Saturday, November 27, 2010

Of Plots, Judges, Journalists & Across the Board Justice.

ISLAMABAD: The issue of land allotments to the higher judiciary took a new turn after it was disclosed before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that residential plots worth millions of rupees were allotted to three top judges apparently without completing mandatory legal formalities. As the official files of the Federal Government Employees’ Housing Foundation (FGEHF) do not contain the dates of birth of the judges, the question of allotments on verbal orders, as opposed to proper procedure, comes to the fore.

News Beat with Mehar Bukhari – 4th November 2010

The set criteria requires an applicant to fill out an official form and give an affidavit that he or she does not own other plots or houses in the city. According to the official documents placed before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), copies of which are available with The Express Tribune, the three judges are former chief justice of Pakistan Sheikh Riaz Ahmed and Lahore High Court (LHC) judges Faqeer Mohammad Khokar and Justice Mumtaz Ali Mirza. Ahmed was allotted a one-kanal (approximately 600 square yards) plot on November 17, 2002, in G-14/4, while Khokar and Mirza got plots in G -14. This flouting of rules raises several questions over the allotment process and its transparency. One hundred judges, including the current Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, have been allotted plots in Islamabad since 1996, but these three judges were allotted plots without fulfilling legalities.

News Beat with Mehar Bukhari – 4th November 2010


An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that missing records meant that these judges had not filled out the proper official forms. “It seems that orders were verbally issued and immediately obeyed by the [allotment] authorities,” the source said. “The top guns of the FGEHF clearly failed to follow the rules and simply obliged the sitting judges of the Supreme Court (SC) and the LHC.” The missing record, the source said, showed that the housing ministry was unaware of when these judges were born and joined the judiciary, and whether they were retired or were still serving. The documents reveal that the FGEHF allotted plots in the same manner to some civilian officials, whose dates of birth were also missing from the records.

One of these officials is Nadeem Shah Malik who was working as a financial adviser to the ministry of housing and works. He was allotted a plot in Sector G-13/2 on December 22, 2009. Nine other civilian employees were also allotted plots in Sector G-14 despite incomplete records. These officials are Khalida Begum (Intelligence Bureau), Rashida Begum (Pakistan Post), Aziza Begum (finance ministry), Resham Jaan (Survey of Pakistan), Shamim Akhtar (finance division), Fehmida Begum (Pakistan Post), Ziat Maman (customs department), Sardari Begum (Pakistan Post), Maryam (agriculture department). Earlier, media reports said that some well-connected SC judges tampered with the FGEHF’s official records and received a second plot each. The reports claimed that several critical files, which contained official records of expensive government plots allotted to bigwigs of Islamabad such as [now retired] Justice Sardar Raza Khan, were missing. Evidence surfaced that in Justice Raza’s case, the process of balloting was scrapped and he was given a multimillion-rupee corner plot of his choice. The then FGEHF director-general Arshad Mirza, a District Management Group officer and a relative of Justice Raza, was accused of tampering with Justice Raza’s records to enable him to acquire a second plot. These reports were never challenged. After reading these media reports, PAC chairperson Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had ordered an inquiry against Mirza, a report of which is also pending before the PAC. Amid this scam, Mirza was also removed from office. REFERENCE: Land allotments: Verbal orders trump proper procedure Rauf Klasra Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010, Zilhajj 20, 1431 A.H

Khawaja Sharif & Across the Board Justice

Kamran Shahid quotes some excerpts from Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif’s books in which he expresses his relationship with and gratitude to Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif. Express 8 May 2010

A quick look at the list reveals that majority of the judges got residential plots in Islamabad when they were serving in the high courts. JUDGES: Following are Supreme Court judges who got plots: Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, Justice (retd) Manzoor Hussain Sial, Justice Saad Saud Jan, Justice Fazal Elahi Khan, Justice Abdul Hafeez Memon, Justice Mukhtar Ahmed Junejo, Justice Raja Afrasiab Khan, Justice Moahmmad Bashir Jahangiri, Justice Saeeduzzam Siddiqi. Besides, the following judges of the four provincial high courts also got plots.

