An open letter to the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan

Bilal Qureshi has sent this piece for publication. PTH does not necessarily subscribe to these views. We are publishing this to generate debate in the interest of free speech. Raza Rumi

December 18, 2009
Dear Chief Justice Ifitkhar Chaudhury
It seems you are an activist chief justice, and are quite eager to take up Suo Moto actions supposedly to bring about justice and resolve outstanding issues that confront Pakistan.
Here are some my suggestions to you; three issues that many Pakistanis feel deserve your immediate attention:
1. Initiate Suo Moto action against the people who orchestrated an attack onPakistan’s Supreme Court at the time when the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was about to be disqualified from holding public office. If the issue of NRO, which is insignificant given Pakistan’s other challenges, can be tried and decided with such swiftness, the attack on the Supreme Court that you now chair deserves to be examined as well.
2. Seek and deliver justice to retired Chief Justice Sajad Ali Shah. Otherwise, those Pakistanis who feel your actions in negating the NRO was merely targeted at people from smaller provinces, especially from Sind, will have their fears justified.
3. Institute an independent panel that shall review corruption charges levelled against you by General Musharraf. It will only be fair if an independent body of legal experts, accountability professionals and other law enforcement official reviewed all the facts and evidence against you and make recommendations based on their findings about your suitability as a Chief Justice . Until then you should step aside so that not justice is done.
Chief Justice, are you prepared to appoint an independent panel to review the corruption charges levelled against you by General Musharraf?
Many Pakistanis find it intriguing that there is nothing in your NRO judgment against the people, prime minister and government that helped General Musharraf in creating and establishing the NRO amnesty law. Why is it that those who facilitated and backed the NRO under General Musharraf have not been held liable for their action, notwithstanding the fact they now claim to be against the very law they helped introduce in this country?
I am sure you will understand most Pakistanis feel your actions are not the first time that the Pakistan Army has played a role in undermining a civilian government using NRO or some other such excuse as a cover.
Your critics claim that the labels, the charges, the smokescreen may have change, but the end result has remained the same. For example:
1. ZA Bhutto became a victim of the cooperation between the military and part of the judiciary.
2. Nawaz Sharif was thrown out by the military and his expulsion, especially the second one, was promptly validated by the judiciary to help a military dictator strengthen his grip on power.
3. Benazir Bhutto’s governments were overthrown by the army because she was trying to take put of Pakistan’s foreign policy in the control of parliament and away from the generals.
4. And now President Zardari is being hounded out of pwer by the same forces – the judiciary and army.
Pakistanis understand why whenever a civilian leader, who is also democratically elected, tries to apply brakes on the unchecked growing power of men in uniform, there is always a crisis created, allowing the army to step in, ostensibly to ’save the country.’
Many of us feel what is happening in Pakistan is wrong, and that it should be stopped. The country should not forget that Al-Qaeeda and the Taliban have declared war on Pakistan. We feel that by exploiting heated sentiments, you, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, are playing with fire and your reckless attitude could ignite nationwide flames of hatred, division, and cynicism.
More importantly, if you do not pursue genuine corruption cases against politicians from other parties and provinces, especially PML (N) and PML (Q) with equal zeal and vigour, Pakistanis will have no choice but to believe that the sole purpose of throwing out the NRO amnesty law was to settle scores with President Zardari and General Musharraf at the cost of Pakistan’s future.
Your actions reflect a medieval mindset of revenge and tribalism, not the rule of law that so many of your supporters had expected when they campaigned for your restoration.
Looking forward to the day you appoint an independent panel to review the corruption charges levelled against yourself.
Best wishes,
Bilal Qureshi

14 Comments

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14 responses to “An open letter to the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan

  1. YLH

    There has already been a case on the issue of Nawaz Sharif’s attack on the judiciary and we have a much chastened Nawaz Sharif now.

    Bilal mian you don’t understand the stuff you talk about. The proceeding against NRO was based on constitutional petitions and not Suo Motu notices.

    The court’s judgment is not based on “heated sentiments” but constitutional basis. Don’t discredit the republic’s battle against extremism and religious fascism by criticizing perfectly legitimate legal judgments based on rule of law and constitution.

