Saturday, January 30, 2010

NRO: Nawaz Sharif, Judiciary & Charter of Democracy.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif is quite fond of the Charter of Democracy, Independent Judiciary, Implementation of the Charter of Democracy and above all Accountability. Lets read what History has to say about Mr. Nawaz Sharif's tall Claims. Read the history after reading Mr. Nawaz Sharif's statement in The News/Daily Jang.

If I were president, I would have faced courts, says Nawaz PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif on Friday said the government must accept the court verdicts for the sake of solidarity and integrity of the country. Briefing reporters after presiding over the PML-N’s provincial council meeting at the residence of Iqbal Zafar Jhagra near Peshawar, he said if he were the president and enjoyed immunity, he would even then go to courts to plead his case and clear his name. The PML-N Quaid said the rule of law could solve all the problems besides strengthening democracy in the country. “Instead of giving lectures, the government should respect laws and follow them,” he said. He said President Asif Zardari had disappointed him by not implementing the Charter of Democracy. About the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), he said it was a gift from a dictator and it only benefited the big fish. The PML-N leader said the government would have to accept the supremacy of the Constitution and independence of the judiciary. “It was essential for the survival of democracy to fully implement the court decisions and accept the supremacy of the Constitution,” he stressed. REFERENCE: If I were president, I would have faced courts, says Nawaz By Syed Bukhar Shah Saturday, January 30, 2010


Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Restoration of the Independent Judiciary and Charter of Democracy.

As per the Charter of Democracy:


LONDON, May 15: The following is the text of the Charter of Democracy signed by former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif here on Sunday: Calling upon the people of Pakistan to join hands to save our motherland from the clutches of military dictatorship and to defend their fundamental, social, political and economic rights and for a democratic, federal, modern and progressive Pakistan as dreamt by the Founder of the nation; have adopted the following, “Charter of Democracy”;

3. (a) The recommendations for appointment of judges to superior judiciary shall be formulated through a commission, which shall comprise of the following: i. The chairman shall be a chief justice, who has never previously taken oath under the PCO.

ii. The members of the commission shall be the chief justices of the provincial high courts who have not taken oath under the PCO, failing which the senior most judge of that high court who has not taken oath shall be the member

4. A Federal Constitutional Court will be set up to resolve constitutional issues, giving equal representation to each of the federating units, whose members may be judges or persons qualified to be judges of the Supreme Court, constituted for a six-year period. The Supreme and High Courts will hear regular civil and criminal cases. The appointment of judges shall be made in the same manner as for judges of higher judiciary.

27. There shall be an independent, autonomous, and impartial election commission. The prime minister shall in consultation with leader of opposition forward up to three names for each position of chief election commissioner, members of election commission, and secretary to joint parliamentary committee, constituted on the same pattern as for appointment of judges in superior judiciary, through transparent public hearing process. In case of no consensus, both prime minister and leader of opposition shall forward separate lists to the joint parliamentary committee for consideration. Provincial election commissioner shall be appointed on the same pattern by committees of respective provincial assemblies. REFERENCE: Text of the Charter of Democracy May 16, 2006 Tuesday Rabi-us-Sani 17, 1427


On PCO Judiciary I will just quote Daily Newspapers. One of the wonders of Internet is this that the History can no more be kept hidden.

According to a notification, the president has appointed Justice Rashid Aziz, Chief Justice, Lahore High Court; Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, Chief Justice Sindh High Court; Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice, Balochistan High Court; Qazi Farooq, former chief justice of Peshawar High Court; and Justice Rana Bhagwan Das, judge, Sindh High Court, judges of the Supreme Court. After the elevation of Justice Rashid Aziz Khan to the SC, Justice Mohammad Allah Nawaz has been appointed Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. Justice Deedar Hussain Shah has been appointed Chief Justice of Sindh High Court and Justice Javed Iqbal Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court. After these appointments, the number of SC judges has risen to 12, leaving five posts vacant. REFERENCE: Five judges elevated to SC - Bureau Report - ISLAMABAD, Feb 2: The government elevated five judges to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Week Ending: 5 February 2000 Issue : 06/05

ISLAMABAD, May 7: President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday appointed Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court, as the next chief justice. He will assume the office on June 30 after retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice, Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, on June 29. “The notification has ended speculations of appointment of a junior judge as chief justice in violation of the seniority principle settled under the 1996 Judges case,” commented a senior Supreme Court lawyer on condition of anonymity. Justice Chaudhry will reach the superannuation age of 65 years in 2012, which will make him one of the longest serving chief justices in the judicial history of Pakistan. He will serve as chief justice for over seven years. Earlier Justice A. R. Cornelius and Justice Mohammad Haleem served as chief justice for eight years from 1960 to 68 and 1981 to 89, respectively. Justice Chaudhry was elevated as a judge of the apex court on February 4, 2000. He has performed as acting chief justice from January 17 to 29, 2005. He holds the degree of LLB and started practice as an advocate in 1974. Later he was enrolled as an advocate of high court in 1976 and as an advocate of Supreme Court in 1985. In 1989, Justice Chaudhry was appointed as advocate-general of Balochistan and elevated to the post of additional judge in the Balochistan High Court in 1990. He also served as banking judge, judge of Special Court for Speedy Trials and Customs Appellate Courts as well as company judge. He served as the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court from April 22, 1999 to February 4, 2000. He was elected the president of the High Court Bar Association, Quetta, and twice a member of the Bar Council. He was appointed as the chairman of the Balochistan Local Council Election Authority in 1992 and for a second term in 1998. Justice Chaudhry also worked as the chairman of the Provincial Review Board for Balochistan and was appointed twice as the chairman of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Balochistan. Presently he is functioning as the chairman of the Enrolment Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Buildings Committee. REFERENCE: Chaudhry Iftikhar named new CJ By Our Staff Reporter May 8, 2005 Sunday Rabi-ul-Awwal 28, 1426 Alleged Trial of General Pervez Musharraf!


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. REFERENCE: The Hegemony of the Ruling Elite in Pakistan (2000) by Mr. Abdus Sattar Ghazali CHAPTER: NAWAZ SHARIF'S CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE PRESS

BBC Documentary on Nawaz Sharif (PML - N) Corruption

THE low-flying Senator Saifur Rahman who pilots the prime minister’s Ehtesab Cell has of late been at the receiving end of a lot of flak aimed at him by the Press. He says he expected it, and is prepared to counter any criticism, even that which can vaguely be substantiated. Brave words indeed! Last week I spoke to him about the many allegations made against him by various publications which, for their own reasons, seem desperate to prove that the Senator himself needed to be cleansed. AC: Every new-born democrat of ours, fascist at heart though he may be, claims that we cannot have democracy without accountability. From 1988 onwards those in power – Ghulam Ishaq, Benazir, Jatoi, Nawaz, Mazari, Moeen Qureshi, Farooq Leghari, Benazir again – could have started the Ehtesab process but did not, mainly because of their own individual greed for power and pelf. They did not want to rock the boat. At last, the Leghari / Meraj Khalid team put the process on the rails and now that Nawaz has got it going. Every right thinking citizen of this country should help him. Why did you accept this onerous ‘win-or-lose, you lose,’ position?

SR: Nawaz is my friend. He could hardly have asked any politician or bureaucrat to take on the job. He asked me. I have faith in him. I accepted. By and large, the people have supported me. I am prepared to answer any allegations obliquely or directly made against me in any of our more responsible publications. As a matter of fact, I would like to clarify some of the unsubstantiated charges that have been levelled against me.

AC: Is there any truth in the allegation that your present role as the Mian’s chief gunner is a bit of a cover, that you and the Mian intend doing business together, you ‘fronting’ for him?

SR: A baseless allegation. No joint ventures have been planned. As a matter of fact, our group of companies have decided not to bid for any public sector project in Pakistan as long as I head the Ehtesab Cell.

AC: It is said that your past businesses in Pakistan culminated with your having a dispute with the Customs Department involving some Rs900 million which still has to be resolved, and that you are counter-attacking Customs officers to ease your way out of the predicament. Is there any truth in this?

SR: Absolutely none. Can anyone produce any evidence to support this allegation? Of course, my companies have had the usual disputes and arguments with the Customs, just as have had all other business houses.

AC: Bank loans: Have you or any of your concerns defaulted?

SR: Our problems in Pakistan began when we were politically victimised by Benazir. The banks controlled by the government reneged on their contractual obligations. Our limits were cancelled without assigning any reason or giving us due notice. To this day, the banks have not been able to explain why they took such action. The operations of our textile businesses had to be suspended, the repayment schedules were affected. Some payments are overdue, we have sought redress, rescheduling. The matters are before the proper tribunals and are at present sub judice . The banks stand secured. We are solvent.

AC: Were you involved at all in the building of the Murree-Rawalpindi road project?

SR: No. The road was constructed by Saadullah & Brothers.

AC: Did Redco, or any of your other concerns, land any hefty government contracts at highly inflated rates during Nawaz’s first round as prime minister?

SR: None. Again, let those who make the allegations come forth with evidence.

AC: Are you at all involved in the recent cancellation of the Lahore airport expansion contract recently awarded to a concern known as JAPAK?

SR: I have no knowledge of the Lahore airport project, I have had no dealings with JAPAK and do not even know who owns or runs it.

AC: It is claimed that your younger brother, Mujeeb, is now in Seattle, wheeling-dealing for the purchase by PIA of two Boeings. Is he?

SR: My brother is not in Seattle. We have neither had nor have any dealings
with Boeing.

AC: Are you, or any of your concerns, about to land a Rs 700 million contract to fence the Lahore-Islamabad motorway?

SR: No. We will abide by our commitment. We will not bid for this or any other government business.

AC: ‘They’ say you are on friendly terms with such men as Salman Faruqui and that your pursuit of the ‘bad’ bureaucrats is just a hoax.

SR: Of course, I know Salman Faruqui, and many of his likes. As you all have, I too have heard and know much about them. But I am not ‘negotiating’ with anyone to let anyone off the hook who deserves to be hooked.

AC: What about senior bureaucrats Anwar Zahid, the PM’s Special Assistant and Chaudhry Iftikhar of the FIA? Are they helping you pursue your Ehtesab operation? Have they suggested making ‘deals’ with anybody?

SR: The first has no connection with my cell. The second being an FIA man, I obviously do have discussions with him on the process. After all, we are both working towards the same goal. But neither has proposed making any ‘deals’.

AC: Stories circulated or fabricated about your past are intriguing. One publication has claimed that you started ten years ago with a drug store at Mozang, that later you were a supervisor of expatriate labour working for a construction company in the Gulf and sleeping in a shed, that there you befriended Abdun Nasir, a rich Arab Sheikh, who enabled you to take off and make your pile.

SR: If all this was so, this rags-to-riches story true, would it not be to my credit? My father, a farmer of Sialkot, was also a pharmaceutical distributor. I went to Lahore, first to F.C. College to do my F.Sc. and then to Hailey College for my B.Com. Then I went to Qatar as a trainee executive in a German company. We built up our family businesses in the Gulf with partners such as Sheikh Abdur Rahman Al-Thani, a member of the royal family of Qatar, and Sheikh Sultan Bin Hamadan al Nahyan, of the royal family of the UAE. Our interests include textile spinning and weaving, construction, transport, cement and so forth. The group’s head office is in Doha. I do know Sheikh Abdun Nasir, but we have never been business associates.

AC: There was a letter about you in Dawn on May 15, written by Syed Kausar Ali Shah of Lahore, who stated: “It would be graceful of him if he volunteered to face accountability for the rapid rise of his own construction firm in controversial circumstances. This would vindicate his position and clear his credentials for accountability.” Your reaction?

SR: I am willing to face the process. Would I have taken on the job otherwise? Let any man of any credibility question me, privately or publicly, as it may suit him.

AC: The same letter writer is “concerned about the manner in which 91 senior bureaucrats, the majority of whom command general respect, have been suspended from service and publicly humiliated without justification.” What are your views?

SR: As can be appreciated, the tentacles of the suspended are long and widespread. Naturally, they, their relatives, friends, associates and dependants are unhappy. What does “general respect” mean? Whatever it be, I would say that generally the people have applauded this action.

AC: As compared to bureaucrats, you have so far netted very few politicians. Why?

SR: The evidence against the politicians is coming in and is being sifted. You are a businessman, you tell me, could the country have been robbed to the extent it has been by the politicians and their partners without the connivance or collusion or compliance of the bureaucrats? Could they not have stopped or impeded the Corruption? Corruption is easier to detect than to prove. As you yourself said during your TV interview, “Chor receipt nahin choortay.” And if everyone who has been touched is innocent as he claims to be, then who has robbed the country? My comment: If all that Saifur Rehman has said is to be believed, he has emerged as white as driven snow. For the doubters, it is open season. He says, shoot him down if you can. REFERENCE: Ehtesab – 2 Ardeshir Cowasjee D A W N W I R E S E R V I C E Week Ending : 24 May, 1997 Issue : 03/21

NOTHING has changed for the better. Nine years ago, in May 1990, during Benazir Bhutto’s first round, I was visited one evening by a henchmen of the prime minister and her husband, an officer of the grade of an SDM. He sent in his card which read “Ahmad Fahim Mughal, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Bilawal House, Karachi.” He had come to see me, in his official capacity, about a huge highrise complex, ‘Classic Homes,’ of which he claimed to be a part owner, the others being ‘Powerful Friends.’ I had filed a suit against this illegal construction and the Sindh High Court had granted a stay. He very directly asked me to withdraw the suit and have the stay vacated at the next hearing of the case in three days time. If I did not do so, showing me his fist, he told me I would have to face the consequences. The suit had actually been filed by 27 affected citizens, many of the 26 not accustomed to dealing with people such as Mughal and his bosses. Worried about their safety, I went to court the next morning to find my lawyer, Khalid Anwer, to ask him what could be done to save the others from potential harassment. Khalid told me that fifty per cent of our judges exist in fear of their rulers and were not likely to spring to our aid. Safety could only lie in exposing bullies who issued threats. His suggestion was that I write to President Ghulum Ishaq Khan, sending copies to the high office holders of the land, and spread the word in the press, which I did. I also wrote a column the following Friday and no more was heard from Mughal – no further threats issued. Khalid had given sound advice: when threatened, expose the threatener.

