Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies

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Offline Satyagraha

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Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« on: July 05, 2009, 09:47:52 AM »
Constitutional anomalies
By Fatehyab Ali Khan

Sunday, 05 Jul, 2009 | 10:49 AM PST |

Today Pakistan stands on the brink of constitutional anarchy. Some forces want a new constitution; others champion the restoration of the constitutional order existing before Oct 12, 1999 or a confederal constitution. Our constitutional chaos is the result of the unscrupulous constitutional manipulations of Gen Ziaul Haq.

From August 1947 to 1970, no general elections at the federal level were held in Pakistan. When Yahya Khan grabbed power from Ayub Khan, he promulgated the first Legal Framework Order (LFO), abolished One Unit in West Pakistan, restored the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and the NWFP and gave Balochistan provincial status for the first time.

The defeat of the army in East Pakistan culminated in the dismemberment of Pakistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the first civilian chief martial law administrator and as the leader of the majority party in West Pakistan he made a reference to the Supreme Court on two points: a) could the truncated National Assembly of Pakistan function as a legislative body? b) Could the National Assembly enact a constitution for what remained of Pakistan?

Justice Hamood-ur-Rahman was chief justice of the Supreme Court whose advice was in the affirmative. The interim constitution was promulgated on April 21, 1972. Since it was presidential in nature and Pakistan was a federation, the leaders of the parliamentary parties persuaded and pressured Bhutto to promulgate a parliamentary constitution in 1973 which was adopted by consensus on Aug 14, 1973.

The 1973 constitution was signed by all leaders of parliamentary parties. It provided for joint electorates, separation of powers and a bicameral legislature, that is the National Assembly and Senate which was a permanent representative body.

The 1973 constitution represented a compromise consensus on three key issues: the role of Islam; the sharing of powers between the federal government and the provinces; and the division of responsibility between the president and prime minister, with a greatly strengthened position for the latter.

Gen Zia, who was the hero of Black September in Jordan, was recalled and made chief of army staff by Bhutto, superseding many senior generals.

In the second half of the 1970s, political instability and upheaval resulted in Zia’s martial law with catastrophic consequences for the constitution. A major blow was the enactment of the Eighth Amendment in 1985 which was illegal and unconstitutional. It was passed by a single house because Zia had dissolved not only the National Assembly but also the Senate which was a perpetual representative body. It changed Pakistan’s form of government from a parliamentary system to a semi-presidential system by giving the president vast powers.

The key clause of the Eighth Amendment gave the president the right to dissolve the National Assembly but not the recreated Senate. The prime minister continued to have the power to advise the president to dissolve the National Assembly which would thereby stand dissolved after 48 hours.

The 13th and 14th Amendments were both passed in 1997 when Nawaz Sharif was prime minister. They removed the institutional checks and balances on the prime minister’s power by giving him immunity from being dismissed by the president.
Finally, the president’s power was partially restored by the 17th Amendment passed under Gen Musharraf’s rule. The power to dissolve the National Assembly and dismiss the prime minister is now subject to the Supreme Court’s approval within one month. The Supreme Court later validated Gen Musharraf’s coup since the 13th Amendment had removed the constitutional means of dismissing an unpopular prime minister.

The current constitutional paradox lies in the fact that the ruling and opposition parties maintain that only an elected parliament has the right to amend the constitution, but these parties have themselves been elected under Gen Musharraf’s LFO which they consider unconstitutional.

The question can be legitimately asked whether, after July 5, 1977, one individual as chief martial law administrator could have amended a constitution adopted unanimously. Secondly, as Gen Zia had illegally dissolved the Senate, could a single house and an assembly elected on a non-party basis rubber-stamp the steps taken by the martial law administrator?

Since July 5, 1977 until today the grave constitutional anomalies which have not been understood, clarified or removed are as under:

— All extra constitutional steps taken under martial law were validated by the superior courts and supported by political elites which have been collaborative partners of martial law regimes in one form or the other. Article 6 of the 1973 constitution was meant to check and prevent extra constitutional steps by civil or military authority. However, when martial law was imposed, the constitution was held in abeyance and so was Article 6, from July 5, 1977 to Dec 31, 1985. After the Eighth Amendment, it became operative again. But since all martial law regulations and orders were validated when the constitution and Article 6 were held in abeyance, the perpetrators and collaborators of the past cannot be punished. Is Article 6, then, a relevant part of the constitution?

— Constitutional amendments can only be passed by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly and Senate. Gen Zia not only dissolved the National Assembly but also the Senate. The Eighth Amendment was passed by a single house, the National Assembly. Could a single house amend the constitution?

— The Hudood Ordinances, Hudood courts, blasphemy laws, amendments in the PPC and CrPC as well as family laws were significant provisions of the Eighth Amendment and are still part of the constitution. The existence of institutions with parallel and competing jurisdictions led to serious constitutional anomalies as the Eighth Amendment was later invoked three times in the 1990s by various presidents to justify the removal of corrupt governments which, they asserted, had lost the confidence of the people.

In the case of Benazir Bhutto V/S Federation of Pakistan, the Supreme Court was pleased to declare ‘Elections of the provincial and national assemblies have to be held on party basis’. Was an assembly elected on a non-party basis, in any manner, lawfully competent to amend the constitution?

The Eighth Amendment has defaced virtually every provision of the 1973 constitution and annihilated its original spirit.

The solution to the crisis lies in the restoration of the constitution to its original form. All 17 amendments to the constitution should be scrapped. Then parliament can bring in changes according to the requirements of the time. Affirmative legislation should be passed in favour of women and minorities.

The writer is a constitutional lawyer.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2009, 09:49:47 AM »
Cost of flouting principles
By Kunwar Idris

In the everlasting public debate on constitutional matters, opinions differ on the division of powers between the president and the prime minister. But all sections of civil society appear to agree that civil servants of all vocations, police included, should be neutral, the judges independent and soldiers not meddling in politics.

Interestingly enough, the state of the nation’s mind at its birth was no different. Jinnah was in no hurry to make a new constitution as he thought the adapted Government of India Act was serving the purpose well in transition from a dominion to a sovereign republic.

When doubt arose as to where the authority at the top rested, Jinnah had to remind the armed forces that all command to them flowed from the governor-general who was the executive head of the government.

This apparently reveals his thinking that even in the presence of the constituent assembly (parliament) and prime minister, the head of state should not be a mere figurehead.

Then he laid down a rule — which held sway but not for long — that the armed forces must ungrudgingly obey civilian authority.

It seems that Jinnah never got down to addressing the judges in the way he did legislators, military officers, civil servants, tribal elders and Baloch sardars on more than one occasion. The principle of judicial independence, however, was firmly driven home when Pakistan’s first chief justice, Sir Abdur Rashid, declined the prime minister’s invitation to dinner and Liaquat Ali Khan, to his credit, acquiesced in the snub.

Alas, that precedent did not hold for long. Rashid’s successor, Munir, was said to be Governor-General Ghulam Mohammad’s frequent companion at dinner.

In refusing the prime minister’s invitation, Justice Rashid risked being discourteous but handed down a message to the next generation: in order to be independent, a judge has to be a recluse. Justice Munir, undoubtedly, was the ablest of judges. His constitutional judgments indeed showed his ability — but not his independence. The obvious lesson emerging from the examples of the first two chief justices is that judges must not look for public acclaim nor socially associate with politicians, much less seek favours from them.

By ignoring this golden rule, many from among the present lot have put their independence at peril though hardly any can boast of Munir’s ability. In the background of the events of the past two years, most among them have yet to establish even their rudimentary judicial credentials. The action of the Punjab governor in recommending, on his own, four more judges to join the multitude of 66 in the Lahore High Court shows that politicians and judges are not going to part company any time soon.

One would like to believe that Jinnah, a lawyer of high repute in his time, did not address the judges lest he should be seen influencing them. But he addressed the civil servants on three occasions to tell them that it was ‘a very common fault of politicians and of those with influence in political parties to put pressure on the service people, which would lead to nothing but to corruption, bribery and nepotism’. He advised them to ‘make the sacrifice’ if they had to ‘for not satisfying the whims of ministers and for doing the right thing’.

That advice was never fully heeded. And when the civil servants did not get the ‘security and safeguards’ that Jinnah promised and later even lost whatever little of both they had at the hands of Z.A. Bhutto, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf, the majority among them chose to collude with the politicians. The ‘sacrifice’ that Jinnah had asked for was made rarely and by only a few.

The nepotism and corruption that Jinnah cautioned against have now come into full play. Recent reports allege that the selection of airline pilots, ambassadors, teachers, policemen and people for other jobs is based on every consideration but merit. Resultantly, there are allegations of misconduct against a chief justice, the harbouring of terrorists against a commissioner and the embezzlement of billions in fixing petroleum prices etc.

Particularly interesting are the rumours surrounding the appointment of an official as ambassador to France, who is not in the foreign service and is too junior for the post even in his own cadre.

According to an Urdu columnist, he was commended to the notice of our president by the French president. Gossip has it that it was not him but a dress designer from France. The noteworthy fact, however, is that Pakistan’s foreign service, which has produced some world-class diplomats, having already lost ambassadorial posts in the UN, US and UK to political nominees have now lost another next in rank.

Nominations can be justified, and are even necessary, but only for people like Jamshed Marker and Maleeha Lodhi.
The nation would have been spared the loss of East Pakistan and now the agony of terrorism had the leaders of public opinion adhered to the fundamental principle that the founder of the country had put forth in his address to the Constituent Assembly on the eve of independence. ‘Religion,’ he said, had ‘nothing to do with the business of the state’ and ‘we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state’.

Lastly, there would have been no discontent in the tribal borderlands nor in Balochistan had Jinnah’s assurances to the jirga at Peshawar and the darbar at Sibi been kept. Pakistan, he said, had ‘no desire to unduly interfere with your internal freedom’ and, further, ‘neither my government nor I have any desire to modify the existing arrangements except in consultation with you’.

Jinnah saw Pakistan one day ‘becoming one of the greatest nations of the world’. Flouting every rule that he had set and lacking his integrity, latter-day ideologues and autocrats reduced it to a failed state — one among the 10 out of 200 or more. We must go back to the beginning to fulfill Jinnah’s dream.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2009, 10:03:00 AM »
Ousted by Musharraf, reinstated by Zardari (under significant pressure), Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry is one of the heroes of Pakistan - a constitutionalist who has a sincere love for his country and for the people of Pakistan. It is hoped by many that Chaudhry will continue to work on behalf of the people - perhaps become (many hope) a future leader of Pakistan. ($0.02 - Pilikia)

The deprived have been heard

By Ardeshir Cowasjee
Sunday, 05 Jul, 2009 | 02:31 AM PS

Praise be to Providence! The honourable chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, has heard the plea of the unheard deprived.

