Daily Archives: July 8, 2010

Fatal obsession

Raza Rumi

It is a matter of public record that the founder of Pakistan had stated that Indo-Pakistan relationship will resemble that of the USA and Canada. Even before the Partition, Jinnah in a 1946 press conference stated, “the two states (Pakistan and India)… will be friends and will go to each other’s rescue in case of danger and will be able to say ‘hands off’ to other nations. We shall then have a Munroe doctrine more solid than America…” This vision along with other pronouncements by Jinnah is buried in the debris of Pakistan’s national security paranoia. The spectre of India and its ‘hegemonic designs’ to use an oft-quoted phrase remain central to Pakistan’s security paradigm.

The unwavering view on India is what explains the context for the discussion paper entitled, The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents -authored by Matt Waldman from the prestigious platform of the London School of Economics. Pakistan’s real power-centre, its security and intelligence apparatus are a self-sustaining reality. Other than the financing, of which plenty comes from the Western Capitals, there is a solid national opinion behind the xenophobic worldview carefully cultivated by a decades’ long well coordinated state policy. The centre of this argument is the ‘Indian threat’ and any conception of Pakistan’s security is linked to the evil designs of the powerful ‘enemy’ across the border. Continue reading

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Filed under India, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, south asia, violence, war, Zardari

Judicial Activism and Orientation: A Mixed Blessing

The current situation with respect to Judiciary merits several questions. Is there any scope for Judicial activism or Parliament should have the sole supremacy?  Assuming there is some scope (either through constitution or due to “necessity”) what are the desirable limits from political cum social point of view? What explains the current conservative orientation of the Judiciary? Was the lawyers’ movement a just cause or a vehicle for reactionary elements to direct the country towards further conservatism? What problems can occur due to the current ongoing tussle between Government and Judiciary?  This article tries to analyze the above questions.  

By Raza Habib Raja

Right now the country is embroiled in a rather destabilizing controversial tussle between increasingly hyper active judiciary and Government. Judiciary is actively pursuing a policy of activism as compared to judicial restraint and even 18th amendment which had unanimous support of political parties is right now under review and during session the remarks of the honourable judges are indicating that Judiciary may clamp the wings of the parliament.

Judicial activism obviously stands for an active court which is not exercising judicial restraint and is quite ready to even enter into the reign of executive and in fact even at times policy making domain. An important component is of judicial review through which courts can review and decide whether a certain act passed by the legislative is unconstitutional or infringes basic rights of the people. Another related issue is the Judicial orientation ( i.e. whether judiciary is ideologically moving towards liberal or conservative side).

 The ongoing judicial activism is difficult to be categorized as “good” or “bad’ mainly because it is trying to affect complex and at times interconnected variables in our society. The perception about it will also vary from person to person depending on his/her OVERALL political orientation.

Within liberal community the opinion is somewhat divided but most are worried due to a string of recent decisions regarding banning of websites and releasing of controversial individuals like Hafiz Saeed. Those who support it are also cautious as Judiciary while cracking on corruption is also veering towards reinforcing conservatism. The role of Lahore High Court is particularly a cause for concern. In my personal opinion while there is some limited scope for judicial activism but at the same time the judicial orientation is a cause for concern. On the good side Judiciary is instilling a culture of some accountability but on the flip side it is also showing strains of excessive activism and increasingly conservative orientation.

The current situation merits several questions whch have been outlined in the introductory part of the article. Let’s try to evaluate these Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Judiciary, Justice, Pakistan