REFERENCE: Thursday, July 22, 2010, Shaban 09, 1431 A.H





Now, in 1999, on the morning of Sunday July 18, Moinuddin Khan, who had been brought in by the prime minister early in his second round to be chairman of the Central Board of Revenue and who has now reverted to his original profession, banking, rang from Riyadh. He told me that his brother, Naeemuddin Khan, an officer of the United Bank who dealt with bad debts and recoveries, had been abducted from his house in Karachi the night before by the FIA under instructions from Senator Saifur Rahman, head of the accountability bureau, the prime minister’s chief trouble shooter. Naeem’s whereabouts were not known. Knowing how Najam Sethi and Hussain Haqqani had been recently treated, Moin was naturally worried. What could be done?

Ringing Saifur Rahman would not help as he would deny all knowledge or involvement. All that could be done was to file a writ of habeas corpus, though many of our judges are not aware of the meaning or importance of the urgency of this writ, and do not realize that it must be heard as soon as a petitioner’s advocate rises and announces that he has filed such a writ. Moin said that they had already decided to do this and that advocate Akram Shaikh was being instructed accordingly. Senator Saifur Rahman, close confidante and friend of the prime minister from whose secretariat he operates, has taken upon himself the responsibility of ensuring that Nawaz Sharif and his government rule over us in perpetuity. Like the rest of the partymen, using his clout he had borrowed money from the government bank UBL in 1991, during Nawaz Sharif’s first round and become a mill owner and industrialist. Some sums have been repaid but as of today he, his family, his textile mill and his business concern Redco owe UBL, from borrowings made in Pakistan and abroad, some Rs.1.4 billion (140 crores).

Before Nawaz Sharif came in for the second time, the loan repayments were Rescheduled twice but the repayment schedule was not adhered to. Come Sharif and his second round, banker Zubayr Soomro was brought in to head UBL and the recovery process in all cases was activated. For the third time, Saifur Rahman’s repayments were rescheduled, and yet again no repayments were made in time. Finally, UBL filed a recovery suit in the Lahore High Court and the harassment of Zubayr commenced. His safety was guaranteed by the fact that he is the son of the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro. Saifur Rahman, in turn, filed a suit in the LHC against UBL claiming damages, pleading that interest was un-Islamic, etc, etc. The suits are being heard. Then, about six weeks ago, Saifur Rahman filed a writ in Justice Malik Qayyum’s court at the LHC seeking, inter alia, that proceedings in the UBL suit be stayed so as to give him time to approach the high-powered bankers’ rescheduling committee. Justice Qayyum passed no orders. The heads of seven banks and financing institutions forming the committee are: Shaukat Tareen, Habib; Mohammadmian Soomro, National; Zubayr Soomro, United; Mian Mohammad Mansha, President, Muslim Commercial; Rashid Chaudhry, Allied; Mohammad Ali Khoja, PICIC; Bilal Shaikh, NDFC. This committee cannot take notice of any rescheduling until the affected bank itself refers the matter to it. This UBL has not so far done. Saifur Rahman can prevail upon five of the seven committee members (let each think he is one of the two).

In the meantime Saifur Rahman managed to get one-time Ittefaq lawyer, Chaudhry Mohammad Farooq, who is also the Attorney-General of Pakistan, the first law officer of the people, to write to the Governor of the State Bank asking him to direct the committee to consider questions relating to Saifur Rahman’s unpaid loans. The State Bank has brought this letter to the committee’s attention but so far it has taken no action. In the meantime, on the orders of Saifur Rahman, the income tax authorities commenced harassing Naeemuddin and his other brother, Banker Bahauddin of Deutsche Bank. Saif rang Moinuddin in Riyadh on July 9 asking him to prevail upon Naeemuddin to be reasonable. Moin told him his brother abided by his own norms. On July 18, as soon as Zubayr learnt that Naeemuddin had been abducted by the FIA, he moved to save his man. The first person he turned to was naturally his father, Ilahi Bakhsh, who leapt into action, and found the prime minister at Lahore airport as he and his ninety hangers-on were about to board their special Umra flight. The prime minister took a second wise decision and instructed his Principal Secretary, Saeed Mehdi, to order the immdiate release of Naeemuddin, who had been flown from Karachi to Islamabad and lodged in Saifur Rahman’s safe domed secretariat. On July 22 when I rang Saif to ask him why he felt compelled to harass those who did not ‘cooperate,’ he denied all knowledge of Naeemuddin’s abduction. For good measure, he informed me that the previous day certain power-wielders of Islamabad were considering sending the federal police to collect me from Karachi and to ensure my presence before the Privileges Committee of the National Assembly. When I asked who they were, he would not name them, but told me he had restrained them from taking any such action. I had to refresh his memory.

On April 13, 1998, MNA Khwaja Asif, holding the rank of a federal minister, reported to the National Assembly secretariat that I had not only “used abusive language but also threatened me with dire consequences.” He considered this to be “a clear breach of my privilege and attempt to stop me from performing my duties as a parliamentarian.” I was summoned by the Privileges Committee. Much correspondence ensued. On December 5, 1998, I wrote a seven-page letter in the final paragraph of which I wrote : “Let me state that in principle I have no objection to appearing before the Committee but before I do I would like to be categorically told about the law under which I am required to appear, the details of the allegation, as well as the evidence upon which it is based, and the finding of the Committee on the crucial issues I have raised hereinabove.” After my talk with Saif, I wrote another letter to the Secretary of the Privileges Committee drawing his attention to the General Clauses (Amendment) Act 1997 (adding section 24A to the General Clauses Act 1897) passed by parliament. This requires any authority, office or person making any order, or issuing any direction, to give reasons for making the order or issuing the direction. I reiterated my readiness “to appear before the Committee as and when lawfully summoned, but I must be made aware of the law which entitles you to summon me . . . . . I justifiably feel that an unsubstantiated statement made by a legislator is not
sufficient reason to inconvenience any citizen.” I would like to believe that my lawyer, Khalid Anwer, our present government’s law minister, is giving ’sound advice’ to the prime minister but that his advice is not being heeded. REFERENCE: Sound advice Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending:31 July 1999 Issue:05/31

In my column of July 24 I wrote of the bank defaults of Nawaz confidant Saifur Rahman and his Redco group, how Saif had endeavoured to get the banks concerned to ‘cooperate,’ and how when they resisted he harassed their officials, going to the extent in the case of United Bank (UBL) of having one officer picked up by the FIA. Saifur Rahman, chieftain of our accountability process, and his concerns have defaulted in the repayment of their loans to UBL, which borrowings total some Rs.1.4 billion (Rs.1b. in Pakistan, Rs.0.4b. abroad). UBL’s recovery suit filed in 1998 is pending before Justice Ehsanul Haq Chaudhry, the banking judge of the Lahore High Court. Redco filed a counter-suit claiming damages, which is also pending in the LHC. Saif filed a writ petition in Justice Malik Qayyum’s court at the LHC seeking, inter alia, that proceedings in the UBL suit be stayed so as to give him time to approach the high-powered bankers’ rescheduling committee. On September 9, Saif filed an application (CM 1099/99) which was heard by Justice Qayyum. Without hearing UBL or the AG, the judge ordered: “Notice to the respondents for 5.10.99. The learned counsel for the petitioner has stated that the petitioner was ready and willing to discharge its liability in terms of the package announced by the State Bank of Pakistan, but the respondents did not allow it to do so and have instead put the names of the applicants on the list of defaulters. To come up on the aforesaid date. In the meantime the names of the applicant/petitioner and its directors shall be removed from the list of creditors maintained by the State Bank of Pakistan.”

Until this order is reversed the defaulting party will be able to borrow further amounts from the government banks (no foreign bank will lend it anything). UBL, HBL, NBP and others will be coerced into giving money, further indebting the nation. On September 30, under the heading ‘Loan and tax cases,’ Jang published a news report. Its translation : “A division bench of the Lahore High Court presided over by Justice Malik Qayyum reserved judgment in the case of three units of the Ittefaq Group relating to incorrect assessment of tax and adjustment of loans . . . . . . . . Whilst addressing the nation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had offered three units of the Ittefaq Group, namely Ittefaq Foundries, Brothers Steel, and Ittefaq Brothers to the banks and DFIs in settlement of his loans/liabilities of the Ittefaq Group. These units were handed over to the company bench of the Lahore High Court . . . . . . . . The court also considered the nine-year-old case of incorrect assessment of income tax of the Sharif family. Advocate A. K. Dogar representing the Sharif family argued that the income tax department had assessed the liability of the Ittefaq Group at Rs.2 crores [20 million]. Benazir’s first government had raised the IT demand to Rs.40 crores [400 million] in collusion with the IT department. On appeal [during the first Sharif round ?] the amount was reduced to Rs.2 crores. In Benazir’s second round an appeal was filed [presumably by the IT department] after a period of three and a half years instead of the normal 60 days period, and the tax liability was again raised to Rs.65 crores [650 million]. Shafqat Chauhan, advocate for the IT department said that it was due to the pressure exerted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that the case could not be heard. Justice Qayyum asked why, when Benazir was in power, did the department not proceed as at that time Nawaz Sharif was running from one court to another. Later the court reserved judgment.” For whom are the institutions of the state – the courts, the IT department, the attorney-generals, etc – working? For the state and the people, or for the prime minister and the party in power? Naturally, the latter lot will try to remain on top as long as they can, not wishing to be relegated once again to the list of ‘the usual suspects.’ REFERENCE: ‘Round up the usual suspects’ Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending:09 October 1999 Issue:05/41

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

THEORETICALLY, in a Westminster-style democracy that this country has tried to emulate, there are four pillars of state – the legislature, the executive, the judiciary, and the press. But our country rests imbalanced on five. The fifth pillar, the most powerful, the richest, the most organized, is the army. Fortunately for us, it is now headed by a good commander. Nawaz Sharif’s `overwhelming’ mandate, comprising less than ten per cent of the total population of the Republic, but sufficient for him and his `sovereigns of parliament’ to do good by the 140 million should they so wish, did not satisfy him. He first tackled the executive, emasculating the president, rushing through at midnight the 13th Amendment, suspending all rules of procedure, aided and abetted by a pliant assembly speaker and a pliant senate chairman (both front-runners in the present presidential race). To neutralize the legislature, he repeated the exercise with his 14th Amendment (passed without a single dissent) banning dissension or abstention in parliament. Never in the recorded history of any democracy have parliamentarians voluntarily given up their right to speak.

At the time when Farooq Leghari and his caretaker government were assuring Nawaz Sharif his second term, Abbaji was heard to declare, “leghari Sahib kay ehsan, mein, aur merey baitey, aur hamara khandan, kabhi nahin, bhoolengey.” This was forgotten on February 3 when Nawaz Sharif was elected. Nine months down the line, a weakened Leghari, given the choice between a threatened impeachment (which, because of the numbers game, may never have come off) or resignation, chose the latter. He should have called Nawaz Sharif’s bluff, and, following the dictates of his conscience, gone on to sign or not sign whatever was presented to him. An independent judiciary would have intervened and passed appropriate orders against a mala fide and colorable impeachment. Leghari having resigned, a new president now has to be elected. When my friend, Nawab Mohammad Akbar Shahbaz Khan, Tumandar Bugti, was asked whether he was an aspirant, he replied “No. I do not qualify. I have a spine.” Amongst the pliable favorites are Wasim Sajjad, Sartaj Aziz, Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro, and, of all people, Ghous Ali Shah. Of this sorry lot, one is guilty of having lied under oath in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
The fourth pillar of the state, the press, is no longer just the printed word. it is also the predominating electronic media. Nawaz Sharif and his men do not, or cannot, read, so, by and large, we remain relatively free. PTV, our prime ministers’ personal television channel, remains abjectly controlled, so much so that it was prevented from broadcasting President Leghari’s resignation speech to the nation. Shots were shown on foreign television channels, and the world informed that it was banned from the national channel. This reinforced international opinion as to Nawaz Sharif’s authoritarian tendencies. The army stands as one. Chief of Army Staff General Jehangir Karamat has acted prudently. Nawaz Sharif’s propaganda about his having army backing is neither correct nor is it generally believed. Why do you glorify the army chief so, asked Ayaz Amir (not so long ago one of our credible national columnists but now a budding Nawazite)? Have you forgotten your history? Have you forgotten how Hitler divided and destroyed the Wehrmacht? Have you forgotten the Blomberg-Fritsch affair? Have you forgotten how the ageing giant Hindenburg was duped by Hitler? If Nawaz succeeds in his aim, will Karamat be forgiven? I told him I had not forgotten any of it and how not so long ago I had sent to the general a copy of a video film on the Fuhrer which is being followed up by a copy of Shirer’s `The Rise and Fall of the third Reich’. As for the judiciary, Nawaz Sharif with his (or rather, our) money, with his carrots and sticks, has successfully managed to undermine this institution so recently built up. Neither history nor the people can ever forgive him for this. Chief Justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah (to the Bar and the people he is neither `under restraint’ nor `under suspension’) was appointed by Benazir in 1994. No judge, or member of the Bar, up to November of this year, voiced any protest against his appointment or his administration. As Rashed Rahman, son of a former Supreme Court judge, wrote about him in The Nation, “That he is a man of courage and has a clean record goes without saying. In that sense he can be compared to a hero of a Shakespearian tragedy whose fall is brought about as much by a flaw in his own character as by outside factors.”
Fali Nariman, a former Attorney-General of India and now president of the bar association of India, who keeps himself abreast of happenings in the courts of our country, asked me to fax him the orders passed by the Quetta and Peshawar Benches and by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah relating to the ouster. On December 5, a perplexed Nariman asked, `but is there any legal or constitutional basis for the orders of the Quetta and Peshawar Benches?”