On June 29, the CJP was ‘pleased to pass the following order: Let the article published in daily Dawn dated 14-06-09 be treated as a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, notices to parties in CP No.D-1740 of 2007 for 7th July 2009 in Court be also issued.’ All concerned have been asked to appear before the Supreme Court at Islamabad on that day.

In the column referred to in the court order, I had made a plea to the good chief justice asking him to come to the aid of an endangered playground and the children of a deprived area of Karachi — Webb Ground in Tunisia Lines, an open area used for years by the low-income residents of the area and their children.

Full details of how the case had proceeded (or not proceeded) in the Sindh High Court since 2007 were given, highlighting the fact that it was deemed by the petitioners that justice had not been served and that there was a deliberate manipulation of facts. Once again, our chief justice has recognised the vital importance of the environment and of open spaces, of the need for cities to breathe, and has agreed to hear the case of the traditionally voiceless deprived.

It has been a long struggle. As recorded in my column published in this newspaper of record on Feb 18, 2007: ‘There are few open spaces which remain in this highly polluted sewerage and garbage-strewn city of Karachi. The parks, playgrounds, roads, graveyards, railway yards, beaches and other amenity areas are being swiftly and deliberately encroached upon and are increasingly becoming easy prey for greedy, ignorant, couldn’t-care-less, well-connected land-grabbers.

‘One current example is Webb Ground, a five-acre playing field in Tunisia Lines, off Shahrah-i-Faisal, opposite the Christian cemetery. Long used as an institutional sports field by Karachi Grammar School, it was integrated into the Lines Area Redevelopment Scheme in the mid-1980s and used as a playground for the neighbourhood. In disregard of all that is proper, this amenity plot has now been leased to the Army Welfare Trust which in further disregard of what is proper, correct and lawful has sub-leased it to a concern known as Makro-Habib which will build upon it a gigantic ‘Cash & Carry Store’. The local residents, whose children have been deprived of an open playfield and ‘lung space’, plan to challenge this illicit conversion in court.’

Then, in my column the following week: ‘The final paragraph of last week’s column also told of the ‘commercialisation’ of the five-acre Webb playfield in the Lines Area of Karachi by the Army Welfare Trust and Makro-Habib for the construction of a ‘Cash & Carry Store’. It emerges that Makro-Habib is an old hand at the conversion of amenity spaces.

‘A number of residents of Model Town Society in Lahore have been battling in the Lahore High Court for the past year over the ‘commercialisation’ by Makro-Habib of 80 kanals (10 acres) of a garden plot in their society.

‘Quoted herewith is an excerpt from the Nov 11 2006 observations of the learned single judge, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, in the judgment handed down in the writ petition dealing with the issue: ‘Similarly it was also stressed very vehemently that the proposed project constitutes economic growth and will bring financial benefit to the country, city and the locality.

‘In this behalf, suffice it to say that no doubt foreign investment is to be encouraged but foreign investors are not above the law and must conform to laws of the land and must necessarily also exhibit sensitivity to the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the area.

‘The learned counsel for the petitioner has rightly drawn the distinction between growth and development. The two concepts are not synonymous and all growth must be measured against the collateral damage accrued thereby. Even otherwise, growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell’.’

To silence the publicity, in July Makro-Habib and the Army Welfare Trust filed Suit No.926/2007 against Shehri, myself and others in the Sindh High Court pleading that all be restrained ‘from interfering with the use and enjoyment of the subject land by the plaintiffs for commercial purposes in any manner whatsoever’. Further, they asked for a permanent injunction restraining us from ‘continuing with the campaign of harassment and vilification through print or electronic media and in oral or written mode’ so that we may not cause loss or damage to the reputation of the plaintiffs. Justice prevailed. The court did not oblige.

In August 2007 area resident Mehfooz-un-Nabi Khan filed his constitutional petition in the Sindh High Court, and at the first hearing Shehri was called in by the honourable judges, Sarmad Usmany and Ali Sain Dino Metlo, to assist the court and appear as a co-petitioner. Now, thanks to the concern and magnanimity of the chief justice for the less fortunate of this land of ours, the case will be heard in Islamabad this coming week.

Shehri and the area residents will be represented in court by advocate Mansoor Ali Shah who will rise and plead pro bono publico. Our gratitude, and that of the residents of Tunisia Lines, goes out to Chief Justice Chaudhry, who has proven time and time again that he, like I, has respect for the words of the founder of this God-given man-made country, Mohammad Ali Jinnah — that the first and foremost duty of any government is to impose and maintain law and order.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2009, 10:09:30 AM »
Spirit of the 1973 constitution

By Ardeshir Cowasjee
Sunday, 28 Jun, 2009 | 01:52 AM PST

A PROMINENT headline in this newspaper on June 25, 2009 informed us that our powerless prime minister, appointed by our power-charged president, “vows to revive the spirit of ’73 constitution”. His vehicle is the potentially everlasting committee formed to frame further amendments to restore the original Zulfikar Ali Bhutto constitution.

Now, where was young Yousuf Raza Gilani in 1973? He was not sitting in parliament when the ‘spirit’ of the constitution in question was well aired at its unveiling on Aug 14 of that year.

Does he recollect that the constitution was promulgated by a man who has the distinction of having been the first civilian martial law administrator; does he know that it was accepted by consensus, not unanimously as is often claimed? The majority of the members of that particular National Assembly were anxious to come up with a constitution, and any old constitution would do as it would be better than no constitution.

So, it was grandly promulgated at noon on Independence Day, with much joy and jollity. How many of our present constitutionalists and contortionists remember that the life of the original document was of four hours duration? At 1600 hours that same day, Prime Minister Bhutto ordered the president he had appointed the meek and gentlemanly Fazal Elahi Chaudhry to sign an order which was notified in the Gazette of Pakistan, Extra, on Aug 15, 1973, No.F.24(1)/73-Pub.

By this order the proclamation of emergency issued on Nov 23, 1971 was declared to be still in force, the reason being that while in force the president was empowered to order that the right to move any court for the enforcement of the fundamental rights conferred in the constitution was suspended and would remain suspended for the period the proclamation was in force. No court could be moved for the enforcement of the rights of the people — they were rendered non-justiciable.

Thus were the people deprived, within the space of four hours, of 10 of the major fundamental rights guaranteed to them at noon on Aug 14, 1973. It was all a matter of premeditated fraud.

The reason for this chicanery and short-lived constitution was Bhutto’s desire to ‘deal with’ (or to use one of his favorite terms, ‘fix’) his political opponents, men such as Khair Bakhsh Marri, Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Ataullah Mengal and Wali Khan, by having them arrested and imprisoned.

Such was the birth of the constitution and the spirit in which it was raised. Then came Bhutto’s own amendments to his constitution, seven of them. The first, in 1974, redefined territories, covering the loss of East Pakistan in 1971. The second, also in 1974, stripped an entire community (the Ahmadis), once part of the majority, of its rights and declared it a minority.

The Third Amendment of 1975 allowed the government to detain a person without trial for three months instead of one month as originally provided. The fourth, also 1975, enlarged the scope of preventative laws.

In 1976 came the Fifth Amendment which extended the period of separation of the judiciary from the executive from three to five years, fixed the tenure of the chief justices of the supreme and high courts, and prohibited high courts in cases of preventative detention from granting bails before arrest or ordering the release of a person on bail. This was followed in 1977 by the Sixth Amendment by which chief justices of the supreme and high courts were to hold office for tenures of respectively five and four years irrespective of the specified retirement ages.

These two amendments were made solely to favour judges of ZAB’s liking and to extend the term of the chief justice of Pakistan even though he had reached the age of retirement.

The Seventh Amendment of May 1977 provided inter alia that high courts have no jurisdiction over persons and property in areas where the armed forces were brought in to aid the civil authorities.

ZAB set the tone for further amendments to come. The rules of procedure were suspended for the passages of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Amendments, there was no debate, deliberation or consultation. They were all bulldozed through the same day they were introduced. The First Amendment took a week of bickering over the territorial limits and the Third Amendment was passed the day after its introduction.

That was all ZAB had time for. June 1977 was a fraught month for him and the country and he was deposed by his own chosen anointed army chief, the wily Ziaul Haq, early in July.

We know all about the notorious Eighth Amendment with which we live to this day and which had a catastrophic effect upon the constitution, involving 58 articles in toto and inserting three. One of the inserts was totally unwarranted — it was a simple duplication. Article 2A provided that the all-pervasive Objectives Resolution, the basis for so many ills that this country suffers from, which was and remains a preamble to the constitution would also be reproduced in the annex and made a substantive part of the document, to the nation’s detriment as has been well evidenced and sadly suffered.

The Ninth Amendment of the Junejo government was never passed; the 10th, also of the Junejo era, concerning the summoning and prorogation of the National Assembly and Senate was passed after due deliberations.

The 11th Amendment of Benazir Bhutto’s first government was not passed. Then came Nawaz Sharif’s first round and the 12th Amendment regarding special courts and speedy trials. Rules were suspended so that it could be rushed through the house.

The 13th Amendment amending the Eighth Amendment to suit Sharif’s purposes for his second round was introduced in the Assembly and Senate on the same day and passed the same day. Sharif’s Fourteenth Amendment, also of 1977, ensured that there could be no dissent in any political party, and no defection from a party. It was passed the same day as it was introduced.

We had a lucky escape from the Fifteenth Amendment by which Sharif hoped to declare himself amir-ul-momineen. It could not come up for debate in the Senate in which Sharif had no majority. The Sixteenth Amendment of 1999 affected the quota system — nothing startling.

And then came Gen Pervez Musharraf and his government of 2002 which brought in the 17th Amendment of 2003, the main bone of contention bothering Prime Minister Gilani. His problem: his boss is not bothered.

Now, which devilish spirit does Gilani 'vow' to revive?
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2009, 10:10:39 PM »
PPP favours repeal of 17th Amendment

By Syed Irfan Raza
Tuesday, 07 Jul, 2009 | 02:51 AM PST

ISLAMABAD: The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Pakistan People’s Party passed on Monday a resolution calling for constitutional reforms, including the repeal of the 17th Amendment.
According to presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar, the CEC said the reforms should be made in consultation with all political parties, making the Constitution truly democratic, federal and parliamentary in character.

This is the fifth time in 10 month the CEC has urged President Asif Ali Zardari to repeal the law which empowers him to arbitrarily dissolve the government.

'The 17th Amendment and Article 58(2)B will be undone and the Constitution amended in the light of Charter of Democracy,' the resolution said.

However, the CEC did not discuss the expected reshuffle in the federal cabinet.

The meeting, jointly presided over by President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, resolved to pursue a policy of reconciliation to find a solution to national problems.