    In the long run only rule of law and constitution can strengthen the state and weaken extremism.

  2. Anwar

    Unfortunate line of thinking…

  3. Hmmmm….
    Is the writer a jiyala?

    Just my 2 cents!

  4. PM

    PPP is so conflicted that they don’t know what to do. They should bite the bullet and save the party. My guess is that they will be cleared in 75 percent of cases. This should be an opportunity to bring forward new leadership.
    Are they going to take the high road?

  5. Ex-Muslim

    Not forgeting
    1.Air Marshal Asghar Khan case on ISI funding rightwing politics in Pakistan.

    2. The killing of Omar Asghar Khan in mysterious circumstances.

    3. Justice Munir Report.

    4. Hamud-ur-Rehman Report

    5. 5th July 1977 and 4th April 1979 Inquiry.

    Just to mention a few pending judicial matters, My lord Mr. Chief Justice.

  6. mazbut

    very unfortunate line of thinking indeed!

    Those who are talking against the judgment should have the moral courage to contest the case rather than leave the field open for the judiciary to decide on whatever evidence it had before it. Why were the parties alleged to be corrupt and criminal did not show up at the proceedings with what baloney they are now honking about?? Is there any doubt as to corrupt and criminal status of accused leaders??
    Bilal Sahib, let us not give the issue an ethnic color…
    you cannot paint a black picture white by ”emotional babbling”, the facts are already there and known to one and all!

    Nawaz Sharif and his party members may not be ‘angels’ but you ought to go ahead and pin point your grievances against him…and sue them.

    Where did the President get all that money from???
    Remember: Charity begins at home. Let’s start with the issue in hand and dig the graves of WW1 later on!

    I deeply commend the Hon’ble Chief Justice for his bold and courageous step in being compelled by national exigencies to take matters of Legal and Constitutional significance in his hand and do what the Executive and/or the Judicature has failed to do.
    Previously it was the military which intervened , this time it’s the judiciary. There is a Moses for every Pharaoh!
    The Chief Justice cannot be deemed to sit pretty when the nation is being stripped of its wealth and people are crying for flour, sugar , oil and gas.

    At the same time, I feel sorry for the one person who has so audaciously challenged these bad times and open Jihad against the black sheep as he alone may not be able to perform 100 % to the expectation of the people!

    May I request the Chief Justice to also take against those lawyers who have taken crores of rupees under cover of fees and taken full unfair advantage of the situation thereof.

  7. Bloody Civilian

    @mazbut

    Previously it was the military which intervened , this time it’s the judiciary. There is a Moses for every Pharaoh!

    is that an admission?

  8. spider

    sheepoo is right. The writer is a jayala!

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  10. Saad

    @ critics, answer the question, why not should the CJ take notices?

    the list is long, very long indeed, and it is the Supreme Court of Pakistan which has given an ethnic tinge to the matter,

    a convicted criminal fro Punjab, Nawaz Sharif is declared qualified by reinterpreting the Constitution

    and an accused from Sindh was almost disqualified in the most shameless display of power by reinterpreting Constitution,

    in creating such hysteria in a matter which could have been decided by a much smaller bench and rather summary proceedings, the CJ has joined the ranks of the great Mirs.

  11. In my humble opinion … justice is not Justice unless it is across the board.
    I do think the author makes a very valid point.
    Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done; and that cannot be the case when it is selective justice.

  12. salma

    i couldnt agree more with mr.bilal qureshi.his concerns r genuine .he has every right to put these questions before honourable courts and we all must respect his view point.accountibility must be done across the board,so that no one feel victimised.”justice hurried is justice burried”.due process of law must be followed to ensure that justice is done.moreover,mr bilal has also raised the question of 99’coup and its validation by supreme court .so we must not doubt his sincerity vis-a-vis independent judiciary,rather we must welcome such dissenting voices.all persons and institutions r equal and answerable before law .so there should not b any ”sacred cows” when it comes to the dispensation of justice.the petition regarding the formation of IJI and role of ISI in getting rid of benazir govt in 1990 by distibuting millions of rupees among politicins must be entertained as well, so that no party feel ‘victimised’ by the judicial activism

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