My constitutional adviser and senior counsel, Barrister Makhdoom Ali Khan, was immediately consulted. Careful Makhdoom’s first response was to say, “Not to my knowledge.” I asked him for a one- word answer, either `yes’ or `no’. “No,” he said. There are certainly no precedents in Pakistan for what has happened, but there are many against. It is a settled principle that no writ will be issued by one judge to another. On November 28, I was in the Supreme Court whilst the contempt case against Nawaz Sharif and others was being heard by Chief Justice Shah’s Bench. Sitting beside me was my friend and lawyer, Khalid Anwer, now federal law minister. Whilst alleged contemner Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, S.M. Zafar, laboured on and on, Khalid shook his head from side to side. Zafar, making his usual noises, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, told the court that its constitution was in question. A calm and composed Sajjad asked, why then are you here before us? Zafar also questioned the legitimacy of Sajjad’s appointment as chief justice. If you do not recognize me as chief justice, do you recognize me as a judge of the Supreme Court? queried Sajjad.

As the harangue continued, I remarked to Khalid that his writ as law minister does not extend far, and asked if it would extend far enough for him to protect my seat whilst I nip out to attend to a call of nature. Good humouredly, he replied that though he may not succeed as law minister, he could manage to do so as a senior counsel of the Supreme Court. Before I could reach my destination one floor below the courtroom, a surging screaming crowd of hooligans appeared in the corridors. Zahid Hussain, correspondent for The Times (London) and the chief of AP in Pakistan, was with me. We were both hurriedly sent back by court officials who were rushing around instructing each other that the doors of the courtroom be closed, that the crowd had arrived to arrest the Chief Justice. As we re-entered, I heard Sajjad remark, to Zafar, “Thanks to you,” whilst adjourning the case and leaving the courtroom just before a section of the crowd, spearheaded by women, rushed in. Turning to Khalid I said that if Nawaz Sharif must use women, he should at least see to it that they are good looking rather than frightening. A lawyer of Lahore standing close by informed me that they were not actually women, but intermediary beings, and that I would look like them were I to shave off my beard and moustache and put on lipstick and make-up. He even recognized a few of them as being famous `tanglas’ from certain specialized areas of Lahore. As we pushed our way out of the courtroom, a dejected Khalid Anwar muttered to himself, “Most unnecessary, most unnecessary.”

Acting Chief Justice Ajmal Mian is so far clean on record, and, as far as is publicly known, free from any impropriety. His first challenge is to deal with all those involved in the attack on the Supreme Court. This will not be easy. It must nevertheless be faced. The mob did not attack a man, or a building. The institution of the judiciary, with the Supreme Court at its apex, was the target of the assault. This was contempt of court of the worst kind, and any lack of firmness or alacrity in dealing with the culprits will only encourage others to use similar methods each time the court is seized of a politically sensitive matter. The authority of the court will become subject to the muscle- power of the mob and the machinations of those who hire them. The master-fixer, my friend the Jadoogar of Jeddah, Sharifuddin Pirzada, who snoozed besides me as we flew back to Karachi, was firm in his opinion that the gravest of contempt had been committed, that it’s an open and shut case. REFERENCE: Fascism on the march By Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 13 December 1997 Issue : 03/50

AN open letter to Justice Ajmal Mian, the honourable J-1 of the Supreme Court:
As a citizen of Pakistan, no more no less, I address you, today the principal custodian of the honour and dignity of the judiciary of Pakistan, particularly that of the Supreme Court. You may perhaps have read my column printed last Sunday, the manuscript of which is sent herewith.

The crucial issues pending before your court include;

* Contempt of court action against Nawaz Sharif and seven others.

* Petition regarding the unlawful allotment of thousands of plots by him when chief minister of Punjab.

* Petition regarding the unlawful ISI distribution of Rs 140 million of the people’s money to him and others.

* Petition regarding award of wheat transport contract by him to his crony Saeed Shaikh.

* Petition regarding his misuse of power in pressurising banks to settle loan cases out of court.

* Petition challenging his Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

* Petitions regarding suspension of 13th and 14th Amendments.

Fascism has been on the march in our country from 1954 a mere six years after Jinnah’s death. Governor General Ghulam Mohammed used fascist force to try to prevent Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan from arriving at the High Court of Sindh to file his petition against the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. He ordered that Tamizuddin be arrested before he could get there, and the High Court was surrounded by the police. Disguised in a burqa, Tamizuddin managed to get through to the Deputy Registrar, Roshan Ali Shah, father of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah, held by certain of his bretheren now to be “under restraint.”

Roshan Ali protected Tamizuddin and took him to Chief Justice Sir George Constantine, who accepted the petition and ordered the police to disperse or face action. You will also recall how, in 1973, District and Sessions Judge of Sanghar Mohammed Owais Murtaza was hand-cuffed, arrested while presiding over his own court, and jailed by provincial minister Jam Sadiq Ali, as ordered by Bhutto, for having granted bail to certain men he had imprisoned. The steadfast CJ Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman stood his ground and protested. Why was his judge humiliated, why was he, the Chief Justice, not consulted? Judge Murtaza moved the High Court for bail and Bhutto had him released before his application could be heard by Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman.

It was also in the 1970s, when I first heard of you. You were a young legal adviser of the Karachi Port Trust. My father Rustom, the senior-most trustee, was acting as the Chairman of the Trust. One fine morning, an agitated Chief Engineer Aftab informed him that Chief Minister of Sindh Mumtaz Bhutto had arranged to lay the foundations of a labour colony on port land that afternoon. The platform had been erected, flags were flying and buntings hung. My father immediately wrote off to the CM telling him that the land was port land reserved for its development, that he should therefore cancel his building programme and save himself embarrassment.

Within minutes, the gruff CM telephoned. Who are you? he asked, and how dare you address me as you have? Dared I have, replied my father. Right now, I am the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Karachi Port Trust, and therefore the chief conservator of all the land and water notified as falling within the port limits. Whoever you may be, responded the Talented Cousin, always remember that every inch of land in Sindh is mine to do with as I will. What will you do if I lay the foundation stone and build a colony? I will file a petition in the High Court, came the answer, and stay your designs.

At lunch that afternoon, my father related this exchange to his sons. But, he said, we have a clear-headed young lawyer. “Ajmal tagro che,” and Tufail will stay Mumtaz’s hand within fifteen minutes. However, before we could finish lunch, Aftab rang saying that the platform, flags and buntings had all been removed and the ceremony was off. My father could act as he did, banking on an honest High Court presided over by a fearless CJ who would feel bound to protect the Trust.

Moving forward to the present, may I request that this letter of mine be accepted as a petition, and that you take suo moto action, for the gravest contempt committed in the face of the court, against those who stormed the Supreme Court on November 28 as well as all those responsible for organizing, paying, and directing them to so do, and that severe deterrent punishment be handed down to all of them. (Possibly taking their cue from the Nov 28 happening, 50 mobsters on December 12 attacked the court of a civil judge of Faisalabad). Collectively responsible and guilty is the entire federal cabinet and its primus inter pares.

As evidence, sent herewith is a cassette. You will see clearly from this video recording, that the disgraceful and unprecedented scenes that took place on the premises and inside the court building on November 28 were undoubtedly government inspired and led, funded by the peoples money. You will, as did I, recognize certain prominent members of the present government, of the Senate, the National Assembly and the Punjab Provincial Assembly. And should you be familiar with the Muslim Leaguers of the prime minister’s own home town, Lahore, you will no doubt see many familiar figures, flaunting the flag of the ruling party, proving that the substantial and violent mob was bussed in from the provincial capital specifically for the raid.

You will see on the portion taken from BBC tracks, that prominent in the pushing, shoving and shouting crowd outside the court is the well known federal minister Mushahid Hussain who works closely with the prime minister. As he jostles along he is smiling the smile of sweet success and contentment. You will observe that he made no effort to pacify or dissuade the mob. Clambering over the gates of the court premises can be spotted the ample figure of MPA Sa’ad Rafiq, a former leader of the Muslim Students’ Federation. Encouraging the attack is the since- sacked-then-reinstated political secretary to the prime minister, Mushtaq Ali Taherkheli, who later was interviewed by the BBC. You will also see the many law enforcers, flak-jacketed policemen, standing watching, or strolling by, apparently under orders not to react. Women were well represented by Najma Hamid, a former MPA of Punjab, I am told.

Amongst those directing the mob within the court building was Senator Saifur Rahman, Nawaz’s chief trouble-shooter and man for all affairs, and his chief-in-charge of ehtesab. It was very sad to spot him amongst the hooligans. I thought better of him. The night before, he was hurriedly sent for by provincial chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and he flew back with him from Lahore in the CM’s special plane at 0300 hours that morning. Sardar Naseem, an MPA of Lahore, was prominent, as was an associate of the well-known Khwaja Riaz Mahmood, a former deputy mayor of Lahore, famous for remarking that he cannot understand why two police constables were not simply sent to arrest the chief justice and get the whole thing over with quickly. Other honourable Senators seen directing the rioters were Raja Aurangzeb, and a man recognized by some as Parvez Rashid. MNA Tariq Aziz did his active best. Former hockey star Akhtar Rasool, and Mian Abdul Sattar, both MPAs of Lahore, performed well. From Rawalpindi there was MPA Chaudhry Tanvir, a former vice-chairman of the Cantonment Board. You will see how the rowdies were guided in and, after forcing the court to adjourn, hurriedly ushered out.

They were later accorded a celebratory feast at Punjab House. The affairs of state will trundle on and soon Chief Justice of Pakistan (under restraint) Sajjad Ali Shah will be invited by the government to honour his constitutional obligation and swear in the new President, as required by Article 42. But, on you, for the present, rests the onerous responsibility of reconsecrating a badly desecrated and purposefully divided Supreme Court. REFERENCE: Fascdism on the march — II Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 20 December 1997 Issue : 03/51

THIS true story relating to the election of the first president, to suit the genius of the 1973 Constitution warrants repetition. When President Bhutto decided to step down to the prime ministerial slot he looked around for a ’suitable’ replacement. What he sought ideally was a blind, deaf, mindless, crippled candidate. Prior to his sighting of the gentle Fazal Elahi Chaudhry, his eye lit upon the politically acceptable Begum Shahnawaz, daughter of Sir Mohammad Shafi, sister of my late lamented friend, Mian Iqbal Shafi. My first reaction was to exclaim, good grief, she must be pushing ninety. To check, and to congratulate Iqi in the event that it was true, I rang him. Yes, he said, there is something to it and, yes, she is getting on for ninety. But she qualifies perfectly. She can barely see, she is almost stone deaf, and she is mobile only if helped. We must hope they don’t let her down. She is preparing her trousseau for the move to the presidential palace, and it will hit her hard if it doesn’t come off. Nusrat and Zulfi have been visiting. Keep your fingers crossed, pal. You and I may be on to a good thing. She will have a special train. We’ll organize an extra bogey and tour Pakistan in style. Pack your bags, pal, he instructed me before he signed off.

A few days later Iqi called. Unpack, pal, unpack. Bad news. Jehanara’s chances have receded. She has regained her hearing in one ear, her eyesight has improved, and she has thrown out her nurse. No go. She has ceased to qualify. Looking around this time, Nawaz Sharif’s eye focused on octogenarian Fida Mohammed Khan as a suitable candidate. He also qualified on other grounds. Hailing from the NWFP, he would be acceptable to most as a symbol of the federation. But Wali Khan, Sharif’s coalition partner, spoilt that one. Fida did not suit his purposes. He was relatively sharp of hearing and sight, and had almost all his brain cells intact. Up came the name of Mohammed Ali Khan Hoti, also from the NWFP. He was immediately rejected, for he has a good solid spine and is quite capable of deciding for himself what is what. Ghous Ali Shah of Sindh’s name cropped up, but was hastily discarded as too many people who mattered insisted that he was far too ‘controversial’ (the local euphemism for ‘totally unacceptable’).

Then Abbaji stepped in, and within the space of one minute settled everything. Cut the cackle and forget about the ’smaller’ provinces. Let’s keep it all in the family and in Punjab. Select my friend and legal adviser, Rafiq Tarar, whose wit and wisdom I share, and with whom I often sup late into the night, exchanging sick Sikh jokes from our vast reservoirs. He is, and will prove to be, perfect. What is good for the Sharifs, is good for the party, and is good for the nation. Soon, with God’s blessings, we will have a Sharif nominee at the head of the Supreme Court and at the head of our powerful army. ‘Der Fuhrer’ had spoken. Without further ado, without consulting his ruling party members, or the leaders of the coalition parties, Nawaz Sharif nominated Tarar. Thought-broadcaster and ‘media developer’ Mushahid Hussain was ordered to tailor Tarar to fit the slot, and vice versa. Mushahid trumpeted: Tarar is a moderate Muslim, a clean, devout, upright man and, contrary to what is said, is not a misogynist. He has been cleared by the agencies (who codified him in the records sent to those prosecuting Benazir’s Bhutto government’s dismissal as DW1 — Dari Wallah 1). He is a son of the soil, officially born in Pirkhot, District Gujranwala, on November 2, 1929, educated in Gujranwala and Lahore. Gujranwala is his oyster. It was there he grew his formal beard and in 1951 launched himself as a pleader. He moved up to become advocate of the high court, to additional district and sessions judge, to district and sessions judge, and was elevated to the bench of the Lahore High Court in 1974, in the good old days of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s PPP. In 1989, in the equally good old days of Zia, he became chief justice of that court, moving up to the Supreme Court in 1991, from where he retired in 1994.