'The issues and problems confronting the nation are so complex and varied that no one party or institution can solve them alone. A resolution of our problems requires collective national effort backed by all political forces and state institutions. Hence the need for pursuing the policy of broad-based national reconciliation,' the resolution said.

Expressing determination to overcome challenges, it said although external threats existed, the most 'urgent and serious threat to the country is from within. It, therefore, calls for addressing issues of internal security threats in right earnest and on priority basis'.

The CEC noted that difficult economic decisions taken by the government had started showing results.

The meeting paid tribute to the people for enduring the impact of difficult economic decisions and expressed the hope that things would improve soon.

The PPP vowed to overcome unemployment by generating economic activity through public-private partnership and building of reconstruction opportunity zones.

The process of reinstatement of employees sacked after the removal of PPP government in 1996 will be expedited.

The CEC noted with appreciation that July 5 has been termed 'a sad day in the Constitutional history of Pakistan' by the Judicial Conference.

The CEC decided to continue the fight against militancy till its logical end.

The CEC also praised the displaced people for showing resilience and resolved to take steps for their safe return.

President Zardari said that the PPP 'will rid the Constitution of all undemocratic clauses in consultation with other political forces and change the repressive system that has spawned terrorism, militancy and dictatorship'.

The meeting was attended by the members of the party’s Central Executive Committee. Bakhtawar Zardari-Bhutto, a daughter of President Zardari, also attended the meeting as a special invitee.

Popular opinion is that Zardari will try to complete his term without repealing this amendment -  he is not sincerely engaged in this effort. He loves being a dictator.  -P
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2009, 09:59:30 AM »
Supreme Court puts carbon tax on hold
By Nasir Iqbal
Wednesday, 08 Jul, 2009 | 08:15 AM PST |

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court suspended on Tuesday parliament’s decision to levy carbon surcharge on petroleum products through budgetary action, accepting for hearing a petition by an opposition politician and ordering the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) to withdraw the tax by Wednesday, pending the final decision.

The petition was filed by Pakistan Muslim League-N secretary general Iqbal Zafar Jhagra.

The surcharge was levied in the budget to collect an estimated Rs122 billion in the current financial year by replacing the petroleum development levy (PDL). The budget was passed by the National Assembly with no vote against it. 

The order was issued by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, despite repeated pleas by Attorney General Sardar Latif Khan Khosa that the levy was part of the finance bill approved by parliament while adopting the budget for 2009-10 and earlier endorsed by the cabinet. 

‘Such increases are done to run the affairs of the government since public sector development projects have to be funded and allocations for subsidies on wheat and electricity made although the budget is in deficit,’ the attorney general said.

The chief justice observed that the court was only suspending the June 30 notification by Ogra of imposing the surcharge.

The court summoned the environment secretary on Thursday with a summary indicating what proposals his ministry had sent to the government for initiating measures to provide clean atmosphere free of emissions.

‘Prime facie we are of the opinion that there is no immediate necessity for imposing carbon surcharge, the levy of which is subject to certain benefits like provision of an atmosphere free of lead, sulphur and carbon dioxide emissions,’ the chief justice observed.

The court made it clear that the suspension order was temporary and a final decision would be taken after going through a 100-page report submitted by a judicial commission headed by Justice (retd) Rana Bhagwandas. 

On a court query, Advocate Raja Saeeduzzaman Zafar, representing Ogra, presented the break-up of all components that comprise the price of different petroleum products. 

He said the price of petrol on June 30 was Rs56.21 that included an ex-refinery price of Rs31.91, PDL Rs10.54, sales tax Rs7.75, oil marketing companies margin (OMCM) Rs1.39, dealer’s commission Rs1.74 and inland freight charges of Rs2.88.

On July 1, the price was increased to Rs62.13 comprising ex-refinery price of Rs36.59, carbon surcharge of Rs10, freight charges of Rs3.37, sales tax Rs8.57, OMCM Rs1.6 and dealer’s commission of Rs2.

The price of diesel on June 30 was Rs55.71 comprising ex-refinery price of Rs34.78, PDL Rs8.53, sales tax Rs7.68, dealer’s margin Rs1.5, OMCM Rs1.35 and freight Rs2.22.

On July 1, the price was increased to Rs62.65 with ex-refinery price of Rs40.94, OMCM Rs1.35, carbon surcharge Rs8, dealer’s margin Rs1.5, sales tax Rs8.64 and freight Rs2.22.

The court asked senior counsel Akram Sheikh to present a brief synopsis of the judicial commission’s report on oil price mechanism. 

Advocate Mohammad Ikram Chaudhry represented Mr Jhagra and PPP’s Rukhsana Zuberi appeared in person.

The interim order sent the government into a tailspin and sources said it might consider approaching the apex court for a review.

It drew instant appreciation from different quarters with many believing that the withdrawal of the surcharge would translate into reduction in the prices of petrol (up to Rs10 per litre), diesel (Rs8) and kerosene (over Rs6).

After withdrawing the surcharge, the sales tax would also have to be reduced from existing Rs8.57, Rs8 and Rs8.19 on the three products.

Meanwhile, former chief justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, when contacted, rejected a perception that the order amounted to interference in the affairs of parliament. He said the Supreme Court was only seeking to probe whether relevant laws had been adhered to.

‘We should not forget that it is just an interim order and if the court concludes that the laws were followed, it will take its hands back.’

Justice (retd) Wajeehuddin Ahmed said it was the duty of the Supreme Court, being the guardian of the Constitution, to maintain equilibrium between the powers of the government and welfare of people.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Who are we bombing?: A Brief Political History of Pakistan (Pt.1 1947 - 1960)

As we read news of continuing drone attacks killing people each day, it seems we are missing some key information about the country of Pakistan. A sovereign nation that has existed since 1947, and has struggled with internal and external pressures, yet remains a strong republic in spite of it all. You might be surprised to hear it's a strong republic - that's not what you hear in the media. For years the media has described Pakistan as 'on the verge of collapse' ... however, for years it remains intact, in spite of horrible military dictators, puppet 'democratic' leaders, and widespread corruption in the government.

The reason it survives is because of the people of Pakistan. Their will to survive, their determination to struggle through in spite of food shortages, water shortages, load-shedding days with only a few hours of electricity, changing leadership that robs and runs (or gets executed), constant threats and aggressive actions by other countries, and increasing numbers of internally displaced Pakistanis looking for refuge... in spite of all of this, they persevere. 

It should give us hope that even with a corrupt government, financial collapse and unemployment, it's possible for a nation of strong-willed hard-working decent people to survive. This is a good lesson for those of us in the west who also face dim prospects in our economy, in our livelihoods, and a corrupt government at the helm.  Perseverance and a strong spirit of resistance can defeat what seems insurmountable. 

So a brief political history of Pakistan:
Notes and comments are my own -- P

  • June 3:  British Government , with pressures at home due to WWII, decides to exit India, and, with pressure from the Indian Congress (Ghandi’s party) and the Muslim League (Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s party), decides to split India into two sovereign states : India and Pakistan.   The areas with the highest concentrations of Muslims were made into “Pakistan  - East (now Bangladesh), and West, the modern day Pakistan. 
  • August 14: Pakistan comes into being as an dependent sovereign State.
  • August 18: Pakistan becomes member of UN by a unanimous vote of the Security Council.

  • February 25: Urdu is declared the national language of Pakistan.
  • September 11: Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah (the “Founder of the Nation” passes away at Karachi.)
  • November 13: Khwaja Nazimuddin becomes Governor-General of East & West Pakistan.

  • March 12: Constituent Assembly of Pakistan adopts Objectives Resolution, as a guide to future constitution modeled on the ideology of Islam.
  • November 25: First International Islamic Economic Conference opens in Karachi.
  • Soviet Union invites Liaquat Ali Khan to USSR

  • January 4: Government of Pakistan recognizes the Peoples Republic of China.
  • April 8: Liaquat-Nehru agreement is signed in New Delhi on measures to deal with major Inter-Dominion problems.
  • June: Liaquat Ali Khan visits the United States – meets with US President Harry Truman

    Truman recalled that the US Government was one of the first countries to recognise the new State of Pakistan and he an
    d his Secretary of State, George Marshall, had rushed the US Consul-General in Morocco to Karachi to represent the US government in the Pakistan Independence Day ceremony on August 14, 1947 with a message of warm greetings and good wishes from the White House.

    Truman also recalled how he had placed a US Air Force aircraft at the disposal of the UN Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, to fly the members of the UN Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) to the sub-continent in pursuance of the efforts of the UN Security Council to settle the Kashmir dispute peacefully. Liaquat Ali Khan had forcefully projected the Pakistani viewpoint vis-a-vis the explosive Kashmir issue in his keynote addresses to the US Senate and learned bodies in New York, Chicago, Kansas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans, Boston and Washington DC.

  • July 11: Pakistan joins the IMF and World Bank.
  • September 6: General Muhammad Ayub Khan, the first Pakistani, is appointed Commander in Chief of the  Pakistan Army.


  • October 16: Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan is assassinated at Rawalpindi.
    (Note: Similar to JFK,  Khan was assassinated, and his killer was IMMEDIATELY killed by a policeman. No investigation was conducted, case was closed.)

    On 16 October 1951, Liaquat had been scheduled to make an important announcement in a public meeting of the Muslim City League at Municipal Park, Rawalpindi. Liaquat was shot twice in the chest during that meeting by a man sitting in the audience only fifteen yards away.

    It was reported that the police immediately killed the assassin, who was later identified as Saad Akbar Babrak, an Afghan from the same Zadran tribe as Pacha Khan Zadran. Liaquat was rushed to a hospital where he was given a blood transfusion, but he succumbed to his injuries.

    The exact motive behind the assassination has never been fully revealed. However, Liaquat was an ardent supporter of partition, which involved absorbing Pushtun land into Pakistan. He did not believe Pushtun land east of the Durand Line deserved to be reunited with Afghanistan after its illegal annexation into British India in 1893. Afghans, as well as the Pushtuns living in the disputed territory, including those of the Zadran tribe, held political animosity toward Liaquat Ali Khan because of this, and Saad Akbar Zadran is believed to have killed the Prime Minister after he made inflammatory statements about Afghanistan during his speech.

    But reports show that Liaqat Ali Khan had not even started his speech when he was shot. Liaqat Ali Khan had announced that he would make an important announcement in this speech.

    Municipal Park, where he was assassinated, was renamed Liaquat Bagh (Bagh means park) in his honour.
    ( Note: This park is the same place Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December of 2007).

  • October 17: Malik Ghulam Muhammad becomes Governor-General, Khwaja Nazimuddin assumes charge of Prime Minister.

  • August 21: Pakistan and India agree on the boundary pact between East and West Bengal.
  • December 24: UN Security Council adopts the Anglo-American Resolution on Kashmir urging immediate demilitarization talks between India, Pakistan.