Justice Dilawar Mahmood (Ministry of Labour), Justice Abdul Karim Khan Kundi (PHC), Justice Mian Ghulam Ahmed (LHC), Justice Agha Saifuddin Khan (SHC), Justice Kazi Hameeduin (PHC), Justice Arif Iqbal Bhatti (LHC), Justice Syed Ibne Ali (PHC), Justice Mohammad Aqil Mirza (LHC), Justice Sheikh Mohammad Zuabir (LHC), Justice Abdul Hafeez Cheema (LHC), Justice Sharif Hussain Bokhari (LHC), Justice Abdul Rehman Khan (LHC), Justice Mohammad Islam Bhatti (LHC), Justice Kamal Mansoor Alam (SHC), Justice Sajjad Ahmed Sipra (LHC), Justice Mahboob Ali Khan (PHC), Justice Ali Mohammad Baloch (SHC), Justice Qazi Mohammad Farooq (PHC), Justice (R) Mohamamd Nasim (LHC), Justice Munir A Sheikh (LHC), Justice Fida Mohammad Khan (Federal Sharaiat Court), Justice Tanveer Ahmed Khan (LHC), Justice Amir Alim Khan (LHC), Justice Ehsanul Haq Ch (LHC), Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqi (LHC), Justice Mian Nazir Akthar (LHC), Justice Ahmed Ali Mirza (SHC), Justice Raja Mohammad Sabir (LHC), Justice Karamat Nazir Bhandari (LHC), Justice Rashid Aziz Khan (LHC), Justice Munwar Ahmed Mirza (BHC), Justice Bhagwandas (SHC), Justice Mohammad Nawaz Marri (BHC), Justice Nawaz Khan Gandapur (PHC), Justice Nawaz Abbasi (LHC), Justice Falaksher (LHC), Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar (SHC), Justice Khailur Rehman Ramday, Justice Malik Qayyum (LHC), Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza (PHC), Justice Amir Mulk Mengal (BHC), Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar Hussain (LHC), Justice Mohammad Khursheed Khan (Chief Court Northern Areas) and Justice Mohammad Khial (Ombudsman office) also got plots in the federal capital.

JOURNALISTS: Sohail Ilyas, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Abdul Ghani Ch, Zia Shahid, Rukhsana Saulat Saleem, Mohammad Anwar Khalil, Abdul Wadood Qureshi, Mian Ghaffar Ahmed, Rana Tahir Mahmood, Malik Abdul Rehman Hur, Nadeem Fazil Khan, Hamad Raza Shami, Farooq Ahmed, Rana Assar Ali Chohan, Azeem Chaudhry, Aslam Khan, Mohammad Naeem Chaudhry, Mohammad Aniq Zafar, Abdul Saeed Khan Qamar, Mohammad Dilshaad Khan, Naveed Miraj, Tahir Masood Ikram, Sultan Mohammad Sabir, Saghir Khalid, Mazhar Barlas, Maqbool Elahi Malik, Mohammad Arshad Yousuf, Javed Iqbal Qureshi, Haroon Rashid, Malik Shakeelur Rehman Hur, Wajid Rasool, Ashfaq Ahmed, Mohammad Zahid Jhangvi, Tahir Khalil, Khalid Azeem Ch, Mian Khursheeduzaman, Abdul Mohi Shah, Hilal Ahmed, Khalid Sial, Amir Iyas Rana, Zamir Hussain Shah, Aziz Ahmed Alvi, Ahmed Hussain, Rafaqat Ali, Syed Najamul Islam Rizvi, Mohsin Raza Khan, Irfan Ahmed Qureshi, Syed Ibrar Hussain Shah Kunwal, Nasir Aslam Raja, Mohammad Arshad, Ch Iylas Mohammad, Ghazanfar Ali Zaidi, Fazeela Gul, Iftikar Shakeel, Syed Ejaz Shah, Mohammad Ayub Nasir, Mohammad Saleem and Tariq Aziz. REFERENCES: New list of plot beneficiaries presented in Senate Saturday, January 16, 2010 By our correspondent Journalist and Plots, read page 4 of Daily Jang Friday, January 15, 2010, Muharram 28, 1431 A.H The News Senate gets list of judges, bureaucrats who got two plots each Friday, January 15, 2010 By Rauf Klasra Myth busted: Chief justice also got a plot Rauf Klasra Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2010.