His brilliance on the bench of the Supreme Court has been immortalized. During the three years he sat there, one sole judgment authored by the Honourable Justice Tarar was recorded in a PLD — his concurring judgment in the case of the 1993 dissolution of the National Assembly when the presidential dissolution order was struck down and the government of Nawaz Sharif restored. Amongst his friends who share his thoughts and beliefs and over whom he wields considerable influence are Justice Khalilur Rahman (codified as DW2), a signatory to the November 1997 order of the Quetta bench of the Supreme Court which sparked off the sorry disintegration process; Afzal Lone, a benefactor of the Ittefaq empire, rewarded with a Senate seat, who is inevitably to be found lurking in the prime minister’s secretariat, and Major General Javed Nasir (DW3), Nawaz Sharif’s former chief of the ISI and of the ‘Afghan misadventure’.

Tarar’s nomination was filed on December 16, together with that of his covering candidates Captain Haleem Siddiqi and Khwaja Qutubuddin. (It is somewhat of a disgrace that a master mariner should have allowed his name to be included amongst the spineless.) Tarar’s nomination was rejected on December 18 by Justice of the Supreme Court Mukhtar Ahmad Junejo, who also holds the post of Acting Chief Election Commissioner. Junejo, in this case, proved himself to be as strong as Seshan. Can we remove Junejo, was Nawaz Sharif’s first Gawalmandi reaction. Risky, he was told. Then file a petition against Junejo’s order in the Lahore High Court and have the order suspended. Suitable counsel were hurriedly contacted, and it goes to the credit of the bar that not one of the top constitutional lawyers was willing to accept Tarar’s brief. Ejaz Batalvi, expert criminal lawyer, was roped in. Justice Qayyum admitted the petition on December 19 and suspended Junejo’s order, allowing Tarar to “participate in the election provisionally subject to further orders”. A larger bench will hear the petition on the 23rd. My renowned constitutional expert (who for his own good explicitly asked me not to name him) maintains that Tarar may sail through the Lahore High Court. But, in the Supreme Court, it may, just may, be a different kettle of fish. Passing muster there will not be that simple. The irony is that the order of Acting CEC Mukhtar Junejo will be defended by Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq, who, though technically the first law officer of the land representing the people still acts as if he were the personal hired lawyer of Ittefaq and Nawaz Sharif.

As for the president of the republic, with the powers now left to him in the Constitution, all he can depend upon is his moral authority and his presentability to the world. Tarar, unfortunately, possesses neither. To quote from the ‘Comment’ of man-of-integrity Kunwar Idris, published in this newspaper on December 20 :

“Also casting a dark shadow on him is the referendum of December 1984 when, as a member of Zia’s Election Commission, he solemnly assured the people that 55 per cent and not just five per cent of the electorate had turned out to confer legitimacy on Zia’s dictatorial rule. Mr Tarar also has to dispel the widely insinuated impression that he was involved in the ‘Quetta Shuttle’ which divided the Supreme Court and wrote the saddest chapter in Pakistan’s constitutional history.”

The task before the present de facto chief custodian of the Supreme Court, the honourable J-1, Justice Ajmal Mian, is onerous indeed. Before he can reform and unite his ‘farishtas’ (as the judges of the SC are affectionately known) he has to clean up the paradise over which they preside. The dignity and honour of the court remain desecrated and dented by the mob attack upon it organized by the ruling party. The court must be cleansed and reconsecrated, the sponsors and their stormers punished for committing a criminal act in the face of the court. Another task awaiting Justice Mian is the reining in of the parallel judiciary incorporated in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997 (a Lone-Tarar creation).

Also (important and urgent) he must demolish the formation of a squad of honorary magistrates planned to be recruited in Punjab from the ranks of party bosses of the Muslim League. Following in his master’s footsteps, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat is said to have thought up this brilliant fascistic move. REFERENCE: Fascism on the march – III Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 27 December 1997 Issue : 03/52

SHOULD their mindset allow them one, all those who are still able to believe that the system we have is a democracy that suits the genius of and is capable of governing the 140 million people of Pakistan should have second thoughts. Reproduced are extracts from a series of columns entitled ‘Ehtesab or intekhab’, printed in this space in this newspaper during the Leghari caretaker period: Dec 12, 1996 — “Never have we been nearer the edge of the precipice. The people must be taken into confidence and their will must prevail. A direct reference must be made and this caretaker government must ascertain what it is the masses want. The Constitution adequately provides in Article 48(6): “If, at any time, the President, in his discretion, or on the advice of the Prime Minister, considers that it is desirable that any matter of national importance should be referred to a referendum, the President may cause the matter to be referred to a referendum in the form of a question that is capable of being answered by ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” Dec 29, 1996 — “The constitutionalists who support Nawaz maintain that elections must be held within 90 days. They ignore Article 254: ‘When any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be done within a particular period and it is not done within that period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.’ They overlook Article 48(6).

“Why is the President afraid of holding a referendum? He must know that the overwhelming majority of the people will insist that the holding of the accountability process must be completed, and that the guilty politicians should be disqualified, or convicted, before any elections are held? But does he know that the majority of the people find many of the present caretakers unacceptable? He could easily replace them and appoint men in whom the people have confidence.”

Jan 20, 1997 — “The people say, let there be a time-limited delay in the holding of elections. Article 58(2)(b) provides for an appeal to the electorate. Article 48(6) permits the President “in his discretion or on the advice of the Prime Minister” (the advice being binding) to hold a referendum. Can the President not ask the people if they wish for a time-limited delay in the holding of elections (say, a period of 15 months) which would give him and his team (a changed team, he should get rid of the known rotters) time to strengthen the accountability laws and complete the process? >From the highest to the lowest in the land, the feeling is that these elections are being held far too soon. Chief Justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah is all for accountability and has stated that the 90 days period is ‘too inadequate for completing the accountability process’ (Dawn Jan 13). “If, as it seems clear they will, the people vote for a time- limited delay, the Nawazians, the anxious hopeful beneficiaries, may go to court in protest. Let the CJ and his brethren then give their verdict.”

All too late now, Leghari dithered, wavered, and made up his mind that Nawaz Sharif was to be installed in the prime ministerial mansion and given another round. Incapable of exercising moral authority, he let greed get the better of him. And what was his fate? In less than a year, having allowed himself to be rendered weak and vulnerable by the very creature he had installed, and fearing the remote possibility of impeachment, he fled the scene on December 2. Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister on February 17. Rather than concentrating on doing good by the people, for which all that is needed are moral qualities and endowments, moral habits and conduct, and the ability to know the difference between right and wrong, he concentrated on grabbing more power than was due to him by the Constitution. So, in less than two months at midnight on April 2, all rules and procedures of the parliament were suspended and in the middle of the night, the 13th Amendment Bill was rushed through both Houses, signed by the president the next day, and notified on April 4. By this Amendment, the president was disempowered, and the prime minister further empowered. The president cannot dissolve the National Assembly, he cannot appoint governors at his discretion but on the advice of the prime minister, the provincial governors cannot dissolve their assemblies, the president, though he remains supreme commander of the Armed forces, no longer has the power to appoint or sack the service chiefs.

The question the president did not ask before signing this bill: Why is this Amendment necessary? Why were the rules of procedure suspended? Why was no debate allowed in the House? Rules dictate that a constitutional amendment is an extraordinary measure involving a great deal of deliberation on the part of the ruling party, consultation with the opposition, and an objective study of public opinion on the subject. Thereafter, according to the rules of procedure governing parliamentary proceedings under the 1973 Constitution, a bill (other than a finance bill) upon its introduction in the House stands referred to the relevant standing committee, unless the requirements of Rules 91 and 92 are dispensed with by the House on a motion by the member-in-charge. The standing committee is required to present its report within 30 days and, on receipt of this report, copies of the bill as introduced, together with any modifications recommended by the standing committee, must be supplied to each member within seven days. Two clear days then must elapse before the bill can be sent down for a motion under Rule 93. Less than three months after this transgression, on June 30, in the Senate, the rules of procedure were again suspended, The 14th Amendment Bill went through like a shot, passed in less than a day, without one single protest or dissent being recorded.

On July 1, the bill was presented to the National Assembly, again rules of procedure were suspended, and the bill was passed immediately, again without one single protest or dissent. It went up to the president, on July 3 he put his signature to the bill, and on July 4 the Fourteenth Amendment Act of 1997 came into force. This Amendment admittedly has the aim of putting an end to lucrative defections. But ‘lotaism’ only existed because all our political parties were in the business of buying and selling bodies. However, that was not deemed to be sufficient. The prime
minister had to be further empowered, and so he was. A member of a parliamentary party will also be deemed to have defected if he breaches any declared or undeclared party discipline, code of conduct or policies, or if he votes contrary to any direction issued by his parliamentary party, or if he abstains from voting as instructed by his party on any bill. The prosecutor, defence counsel, judge and jury who will decide the member’s fate is the head of the party, whose decision is not justifiable in any court of law.

The 14th amendment rendered the herd of legislators voiceless and the bell-wethers all supreme. Again, the president did not question the necessity for the stifling of all dissent. The 15th Amendment Bill, disempowering the Chief Justice of Pakistan, has already been drafted. It was to be rushed through the two Houses in November, but for some strange reason Nawaz Sharif and his men stayed their hand. There is no reason for them to stay it any longer, and any day now rules and procedures will be thrown to the winds and the hasty midnight process will be repeated. Now, to face reality. Nawaz Sharif had, within six months, managed to remove most of the stumbling blocks in his way. He had so far not touched the judiciary. He soon realized that the superior judiciary, headed by an honest man, was capable of moving against him. He made up his mind that Sajjad Ali Shah would have to go. Having reached this conclusion, he then sought the means. If fascistic practice prevails, ladies and gentlemen of the press, we are next on the chopping block. REFERENCE: Fascism on the march – IV Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending: 03 January 1998 Issue : 04/01

OUR two alternating juvenile prime ministers and opposition leaders are made of the same stuff. They care not for our Constitution; they make no effort to conform to it; they amend it to suit their own purposes. They have no regard for our laws, which they chop and change at will. When a chief justice asserts the independence of the judiciary, he is deemed to be ‘non- cooperative’ and is removed by machinations defying law. Had the seven honourable judges of the Supreme Court now hearing the cases against this prime minister and his minions been able to hear the testimony of former president Farooq Leghari (who suffered both juveniles), he would have sworn on oath that neither is capable of tolerating, or surviving, an independent judiciary. He would have reaffirmed his public statements of December 2, 1997 when he announced his resignation (and might even have revealed other issues such as Tarar’s flight to Quetta on November 26, 1997). He would have substantiated his affirmations with details of past shameful events, and the Supreme Court of Pakistan might just have found the present and former heads of government guilty as charged.

Shortly after the March 20, 1996, judgment was announced by the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto went to President Leghari and asked him to denotify the Chief Justice. Why? Because his judgment, repugnant to her selfish interests, would stand in her way. Impossible, he told her, and advised her not to take on the judiciary in a battle she was bound to lose. Eighteen months later, on October 16, 1997, shortly after the then Chief Justice had nominated five High Court judges for elevation to the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to Leghari, taking with him as support and as his voice Leghari’s erstwhile friend, Punjab Governor Barrister Shahid Hamid. They asked him to denotify the same Chief Justice, giving as an excuse their fear that with the five judges elevated, he may shoot down their Anti-Terrorism Act. Nawaz had the denotification document ready for the President’s signature in his pocket. Once again, Leghari had to refuse. Nawaz Sharif went a step further and asked him to send to the Supreme Judicial Council a reference against Sajjad Ali Shah on the grounds that his appointment was unconstitutional and that he was guilty of misconduct. There was no way, under the Constitution, that Leghari could agree to this. Nawaz Sharif then put on a brave face and announced that all was not lost as they had “worked on the Judges.” When Leghari pressed them to give the true reason, they admitted that it was Nawaz Sharif’s fear that Sajjad Ali Shah, with the support of those elevated, might well disqualify him in the cases filed against him. And, besides, it suited Nawaz to have two of the five remain where they were.

At around 0130 hours on November 27, following the unprecedented unconstitutional suspension of Sajjad Ali Shah (Chief Justice of Pakistan for almost four years) by the Quetta Bench of the Supreme Court in the afternoon of the 26th, Nawaz Sharif arrived at the Aiwan to meet Leghari, bringing with him Speaker Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro, Senate Chairman Wasim Sajjad, Law Minister Khalid Anwer, COAS General Jehangir Karamat and DG-ISI Lt. General Rana. For four hours they tried to pressure him into swearing-in as Chief Justice the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, Ajmal Mian. The Law Minister trotted out at length various precedents to support the action of the Quetta Bench, in response to which Leghari informed him that during the past three months it was his advice that had brought Nawaz to his present predicament. Leghari informed them that he would not sign Sajjad Ali Shah’s denotification, that he would rather resign and hand over to Wasim Sajjad who, as Acting President, would have no moral compunctions to swiftly signing on the dotted line. They begged him not to resign, quite ignoring the fact that for the past many days Nawaz Sharif, Illahi Bakhsh and Wasim had been frantically busy trying to move an impeachment motion against Leghari.