  • March 6: Martial Law promulgated in Lahore to control disturbances against Ahmadis. 
    (Note: Ahmadis are a sect of Islam, not recognized as authentic Muslims by Sunni or Shia.   The point of difference is that Sunni and Shia believe that Prophet Isa (Jesus) was taken back to heaven by God when he was crucified. They believe that he will return again before the day of judgement.  Ahmadis believe that  Mirza Ghulam Ahmed , the leader of the Ahmadi sect,  was himself the second coming of Prophet Isa (Jesus), as Ghulam Ahmed himself claimed. This was blasphemy to Sunni and Shia alike.

    (Note: The British supported the Ahmadis in an attempt to break up the unity of the Muslims in India (in a divide and conquer attempt), as we can be sure they had no specific regard for the beliefs of Ahmadi’s; only in the usefulness of creating a rift among muslims. Ahmadi's live peacefully among Sunni and Shia in Pakistan today, although they're still considered illegitimate to other sects of Islam.

  • April 17: Muhammad Ali Bogra is sworn is as Prime Minister.

  • October 7: Foreign Minister Ch. Zafarullah Khan becomes a member of the International Court of Justice.

  • October 6: Governor-General Ghulam Mohammad's resignation is succeeded by Iskander Mirza.

  • February 21: Constituent Assembly decides the country shall be a Federal Republic known as Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
  • May 14: PM Ch. Muhammad Ali presents the first five-year plan.
  • March 23: 1956 Constitution is promulgates on Pakistan Day.
  • Major-General  Iskander Mirza sworn in as first President of Pakistan.
  • September 12: Huseyn Shaheed Suharwardy assumes office of appointed Prime Minister.

  • July 11: Spiritual leader of Ismailis and one of the founders of Muslim League, Aga Khan, passes away.
  • December 16: Malik Feroz Khan Noon is sworn in as seventh Prime Minister of Pakistan.

  • June 25: President Rule is proclaimed in East Pakistan.
  • October 7: Martial Law is declared throughout the country. General Ayub Khan is chief Martial Law Administrator.
  • November 2: Iskander Mirza is exiled.

  • April 18: Government takes over dailies The Pakistan Times, and Imroze and weekly Lail-o-Nihar.
  • October 27: President General Ayub Khan becomes Field Marshal.

  • August 1: Rawalpindi is declared as the principal seat of the Government of Pakistan.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Pakistan: Don’t Send Funny SMS Or Emails: Govt Will Arrest You
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2009, 06:16:55 PM »
Campaign to be launched by FIA against those who send SMS jokes and emails against government

The Director General, FIA has been instructed by the Interior Minister A. Rehman Malik, to monitor and check these stories and messages and take necessary action under the Cyber Crime Act. Strict action is being taken against all the culprits in next few days as the FIA has already done a lot of work on it. Simultaneously, Interpol/Lyon has also been requested to identify those email addresses and websites registered abroad which are being used for such stories.

A special campaign under the directions of the Interior Minister, Senator A. Rehman Malik, has been launched against those who were spreading ill motivated and concocted stories through emails and text messages against the civilian leadership. Similar campaign has also been initiated against the proscribed organizations which are using Internet for malicious propaganda against the security forces.

It is pertinent to mention here that under the Cyber Crime Act, the violators can be punished for 14 years of imprisonment besides confiscation of the property. Any Pakistani living abroad and violating the provisions of the Cyber Crime Act can also be charged under the Act and is liable for deportation to Pakistan.

All Internet Service Providers shall be checked physically by the FIA on daily basis.

Comments from readers:
Yasir Says:

July 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Reply
What the hell is this?
This is what happens when a rookie gets to learn something new. Just recently we had this cyber crime act come up and now we face stupid laws just like this one. The thieves, the murderers, the corrupt walk freely on the streets and you will be sentenced 14 years of jail for expressing your disgust about the facilities like load shedding that the government provides to you.

================  History of Zardari's cybercrime act  ============================

Don’t Send Funny SMS Or Emails On Zardari, Govt Will Arrest You

October, 6 2008
President Asif Ali Zardari has given instructions to FIA to hunt down Pakistanis writing jokes about him. The FIA has already begun its witch-hunt, searching the Internet for the ‘criminals’. Prime Minister Gilani wants no newspaper to write anything about him without checking first with his press secretary. A ‘dictator’ like Musharraf never did any of this. This is the fake democratic leadership of our country where the President is busy with the jokes on him when the country is facing hostile action from Zardari’s own allies in Washington. What can Pakistanis do if President Zardari gives them opportunities to make jokes? Who told him to alert the entire media by disappearing from an official dinner to go celebrate with his former girlfriends at a private party? Who is setting him up?

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—President Zardari might have a funny side but it’s obviously reserved for Americans like Sarah Palin and not for Pakistanis. Before he left for his U.S. tour (which he camouflaged as a U.N. tour to fool our friends in Beijing who expected the Pakistani President to make his first visit to China), Mr. Zardari gave stern instructions to the sleuths at Federal Investigations Agency, FIA, to hunt down Pakistanis responsible for circulating jokes about Mr. Zardari through emails and text messages.

Mr. Zardari was especially angry at someone who faked his signature on the Visitors’ Book at the Mausoleum of Pakistan’s Founding Father, the Quaid-e-Azam, in Karachi, where Mr. President landed on 14 August to pay his respects.

That email was a particularly nasty job where Mr. Zardari was shown to have supposedly wrote God as ‘goad’ and strength as ‘strent’.

So angry is Mr. Zardari with those poking fun at him that no less than the official news agency, the APP, was told to release a story to all Pakistani newspapers where an unnamed official (we suspect it’s either Husain Haqqani or Sheri Rehman) denied the President ever wrote those words and denounced the jokes at President’s expense. There was also a dire warning to all fun-loving Pakistanis: the cyber crime wing of the FIA has been instructed to hunt down those circulating jokes on him through emails or mobile phones. Several prominent journalists in Islamabad have already received calls from secret numbers where the caller on the other side inquired about journalists and people opposed to Mr. Zardari, since according to FIA sleuths only declared critics of the President could do this. [Tip to FIA honchos: Don’t forget to check Naheed Khan, Makhdoom Amin Faheem and Enver Baig’s cell phones for a secret war-chest of Zardari jokes!]

Here I’d like to remind those Pakistanis who voted for Mr. Zardari and his party [only 40% of Pakistanis vote, and most of them are illiterate and they vote at gunpoint by their feudal lords, so I’m not optimistic they are reading this] that President Pervez Musharraf, the last of the great Pakistani statesmen, despite his many follies, and a military ‘dictator’, spent 90% of his time in government with an extremely hostile media and one of the nastiest character-assassination campaigns ever seen in Pakistan, through SMS messages, emails, Internet, newspapers, and television channels. What did Musharraf do? He allowed more private TV channels. And he never complained, except for the last few months of his office, and even then he never reacted to jokes about him and character-assassination but other more serious political criticism.

As for these fake democrats who are in power today in Pakistan thanks to a British-American ‘deal’, Prime Minister Gilani issued an order that no media organization can publish anything about him without checking first with his press secretary. And now President Zardari wants to ban all jokes about him. A ‘dictator’ like Musharraf never issued such ridiculous orders.

So what if some Pakistanis joke about Mr. Zardari? After all, he does have a colorful past and his unlikely rise to power beats even the most melodramatic Indian films with absurd story lines. And what to say of Mr. Zardari’s knack for saying and doing things that make it easy for those who want to crack a joke or two at his expense. Take for example of his flimsy failed flirt attempt with Sarah Palin, or his sudden disappearance from an Iftar-dinner reception for Pakistanis to attend a private-room party with his girlfriends at an upscale Manhattan restaurant in New York City.

In the spirit of free speech and free jokes, let me conclude with this latest one on Mr. Zardari:

“Just imagine Sarah Palin divorces her current husband and marries Asif Zardari.
Then Palin becomes Vice President of USA.
Then Zardari kills Palin, changes the Will which henceforth says, ‘Zardari will become the President of USA if I die.’
And eventually Zardari becomes President of USA six months after Palin’s death.
Bilawal ends up changing his name to Bilawal Palin-Zardari.”

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009, 07:23:26 AM »
Monday, July 13, 2009

PM takes politicians into confidence over meeting with Singh

System neither presidential nor parliamentary: Gilani

* Prime minister says no clash between government institutions if they work properly
* Illiteracy fundamental reason for extremism
* Vows to restore 1973 Constitution

ISLAMABAD: The court’s system of governance is neither parliamentary, nor presidential, but is instead a hodgepodge of the two, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Sunday before taking senior leaders of all political parties into confidence over his upcoming meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh.

The premier contacted, among others, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, PML-Quaid chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Farooq Sattar and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl General Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. Nawaz assured the premier of his full support on all issues facing the country, while Shujaat assured unconditional support on all steps taken in the national interest, a private TV channel reported. Gilani, meanwhile, expressed his commitment to present Pakistan’s viewpoint to the Indian premier during their meeting on the sidelines of the NAM conference in Egypt on July 16.

No clashes: Earlier, answering the questions of students after addressing the 7th convocation of the International Islamic University Islamabad, Gilani said there would be no clashes between governing bodies if all the institutions functioned within their ambit. He said the nation’s problems could be solved through education, adding that illiteracy was one of the fundamental reasons for the extremist threat. He claimed the extremists were working for a foreign agenda, adding they were being utilised for ulterior motives.

“Despite inheriting a crippled economy and a struggle against religious extremism and militancy within our borders that is causing a large drain on our resources, the government has increased the budgetary allocation for education from Rs 24.4 billion to Rs 31.1 billion in the current budget,” he said. “Higher education has also been given due priority,” he added.

Restoration: The prime minister also vowed to restore the 1973 Constitution with the introduction of relevant amendments. “We believe in democracy and there is no restriction on media in the country,” he said. He said the internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Swat and Malakand Division would start returning to their respective areas from July 13. He also said Pakistan believes in excellent relations with its neighbouring countries including India, Afghanistan and Iran.

He said the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis would contact other countries for the export of manpower, he said adding the government was doing its best to control law and order to create the right environment for investment and job creation. mahtab bashir/daily times monitor.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2009, 09:53:56 AM »
Summoning Musharraf To Court Sends Out A "Crucial" Message For Pakistan

In a move unprecedented in Pakistan's 62-year-old history, the Supreme Court summoned former president Pervez Musharraf to explain his November 2007 decision to suspend the constitution, impose emergency rule in the country and fire all the top judges. The notice requires Musharraf to either appear in person or through counsel on July 29, 2009.

The development has historic significance in a country where Martial Law has been imposed four times, each one accompanied by a nod from a submissive Supreme Court. The court's order could also possibly be the first step towards a one-of-a-kind trial against a former military ruler.