Faisal Raza Abidi Exposed Independent Judiciary Anti-PPP Cases Schedule

Pakistan Judiciary (Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry) is Biased

ISLAMABAD: Some elected representatives can only be seen at meetings of the parliamentary committee on reforms or television shows: the National Assembly remains the last place for such bigwigs to show up at. Renaming parliament as ‘Hyde Park’ might not be a bad idea considering that hardly 25 percent lawmakers attend the session, and if we go by the attendance of a 100-strong cabinet, the percentage of their attendance might not cross the figure of 10, according to an appropriate comment by a member of a parliamentary watchdog organisation. Nevertheless, the prime minister’s 100 percent attendance record need not be ignored, especially because he is the one who is trying his level best to keep the system from falling apart. Leaving the buttering aside, we saw a little brouhaha in the House right from the outset: a minority representative from PPP benches and others objected to a political comment by Lahore High Court’s ‘My Lord’. Chief Justice Khawaja Sharif was reportedly commenting on the involvement of minorities in bombings across the country. Minority members from the ANP, PPP and the PML-N staged a token walkout to register their protest, and asked My Lord to clarify or apologise to patriotic minorities of the country.

The demand for an apology was soon backed by another identical demand for Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

An inside story of yesterday’s ‘call-on’ was making rounds in the cafeteria about the infamous last-minute call from the Rawalpindi Garrisons to Shahbaz Sharif and his 15-minute stay with ‘the man in uniform’. The meeting was crispy, to the point and ended with a ‘you may leave’ note, said the moles. A party insider disclosed that there is nothing wrong with the ADC calling SS to see the chief. He said both Sharifs have been so used to landing at the GHQ since the Ziaul Haq days that they often forget democracy has returned to the country. He said SS, in particular, loved to have tea in the lush green lawns of the army houses, and whenever he left Model town, in the old days, or Jati Umra, now, he would call the ADC to enjoy habitual tea with the chief. Whether he justified yesterday’s quick-fix or revealed more kept every one of us amused. What remained an issue bugging parliamentarians and journalists alike afterwards was that at least there was someone who could get things fixed, be it the lawyers’ led long march of March 16, 2009, or divergence from tracks, when it comes to politicians, but will someone be able to curtail the political statements of My Lords? A former black-coat-turned senator said in a philosophical tone, “The nation is being collectively punished for the policies of khakis and politicians through suicide bombings, and now the judiciary has thought that it too should pay back the nation for the mistakes of the same actors who elevated their political favourites, some even contested as local bodies councillors on party tickets, to judicial pedestals.” Keeping his pitch, he questioned who would now take suo motu notice of the politicisation of our judiciary, the current CJP or those who helped him regain the post? Who helped him was a question in chorus and realizing that his tongue should not slip like Khawaja Sharif or his Kashmiri brother Shahbaz Sharif, he said “of course, the masses.”

Realising that the senator had gone into cautious mode, one of his fellow senators from a leftist party said that activisms didn’t have a long shelf life in this country. We have seen left parties, then the military, then the political parties and now the judiciary, and without any hassle, one can conclude that ultimately, with the exception of the military, none other has survived the hijacking by vested interests, he said in an attempt to add a twist to the debate. By that time the first senator regrouped his thoughts to announce that another goody-goody atmosphere is emerging, as the PML-N members would start listening to Gilani in addition to sharing the subsidy-marred coffers of Punjab with the PPP ministers. He said that following the ‘call on’, Chaudhry Nisar had been immediately asked to re-connect the lost connections with Gilani, and he did so at last night’s dinner hosted by Ghulam Bilour. Now, Ishaq Dar, Chaudhry Nisar and SS would have a meeting with the premier and in the coming days, Nawaz Sharif, would resurface as another father of the reconciliation agenda. While the answer to if there will be any memorandum of understanding (MoU) for My Lords remains elusive, it is not impossible and “just before taking a commercial break, let me tell you someone out there is keeping a log book on all of them.” REFERENCE: Is there any MoU for My Lords? By Saeed Minhas Wednesday, March 17, 2010\03\17\story_17-3-2010_pg7_1