Five days later Leghari did resign rather than uphold Sajjad Ali Shah’s unconstitutional removal. In his December 2 resignation speech (recorded by his men) to an audience which included some 200 international and national media people, he spoke at length on the crisis engineered by Nawaz Sharif, intent upon his confrontation with the Chief Justice, loathe to make any attempt to resolve it. He spoke of the cost to the nation in economic terms of the two-month paralysis of the government, a cost of some Rs.1 billion per day, and of the cost in other intangible terms – the negation of the rule of law, the subjugation of the judiciary, the damage done to the nation’s institutions and morale. He spoke of the engineered disruption of the Supreme Court, of government pressure exerted upon the judges of the Court in order to deliberately and with mala fide intentions fuel the confrontation between the executive and the judiciary. He spoke of how the prime minister’s parliamentarians in open court had insulted the chief justice, of how the ruling party had sent in “goons and militants and parliamentarians to assault the Supreme Court, to jump over fences, to break through doors, to go through corridors waving flags, chanting, dancing and hurling abuses at the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan.”

He spoke of how he had done his best to dissuade Nawaz Sharif from his tussle, to instead concentrate on the major issues confronting the nation, such as poverty, illiteracy, the backwardness of its women, its health, the need for social reforms, the need for modern technology, the need to improve science and agriculture through research. He spoke of how he had begged Nawaz Sharif to back down, to uphold rather than destroy the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law, to not damage irreparably the institutions of the state. He spoke of how Nawaz Sharif had thrice offered him a second term in return for his ‘cooperation’ and how thrice he had refused. On February 24, 1998, an application under Order V Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules 1980, was filed by Advocate Muhammad Ikram Choudhary, petitioner in the contempt case against Nawaz Sharif and others now being heard in the Supreme Court, and his Advocate on Record, M A Zaidi.

The application pleaded:

“That Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee has written an article in Dawn of Karachi, on Sunday the 22nd of February 1998, titled ‘The second Tumandar’ relating to alleged ’subjugation and politicising of the judiciary,’ as stated by Mr Farooq Leghari, the ex-president of Pakistan, and so stated in the above article.

“That Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee … has already sent the speech on video cassette to the Resgistrar S.C. Islamabad. “That Mr Leghari, as per Ardeshir Cowasjee, is ready to make a statement on oath in the learned court for the purposes of analysis of the relevant facts and events involved in this case and to do so in the interests of justice. “That the petitioner is placing on record the video cassette containing the speech of Mr Leghari and other things stated above and requests for an appropriate order”.

The application came up the next day before seven judges. They ordered: “In our view, Mr Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari’s the then proposed speech which is contained in the video referred to in the application cannot be taken by this Court as a piece of evidence on the controversy in issue. The application is dismissed.”

The video cassette of the speech submitted to the Court is not the recording of ” Mr Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari’s the then proposed speech”. It is the recording of the speech actually made by President Leghari at the Aiwan-e-Sadar on December 2, 1997. Excerpts from this speech were broadcast on international television channels on December 2 and December 3, but no part of it was allowed to be broadcast by the government-controlled PTV. Excerpts were also reported in the national and international press of December 3. REFERENCE: Hear no evil Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending: 7 March 1998 Issue : 04/10

AS you drive towards the rear entrance of the Sindh High Court, on the left
hand side, near the old Sukkur Barrage offices, you will see a 70-year old shady tree which should wear a plaque with the engraving: “Saved by Nasir Aslam Zahid.” One day in 1993, on my way to the Court, I noticed that two of the four old trees that had been planted when the British built the Barrage offices had been chopped down and uprooted. They were just about to start on the third. The Chief Justice in those days was Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid. I approached him in his Chamber and told him of the destruction taking place just outside the Court compound. What can we do to save what is left, I asked. He did not tell me to file a writ, he did not consult the law books to check on what sections permitted him to do what, he was ready to act immediately. I got the Commissioner on the line and he then and there ordered him to stop the felling. By that time three had gone, but one was safe. Nasir Aslam Zahid was one of the best CJs that Sindh has had, and afforded its people full protection. Upsetting the prime minister or the provincial chief minister and their various minions never worried or concerned him, so obviously he had to go. Soon after Benazir Bhutto came in at the end of 1993, he was exiled to the Shariat Court. His departure was a great loss to the people of the province. However, when his two-year term on that Bench came to an end he was elevated to the Supreme Court. So, it was with great relief that I read early this month that Chief Justice of Pakistan Ajmal Mian had appointed Justice Zahid to preside over the Bench comprising Justices Munawar Ali Mirza and Abdur Rahman Khan, former Chief Justices of the Balochistan and the Peshawar High Courts, to investigate the November 28, 1997 storming of the apex court of the land by the rowdies of the government. After the passage of four months, something would be done about restoring the people’s faith in their judiciary.
Soon thereafter, a notice was sent to me from the Supreme Court asking me to be present in the court of Justice Zahid at Islamabad on March 25 to record my statement concerning the video cassette I had sent the Chief Justice with my letter to him of December 13, 1997. This video cassette contained a recording of the disgraceful events of November 28 shown by the BBC and recorded by the CCTV cameras installed in the Supreme Court. Inter alia, I had written : “You will no doubt appreciate the urgency of the matter. Apparently encouraged by the successful storming of the Supreme Court on November 28, a fortnight later a mob invaded the court of a civil judge at Faisalabad. “It is my firm belief, which, needless to say, is shared by many others, that, as is the case with Benazir Bhutto, her family and followers, Nawaz Sharif and his adherents can neither tolerate nor survive a strong united judiciary. “If Nawaz does survive beyond the next six months, he will find ways to remove you.” Since I myself am not familiar with the majority of Nawaz Sharif’s MNAs and MPAs, and certainly not with his party workers, I sought the help of Spin Doctor Hussain Haqqani, who had spun for both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, and Zahid Husain, correspondent for The Times (London), in charge of the AP bureau in Pakistan, and writer for Newsline. Apart from Mushahid Husain and Saifur Rahman and Nasreen Jalil who I know, Haqqani was able to identify a few MNAs, MPAs and others and Zahid confirmed the identity of those he knew. This was conveyed to the Court. Those listed as having been seen on the film were Mushtaq Tahirkheli, political secretary to the PM, information minister Senator Mushahid Hussain of the PML, Ehtesab Bureau Chief Senator Saifur Rahman of the PML, PML MNAs Khwaja Asif and Tariq Aziz, PML MPAs Saad Rafiq, Chaudhry Tanvir, Akhtar Rasool, Mian Abdul Sattar and PML party worker Najma Hamid.
On March 25, the CCTV cassette was shown in the courtroom and I confirmed the listing of the names as submitted with my affidavit and was then cross-examined by the Attorney General. Of those listed, in the court that day was Tariq Aziz, who was asked to make his statement. He swore that he was a law-abiding man and that contrary to what was reported in the press it was not he who had removed a court signboard. When he was caught by a press photographer, with arms upstretched and the board in his hands, he explained that he had reacted subconsciously and was actually trying to hand it back from where it had been torn down. Two others who had been present at the court that day but were not identified on the film, PML MNAs Mian Mohammed Munir and Rao Qaiser, volunteered their statements which were recorded by the Court. The ‘heavies’ followed the next day. Najma Hamid made her statement and testified that she was neither in Islamabad nor in the Supreme Court on November 28, that the chaddar-clad woman filmed climbing up the staircase (and identified by Hussain Haqqani) was not her. It was a case of mistaken identity. I apologized, she graciously accepted the apology and withdrew. Next came Senator Saifur Rahman, seen in the film waving the crowd on towards the courtroom door. He had no intention of coming to the court on November 28, but had been sent there by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif (whose jurisdiction does not extend to Islamabad) to see what was happening as he had heard that there was some sort of disturbance going on in the court premises. All he had done was to try and control the crowd and get them out of the court.
Khwaja Asif, MNA and Privatisation chief was in the court that day, as he was one of the contemners summoned by the then Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah. He had also done his best, pleading with folded hands whilst standing on a table, begging the stormtroopers to disband and go home. Lastly came the prime minister’s Spin Doctor Mushahid. His stance and demeanour was that of a minister making a political statement in the Assembly and on several occasions the judges had to restrain him and remind him that he was not in the National Assembly, but in a court of law, where he had been summoned to give an explanation and to answer questions, not to give a political speech. To quote Justice Zahid: “You might be a minister, but in this court of mine you are here merely as a witness, testifying under oath.” Justice Munawar Mirza also felt compelled to reprimand him: “You should remember that this is a courtroom of the Supreme Court and not the floor of the National Assembly.” Mushahid Husain’s explanations were at odds with each other. He firstly, in his statement, claimed that the storming of the court was “a spontaneous reaction of the people to a charged atmosphere.”
Later he proclaimed, in answer to a question, that the storming was the result of “a conspiracy hatched by Farooq Leghari and Sajjad Ali Shah to destabilize the government.” Again he had to be reprimanded. Justices Zahid and Mirza firmly informed him that it was quite improper for him to refer to Justice Sajjad Ali Shah as plain “Sajjad Ali Shah.” Then, with a flourish and a satisfied smile, Mushahid Husain produced a copy of Dawn of March 25, and turning to the letters page pointed to a letter to the editor headed “Selective criticism,” written by one M Riaz-ul-Haq Ramay of Multan, opening with the sentences: “Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee is really a turncoat. He makes selective criticism.” It ends: “He has his blind spots – selective criticism, as I said.” The Court allowed me to respond to this by informing the honourable judges that every information minister has a team of letter-writers paid to discredit journalists and columnists who are not complimentary to their masters and to “set the record straight.” The very same letter sent by the same Ramay of Multan had been printed in Dawn eight to ten days ago. (On checking, it was found to have been printed on March 17.) At this, a flustered Mushahid held up the back page of Dawn and pointed to the print line where the name of the editor is printed. Exuding false innocence, he exclaimed that planting letters in a paper edited by the present editor of Dawn was an impossibility.
The judges asked him to keep calm, not to get excited, not to persist with making unsolicited statements but to restrict himself strictly to answering questions. I sprang to his defence and the court was most indulgent. I was allowed to explain that normally Mushahid Sahib is a very calm man, extremely good natured, who smiles and laughs with the greatest of ease. In fact, one of his assistants had told me how on one occasion when he was informed of the death of an acquaintance he responded with his usual happy laugh and had to be prevailed upon to listen carefully while the sad news was repeated to him. The court assembles again on April 2 when the remaining five on the list will be examined. They are Tahirkheli and four MPAs from Lahore. REFERENCE: Week Ending : 04 April 1998 Issue : 04/14

TO borrow Information Minister Mushahid Hussain’s favourite opening 49-letter word, “thegovernmentofprimeministernawazsharif” will not be forgiven for many years to come for having demeaned our judiciary to the extent it has for its own selfish good and survival. At present, a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, sitting with Justices Munawar Ali Mirza and Abdur Rahman Khan is investigating the storming of the Court by the rowdies and supporters, and parliamentarians, of the ruling party on November 28 1997. The Judges delve deep into details and with their experience can easily perceive who is and who is not lying under oath. Reports published last month in this newspaper and the report front-paged on April 3 under the heading “PML trying cover-up : SC” substantiate this. The people must not forget that this is the first case of its kind in the recorded judicial history of any democracy. It is unprecedented that a ruling party, a government of the day, has committed contempt “in the face of the court” by perverting the course of justice with a preplanned invasion.

Morris v Crown Office was the first case in Britain in which the Court of Appeal had to consider ‘contempt in the face of the Court’. The Rt Hon Lord Denning, then Master of the Rolls, in his book “The Due Process of Law,” published in 1980, devotes a chapter to the dramatic invasion of the Court by a group of Welsh students who were upset because programmes to Wales were being broadcast in English and not in Welsh. He recounts : “Eleven young students had been sentenced to prison. Each for three months. They were all from the University of Aberystwyth. They were imbued with Welsh fervour. They had been sentenced on Wednesday, 4 February 1970. I always see that urgent cases are dealt with expeditiously. We started their appeal on Monday, 9 February and decided it on Wednesday, 11 February. I also have some say in the constitution of the Court. So I arranged for one of the Welsh Lords Justices to sit. Lord Justice Arthian Davies was well qualified. He was not only Welsh. He could speak Welsh. He sat with Lord Justice Salmon and me. We heard the argument on Monday and Tuesday. We discussed the case on Wednesday morning and delivered judgment on the Wednesday afternoon.” He goes on to give extracts from this judgment (1970 2 QB 114) : “Last Wednesday, just a week ago, Lawton J, a judge of the High Court here in London, was sitting to hear a case. It was a libel case between a naval officer and some publishers. He was trying it with a jury. It was no doubt an important case, but for the purposes of today it could have been the least important. It matters not. For what happened was serious indeed. A group of students, young men and young women, invaded the court. It was clearly pre-arranged. They had come all the way from their University of Aberystwyth. They strode into the well of the court.

They flocked into the public gallery. They shouted slogans. They scattered pamphlets. They sang songs. They broke up the hearing. The judge had to adjourn. They were removed. Order was restored. “When the judge returned to the court, three of them were brought before him. He sentenced each of them to three months’ imprisonment for contempt of court. The others were kept in custody until the rising of the court. Nineteen were then brought before him. The judge asked each of them whether he or she was prepared to apologise. Eight of them did so. The judge imposed a fine of fifty pounds on each of them and required them to enter into recognisances to keep the peace. Eleven of them did not apologise. They did it, they said, as a matter of principle and so did not feel able to apologise. The judge sentenced each of them to imprisonment for three months for contempt of court. “In sentencing these young people in this way the judge was exercising a jurisdiction which goes back for centuries. It was well described over 200 years ago by Wilmot J in an opinion which he prepared but never delivered. “It is a necessary incident,” he said, “to every court of justice to fine and imprison for contempt of the court acted in the face of it.” That is R v Almon (1765) Wilm 243 254. The phrase “contempt in the face of the court” has a quaint old-fashioned ring about it; but the importance of it is this; of all the places where law and order must be maintained, it is here in these courts. The course of justice must not be deflected or interfered with. Those who strike at it, strike at the very foundations of our society. To maintain law and order, the judges have, and must have, power at once to deal with those who offend against it. It is a great power – a power instantly to imprison a person without trial – but it is a necessary power. So necessary, indeed, that until recently the judges exercised it without any appeal. There were previously no safeguards against a judge exercising his jurisdiction wrongly or unwisely. This was remedied in the year 1960. An appeal now lies to this court; and, in a suitable case, from this court to the House of Lords. With these safeguards this jurisdiction can and should be maintained. “Eleven of these young people have exercised this right to appeal and we are here concerned with their liberty : and our law puts the liberty of the subject before all else.