Musharraf seized power in a 1999 military coup and served as an indispensable ally to the Bush administration following the Sept 11 attacks. Despite facing immense criticism at home for his role in the War on Terror, news of the court order stirred little U.S. reaction. U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, when questioned by the media during his visit to Pakistan, showed indifference towards the former U.S. ally.

The News, a widely-read national newspaper reported:

"Richard Holbrooke said Wednesday President Pervez Musharraf is now history and that the US will not come to defend him. Holbrooke termed Pervez Musharraf's case as Pakistan's internal issue and added that the US respects Pakistan's judiciary and free press."
According to immediate reports by national newspapers, the ex-president's staff refused to accept the notice delivered to them at his farmhouse close to the capital city, Islamabad, on Wednesday. Faced with security threats, Musharraf currently resides in London. He has already contacted lawyers for consultation, local newspapers reported.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who presided over the bench that issued the order, was the central figure in a judicial impasse that hit Pakistan in early 2007 when Musharraf dismissed him on a host of charges. The move was vehemently rejected by the lawyer community, which immediately launched countrywide protests, eventually enabling Chaudhry's reinstatement.

Musharraf was reelected in October 2007, but he anticipated an invalidation of his presidency by a Supreme Court, whose stance of barring a uniformed official from public office was becoming quite apparent. On Nov 3, 2007, using his power as an army chief, Musharraf suspended the constitution, imposed emergency and sent 60 judges home. His popularity plummeted. Soon, he lifted the emergency and quit as army chief. The February 2008 parliamentary elections further weakened his presidency. He resigned in August 2008.

Choudhary was reinstated a second time but only after extreme pressure on the current PPP government. It was then considered only a matter of time till some petition would be initiated against Musharraf for his Nov 3rd actions.

Public sentiment on the court order was revealed by phone calls to national television shows that mostly welcomed it and newspaper editorials that hailed it as an encouraging step towards a more democratic society.

The Nation, a Pakistani newspaper, wrote in its editorial:

"For all his [Musharraf] bravado that Pakistan was his permanent home, there is little likelihood that he would return to appear himself. A guilty verdict on subverting the Constitution would land him in serious trouble. The people who have been repeatedly subjected by the usurpers of power to unconstitutional rule in the country must have experienced great relief at the Chief Justice's observation, "enough is enough", reflecting the judiciary's resolve not to allow any unconstitutional measures to be taken in the future."
Still, considering Musharraf's time in power was marked by polarized camps of staunch loyalists defending him in the name of national security on the one hand and angry lawyers accusing him of violating the constitution on the other, news of the summons also provoked similar extreme reactions from ordinary citizens.

"Even if Musharraf simply has to answer to a summons in court, it sends out the crucial message that a position in the army does not acquit you of your legal accountability," said Waqar Tariq, a 22-year-old law student. "There is a joke among political pundits that usually states have an army, but in Pakistan the army has a state. Musharraf appearing in court could potentially be the first step for proving them wrong."

Eliya Khurshid, a 30-year-old housewife, championed Musharraf as the best thing to have happened to Pakistan. "He defended Pakistan at a time when the whole world was against our country. Anything he might have done is mitigated by his leadership at our moments of crisis. Nobody, and I do believe nobody, could have done a better job."

Another Musharraf supporter, 25-year-old Faiza Ghaffar Khan, expressed general frustration towards corrupt civilian leadership and said she was anticipating what the Supreme Court would conclude after listening to Musharraf's defense.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of Pakistan, Sardar Latif Khosa said on Wednesday, according to The South Asian News Agency, "We are not in a position to defend Pervez Musharraf's illegal acts. As the Chief of the Army Staff, General (r) Pervez Musharraf had no right to impose emergency in the country."

Legal experts told Daily Times, another Pakistani newspaper, that it was not mandatory for the former president to appear before court, but it would do him good to respond appropriately by defending himself in person.


Note: There is still a lot of popular support for Musharraf; and he still enjoys good relations with the US admin. Recently, in an interview he did with CNN, he was asked if he'd ever consider running the country again....

Musharraf not ruling out running for office    
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who took control in a bloodless coup and left office under threat of impeachment, is not ruling out the possibility that he'll run for office once the law allows.

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf resigned under intense political pressure in August.

 Musharraf, speaking on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," said he wishes the current government well and that he "would be the happiest person" if the nation deals well with threats such as the growing political and martial strength of the Taliban.

"But one is concerned about Pakistan, certainly," he said on the program, which is scheduled to air Sunday. "One does get concerned about where are we headed and what are we doing.

"If Pakistan is in trouble and if any Pakistani, myself included -- if you can see that we can do something for it -- well ... my life is for Pakistan," he said." ...

So Holbrooke's statement ...
"Richard Holbrooke said Wednesday President Pervez Musharraf is now history and that the US will not come to defend him. Holbrooke termed Pervez Musharraf's case as Pakistan's internal issue and added that the US respects Pakistan's judiciary and free press."

... appears to indicate that the US is neutral on the subject of Musharraf's return to power - they're not going to 'defend' him. But Zardari is out of favor; and we should watch to see what happens with Musharraf. Holbrooke knows that if the US shows any support for Musharraf, it would undermine his ability to resume power.

I hope Justice Choudhury doesn't suffer from suicidal thoughts. I think this next few months will see a lot of activity in the state of the Pakistani leadership. Remember, the head of the military, Kayani, is close to Musharraf.

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2009, 07:35:26 AM »
From: Pak Alert Press <>
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 2009 23:20:34 +0500
Local: Sun, Jul 26 2009 2:20 pm
Black Revolution 2007: Bush Administration's Last Color Revolution

There is great euphoria among Pakistani liberals over the presumed ‘return to democracy’. They are yet to discover Late Neo-colonialism. The manoeuvres against Musharraf bear uncanny resemblances to organised ‘people’s power’ the CIA unleashed during ‘colour revolutions’ and upheavals against Hugo Chavez.

Anyone who has followed the ‘colour revolutions’ that installed pro-American rulers in Georgia (Rose Revolution, 2003), Ukraine (Orange Revolution, 2004) and Kyrgyzstan (Tulip Revolution, 2005) could surely not have missed the tell tale signs.

The hapless liberals have yet to discover Late Neo-colonialism and its devious manoeuvres for regime change; they have in fact effectively legitimised them by opposing Musharraf. They are agonisingly unaware of the labyrinthine geo-politics and economic imperatives underlying the New Cold War. They are blissfully going along with the collaborationist leaders who are bartering away the country’s future for the proverbial pieces of silver.
Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan – 2007

Colour Revolutions is a term which collectively describes a number of revolutions/government overthrows in Asia and Eastern Europe in the late 1990s and 2000s. The term gained notoriety after the Orange Revolution of Ukraine in late 2004. Color Revolution was recently witnessed in Pakistan (Black) and Iran (Green).

The Lawyers’ Movement initially began as a results of the actions taken by General Pervez Musharraf on 9th March, 2007. Pervez Musharraf, after getting intelligence that Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was conspiring with Nawaz Sharif to overthrow the government called for a meeting and asking him to resign or face “charges of misconduct”. The Chief Justice refused to resign and preferred to defend the charges. Within two months the movement took the path of Color Revolution, getting enormous funds from USA and other countries with the main aim of destabilizing Pakistan and forcing Parvez Musharraf out of office. The organization and publicity of the entire campaign is calculated to have cost around Rs. 30 billion. How much did this cost Pakistan? There is no work done, however, a good estimate would be around US$ 100 billion.

Why America?

Although the movement was jump started by Nawaz Sharif, on the way it became the main vehicle for USA to remove Parvez Musharraf who was not going for US backed Central Asian pipelines but leaning towards China. Bush Administration was convinced by Dick Cheney that if Musharraf stays in power China will get the Central Asian fuels. After Dick Cheney’s February 2007 visit of Islamabad and Kabul CIA starts working with RAW in Afghanistan to arm the suicide bombers and militants in the Red Mosque in Islamabad as the first phase. The process takes nearly a month during which time in a seperate incident Musharraf dismisses the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Seeing the Lawyers Movement as a better vehicle, the American and Indian efforts turn from Red Mosque to the movement.

Another aspect of ousting Musharraf was his decision to clamp down on the drug trade through Pakistan. This would have affected above all, Ahmad Wali Karzai (younger brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai) who earns an annual profit of US$ 1 billion (10% of total Afghan drug money), CIA’s black operations wing and its related US personnel. Thus it was the personal agenda of many in Bush Administration and Pakistan and Afghanistan’s US Embassies to get Musharraf out before he puts a stop to the highly lucrative drug trade.

See: Afghan Drug Trade for a complete look on how many US Officers profit from Afghanistan’s opium trafficking.

Why Dick Cheney?

Early 2007 Parvez Musharraf had decided not to go for Unocal (now Chevron Corporation) and Halliburton backed Central Asian pipeline which would have cost Vice President Dick Cheney great sums of money. Thus a personal agenda was turned into a revolution. He tried all in his power to get Musharraf out within the tenure of his Vice Presidency and get Pakistani Government’s approval for the billions of dollars worth Central Asian pipeline to be built by Unocal and Halliburton.

Timeline of Lawyers’ Movement

04 Feb 2000: Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, then 52, is appointed to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. He supports President Parvez Musharraf, voting to ratify the general’s 1999 military coup.

30 Jun 2005: Mr Chaudhry is appointed chief justice, makes a speech talking of a “serious crisis of confidence between the people and the judiciary”.

March 2005: the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) tries to acquire Unocal with a bid that valued Unocal at between $16 billion and $18 billion. Following a vote in the United States House of Representatives, the bid was referred to President George Bush, on the grounds that its implications for national security needed to be reviewed. CNOOC withdrew its bid. Soon after, Unocal merged with Chevron.

18 Jul 2005: The Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement, known also as the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, refers to a bilateral accord on civil nuclear cooperation between the United States of America and the Republic of India.

23 Jun 2006: Supreme Court of Pakistan stops privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills.

26 Feb 2007: Dick Cheney visits Pakistan for few hours [1]. Mr. Cheney traveled with the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Steve Kappes. Just hours after Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a stiff private message to President Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, the Pakistani government lashed out with a series of statements insisting that “Pakistan does not accept dictation from any side or any source”[4].

09 Mar 2007: Musharraf removes Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, after the agencies find sufficient proof that he was conspiring with Nawaz Sharif against the government. Nawaz Sharif had promised to make him the President of Pakistan once he becomes the Primie Minister of Pakistan.

12 Mar 2007: Lawyers begin boycott of court cases and protests in support of Mr Chaudhry. Nawaz Sharif pumps millions of his own dollars into the lawyers protests. A major portion of this booty goes to Munir A. Malik and Aitzaz Ahsan as their “consultation fee”.