ISLAMABAD: A reported statement by Lahore High Court Chief Justice (CJ) Khawaja Muhammad Sharif that the Hindu community was funding terrorism in Pakistan, irked members of the National Assembly, as many of whom joined minority members and walked out in protest. The lawmakers also demanded Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry take suo motu notice of the CJ’s remarks. Ramesh Lal, a minority lawmaker from the Pakistan People’s Party, raised the issue on a point of order and censured the CJ’s remarks, saying the Hindu community in Pakistan was as patriotic as the rest of the country and the remarks were highly uncalled for. Lal announced a token walkout and was joined by a few other members belonging to different parties, including the Awami National Party. He said the remarks hurt the over three million Hindus in Pakistan, adding the statement was against national unity. Labour and Manpower Minister Khursheed Shah tried to defend the CJ, saying he could not have made such a statement and might have referred to India and not the Hindu community. REFERENCE: LHC CJ’s remarks irk NA members Wednesday, March 17, 2010\03\17\story_17-3-2010_pg7_6

Of Plots, Judges, Journalists & Across the Board Justice.


ISLAMABAD: On Monday, Shahbaz Sharif’s arguably controversial remarks pertaining to the Taliban sparing Punjab provided fodder for animated discussion in the House. On Tuesday, the parliamentary anger mills were fed by another Sharif. This time, no less than the honourable Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Khwaja Mohammad Sharif. His remark about “Hindus” giving money and the Muslim militants using it to carry out terrorist activities while hearing a case made the Hindu and other minority parliamentarians cry out an anguished Hi Bhagwan and led to what must be the first ever parliamentary boycott of a sitting chief justice of a high court. We have seen a lot of strange things happen in our exceptionally colourful chequered political history but never before a walkout of such a nature. In a desperate bid to do some instant damage control, a rather unconvincing Syed Khurshid Shah wanted the House to believe that the honourable CJ must have meant to say “Hindustan and not just Hindu”, adding: “It was apparently a slip of tongue.” But Ramesh Laal wasn’t buying and making a speech before his protest walkout said that the honourable chief justice should have talked about a country but not about a religion. On hearing this one of the chaps sitting in the press gallery quipped: “If nothing else, a judge must be able to judge his own words.” A tad harsh assessment but not altogether without merit. It wasn’t as if Muslim MNAs weren’t in a supporting mood for their minority colleagues. Rasheed Akbar Niwani of the PML-N wanted the judges to “speak through judgements and not otherwise”, while Munawar Talpur apologised to the Hindu MNAs whom he described as “as good a Pakistani as anyone else”. It is inconceivable that the honourable chief justice would deliberately want to hurt the feelings of the hundreds of thousands of Hindu Pakistanis but still, exceptional care must be exhibited by men of stature, particularly those whose word is literally the law, to avoid strengthening any negative stereotyping of religious and ethnic minority groups in particular. REFERENCE: Of moneyed Hindus, Nawab sahib’s deadly post master & next finance minister Wednesday, March 17, 2010 By Mohammad Malick [The News International] [LINK IS DEAD]

ISLAMABAD, March 16: It was a rare, judge’s turn to be judged in the National Assembly on Tuesday as Hindu members staged a walkout to protest at reported remarks by the Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice alleging Hindu financing of terror attacks in the country. Some members of the Awami National Party too joined the first walkout against the judiciary in Pakistan’s parliament before the protesters were brought back to hear words of sympathy for the injured sentiments and some advice for judges to focus on delivering justice rather than publicity despite a government minister’s statement that the remark by Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif while hearing a case in Lahore on Thursday seemed to be “a slip of the tongue”. The protest was the second raised in the house over press reports in as many days after sharp criticism of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif over his appeal to Taliban in a speech to a seminar in Lahore on Sunday to spare his province terror attacks because of some shared views with his PML-N party. PPP’s Hindu member Romesh Lal, who raised the issue, said sentiments of an estimated four million Pakistani Hindus had been injured by the LHC chief justice’s remarks, as reported in a section of the press, that while terrorist bomb blasts were being carried out by Muslims, “money used for this came from Hindus”. The member said if a country was suspected of sponsoring such attacks it should be named, but blame should not be put on just Hindus who, he said, were as good patriots as other Pakistanis.