“………… I hold, therefore, that a judge of the High Court still has power at common law to commit instantly to prison for criminal contempt, and this power is not affected in the least by the provisions of the Act of 1967. The powers at common law remain intact. It is a power to fine or imprison, to give an immediate sentence or to postpone it, to commit to prison pending his consideration of the sentence, to bind over to be of good behaviour and keep the peace, and to bind over to come for judgment if called upon. These powers enable the judge to give what is, in effect, a suspended sentence……..

“[The Advocate conducting the defence] says that the sentences were excessive. I do not think they were excessive, at the time they were given and in the circumstances then existing. Here was a deliberate interference with the course of justice . . . . It was necessary for the judge to show that this kind of thing cannot be tolerated. Let students demonstrate ……..But they must do it by lawful means and not by unlawful. If they strike at the course of justice in this land….. they strike at the roots of society itself, and they bring down that which protects them. It is only by the maintenance of law and order that they are privileged to be students and to study and live in peace. So let them support the law, not strike it down.”

Lord Denning’s decision was that the law had been vindicated by the sentences passed by the High Court judge, that the students had already served a week in prison, and that it had been shown that they had done very wrong by invading the court, by committing contempt in the face of the court. He, therefore, ordered that they be released that day, that they be bound over for good behaviour to keep the peace and come up for judgment if called upon within the next 12 months. Also on the matter of contempt, and on the need for courts to maintain their dignity and authority, Lord Denning quotes from his judgment in the case of Balogh v St Albans Crown Court (1975 1 QB 73):

“The judges should not hesitate to exercise the authority they inherit from the past. Insults are to be treated with disdain –save when they are gross and scandalous. Refusal to answer with admonishment – save where it is vital to know the answer. But disruption of the court or threats to witnesses or to jurors should be visited with immediate arrest. Then a remand in custody and,if it can be arranged, representation by counsel. If it comes to a sentence, let it be such as the offence deserves – with the comforting reflection that,if it is in error, there is an appeal to this court.” In the case of the Welsh students, the Court was invaded on February 4, they were sentenced on February 4, the appeal was heard on February 9 and decided on February 11 – all within the space of one week. REFERENCE: Storming of the Supreme Court – 2 Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 11 April 1998 Issue : 04/15

SOON after receiving a notice from the Supreme Court summoning me up to Islamabad to appear on March 25, where my statement in connection with the November 28 storming of the Court was to be recorded, one of our senior most journalists rang to say that what he could not tell me on the telephone he wished to come, pronto, tell me in person. He came and whispered that an Intelligence Bureau man had enquired about my antecedents and those of my General Staff Officer-1 (G-1), my fellow-columnist by avocation. The IB had been ordered to compile files. Nothing new, I told my worried friend, they have been preparing files on me since 1948, and my telephone remains tapped. A new man has apparently fallen upon an old job. This was filed away as a circumstance. In the early hours of March 22, a man broke into my house, came into my bedroom, and when I sleepily asked who he was and what was happening, with hand held over his mouth, he ordered me to go back to sleep. Switching on my beside light, I asked why, having awaken me, he now wished me to sleep. He put off the light, hand still over mouth, hoarsely whispered “Paisa, paisa.” I had none, I said, but he could take whatever pleased him, and depart. Patting his midriff, he threatened, “Goli marega, goli marega.” Go ahead, I told him. An inquisitive man, he wanted to know how I eat without money.My money is with my major-domo who feeds me.

He could go downstairs, and rob him if he could. He then pulled out my telephone wire. He rifled around the room, opening cupboards and drawers. Intrigued by my hat boxes in one cupboard, he wanted to know what they contained? My ceremonial Parsi pugrees, I told him. Take them. In another cupboard were my panama hats. How many hats do you wear, he asked? He fondled the CD player, the VCR, the receiver. He inspected my camera, put it back. Fiddling about on my dressing table, he picked up my gold signet ring and my watch, padded about a bit, and then left. Not a usual occurrence, but not that unusual in this city devoid of law and order. The man was a junkie, I concluded, wanting money for a quick fix. On second thoughts, he was far too clean for the normal junkie, too well dressed, in a ‘khadar’ shalwar-kamiz. The incident was filed away as a happenstance. Whilst in Islamabad, I narrated this happening to my retired friend, Khan Roedad Khan, the longest-serving interior secretary of our country who glorified that office for nine years running. Secure in his knowledge and giving me a severe look, he told me not to take the matter lightly, it was an ‘agency’ intimidation ploy. How ‘unlightly’ do I take it, I asked? Shall I double my guard and oil my revolver?

Back in Karachi, after the March 25 hearing, due once again in the Supreme Court on April 2, when a further lot of ’stormers’ were to give their statements, I prepared a second affidavit attaching additional press cuttings in which names of the MNAs, the MPAs and the PML stalwarts were mentioned as having been present at the Court on November 28, and in which were printed photographs of certain prominent ’stormers.’ We worked on this on the evening of March 31, prior to flying off to Islamabad on April Fool’s Day. Finishing late, my General Staff Officer 1 (G-1) left for her home at around 2330. Going up the Shahrah-i-Iran towards the sea, just short of the British High Commission, one takes a right turn to enter the gate of the block of flats in which she lives. Halting at the intersection, the lanes leading down to the Do Talwar roundabout were clear. On taking the turn, to slightly double back and drive into the gateway, came an almighty explosion, jostling the creeping car to a halt just short of the driveway. The left side of the car was in smithereens, shattered glass all over the place. My G-1 got out of the car, leaving the engine running, to find out just what had happened. A motor bike was lying on its side in the middle of the road, with a man getting to his feet. He walked over to the kerb and sat down. Before she could ask him what the hell he was doing riding without a light and banging her broadside, a hefty man strode out of the darkness, switched off the car ignition and pocketed the key. In the meanwhile, the apparent unhurt kerb-sitter lifted his shirt to rub his midriff. Around it he wore a belt and a gun holster.

She requested the ‘hefty’ to kindly give her back her car keys so that she could get the car off the road and into her compound. He waved a plastic card at her, would not let her hold it to see exactly what it was, said he was the law, lifted his shirt and pointed to the gun holster he too wore. There was no reaction to her complaint that the motor bike had no lights. He then walked over to the man on the kerb and spoke to him. After a few minutes, when the normal crowd had gathered, all passing traffic having stopped to see the ‘tamasha’, the motor- biker decided to lie down on the road and do a bit a moaning and groaning. The ‘heavy’ used his mobile phone and called a police mobile which duly arrived. My G-1’s further requests for her car key were refused, the ‘heavy’ handed it over to a uniformed mobileman, mounted the mobile with the motorbike rider, informing all present that he was taking him to hospital. Whilst all this was happening, a few of G-1’s neighbours arrived to help. One, a friend of the former DC of District South (to our sorrow recently transferred), raised him on his mobile phone. The cop was ordered to relinquish the car key.

Not once was my G-1 asked her name, where she lived, or what had happened. No lawmen present asked for her car papers, or driving licence, or expressed the slightest interest in the event. No questions, no hint of investigation. The motor-bike too was taken away. The whole matter ended there, in the middle of the road in the middle of the night. No queries, no follow-up, nothing. This also was filed away as a coincidence, one of three within the space of three weeks. Now to less frivolous matters. The contempt of court cases initiated by former Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah against Nawaz Sharif and his apostles, Benazir Bhutto, columnists, authors, publishers et. al., have been decided. To no one’s surprise, all have been let off. Three contemners, MNAs Khawaja Asif, Hamza (ruling party), and Asfandyar Wali Khan (ANP) were found guilty but not punished. The opposition politicians must be rejoicing. These three they can have disqualified by filing references before the Election Commissioner. Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, S.M. Zafar, has boasted that the 500- page judgment (which needs to be seriously analysed) is monumental, historic. Would Law Minister Khalid Anwar please assure the people that S.M. Zafar and others, who defended the legislators, have not been paid, directly or indirectly, from the national exchequer.

Now, the most serious matter. The next hearing of the inquiry into the storming of the Supreme Court by members of the ruling partly is fixed for April 23. The Attorney-General and his officers tutor the PML legislators and others summoned to testify before the Court. Why? To his credit it may be said that at the hearing on April 2, the Deputy Attorney-General was honest enough to admit that summoning other PML members would produce no fruitful results as they would all tell the same story they are law-abiding citizens who hold the judiciary in the greatest esteem, they were present in the Court on November 28 solely with the intent to persuade the court-stormers to cease their dancing and chanting, to leave the premises and uphold the sanctity of the honourable Court, so on and so forth. Lastly, to the man who relieved me of my watch and ring. The ring has gone, melted down by now, no doubt. Many years ago in England a burglar cleaned out the flat of King George V’s jockey, Gordon Richards. Richards wrote to the press, telling the burglar that he can keep all the rest of his booty but would he consider returning the gold cigarette case presented to him by the King, which bore the engraving “George V, R.I.” as it had great sentimental value. The burglar obliged. Now, please, will my forty-year-old Vacheron Constantin, specially made for me with loving care, shaped and sized to fit my wrist. I will compensate him. REFERENCE: Storming of the Supreme Court – 3 Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 18 April 1998Issue : 04/16

YET again, on April 23, I found myself before the Bench of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, sitting with Justices Munawar Ahmed Mirza and Abdul Rahman Khan, appointed to enquire into the disgraceful events of that sad November day and to establish whether those involved in the attack can be charged with contempt or not. The Judges were angry. They expressed their ‘dissatisfaction’ over my explanation given under oath on the first day of the hearing as to how I had come by the video cassette recording of the events of November 28, of which, after verifying its authenticity, I had a copy made and forwarded it to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for him to take appropriate action. In response, I expressed my helplessness over their dissatisfaction. Once more I explained how much mail I receive each day, either by post, by hand or by courier correspondence (mostly requests that I write on certain subjects), circulars, magazines, cassettes of political speechifying, of maulvis preaching, of dancers dancing, of singers singing, etc. I did not explain that my feeling upon receiving the cassette was that whoever had sent it had sent it so that I should write upon the subject particularly as I am shown on the recording as being present in the Court that day.

My earlier written request that I be provided with an unedited version of the CCTV recording of November 28 was not considered appropriate and was denied. However, my affidavit filed on the 23rd was taken on record. It reads as follows : “Pursuant to my Affidavits of 20/3/98 and 1/4/98 and their attachments, which have been taken on record, and my request of 10/4/98 that I be provided with a copy of the unedited full-length film recorded by the CCTV cameras of the Supreme Court on November 28 1997 on which day I was present in the honourable Supreme Court and was witness to the storming of the Supreme Court by, inter alia, parliamentarians, members and supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League, the ruling party : “I, Ardeshir Cowasjee, son of Rustom Fakirjee Cowasjee, Parsi, adult, citizen of Pakistan, resident of 10 Mary Road, Karachi, do hereby solemnly state :

“1) That the framers of our contempt laws never envisaged the possibility that the government of the day would organise a mob to storm the Supreme Court whilst in session, i.e. commit contempt in the face of the Court. The procedure laid down in Order 27 Rule 7(2) of the Supreme Court Rules reflects this.

“2) That it is on record that the first law officer of the people, Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq, has himself committed contempt in the face of the Court. During the 1993-96 PPP government of Benazir Bhutto, Advocate Chaudhry Farooq, defending an Ittefaq case in the Lahore High Court, swore at the presiding Judge, Mr Justice Munir A Shaikh, in open court, using the crudest of language. For this blatant contempt committed in the face of the court, the honourable presiding Judge could have convicted and imprisoned him.

“3) That Advocate Chaudhry Farooq was not prosecuted does not deviate from or alter the fact that he abused an honourable High Court Judge in open court, thus committing contempt in the face of the court.

“4) That with the advent of the PML government of Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister appointed as Attorney General of Pakistan, as the people’s lawyer, his own lawyer, Ittefaq’s lawyer, Advocate Chaudhry Farooq.

“5) That the judiciary and the people accepted him, without protest, as the first law officer of the land rests heavily on the heads of the people and even more heavily on the heads of those in power and authority who could have opposed his nomination and subsequent appointment, and, additionally, this advocate can hardly be considered to be competent to aid the Supreme Court in the investigation it is now conducting to establish the identity of those members of the ruling party who had either organised the storming or were leading the mob, or were with the mob on November 28, 1997.

“6) That at the last hearing on April 1, 1998, when Mr Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid asked the Deputy Attorney General, Mian Tariq Mahmood, to identify additional members of the attacking mob, as shown in the video recording, the latter was honest enough to admit that it would be an exercise in futility as all the Muslim League members would take their oaths and recite the same story.

“7) That when examined on April 1, 1998, the officers of the Islamabad police force regretted their inability to identify any of those seen on the video recording, pleading that many people had been brought in from Lahore and/or other parts of the Province. It is safe to presume that not one government factotum, whether under oath or not, will tell the truth.

“8) That on April 20, 1998, members of the opposition party, the PPP, held a demonstration outside the Assembly building. The police force present there, less in number than they were when on duty at the Supreme Court on November 28, 1997 and not clad in riot gear as they were that day, laid into the PPP demonstrators, injuring
several, including parliamentarians.

