact that the judiciary in those days was completely under the army’s thumb and highly biased towards Mr Bhutto. A similar scenario is in the making today in the memo case. Independent courts all over the world do not hear political cases but in Pakistan’s case, as the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has pointed out, “a tendency for the courts to find themselves embroiled in matters that they would not otherwise be an appropriate forum for”. HRW also expressed “concern about the fear of judicial overreach and unwarranted intrusion into the affairs of the legislature and the executive”. Courts should be a forum of justice where citizens go expecting their rights will be protected. Ms Jahangir was not able to get justice for her client despite making a strong legal case about the maintainability of the memo petitions. Now the judiciary’s ability to provide justice hangs in the balance. It would be interesting to see if the findings of the judicial commission are different from that of the parliamentary committee’s investigation. In such an event, whose findings would be considered ‘supreme’ would determine where the real power lies. In principle, parliament is supreme but by hearing the petition on an unsigned memo, and that too when parliament is siezed of the matter, the court has in effect given an impression of ignoring the possible pitfalls ahead. With the success of the lawyers’ movement, it was expected that the judiciary would become truly independent but now the perception is growing that not much has changed. If this trend continues, the issue of civil-military imbalance may not be addressed and democracy remain in the dock. * REFERENCE: EDITORIAL: Whither an independent judiciary? Tuesday, January 03, 2012\01\03\story_3-1-2012_pg3_1

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