13 Mar 2007: Mr Chaudhry appears before a closed hearing of senior judges to answer allegations against him.

15 Mar 2007: An accute shortage of black colored jackets and coats appear throughout the country. Prices of black colored cloths and coats sky rocket because of the demand. (The Reason: Thousands of people are buying black coats which represent lawyers uniform ahead of the protests in the country).

16 Mar 2007: Violence breaks out at Islamabad rally in support of Mr Chaudhry.

27 Mar 2007: President Musharraf tells rally in Rawalpindi that no one will be allowed to politically exploit Mr Chaudhry’s suspension.

27 Mar 2007: Burqa-clad female students from the mosque’s Jamia Hafsa school abduct three women they accuse of running a brothel. The women are released after they “repent”.

30 Mar 2007: Authorities shut down an illegal FM radio station set up by the students and hardline clerics to propagate their strict version of Islam.

12 May 2007: Riots erupted across Karachi (2007 Karachi Riots), capital of the province of Sindh and the most populous city in Pakistan, spurred by the arrival of deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan.

18 May 2007: Red Mosque students seize four policemen and demand that authorities release 11 comrades being held in detention. The four policemen are later freed.

9 Jun 2007: Benazir summoned senior party members to Dubai on 9 June 2007 for a ‘briefing’ by a team from the US Democratic Party’s National Democratic Institute (NDI), ostensibly on the subject of elections in Pakistan. The ruling Republican Party’s International Republican Institute (IRI) had conducted the previous four ‘briefings’ in June and September 2006 and March and April 2007. Benazir leaned towards the Democratic Party in the last one no doubt as a hedge against the party’s possible victory at the forthcoming US Presidential Election.

23 Jun 2007: Students kidnap nine people, including six Chinese women, and accuse them of running a brothel. They are released after about 17 hours.

29 Jun 2007: President Pervez Musharraf says suicide bombers from an al Qaeda-linked militant group are in Lal Masjid.

03 Jul 2007: the stand-off between the students barricaded inside the Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) and the government results in bloody gun battles

04 Jul 2007: Abdul Aziz, chief cleric of Lal Masjid is caught while trying to flee in a burqa. Thousands of students surrender for Rs 5000 and safe passage each.

08 Jul 2007: The standoff between the Pakistani government and the clerics of the Lal Masjid in Islamabad finally broke down on the morning of 8 July 2007. Government storms the mosque. The government managed to recover 1,300 men, women and children during the operation. Some of these women, who were recovered safely on the last day of the operation, had their written death wishes with them. Six hundred suicide bombers are present in Karachi revealed Qasim Toori and Danish alias Talha during interrogations by law-enforcement agencies. Most of the suicide bombers are also former students of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid.

17 Jul 2007: Assassination attempt is made on Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry however, he escapes[3].

20 Jul 2007: the Supreme Court of Pakistan restored the Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry with full dignity and authority.

24 Jul 2007: Abdullah Mehsud is killed by Pakistani security forces.

20 Aug 2007: Ifikhar Mohammad threatened Tariq Pervez (the director-general of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency) with jail if he did not produce ghost detainee Hafiz Abdul Basit. Chief Justice Chaudhry ordered “He must be produced today or you will be sent to the lock-up.” Under this threat he was released by the intelligence agencies. Hafiz Basit was later implicated by Musharaff government in the assassination of Ms Bhutto.

Sep 2007: Benazir visited the Senate in September 2007, she had convinced the Bush Administration of her unswerving loyalty; for ’she received a standing ovation from a select gathering of US lawmakers, diplomats, academics and media representatives. This contrasted sharply with her previous visits to the US capital when she received little attention.’
Three weeks later Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it appear the Bush Administration wished to bring together ‘moderate’ forces, implying a scenario in which Musharraf and Benazir would join forces as President and Prime Minister respectively; and Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte corroborated Rice: ‘Our message’, he intoned, ‘is that we want to work with the government and people of Pakistan’.

18 Oct 2007: An assassination attempt on Benazir Bhutto is made (2007 Karachi Bombing) but she survives. President Parvez Gen Musharraf calls the attack on Ms Bhutto’s convoy was a “conspiracy against democracy”[2] (hinting towards the US involvement towards overthrowing the government).

03 Nov 2007: Musharraf imposed state of emergency. Constitution was suspended. Sixty independent judges were dismissed. Intelligence agencies start systematically killing behind the scene key players in the conspiracy to overthrow the government. Some of these include: Zubair Ahmed Mujahid (shot dead 23 Nov),

05 Nov 2007: Police raided the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA). After baton charging and throwing tear gas into the premises, arrested more than 800 lawyers.

In the wake of the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan, on November 14, 2007, the Harvard Law School Association decided to award its highest honour, the Medal of Freedom, to Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, following the military crackdown the previous week. He becomes the first Pakistani to be presented with such honour.
The National Law Journal picked Mr. Chaudhry as the lawyer of the year for 2007.

The Association of the Bar of the City of New York granted Iftikhar Chaudhry an honorary membership in the association on Nov. 17, 2008, recognizing him as a “symbol of the movement for judicial and lawyer independence in Pakistan.”

27 Dec 2007: Benazir Bhutto is assassinated while Nawaz Sharif escapes an assassination attempt. The two attempts are very different in nature. Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a typical CIA style while Nawaz Sharif’s attack was more like a domestic killing. It is obvious that Asif Ali Zardari acted on his own to carry out Nawaz Sharif’s assassination. Following Benazir’s assassination planned riots, looting and chaos errupts simultaneously throughout the country. Within a week the country looses nearly 10 billion dollars[5].

9 Mar 2008: leaders of political parties Asif Ali Zardari , Pakistan Peoples Party and Nawaz Sharif Pakistan Muslim League signed an agreement to restore the judges within 300 days of formation of national government. Zardari backed out and the coalition failed to restore the judges.

24 Mar 2008: Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered, soon after being elected Prime Minister, that all detained judges be released.

12 Mar 2008: was another deadline for restoring the judges but nothing was done. This was the second commitment the government backed out from after the initial deadline of ‘within 30 days of formation of government’ which ended on 30 April, 2008.

14 Jun 2008: A long march is held by the lawyers.

07 Jul 2008: ISI explodes a bomb outside Indian Embassy in Kabul killing Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta who had coordinated the mayhem in Pakistan in December 2007.

03 Aug 2008: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani visits US.

08 Aug 2008: ruling coalition leaders Sharif and Zardari once more agree to restore Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry as the chief justice if Musharraf resigns. But when Musharraf steped down, Zardari backed out of the deal for the third time.
18 Aug 2008: Musharraf resigns.

Foreign investment and funds in the revolution stops at this point.

25 Aug 2008: PML-N leaves the coalition government.

6 Sept 2008: Asif Ali Zardari is elected the President of Pakistan by the parliament.

25 Feb 2009: Supreme Court disqualifies Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif from holding or contesting public offices.

11 Mar 2009: Several hundred lawyers and opposition party’s political workers and leaders were arrested. Ban was placed on rallies and protests in two of the Pakistan’s four provinces.

12 Mar 2009: Lawyers, political workers and civil society gather in several cities for the Long March to Islamabad. Scuffle with police, hundred of arrests were made, none allowed to leave their cities for Islamabad.

15 Mar 2009: authorities placed Nawaz Shairf, Atizaz Ahsan and many other leaders under house arrest. Shairf broke through the road blocks with his supporters and came out on the roads in Lahore to begin the Long March. This is believed to be the turning point of the movement Thousands of people joined the rally.

Midnight 15/16 March, 2009 government gave when thousands of people moved towards Islamabad lead by Nawaz Sharif. Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry was restored as Chief Justice of Pakistan and other judges dismissed by Musharraf.

US and Canadian Involvement

During the Lawyers’ Movement a completely new dimension of indrect involvement of USA in overthrowing a government was seen. The prominent of these were:

33 US Senators wrote to President Musharraf to release Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan immediately.

The US magazine Foreign Policy named Aitzaz Ahsan as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world in May 2008.

In early 2007, Musharraf was extremely popular. According to a US survey, IRI President General Pervez Musharraf was more popular in Pakistan than opposition leaders Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. Around 37 per cent of the respondents were of the view that Musharraf’s supported PML-Q deserved to be re-elected. However, by August 2007, after the lawyers Judicial Activism started, Musharraf became slightly unpopular in Pakistan due to persistent media efforts and anti-Musharraf talk shows. An International Republican Institute survey, taken of 3000 people, showed that 64 percent of the population did not want another term to be granted to Musharraf as the president of Pakistan.

USAID spent more than US$ 150 million (part of the American fund on terrorism which is “given” to Pakistan) within a year on helpding the movement.

GEO TV which charges Rs. 100,000 per minute of air time showed continued transmissions of upto 30 hours. During the year the channel was spending more money than it showed in its tax returns. The only unaccounted profit was for “Voice of America” show. But whatever GEO TV was getting for airing the show it was enough to turn higher profits than airing aids for 30 hours (=Rs. 180,000,000 or US$ 3 million). And we are taking about this much money every day.

Why was Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) distributing funds during the movement is anybody’s guess?
Human Rights Commission, e.g. see the case of Imran Munir

Impact of Lawyers’ Movement

Pakistan’s economy suffered gravely, government focus shifted from work and economy to non-violent solution for the lawyers. PML-N was already fully involved from the onset, however, other political parties also jumped on the band wagon causing more disruption in daily life. The poorest and daily labourers suffered the most because of strike calls and road blockages.

The real story on the road was that poorest don’t wake up every morning to see Iftikhar Choudhry wearing a black suite, sunglasses, sitting in a new car parading on the streets of Pakistan, the poorest wake up and hope for a better day, a day in which they can increase their earnings and support their family, bring food to the table, they don’t want to see the roads blocked and strikes called which stop them from earning their daily livelihoods.

As the riots and protests were held in the summer months, the intense head resulted in numerous deaths and hospital admissions because of heat exhaustion, nearly all of which were small time lawyers and their family members travelling either on foot or in non-airconditioned cars.

However, the behind the scene aim of ousting Parvez Musharraf was achieved at the end.

Go Musharraf Go

Interestingly enough the salogans along the protests were not anything like “bring back Iftikhar Chaudhry” but they were “Go Musharraf Go, Go Musharraf Go.” The questions need to be answered that if the lawyers really wanted Iftikhar Chaudhry reinstated then why were they continuously chanting “Go Musharraf Go”.

Also, there were sixty judges dismissed however, only one was being paraded around and continuously given coverage and publicity.

End Result

Dick Cheney achieved the milestone of ousting Pervez Musharraf however, his final goal of getting the pipeline deals for his company did not materialize even after the change of the regime.


