Daily Archives: March 20, 2008

No Country for Old Men

by Yasser Hamdani

The great irony for Pakistan, as the country founded by Jinnah, who
was rightly described as one of the greatest constitutional lawyers of
the British Empire by many including former US President Bill Clinton,
himself a lawyer, is that it is still struggling to find its
constitutional heart and soul.  Yet it is fitting that today that the
country’s legal fraternity is up in arms led by another great
constitutional lawyer.   Aitzaz Ahsan’s great feats as a lawyer and a
politician this last year very aptly find parallels in the Jinnah of
1916 who rose to prominence that year with his defence of Tilak as
well as his contribution in bringing the Muslim League and the
Congress together on one platform in Lucknow.   92 years later,
another Muslim League has also forged a common front against tyranny –
this time with the Pakistan People’s Party thanks to the relentless
struggle and effort of Aitzaz Ahsan.  Let us hope the Murree
Declaration fares better than the Lucknow Pact though.

Pitted against it today are a bunch who also claim to be big lawyers
but their expertise at times seems as hollow as Sharifuddin Pirzada’s
dubious and erroneous claims of having known Jinnah personally- claims
which were rejected by both Fatima Jinnah and K H Khurshid, the
Quaid’s personal assistant.    Take for example the circular argument
put up by the new inductee in the President’s team Mr. Abdul Hafiz
Pirzada – the self styled father of Pakistani Constitution- while
speaking to GEO NEWS .  He claims that a simple resolution cannot
restore the judges and that a two thirds majority is required.
Presumably this is based on the premise that Constitutional Amendment
Order of November 21, 2007 was a legal amendment and that article 270
AAA introduced through it stands valid.   One can imagine how the
genius who suggested this to the president would have both shocked and
relieved him by suggesting automatic validation, affirmation and
adoption of the “competent authority’s”  amendments by the incumbent
“competent authority” himself.  Brilliant stuff I suppose in a world
where good old Sharifuddin is the master signifier.  However in the
real world such an attempt is void ab initio.  The presidential power
to remove difficulties cannot extend to an actual amendment. Continue reading

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