Today’s Decision and the Immaturity of Our Major Institutions

By Raza Habib Raja

The news of regime change are now being supplemented by news of another grave possibility: a repeat of the 3rd November steps to purge the Judiciary. These may be rumours perpetuated by this sensation loving media but unfortunately Pakistan always operates under “Murphy’s law”. Moreover when a rumour is going around, our response often makes it materialize.

And the Judiciary has apparently taken the rumours to be some indication of the brewing scheme in the corridors of powers and met late night to develop a counter strategy and in the morning has given the verdict equating any such revocation of executive orders as violation of Article 6 of the constitution. The court in a truly bizarre and too some extent even comically absurd manner acted  pre-emptively and gave verdict on perceived intent.

 Both the important pillars of the state are busy formulating these childish manoeuvres and counter manoeuvres at the time when the country is spiralling towards virtual self destruction.  Both the parties cannot stand each other and want the other to be out of existence through either a court order or a revocation of an earlier restoration notice.

With the latest and perhaps one of the most rapid delivery of “justice”, the Judiciary has apparently tried to thwart any effort to dislodge its judges. However, in such circumstances and the way the situation is developing, the eventual success in removal of judges won’t actually be decided by “legality” of the method but rather on whether executive can actually have enough control over the organizations having the ability to exercise physical violence. It has to be understood that at present the executive does not have EFFECTIVE control over all such agencies. So after the order by Judiciary has been passed, the move from the executive to actually remove Judges has to be backed by armed forces. For that matter even a court order from Judiciary dismissing president would also require “cooperation” from the armed forces.

Frankly I will oppose both the “changes” with equal ferocity despite the fact that I have equally mixed opinion of the current executive as well as the judiciary. On the negative side one is incompetent and the other is thoroughly regressive in ideological orientation and literally vindictive in a childishly immature manner.

I will oppose such moves for the simple fact alone that it would require army and would invariably end up further entrenching its role in the political affairs. Moreover, both the opposing parties would be the loser in this childish tussle even if one temporarily succeeds in dislodging the other as they would be ceding their authority more and more to army (which already is very powerful). In addition dislodgement of any of these parties would negate whatever gains (though chaotic situation belies these) we have made towards establishment of sustainable democracy.

Regime change through any means, even constitutional means (after all you can buy or coerce the existing members into passing a no confidence move) will be catastrophic and will seriously undermine the democratic process but even more than that will implant deep seeds of hatred in smaller provinces. Let’s not forget that the President hails from a small province and his selective lynching has already creating rifts and his forcible removal before time will further alienate the province. 

Moreover, PPP is the only electable liberal party and at this time when we are reeling under the forces  of extremism, is frankly the best bet despite its poor governance and incompetence. The ideological orientation of the party combined with its sway over masses gives us a better chance to prevent Pakistan from becoming a strange mix of lawless and theocratic state.

Moreover, for all those who are always dying to vilify Zardari, let’s at least give the “devil” his credit. Zardari led government has tried to reach out to all the ethnicities and has successfully brokered an improved NFC award. Likewise, he has transferred the presidential powers through 18th amendment to the prime minister, a thing virtually unheard of in the past.

Having appreciated these facts, let me also point out that  there are governance and competence issues but these do not warrant a regime change through extreme measures.

On the other hand, the current Judiciary has become vibrant and active. This is to some extent a divergence from the past where the Judiciary used to be totally subservient to the executive. While that is a good development but the way the Judiciary is using its new found freedom is a real cause for concern. Moreover the ideological orientation of the Judiciary as indicated by a string of decisions is increasingly regressive.

However, despite its orientation and almost irritating behaviour, I would not support a repeat of 3rd November or some revocation of executive order. We all know that while the current Judiciary may be “reactionary” but as an institution it is more insulated from political pressures. It’s the institution as a whole which matters to me. Today’s Judiciary may be reactionary or regressive but if the institution retains its independence, the next breed of judges may be of different orientation. Moreover the ideological bent of the Judiciary though extremely important is not the only element as constitutional matters are not the matters  Judiciary has to decide upon . An aggressive Judiciary entails problems but has its advantages also provided aggression does not go completely overboard.

Any forcible removal of the Judiciary would also be followed by replacing it by a totally subservient Judiciary and that will perhaps be even more catastrophic than all the excesses of this excessive Judiciary.

Sustainable Democracy needs both a strong accountable executive and an independent Judiciary. We cannot and should not purge any of these. However it is for both the stakeholders to realize that and to start acting in a mature manner. However, both the parties have shown immaturity shown so far and continue to show it under the active provocation of this immature sensation loving media.



Filed under Pakistan

7 responses to “Today’s Decision and the Immaturity of Our Major Institutions

  1. D Asghar

    @Raza Bhai, lack of political maturity is what you have rightly pointed in your write up.

    Both parties are demonstrating that here and yes the implications are not going to be good. Let’s wait and see. Conspiracy theorists are some how linking the ALMIGHTY fauj to this whole scenario. There are some signs that childish elements are playing their games from all quarters. In the end, there are certain people in Pakistan who say that good leadership in Pakistan only equals to Pak Fauj. You and I disagree, but we are sadly in a minority among all the enlightened ones. Regards.

  2. T.S. Bokhari

    There seems to be no way out of the crisis.