Asif Ali Zardari – became President of Pakistan and had doubled his wealth within a year

Asif Zardari’s friends

Aitzaz Ahsan – earned world-wide fame, became a hero in Pakistan – monetary benefits yet to come

Munir A. Malik – earned tens of millions of dollars

Indirect Beneficiaries

There were some indirect beneficiaries of the entire movement such as:

Imran Munir


Or in other words, Losers.

Benazir Bhutto (assassinated 27 December 2007) – she was in for power

Pervez Musharraf – out of office

Syed Hammad Raza (shot dead 14 May 2007) – he was in to get an important political seat

Kenneth Scott Andrew (murdered 8 April 2007) – to get promoted

Zubair Ahmed Mujahid (shot dead 23 Nov) – to get promoted

Dick Cheney – did not get the pipeline deal

Brigadier Ravi Datt Mehta (assassinated 7 July 2008) – to get promoted to Major General

Lesson: Unless you are as cunning and conniving as Munir A. Malik or Aitzaz Ahsan in a high level and stakes conspiracy you are very probable to end up dead. Don’t play for emotions or ego, play for money and you will win.

1. Dick Chenney’s Pakistan Surpise Visit:
2. Attack on Bhutto convoy kills 130:
3. 12 die in Islamabad suicide attack:
4. Cheney Warns Pakistan To Act Against Terrorists:
5. Violence losses amount to 8% of GDP: FPCCI:

And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2009, 03:04:23 PM »
Musharraf snubs apex court hearing in emergency case
 Wednesday, 29 Jul, 2009 | 06:21 PM PST

ISLAMABAD: Former President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday ignored a summons from Supreme Court to explain his decision to impose a state of emergency and controversially sack judges two years ago.

The Supreme Court, headed by recently reinstated Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, issued notice to Musharraf to provide testimony as it investigates the decision that ultimately led to the ex-president's downfall.

But neither Musharraf, who lost power last year and has been a vocal critic of the current Pakistani administration, nor a lawyer on his behalf addressed the session Wednesday, said an AFP reporter.

‘Is somebody appearing on behalf of general Musharraf?’ asked Chaudhry to a resounding silence in the courtroom.

Malik Qayyum, who was attorney general under Musharraf and present in court, did not rise. Musharraf is understood to be in Britain.

But one leading Pakistani lawyer brushed aside the significance of both the summons and the no-show Wednesday.

‘Musharraf will not be handed down any punishment if he fails to appear before the court,’ former deputy attorney general under Musharraf, Raja Abdur Rehman, told AFP.

The purpose of the summons was for the former ruler, or a lawyer on his behalf, to explain his position on issues being examined by the court.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, sacked Chaudhry and dozens of other senior judges in 2007, fearing that the chief justice would disqualify him from contesting a presidential election while in military uniform.

Senior lawyer Hamid Khan told the court it was the mindset of the former military ruler, who was a key ally of former US president George W. Bush in the ‘war on terror’, to treat the constitution merely as a piece of paper.

‘The purpose of proclaiming emergency rule and deposing the judges was meant to prevent a judgement from the 11-judge bench which was hearing the disqualification case,’ Khan told the court.

‘All actions, including the imposition of a state of emergency, were in fact an attack on the judiciary and aimed to save the skin of one individual.’

The Supreme Court chief justice said it was ‘unique’ in world history that ‘martial law’ was imposed in a country to curb the judiciary.

Musharraf was replaced last year as Pakistan's president by Asif Ali Zardari, whose party won general elections and who reinstated Chaudhry and his fellow judges in March following a protracted political crisis.

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and lawyers organised a march on the capital Islamabad, demanding that Zardari reinstate the judges, during mass protests last March that risked further destabilising the nuclear-armed country.

Under Western pressure Zardari conceded to defuse the standoff with Sharif, who had urged the masses to rise up against the government.—AFP
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2009, 03:08:36 PM »
The PPP after Benazir
By Rifaat Hamid Ghani
Wednesday, 29 Jul, 2009 | 08:30 AM PST

The PPP is irrefutably the federal leader party-wise and irrefutably democratically elected, insofar as elections called by a uniformed constitution-wrecker devising a safe exit/linger-on strategy reflect democratic intent. 

Most viewed the Musharraf-Bhutto preceding negotiations as brokering a mutually self-serving deal. Benazir justified her approach as transitional. The transition was not completed by her: she was most callously assassinated. But the people went to the polls and the process was convincing. 

Benazir had refused to restrict herself to virtual campaigning with good reason. It would have made it hard to distinguish her substantial political reality from the puny content characterising her challengers. The Sharifs were at the time excluded from the contest. Also, a real politician dwindles when his/her cut-off from the people is voluntary.

Look for instance at where Asfandyar Wali no longer stands today. 

After some delay Benazir also clearly declared for constitutionalism as the masses on the side of the deposed Chief Justice understood it. Again as a real politician she had no choice: had she desisted she would have lost credentials as a democratic leader.

 But did the people who promoted the deal visualise a really democratic politician at the helm? Benazir’s intrepid holding out for substance to her political comeback and her resistance of the temptation to settle for a safer enjoyment of office and privilege had swiftly revitalised the political ambience. The people were ready to allow her a third run and quite obviously loved her. Her husband was off the scene as a political player and it was commonly assumed he would stay that way. He was not an electoral asset. 

When she was killed, the sense of loss and the grief and horror transcended party lines. It is a measure of her national political stature, not a dehumanisation of the tragedy, to say that part of a reflex response to the crime was the urgent desire to prevent repercussions from making a case for military politics and leadership. Outraged destructive violence had erupted immediately in Karachi and inner Sindh. Apart from the spontaneity there was evidence of organisational expression.

The violence was spreading rather than subsiding. Her bereaved husband seized the moment to say ‘Pakistan khappay’ and was heeded by the protesters and rioters to great national relief. The immediate public response to his plea gave him immediate public relevance. It was felt the militarised establishment had been kept at bay. 

Mr Asif Zardari had a controversial political past. However, many who questioned his reappearance were reassured by the thought that he remained academically unqualified for electoral candidacy even after the absolving NRO.

Despite or perhaps because of the pervasive post-assassination trauma he consolidated personal party pre-eminence rapidly.

 He advanced himself as the natural political guardian for his and Benazir’s children’s right to keep leadership of the party. Their firstborn Bilawal was designated chairman or co-chairman alongside his father. The party went along with it. The move was largely interpreted as averting an unedifying pre-electoral struggle within the party hierarchy.

 Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Benazir’s parliamentary party leader through the long Musharraf years, was accorded a certain kind of prominence initially. Although Mr Zardari did not move swiftly to sideline him publicly, the half-promise that he seemed the likeliest party candidate for the PM’s slot was left at that. The new party co-chairman constantly and emotively used his martyred wife’s name in taking his steps onward but he was comprehensive in clearing the deck of people like Naheed Khan, known for a deep personal loyalty to Benazir.

It makes little sense that he dispense with Benazir’s old guard if bent on the same path. But that he favour a changed hierarchy in handling the party his own way makes much sense. By now it is clear that the PPP under the Zardari-Bhuttos is a different animal. From one point of view that could be a splendid thing. Political parties cannot be left to stagnate in the mould of the lost leader. But if manifesto and conduct are materially inconsistent that is something else, and fresh soundings are needed. 

It was inevitable that the PPP lack definition post Benazir’s assassination for party organisation was charisma-derived. Mr Zardari lacks charisma, and though his children are ZAB’s grandchildren Pakistanis do not take the children seriously. Why is the transfer of the party patent from the second to the third Bhutto generation proving so non-transferable notionally? It is not a matter of gender. Benazir succeeded where Murtaza did not. And the party she led was quite different from what it had been under ZAB. But she won her own spurs and in times of great party adversity. Her Bhutto-by-marriage mother took the party chair when it was a seat of thorns. Begum Bhutto as first lady and Mr Zardari as first husband had quite different public images.

After becoming party co-chairman he had the chance for a new beginning. The new parliament soon annulled the ridiculous graduate clause for candidacy. Mr Zardari did not choose to enter parliament, instead he opted for the immunity and the power of the president. Now virtually unimpeded and unchallengeable he procrastinated on fulfilling public pre-electoral pledges though expeditious with other measures and directives. 

In the public image he added political deception to briefs of cronyism and ruthlessness. Where no one seriously blamed the PML-Q for Musharraf’s presidential deficiencies, President Zardari’s deficiencies are associated with his party springboard. How long can the party sustain this? 

It is party lore that no one who challenged the PPP succeeded — they lost their political identity in the process. Today party rankers could well ask what political identity they are keeping? The PPP is an awesome party machine — could it become a Frankenstein for an electorate subjected to its wayward watch?

Consensual parliament appears pleased with the way it is helping the PPP chairman’s nominee for PM, along with the president, write Pakistan’s democratic narrative. But far too many who elected this very parliament are being let down. The electorate is not politically organised except through party functioning. Dissociated from the parliamentary consensus where will they take their grievances? It is not enough for the army to abstain from politics.

The political parties must be more committed to safeguarding the common public interest than their own representatives’ lounge-chairs in parliament.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Pakistani Lawyers Defend FREE SPEECH: ...except when they need to hide...
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2009, 08:11:54 AM »
Lawyers fail camera trial on Lahore newsmen
Friday, 31 Jul, 2009 | 11:02 AM PST

LAHORE: The whole country reverberated with calls of accountability and justice after a group of lawyers attacked two journalists at the city’s sessions court on Thursday.

According to eyewitnesses, the lawyers were incensed by television channels’ reporting of an incident a day earlier which had projected black coats humiliating and beating up a policeman in uniform at the same courts. The images were telecast far and wide and drew protests from people at large over the singularly inhuman attitude shown by the attacking lawyers against the policeman, an assistant sub-inspector whose case is now pending with court.

On Thursday, a bunch of lawyers assaulted the reporter and cameraman of television channel City-42, which had filmed the Wednesday’s assault on the policeman. The lawyers targeted reporter Shaheen Attiq and cameraman Nasir soon after they reached the sessions courts on assignment. They snatched the camera from Nasir and declared that the media’s entry into the sessions courts had been banned.

Reporter Shaheen managed to get the camera back and asked Nasir to leave. The lawyers, however, pulled Nasir out of his office van as he was leaving the sessions courts, and subjected him to violence. He received a head injury, his shirt was torn and his camera was badly damaged.

The court reporters protested against the incident at the Lahore High Court and decided to boycott the coverage of the lawyers’ activities starting with the People’s Lawyers Forum elections being held there.

Talking to a delegation of print and electronic media reporters in the afternoon, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif described the torture of journalists by the lawyers as regrettable and shameful. He said he was perturbed on watching the manhandling of a policeman by the lawyers on television a day earlier.