“9) That, evidently, on April 20, 1998, the government’s intent was to defend the ‘honour’ and ’sanctity’ of their Parliament in the manner in which it did. Had its intent been clean and honest on November 28, 1997, it could that day have defended the ‘honour’ and ’sanctity’ of the Supreme Court and thus saved it from contempt and desecration. This further illustrates the complicity and acquiescence of the government in the shameful events of November 28, 1997.

“10) That violence can breed nothing but violence. Had the crowd of November 28, 1997been controlled, and the rowdies arrested and jailed immediately, it is highly likely that many violent events that have subsequently occurred, including the police action of April 20, 1998 in the precincts of the Assembly building, would not
have taken place.”

On the day of the previous hearing, the Judges had ordered the Deputy Attorney General that he arrange to produce in Court on April 23 Mushtaq Tahirkheli who was at that time on Haj. The DAG explained that Tahirkheli had returned from Haj, but was ‘unwell’ and in Lahore and had declined to be present. Justice Zahid asked him to get him to the Court the following day. The DAG explained, “But it is Friday tomorrow.” “Quite so,” responded Justice Zahid, “If today is Thursday, then tomorrow is Friday.” “I don’t think he will come,” said the DAG. So it was settled that Tahirkheli would be called during the coming week. Tahirkheli is the PM’s political secretary who had unsuccessfully heckled former Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah in his Court on November 27, shouting and screaming, “No chief justice, no supreme court. . . . what kind of justice are you dispensing,” and was amongst the slogan-mongering flag-waving stormers of the Court on November 28. For this he was sacked, jailed, then released and garlanded, and finally re-employed by the Prime Minister in the same post. All very proper and logical.

All that the DAG managed to produce on April 23 was the President of the Nawaz Sharif Force, Shahbaz Goshi of Rawalpindi. He declared himself to be 30 years old, his occupation to be ‘ex-student’ with no regular source of income. He commands a Force of over 2,500 men dispersed all over Pakistan, with some 2,000 in the RWP-ISL area, whose mission it is to spread the gospel of Nawaz Sharif. The Force receives no funding other than donations collected by its members. It liaises with the Shahbaz Force and with the MSF. He confirmed he was present outside the Court building on the day of the storming. DAG Mian Tariq Mahmood is a likeable, pragmatic man. A relative of the Attorney General, he is about to be made a High Court judge.

The men of the administration were unable to identify any further persons on the video cassette, but had provided a list of 23 persons identified from press photographs and by others who know them. The DAG more or less expressed his helplessness to produce these people in Court as they would not come when called. The Court would have to summon them. What about members of the administration who were present that day, the Court asked? Produce them. But, protested the DAG, the entire administration was present. It was finally ordered that the DAG obtain affidavits from all those identified, and produce in Court ten from the list of 23 on April 28 and a further ten on April 29. A doleful-looking DAG mumbled something about the impossibility of coming up with either affidavits or live bodies. REFERENCE: Storming of the Supreme Court – 4 Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending: 02 May 1998 Issue:04/18

ON April 4, the Bench presided over by Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, sitting with Justices Munawar Ahmad Mirza and Abdur Rahman Khan, now inquiring into the pre-planned Storming of the Supreme Court by parliamentarians, members and supporters of the PML on November 28, 1997 heard the statements of three witnesses. Media-wizard who knows all the tricks of the political trade, Hussain Haqqani, filed his affidavit, as did Altaf Hussain Bhatti of Asas / Lashkar, and Aslam Butt of the Frontier Post. Haqqani suggested that the November 28 video recordings of the Supreme Court CCTV cameras, and those made by the various TV crews, be shown on PTV, and members of the general public invited to identify any recognizable individuals. This is in line with the action taken by the Tribunal that inquired into Murtaza Bhutto’s murder, also presided over by Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, which had “published a notice in the newspapers that anyone in possession of any information regarding the incident in question may send his name and address and an affidavit to the Registrar of the Tribunal…”.

Brave Bhatti, shrugging off all ‘inconveniences’, filed his affidavit, written in Urdu, relevant translated portions of which read :

“I was an eye-witness to whatever happened outside and inside Courtroom No.1 on November 28, 1997 and give this statement to assist the apex court of the country in my capacity as a responsible citizen.

“Whilst the Bench headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah comprising Justices Bashir Jehangiri, Mohammed Arif, Maimoon Kazi and Munir A Shaikh, was hearing the contempt of court case against the Prime Minister and other parliamentarians on November 27, 1997, Zafar Ali Shah, MNA, Advocate of the Supreme Court rose and said that the Chief Justice could not conduct the Court, as after the judgment of the Quetta Bench he was no longer CJ. Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and MNAs/MPAs Kabir Khan, Inamullah Niazi, Sardar Naseem and Advisor to PM Mushtaq Tahirkheli also stood up in Court in support of Zafar Ali Shah. The Muslim League crowd present also heckled the CJ, and when he declared that the Quetta Bench decision was null and void in law they shouted ‘Chor , chor .’

“PML workers also demonstrated against the Chief Justice on Constitution Avenue. That evening, government sources briefed journalists that Justice Ajmal Mian will be sworn in as CJ the next morning and CJ Sajjad Ali Shah will proceed on leave.

“On the morning of November 28, I read a prominent headline in the ‘Daily Pakistan’ announcing that the Muslim League was to demonstrate its strength outside the Supreme Court that day. This news story said that the PM and the CM Punjab had directed PML MPAs to bring Muslim League workers to Islamabad, via the motorway, for a show of strength. So, I left my home at 0700 hours and arrived by wagon outside the Supreme Court at 0815. At that time, traffic was flowing on Constitution Avenue and a few people had arrived outside the SC. Police reserves had just started taking their positions.

The SSG Police group was led by Inspector Mehr Yar Mohammed. SHO Secretariat Jamil Hashmi and SHO Bahra Kahu, Mussarat Khan were also there with their men.

“At around 0830, people arrived in buses and wagons from the direction of Punjab House. Muslim League office bearers from Rawalpindi and Islamabad came with their workers. MSF, Nawaz Sharif Force and PML Women’s Wing were particularly active. Efforts were made to get inside the SC. The gate was shut because entry was restricted to holders of entry passes, but certain PML parliamentarians were allowed entry without passes. Demonstrators held banners and placards reading ‘We respect the Court but Sajjad Ali Shah is dishonest,’ ‘Jewish agent Sajjad Ali Shah,’ ‘Sajjad Ali Shah na manzoor,’ ‘Justice demands that the Chief Justice be dismissed.’
Retired Major Rashid Warraich, head of Hizbollah, was also present and his group held up their own placards. Women standing next to the main gate were singing ‘Qadam barhao Nawaz Sharif, hum tumarhey saath hein.’

“At 0900 serious slogan-mongering commenced. The workers who had come from Lahore were led by Akhtar Rasool, MPA, and others, while Rawalpindi workers were accompanied by MPAs Sardar Naseem, Advocate Akhtar Mahmood, and Chaudhry Tanveer Khan. I know several of the workers who were there, including Riaz Khan, Shakil Awan, Zahid Qureshi, Babar Awan, Maqbool Ahmed, Mumtaz Ahmed, Farooq Khattak of Zia Foundation, Ali Abbas and Liaquat Ali Khan. From the Women’s Wing in the forefront were Javedi Fatima, Nilofar Bakhtiar, Seema Gilani, Tahira Shaukat, Naseem Ali and Mukhtar Begum. Prominent in the hullabaloo were Shahbaz Goshi, Suleman Khan, Raja Hafiz, Chaudhry Allah Ditta and Malik Shuja. “At 0930 I entered Court No. 1 after showing my pass, and sat on the press seats, with Khushnood Ali Khan, Rao Khalid, Wadood Qureshi, Mushtaq Minhas, Nasir, Rashid Habib, and Zafar Shaikh. Present in Court were MNAs Ejazul Haq, Khwaja Asif, Asfandyar Wali, MPAs Ashfaq Sarwar, Raja Basharat, Chaudhry Tanveer Khan, Akhtar Mahmood, Sardar Naseem, Senators Raja Aurangzeb and Saifur Rahman, and other PML MNAs, MPAs and office bearers. “In the course of the proceedings, Khwaja Asif, through his counsel, sought permission from the Court to leave. As the Chief Justice was about to show the video cassette [of the Assembly session at which the alleged contempt took place] MPAs Sardar Naseem, Ashfaq Sarwar, Akhtar Mahmood and Ali Afzal Jadoon also left the Courtroom. Soon thereafter, a noise was heard from outside and Fakhr Zaman, the reporter for Zaman , a Turkish publication, entered the courtroom, panting, and shouted ‘My Lord, the court has been attacked. They will kill you. The Judges should protect themselves.’ The CJ remarked to S M Zafar, ‘Thank you, Mr Zafar, we are now adjourning the proceedings, but your clients will have to bear the responsibility.’

“Soon after the Judges had left the courtroom a large crowd led by Sardar Naseem [who had gone out shortly before] re-entered and assaulted Fakhr Zaman. Some journalists intervened. Outside the courtroom, I saw demonstrators swaggering around in different areas of the building, carrying flags and placards. The ML workers were shouting slogans : ‘Sajjad kutta hai hai’, ‘Leghari kutta hai hai’, ‘Lotay judges na manzoor’. In the main hall of the Court Khwaja Asif, Zafar Ali Shah, and some other ML leaders were telling the workers to go back, but the main door of the building was shut. When I looked out from the balcony of the first floor, hundreds of demonstrators were shouting slogans inside the Supreme Court grounds while police inside and outside the building stood as silent spectators.

“I remained in the Court until 1200 hours gathering material for my press report. I present herewith a copy of Asas of 29/11/97.” The attention of the Judges was drawn to the back page of the Asas that carried the photograph of a huge banner, made to measure, tied and displayed over half the full length of the front compound railing of the Court, reading : “Istehkam-i- Pakistan ka dushman Sajjad Ali Shah Pakistan Muslim League.” (Enemy of the solidarity of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah – signed : PML). The next hearing is on May 18. Another affidavit is being submitted to the Court to be placed on record, to which the following have been attached :

(a) A copy of letter dated November 28 1998 sent by CJ P Sajjad Ali Shah to President Leghari, in which he relates details of the mob attack that day.

(b) A copy of letter dated November 29, 1997, sent by President Leghari to PM Nawaz Sharif, forwarding a copy of the CJP’s letter, in which he refers to : “…the disgraceful and premeditated mob assault on the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 28th November …”.

(c) A copy of the Prime Minister’s November 29, 1997 rejoinder to the President’s letter.

(c) A video cassette of the recording of President Leghari’s address to the press conference held on December 2, 1998 at which he announced his resignation, and in which he made reference to the November 28 storming and desecration of the SC by the “goons and parliamentarians of the ruling party.”

At the last hearing, it was requested that certain concerned persons be summoned by the Court to give their statements. The Court informed me that for this to be considered I should make an application. This is being done, listing the following : Former President of Pakistan Farooq Leghari; the then IGP, Islamabad; concerned officer of the ISI; the then DIG Special Branch, Islamabad; the then DG IB; Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif; SAPM Anwar Zahid; Senator Iqbal Haider ; Zahid Husain (Newsline and AP); Fakhr Zaman (Turkish news agency Zaman); Khushnood Ali Khan (Khabrain); Rashid Hijazi (Daily Pakistan); Faraz Hashmi (Dawn); Aslam Khan (Internews); Zafar Shaikh (Nawa-i-Waqt); Muhammad Ismail and Naveed Mairaj (Frontier Post). The sooner the better that our honourable judges realize that the people are but trying to help revive and rehabilitate the honour of the Supreme Court. REFERENCE: Storming of the Supreme Court – 5 Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending:16 May 1998 Issue:04/19

AND so, it ended – six months after the Storming of the Supreme Court by the members of the ruling party who successfully obstructed the course of justice, prima facie committing contempt in the face of the court. The Inquiry Tribunal has held ten sessions over the course of the last two months. Parliamentarians, members, activists and supporters of the ruling party have been examined under oath and have, more or less, given similar statements. They have sworn that on that 28th day of November they arrived at the Supreme Court merely to be present to cheer on their Great Leader who was to be present at the contempt of court hearing. And this, despite the fact that the public had been informed by the press that the leader had been exempted by the court from personal appearance. The lesser orders, the “pawns” as they have been dubbed, arrived with cloth banners (one measuring 50′ x 4′ reading ‘Enemy of the solidarity of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah – Pakistan Muslim League), printed pamphlets, placards, and rehearsed slogans such as ‘Sajjad Ali Shah, kutta, hai, hai, – Leghari kutta, hai. hai’.’

The main players, the upper crust who testified, all swore that they were there to disperse a mob that had spontaneously formed and was spontaneously charged (in Lahore?) by the current events, thus implicitly admitting that there was in fact a violent mob organized to disrupt the Chief Justice’s Court. Their protestations of innocence were such that even Deputy Attorney-General Mian Tariq Mahmud (now wearing a halo in the Lahore High Court) was prompted to admit to the Bench that summoning any further ML parliamentarians or supporters was a waste of time as they would all swear to the identical story. He should know. For the Leaguers who were summoned to testify verbally came to court via the Attorney-General’s office, where they were tutored as to the statements they were to give. When, later in the hearings, the Bench ordered that written statements be prepared by those summoned, in the case of the four ANP leaders these were also said to have been drafted and typed in the Attorney-General’s office. With the usual government inefficiency and sloppiness, the men of the AG’s office inserted the phrase “just before tea break” quite forgetting that on Fridays there are no tea breaks. The newly hired super- consultant to the AG, Raja Muqsit Nawaz Khan, was obviously caught napping.