    Firstly: The man who is accused of corruption has become the functional Chairman of the PPP.

    Secondly: the same person became the President of the Islamic Republic, thanks to Mush’s NRO, without relinquishing the chairmanship of the PPP.

    Thirdly: The PPP govt. which had elected Zardari as its Chairman and President of Pakistan, reinstated the Present high judiciary with Ch. Iftikhar as the Chief Justice.

    Now we should not forget the fact that whereas the PPP under Zardari came to power thanks to sympathy vote and , of course, the abominable NRO, the judiciary got restored obviously as a result of the pressure of a popular movement.

    In the circumstances the only way out would be for the Govt. not to go on head on clash with the SC but to comply with its orders. What is preventing it to do that is the fact that this would put their Chairman Zardari at a risk of being tried and punished by the court for his alleged corruption. So Zardari’s personal safety has virtually put the whole system at risk. In the circumstances one can think of Dacca Model to get out of the imbroglio and pray to God to make our rulers not to be selfish and keep the interest of the nation first.


    Mr Bukhari is right 2/3rd. It is a fallacy (and ridiculolus to contend or suggest) that the superior judiciary was reinstated by PPP. The fact remains that Supreme Court judges including CJP cannot be removed by the President or anyone else except in a proper, Constitutional manner. Evertything else is a nullity is a NULLITY is a nullity. So Musha-A-Rough’s trying to oust the CJP acted unconstitutionally, i.e., his action and misconduct gave still birth to a nullity. When they could not be de-appointed (or chucked out); they could not be re-appointed.
    Musharraf feloniously prevented the CJP from attending his Chambers. The PPP sang along with Mush; and finally gave up. That is all there is to it.
    Those who carried out the Mush-A-Rough order-is-order neoFascism, should be prosecuted for Treason and be successfully sentenced to death. They should be publicly hanged or shot (and cost of bullets charged to their Estate, as is done in China and Libya).

    The Supreme Court did the right thing on 15th instant. An ounce of prevention is much better than a kill-O of medicine. The Murphy Law is: When things are rumoured to be going wrong, they actually do go wrong. The (Lawrence) Peter Principle is: Work expands to meet the time available to do it.
    There is another nugget that I wanted to recount, but I fear censorship which is blessed and sacrosanct at e-PTH.

  4. @IG (I hate addressing you thus for personal reasons, but the alternative has too many letters)

    There is another nugget that I wanted to recount, but I fear censorship which is blessed and sacrosanct at e-PTH.

    If it is not libellous – and you should know, having written your LlM submission in a single night – why not emit it? Or, if it is a nugget, disgorge it? Quick, before Second Hand Tyre comes and bounces on you.

  5. Midfield Dynamo

    that is vicious, but your crying foul to implicate only only side shows a vested interest. Justice must be meted out across the board, collect all of them and let them have it, the number I am sure will be under a thousand….expenses for bullets could be collected over a fund raiser on a performance from Abida Parveen.

  6. Feroz Khan

    @ Raza

    Rumors are as common in Pakistan as the flies. The best way to figure out if they are true or not is to listen to the official statements. Nothing is offical and true in Pakistan until it has been officially denied.

    The army has no interest in intervening in the political quagmire and is quite happy to observing the circus from the sidelines and relishing the discomfort of the present goverment. The present judiciary is being patronized by the military and the military’s role in politics is present inter alia through the role of the judiciary. The boldness of the judiciary comes from the realization that it has support of the military and also, the present chief justice is obligated to the chief of the army staff for being a chief justice and will do nothing to undermine that support.

    Consider the dynamics. The next elections are going to held in 2013; the present chief of army staff’s term of office will expire in 2013 and the present chief justice will be office till 2013. In 2013, there will be a presidential election also. What is happening in Pakistan, in the shape of the present crisis is another game of musical chairs and everyone is getting ready for 2013 by making sure they will have a chair to sit, when the music stops in 2013.

    Do not be distracted by what is happening in Pakistan today, but always pay attention to what is going to happen tomorrow. With 3 years left, the end game is moving towards 2013 in Pakistan. The good news is that everyone seems to have accepted 2013 as the year of the change and that too through elections. There is a consensus in Pakistan on this issue and this remarkable, because it foretells that the national mindset is adjusting itself to the idea of governments completing their full tenures and of elections being held to change governments.

    Pakistani politics is the Holmesian dog that did not bark in the night – ignore what is being said in Pakistan and pay attention to what is not being said and in that silence, you will hear the truth! 😉


  7. T.S. Bokhari

    @Feroz Khan

    “The boldness of the judiciary comes from the realization that it has support of the military and…”

    May be, but where from comes its Holiness?

    Why both army and the judiciary are immune to criticism whereas the politicians are open to any kind of vilification by the media. In fact the pak people of this blighted Pakland are free from any moral constraint as they don’t know even what morality means. Just take an instance of Mukhtaran Mai’s case. It started with an alleged sex-crime almost a decade and ended in suo-motu by CJ where it is lying in limbo for over six years or so resulting in incarceration of over a dozen accused Mastoi’s despite their acquittal by the HC. Even generally speaking justice delayed is justice denied. Is it not the worst moral crime of the highest magnitude to deny justice to lacs of cases pending with the judiciary which is immune to any criticism and reacts with such urgency to any rumor even of attack on itself?