He said he had told the leaders of the bar that the lawyers involved in violence were bringing a bad name to the profession and depriving it of the prestige earned during the movement for the restoration of the judiciary.

The chief justice called Lahore High Court Bar Association President Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal (retired), Supreme Court Bar Association Secretary Shaukat Umar Pirzada and Lahore Bar Association President Rana Zia Abdul Rehman who apprised him of their concern over the violence of lawyers against the journalists. He also contacted Punjab Bar Council Vice-Chairman Asif Ali Malik by telephone and asked him to take disciplinary action against those involved in the attack on journalists.

The Punjab Union of Journalists and the Lahore Press Club decried the violence by lawyers against the media and called upon Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the LHC chief justice to take suo motu notice of the incident.

The assault, latest in a series involving the lawyers in the past few days, drew widespread criticism, the voice of the lawyers’ leaders being the feeblest among them. In Lahore, while a number of people called for shunting out the black sheep from among the black coats, leading lights of the bar fell well short of a categorical condemnation of the violence; their approach was only marginally different from to the stance they had taken on some recent occasions where the lawyers had appeared to be the perpetrators of violence against those challenging their ‘authority’.

The remarks emanating from the bar following Thursday’s violent act were similar to the ones made in the wake of the lawyers’ battles with the revenue staff a few weeks ago in Faisalabad and a slightly less intense fight with the Wapda officials in Kasur a few days later.

After the Wednesday’s public beating of the ASI at the sessions court in Lahore, some lawyers’ leaders had expressed doubts about the identity of the attackers even though the faces were splashed all over the channels for many minutes for anyone who cared to recognise.

The police said it had a case registered against five lawyers — Rana Asif Raza, Rana Saeed Anwar, Malik Muhammad Hanif, Sajjad Afzal and Mehr Jehangir – who got interim bail till Aug 10 in connection with the attack on the policeman. The lawyers on Thursday approached Additional District and Sessions Judge Malik Rafiq for registration of a counter-case against the ASI on charges of abusing them for today.

The AD&SJ issued notice on the application for Friday but the lawyers insisted that a notice may be issued for Thursday. This infuriated the lawyers and they tore up the file containing their application.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Police manhandled lawyers ‘routinely’
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2009, 08:22:33 AM »
When Musharraf pushed Supreme court justice Chowdry out of his position, the lawyers, "black coats", rose up and in an unprecedented display, marched across pakistan demanding his reinstatement. In so doing, they discovered their power - and continue to work as a 'team'.

But power corrupts... now we see them attacking journalists when they get caught being jackbooted thugs in black coats...

Police manhandled lawyers 'routinely’
By Muhammad Faisal Ali
Friday, 31 Jul, 2009 | 06:05 AM PST

LAHORE: Lawyers thrashed and manhandled five police officials (Investigation Officers) during case hearings in July 2009 while four cases were registered against them in two city police stations in the month, Dawn has learnt.

Interestingly, no lawyer has been penalised so far in any of the incidents as they managed to secure bails.
(Hello? - why is that a surprise??)

Several such incidents have taken place in higher and lower courts in the last few months, but no action has been taken so far against any lawyer.

In some cases, even judges were not spared and lawyers behaved discourteously towards them.

Police sources say many investigation officers have started avoiding appearing in the higher as well as lower courts to avoid confrontation with lawyers as the latter have developed a habit of misbehaving with the IOs after failing to win their cases or just to ‘satisfy’ their clients.

While an ASI of the Nishtar Colony investigation police was tortured and dragged by a group of lawyers after a case hearing in the Sessions Courts on Wednesday, another ASI of the Shalimar investigation police was also manhandled by some lawyers at the Lahore High Court the same day.

In both cases, lawyers, representing the accused parties, got annoyed when their clients were penalised by the courts.

Meanwhile, Old Anarkali police registered a case on Thursday under Sections 224, 225, 186, 353 and 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of ASI Muhammad Rafique who was slapped and dragged by some lawyers led by advocate Manzar Ali on Wednesday.
Reportedly, after the bail of Umair Yousaf of Faisal Park, Mughalpura, who was the accused in two cheque dishonuor cases, was cancelled by Lahore High Court Judge Anwarul Haq, his lawyer Manzar Ali, along with his fellow lawyers Majid Naseem Dogar and Muhammad Rafique Jhathol, manhandled the ASI and helped the accused escape from the court.

As the ASI tried to nab the accused, the lawyers started beating him.

ASI Sher Muhammad Pasha of Samanabad investigation police was thrashed by a group of lawyers led by advocates G A Tariq and Shahzad Sheikh in the Sessions Courts on July 28 and a case (731/09) was registered against four lawyers in the Islampura police station.

In another incident, SI Azam of Millat Park investigation police was manhandled by some lawyers in Model Town courts about a week ago.

Similarly, SI Sakhawat Ali of Wahdat Colony operations police complained to his high-ups that some lawyers misbehaved with him at Sessions Courts two weeks ago.

Senior Superintendent of Police (operations) Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmed told Dawn lawyers had been targeting judges, officials of police and other departments and even the clients of their rival lawyers appearing in the courts without any fear. He said the Lahore police would be soon hiring a lawyer to pursue all cases in which police officials were attacked by the lawyers.

He said it was the moral duty of the lawyers’ leaders to distinguish between their good and bad colleagues so that any untoward incident could be avoided in future.

He said such incidents had created a sense of insecurity among the IOs with regard to their court visits for the perusal of cases.

Record speaks

Official statistics show that only in Islampura police station, which deals with incidents occurring in Sessions Courts, 20 such cases were registered during the first seven months of 2009 where either lawyers were among accused or they were complainants against their colleagues.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2009, 08:40:18 AM »
July 28, 2009...7:24 pm
Don’t Fool Yourselves, Pakistan’s Judiciary As Screwed As Its Feudal Democracy

Pakistan is a country where the Supreme Court building was attacked by hundreds of activists of a ruling political party. Judges ran for their lives and requested the military to intervene, which declined. The man behind this unique display of democracy in action, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was never punished. He went on later to hijack a plane carrying the army chief. Today, he is considered a champion of independent judiciary. We have a president and political party in Karachi cleared of blatant charges of accumulating unexplained wealth and running armed militias. The best part is that 14 judges aggrieved by a former president want to try him. This is a messed up system that needs to be corrected. Read this stunning article.

Monday, 27 July 2009.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—A Pakistan television anchorwoman Ms. Aysha Tammy Haq gleefully, and with an unlimited pleasure, lambasted Gen. Pervez Musharraf as per the normal trend these days. Then she wore a look of wisdom on her face and pretended she was about to utter words of eternal wisdom and asked, “Is there any country in the world where 60 judges have been dismissed?”

To her and to those like her, I pose this challenge:

1. Is there any other country in the world where you don’t need to pay lawyers when the Judges are available to the highest bidder?

2. Is there any other country in the world where a reference is filed against a Chief Justice accusing him of serious excesses and then his fellow judges decide not to hear the reference to protect him?

3. Is there any country in the world where 14 Judges who believe in their own interpretation that they have been aggrieved by the President of the country, sit on the bench and serve notice to the same President knowing well that there is a conflict of interest and is against accepted principles of justice?

4. Is there any country in the world where a “Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi bench” is constituted to dismiss a sitting honorable Chief Justice namely Sajjad Ali Shah against whom there was no reference, simply because the prime minister of the day wanted the judges to wage a ‘Judges vs. Judges’ battle?

5. Is there any country in the world where a Supreme Court is physically attacked and the judges seek help from the Army which is denied? The person who was instrumental in the whole process becomes a national hero and leader of a neo conservative party deemed as popular.

6. Is there any country in the world where the same leader becomes the torch bearer of a movement to restore a Chief Justice against whom a judicial reference was filed but remained frozen?

7. Is there any country in the world where closed cases are revisited and excursion tours taken to mortuaries to dig out cases that can be upturned on grounds of judicial and political expediency? Can precedents be so easily changed? Is it morally correct?

8. Is there any country in the World where terrorist Maulana Aziz and terrorist Sufi Mohammad arrested by President Musharraf are released by the judiciary?

9. Is there any country in the world where actions of Red Mosque operatives which were clearly to challenge the writ of the State are condoned and security apparatus held in adverse view?

10. Is there any country in the world where the people of the country are so disgusted with the country’s Judiciary that they want Islamic Sharia, as in Swat, which then had to be approved overnight by the Parliament?

11. Is there any country in the world where a few thousand so-called civil society members, disgruntled self-serving politicians with billions of dollars stashed abroad defend these legal persons and judges on the streets through sit-ins and strikes, bringing down the whole country ?

12. Is there any country in the world where legal persons are hated and despised because of their inability to provide justice?

13. Is there any country in the world where a National Reconciliation Ordinance is perforce issued because the judiciary cannot decide the cases?

14. Is there any country in the world where the corrupt go unpunished ,get their properties back and become dignified leaders of the country duly elected with a thumping majority?

15. Is there any example that resembles how no one in our judiciary takes up the case for removing the NRO but a case is taken up for dismissing the judges against a person who is no longer in office?

16. Is there any country in the world which has a Justice Munir? This Justice is born and reborn to implement the Rule of Law tailored to the whims of the powerful.

17. And last but not the least, is there any country in the world where a lawyer-turned-anchor forgets the role of a TV anchor but remembers the role of a biased lawyer and flaunts it with pride on TV?

18. Madam, is there any country in the world where lawyers … oh well, the list is infinite and I guess you get the point.

I dedicate this article to the Pakistani middle and lower classes, the prisoners and litigants whose cases will never be decided in their lifetime. Thanks to these judges and lawyers.

Mr. Shams Z. Abbas is an ordinary Pakistani citizen. He can be reached at
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Pakistan: Constitutional Anomalies
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2009, 11:18:50 AM »
Pakistan's Supreme Court declares Musharraf decision
of 11/3/07 illegal, unconstitutional
Updated at: 2015 PST,  Friday, July 31, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan Friday declared the steps taken on November 3, 2007 by former president Pervez Musharraf as illegal and unconstitutional.

The judgment came after the 14-judge larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry completed the hearing of constitutional petitions regarding PCO judges, appointments of judges of higher judiciary and November 3, 2007 steps.

The Supreme Court in its short verdict declared the steps of November 3, 2007 taken by former president Pervez Musharraf as unconstitutional.

It termed as illegal and unconstitutional the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and the other higher judiciary.

Former president General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf’s steps taken on November 3, 2007 were extra-constitutional.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry announced the verdict.

The verdict said all the appointments of judges on and after November 3, 2007 under PCO were unconstitutional. The case of PCO judges will be referred to the Supreme Judicial Council, it said.

There is jubilation outside the Supreme Court and at all the bar associations. Sweets are being distributed as people and lawyers are chanting slogans in support of the judiciary.
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40