While drawing attention of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to what he called worry caused to Hindus, he appealed to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to take suo motu notice of Justice Sharif’s remarks. As Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani and some other members of the ruling PPP went out of the chamber to persuade the protesters to return, party chief whip and Labour and Manpower Minister Khurshid Ahmed Shah told the house the judge seemed to be blaming India for financing the Taliban rather Hindus, adding he was sure a clarification would come “by tomorrow”. PML-N’s Rashid Akbar Niwani said judges should devote to dispensation of justice instead of seeking publicity as he also advised the media to exercise “restraint”, particularly blasting unspecified television anchorpersons who, he said, should also be held accountable for their earnings together with “heads of (government) institutions” as often-maligned elected politicians. REFERENCE: A judge is judged in NA, with walkout By Raja Asghar Wednesday, 17 Mar, 2010,-with-walkout-730-hh-07

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

LAHORE, June 30: The Pakistan People’s Party and some prominent lawyers have taken exception to the statement of the Lahore High Court chief justice and the party has announced that it will move the Supreme Judicial Council against him. Addressing the Hafizabad Bar Association on Tuesday, LHC CJ Khwaja Muhammad Sharif had reportedly asked the PPP to quit the Punjab coalition if it had objections to provincial prosecution secretary Rana Maqbool. Mr Maqbool has been accused of physically torturing President Asif Ali Zardari when he was in police custody after ouster of the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto on Nov 5, 1996. Punjab Senior Minister Raja Riaz has even called the LHC CJ a “PML-N spokesman” and asked him to resign from his office to contest election on the PML-N ticket if he was interested in politics. “We will foil designs of ‘Sharif courts’ against democracy,” said Raja Riaz who is also the parliamentary head of his party in the province.

He was speaking at a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Wednesday a day after he had announced observing a black day on the day Hakim Ali Zardari, father of President Asif Zardari, would be summoned by the court in a NAB reference. “We are going to file a reference in the Supreme Judicial Council against Khwaja Sharif for acting as a PML-N spokesman,” Riaz said. “Is a chief justice authorised to represent a proclaimed offender and can he advise a major political party to quit the government,” he asked and further inquired whether the statement of Khwaja Sharif was worthy of a high court chief justice. “This is a conspiracy against the PPP government. The Sharif courts are trying to corner the largest political party of the federation but we will not allow them to succeed,” Riaz said and added that the PPP had defeated military dictatorships in the past and now it was capable of fighting against “judicial dictatorship”. “I, on behalf of 108 PPP Punjab legislators, urge Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry to take note of the statement of Khwaja Sharif,” Riaz added.

PPP central information secretary MNA Fauzia Wahab told Dawn that Khwaja Sharif’s statement had “unveiled the mystery” as to why there had been a “furore” over his elevation to the Supreme Court. “He (Khwaja Sharif) is Sharif’s trusted fellow and even he has admitted this in his last speech,” she said and added that now every one knew why the Sharifs wanted to retain him in Lahore. Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Aitzaz Ahsan has also criticised Khwaja Sharif for ‘giving a political statement’. “A judge should resign from his\her office if he or she wants to do politics,” Mr Ahsan said. Ahsan, who was on forefront in ‘free judiciary movement’, said the judges should not make such statements. “Such statements bring a bad name to the judiciary and judges should refrain from doing so as they are supposed to speak only through their judgments,” he said, adding such statements invited criticism from political parties and other quarters. He admitted that the government and the judiciary were heading towards confrontation. “The people are raising fingers at the Supreme Court for laying so much emphasis on NRO cases as they think it was only because President Zardari was one of the beneficiaries,” he said and hastened to add the courts were dispensing justice on merit. Human rights activist advocate Hina Jilani described the CJ’s statement as “most inappropriate”. “Such a comment must not come from any member of the independent judiciary. These kinds of statements are bringing a bad name to the judiciary,” she added. REFERENCE: Hafizabad bar speech: PPP to move SJC against LHC chief justice By Zulqernain Tahir Thursday, 01 Jul, 2010

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