Senator ANP President Ajmal Khattak and ANP’s Asfandyar Wali produced identical statements, as did ANP’s Arbab Jehangir and Ghulam Mohammed Bilour with the necessary name changes as they declared they came together. In the case of the former two: “My Lord the Chief Justice, your court has been raided . . . . . “. Each had heard the man who had ‘rushed’ into the courtroom to warn the judges whereafter the judges rose and the “…….. people started going out of the courtroom where the doors were closed from the outside and we were told that hundreds of Muslim League workers had entered the main gate of the court . . . ., ” but “….I had not seen anything happening . . . . . we came down and learnt about the unfortunate incident.” When questioned by the court, Asfandyar Wali stated that he saw no one outside the courtroom but he did see overturned damaged chairs and flowerpots. Now, who could have done the damage? The latter two ended their statements declaring they were both outside the compound, standing together on the left of the gate. “And then we heard cries and shouting and learnt that a mob had broken the main entry gate and they were heading towards the main building. Since I and . . . . both are physically weak, we therefore got to a side so as we were neither hit nor crushed.” By what were they to be hit or crushed? By cries, by shouts? They saw nothing. However, when asked by the bench whether the crowd resembled a group exiting from a mosque after Friday prayers, Bilour admitted that that was exactly how it was. The last man to be examined, on May 21, was Senator Iqbal Haider (Groovy to his friends). His statement ran into seven handwritten pages.

He opened up: “The attacks on the SC started on August 21, 1997, when the strength of the SC judges was arbitrarily reduced. The spate of attacks on the SC continued thereafter with the intent to disrupt the course of justice and prevent the court from hearing the most crucial cases, incriminating the prime minister and his parliamentarians and friends, e.g. cases relating to the wheat freight contracts, recovery and rescheduling of loans under pressure, allotment of plots, distribution of over Rs.140 million of public money to the candidates of the ruling party and their allies, Riba, the Anti-Terrorism Act, the 13th and 14th Amendments, contempt of court, etc, etc.”. Senator Haider went to state that the attacks were twofold. “Firstly, efforts were made to influence, pacify and win over the judges of the SC, as has been revealed by former President Farooq Leghari in his press conference of December 2 and subsequent press interviews. Secondly, to physically intimidate and to harass the judges. This started in the court of the CJP on November 27 when the contempt cases against the prime minister and his parliamentarians were being heard.”

Groovy related how his car was mobbed and battered, how he had to save himself, drive away and park, and return to the SC on foot, how later when the judges had retired, Mushtaq Tahirkheli had accosted him outside court No.1, exhorted the mob to beat him up, and accused him (of the PPP) of having instigated the whole scenario, how he had to be rescued and ultimately escorted safely out of the court premises by the PM’s counsel, S M Zafar. Groovy’s most telling and most pertinent remark is that the mob attack on the court on November 28 must not be seen in isolation. It is the background to it that is of vital importance. Now to Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari: It was suggested that he, being privy to the background, be called to give his statement. In his press conference of December 2, at which he announced his resignation, he dwelt in detail on the events leading up to the attack. The video cassette is on record with the Supreme Court. The Bench held otherwise. No, he cannot be called; he must volunteer.

In the same breath, the judges observed that times had changed, that Benazir and Nawaz Sharif had appeared before the honourable court in other cases. Their attention was drawn to the fact that indeed they had appeared, but both had been summoned. Sajjad Ali Shah (the intended victim of the mob attack who, after conferring with his brother judges on that mortifying day, decided to rise and retire so as to save them and the court further humiliation and contempt): It was never suggested that the former Chief Justice be summoned to give his statement to the court, to be subject to being questioned by the very judges who, with seven of their bretheren, had decided that, after holding his high office for almost four years, he had held it unlawfully and removed him. In my statement of May 16, sent to the court, to which was attached Sajjad Ali Shah’s press statement of May 14 and his letter of November 28 written by him as Chief Justice to the then President describing the mob storming, I simply requested that this be put on court record, adding: “Should the court or the Attorney-General challenge the veracity of [former] Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah’s statement or letter, appropriate action is available to them.” Nevertheless, the people have managed to place more than sufficient evidence on court record to establish the truth. Press reports, columns and articles of November 28 and 29 are on record. Five reputable journalists who were in court on November 28 have come forward voluntarily to record their statements: Altaf Bhatti of Asas, Aslam Butt of the Frontier Post, Zahid Hussain of Newsline, The Times, and AP, Wadood Qureshi of Din, Mahmud Ahmad of the Business Recorder, and Naveed Meraj of the Frontier Post. They were witness to the assault on journalist Fakhr Zaman who warned the judges that a mob had invaded the building. Zaman was beaten, kicked and abused by PML men, infuriated that their plan had been thwarted. Those likely to be examined this coming week are members of the police force, the Islamabad administration (according to former DAG Tariq Mahmud the ‘entire’ administration was present that day), and employees of the Supreme Court. Their evidence, procured as it will be, can be of no importance. REFERENCE: Storming of the Supreme Court – 6 Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending: 30 May 1998 Issue:04/21

The ruling party of the day, the members of which are well aware of their guilt and crimes, fearing disqualification under their own laws, in November 1997, subverted the judiciary by manipulating an internal revolt amongst the judges of our Supreme Court. Of this revolt, former CJP Sajjad Ali Shah on November 28, 1997 wrote to the then President: “This divide amongst the Judges of the Supreme Court has been deliberately created by interested quarters. I do not want to make any comments on the conduct and attitude motivating such actions, which smack of defiance and rebellion and amount to misconduct, calling for action by the Supreme Judicial Council for which necessary steps are to be taken.”

If the former CJP did do wrong in the eye of the law, necessitating his removal, it should have been constitutionally effected through the Supreme Judicial Council. Two wrongs can never make one right, and Sajjad Ali Shah’s wrong, if indeed there was one, was surely the lesser. After Sajjad Ali Shah’s successful removal, the strength of the Court now is: CJP Ajmal Mian, retires 30/6/99; Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, J-1, retires 30/11/2002; Irshad Hassan Khan, J-2, retires 6/1/2002; Raja Afrasiab Khan, J-3, retires 17/9/2000; Mohammed Bashir Khan Jehangiri, J-4, retires 31/1/2002; Nasir Aslam Zahid, J-5, retires 2/3/2000; Munawar Ahmad Mirza, J-6, retires 17/8/2007; Khalilur Rahman Khan, J-7, retires 24/4/2001; Shaikh Ejaz Nisar, J-8, retires 14/6/2000; Mamoon Kazi, J-9, retires 29/12/2000; Abdur Rahman Khan, J-10, retires 5/6/2001; Shaikh Riaz Ahmad, J-11, retires 8/3/2003; Mohammad Arif, J-12, retires 9/1/2002; Munir A Shaikh, J-13, retires 1/7/2003; Wajihuddin Ahmad, J-14, retires 30/11/ 2003.

J-2, J-5 and J-7 delivered the Quetta judgment of November 28, 1997 against their Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah. J-1 and the since retired Justice Fazal Ellahi Khan delivered the Peshawar judgment of November 28, 1997 against their Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. J-14 as CJ of the Sindh High Court on November 28, 1997, asked his superior, the CJP to convene a full court meeting to resolve their problems. On December 2, 1997, ten honourable Judges of the Supreme Court of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, J-1, the since retired Fazal Ellahi Khan, J- 2, J-3, J-4, J-5, J-6, J-7, J-8, J-10, J-11, all passed the final order dismissing their Chief Justice. J-9 wrote a dissenting judgment on November 29, 1997 agreeing with the Quetta Bench but saying that the matter should have been referred to a full Bench of the Supreme Court comprising “all its learned judges.” Apparently uninvolved in the November 1997 ‘rebellion’, ‘revolt’ or what- have-you , are J-12, and J-13, the honourable Judges Mohammad Arif and Munir A Shaikh. If Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid’s Pandora’s Box, which he does not wish to be opened, remains shut, and if no such order as the PCO intervenes, CJP Ajmal Mian will be succeeded by J-1 Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui who will in 2002 be succeeded by J-6 Justice Munawar Ahmad Mirza, a worthy Leo, who will remain as Chief Justice of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan until 17/8/2007. REFERENCE: ‘Are the courts functioning?’ By Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending: 23 May 1998 Issue:04/20

ISLAMABAD, March 18: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed has revealed that Osama bin Laden had offered to buy loyalties of legislators to see Mian Nawaz Sharif as prime minister. In an interview appearing in the magazine of an Urdu newspaper on Sunday, Qazi Hussain Ahmed said that Osama had visited the JI headquarters Mansoora and wanted to strike an agreement with the Jamaat but the suggestion was declined by him. Excerpts of the interview were published by the newspaper on Saturday. Qazi said he had met Osama several times in the past.However, the JI on Saturday clarified that meetings between the JI amir and Osama in Peshawar and Lahore were held in days when the Al Qaeda leader was staying in Peshawar. Recalling political events that took place when Mr Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and JI were components of the then Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, Qazi said Osama was a big supporter of IJI and Nawaz Sharif and wanted to see him Pakistan’s prime minister.

Nawaz Sharif Osama Bin Laden Khalid Khwaja Connections 1

Nawaz Sharif Osama Bin Laden Khalid Khwaja Connections 2

Nawaz Sharif Osama Bin Laden Khalid Khwaja Connections 3

“Bin Laden was prepared to pay for buying parliamentarians’ votes to achieve this objective,” said Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who also heads the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. He said a delegation sent by Osama had visited him in Peshawar and conveyed that they wanted cooperation from JI but “we declined the request”. In a statement issued on Saturday, a JI spokesman said that excerpts from interview were published in the daily and presented on a private TV channel in such a manner that they were creating confusion in the minds of people.— PPI. REFERENCE: Osama offered to buy votes for Nawaz: Qazi March 19, 2006 Sunday Safar 18, 1427

I read this headline on, THE NEWS website, Tension between Zardari, Shahbaz mounts over jailed chief editor of The Frontier Post''. This makes no sense that Rehmat Shah Afridi is still in prison, I was expecting from ANP Govt in pukhtoonistan to react on this issue but I don't understand muteness of ANP leadership, although on ANP web site I did send a message to Chief Minister, I would like to ask all the writers on this forum to send messages to CM on the following website of ANP( express your solidarity with The Frontier Post Chief Mr. Afridi who is in prison because he was punished for expressing his views and he was educating Pakhtuns through his newspaper. His confinement is politically motivated. The drugs were planted on vehicle he was in. Similar to innumerable judicial murders and crimes to suffocate voice of Pathans. The literate class of people in Pakistan is the only hope, which can place a check & balance on these bureaucrats corrupt politicians. Its about time this class should pick their pens. Its really amazing that criminals and thugs involved in suicide attacks can be easily released in Pakistan but someone like Mr. Afridi stays in prison. Two face Nawaz Sharif and his brother who are responsible for declaring Pakistan a failed state ran out of country but did not have courage and principles to face jail, attacked Supreme Court and insulted judges but now wants to be champions of judiciary and free press.

Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 1

Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 2

I agree with Mr. Asif Ali Zardari who bitterly asked: "Where are the champions of the press freedom today? Rehmat Shah Afridi was arrested and booked in a fake drug smuggling case on political grounds. He spent nine years in jail just for writing the truth and now he is seriously ill but some people still want to take their revenge. "Champions of the press freedom should be ashamed of themselves that for nine years some one in their ranks is in prison but they are not saying a word. Rehmat Shah Afridi was punished because he disclosed that Nawaz Sharif received Rs. 150 crore from Osama bin Ladin in the Green Palace Hotel, Madina, with the pledge that the amount would be used for furthering the cause of Jihad in Afghanistan and helping the Mujahideen and exposing the deeds of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Instead he (Nawaz) put the whole amount in his pocket. Nawaz Sharif got annoyed with Afridi when he was chief minister of Punjab in 1986.Frontier Post Chief disclosed in his newspaper that Nawaze sold the commercial land between UCH and Kalma Chowk in Lahore to his relatives for meager Rs. 400 per marla.

Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 3

Rehmat Shah Afridi [Frontier Posts] Exposes Nawaz Sharif (PML-N)'s Corruption 4

After that, he distributed plots in NWFP, Punjab and Balochistan among his colleagues and opponents to get their political support. He published all this in his newspaper along with proofs, which further infuriated Nawaz Sharif. Rehmat Shah Afridi used his personal links to thwart the "no-confidence motion" against Benazir Bhutto in 1990 and asked the members of National Assembly from Punjab, FATA and NWFP to use their vote in favour of Benazir Bhutto. Mr. Afridi did so as it was in the interest of the country at that time. Nawaz Sharif once threatened him that they would rule the country for 20 years and that he (Rehmat Shah) could not harm him through publishing news items against them. This proves all cases against The Frontier Post chief were false and baseless. Detention of Rehmat Shah Afridi is no more justified. Rehmat Shah Afridi had been arrested in a fake and bogus case because the then government was not happy with his bold editorial policy. The PPP government's pro-media and democratic credentials have already been enhanced by the proposed anti-PEMRA bill in parliament. It should now do the honourable and just thing by ordering the immediate release of Rehmat Shah Afridi and winning hearts and minds all round. REFERENCE: Prisoner of conscience M Waqar New York Thursday, May 22, 2008, Jamad-i-Awal 14, 1429 A.H. ASLO READ: REFERENCE: Rehmat Shah Afridi’s case unique in country’s legal history By Abid Butt Friday, June 04, 2004

1 comment:

Tayyab Mahmood said...

Aamir sb very well complied / written article. You seems to be highly intellectual person :)
But I like your comments on Teeth Maestro "Zaid Hamid, a Leader in the making! Would be a nightmare". fantastic & thought provoking debate.