Tag Archives: General Pervez Musharraf

PTH Exclusive: Interview with J. Jawwad Khawaja

Posted by Raza Rumi

We are grateful to Babar Mirza who has translated an interview given by Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja to Sohail Waraich in June 2007 which is recorded in Waraich’s book ‘Adlia ke Arooj-o-Zawaal ki Kahani’. The interview is a must read for all those who are interested in Pakistan’s politics and institutions. A biographical note is also available for those who wish to know more about the life and times of J. Khawaja. The latter resigned when J. Iftikhar Chauhdry was illegally deposed by the Musharraf regime. Later, he was part of the lawyers and judges movement and he was re-inducted into the Supreme Court after J. Chauhdry was restored as the Chief Justice in 2009. The interview also explains why Justice Khawaja took oath unde the 2000 PCO during the Musharraf regime.

Just as in any other part of the world, Punjab too has its share of stigma. Leaders from other provinces and many historians allege that the people of Punjab are not brave or courageous. Only time will establish the truth or falsehood of this allegation, but, in the recent judicial crisis, only one judge in Pakistan resigned from his office and that judge was a Punjabi from the Lahore High Court, Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja. Perhaps this was why Sindhi nationalist Rasool Bux Paleejo had to admit that Punjab’s strong stance in the judicial crisis had compensated for her many misgivings in the past. The Punjabi judges who decided to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry have further helped clear the judiciary of many an allegation and perhaps the mistakes made by Punjabi judges in the past would now be remedied. Bold and fearless though the role of judiciary has been, the first drop of rain was Justice Khawaja and that will always remain to his credit.

 Justice Khawaja is a very private person. He shies away from the world of fame. Perhaps this is why he did not give any interview or try to gain prominence after his resignation. Had any other judge resigned in similar circumstances, he would have justifiably lead protests, presided over meetings or at least given interviews to newspapers and television channels. But the reclusive nature of Justice Khawaja kept him away from all that. He felt the reference against the chief justice to be a burden on his conscience and resigned to free himself from that burden.  Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Judiciary, Justice, Law, lawyers movement, movements, Pakistan

Convict in Musharraf Attack Denied Appeal

Cross Post from Daily Dawn, Published January 24, 2010

By Azaz Syed and Matiullah Jan  

 

We are publishing a disturbing investigative report by Dawn that shows a possible miscarriage of justice. We do not know of the actual guilt of the accused, but the investigative report shows a possible serious lapse of the judicial process before the ultimate punishment was meted out to the accused; the capital punishment.

The charges against the accused were serious. He was accused of actually participating in the plot to murder Pakistani President and his entourage, and dozens of innocent policemen and civilians died in that attempt. Yet, the report below shows that serious doubts hang about the way he was prosecuted, the allegations of torture, and possibility of state witnesses who gave testimonies against the accused under extreme duress. One of the many disturbing aspects of the case was the fact that the ultimate arbiter of the accused fate was none other than his alleged target, the President of Pakistan.

Despite the woeful history of the judicial process in Pakistan, the country cannot afford to act the same way of the enemies it is fighting. The State of Pakistan offers a social contract to its citizens that none of the bloody extremist groups have even imagined offering to the Pakistanis, except an ideology soaked in a violent and extreme anti modern interpretation of the religion. A state’s primary responsibility is providing for the safety and welfare of its population; and that includes providing the due process to an accused. A fair and timely process entails that all appeals are afforded to the accused before the punishment is handed out, more so in case of the capital punishment. Fighting the terror unleashed by bloody religious groups does not mean that we resort to heavy handed justice. In words of Martin Luther King, an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Injustice sets dangerous precedents, and turns rulers into tyrants due to lack of accountability. Injustice pervades the society insidiously, putting all the society inhabitants at risk of being failed by the judicial system some time in the future.

Continue reading

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Filed under Army, human rights, Justice, Pakistan, Rights, state, Terrorism, War On Terror

Remembering Bibi

by Raza Rumi

It was only yesterday that we were mourning for the loss of an icon of our times. The much loved, and passionately hated Benazir Bhutto whose tragic murder in broad daylight was the greatest metaphor of what Pakistan has turned into: a jungle of history, ethnicity and extremism. Little wonder that Bhutto’s worst enemies cried and lamented the loss of a federal politician whose life and times were as unique as her name. The populist slogan – charon soobon ki zanjeer (the chain of the four provinces, literally) could not have been truer than the most tested of axioms. As if her death were not enough, the state response was even more brutal. Why did she participate in public rallies? On that fateful day of December 27, 2007, why did she invite death by sticking her neck out – literally and metaphorically? This was tragedy compounded by invective and betrayal. After all, had she not received a tacit understanding from the then military President, General Pervez Musharraf?

The official machinery then went to work in a super-efficient frenzy. Within hours, the murder scene had been washed away, right opposite the Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi where Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was also shot dead. If anything history repeated itself with a bang – only to restate that Pakistani Prime Ministers are dispensable accessories of the power game. The misogynistic thirst for blood-letting once quenched, patriarchy dictated that the autopsy of a woman became an issue of honour, confusion and violation of the law. How telling, that the laws of the land remain subservient to the imperatives of culture and tradition. Continue reading

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Filed under Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, dynasties, Media, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Sindh, south asia, state, Terrorism, violence

Musharraf’s resignation

There was no electricity at our place in Karachi this afternoon but
it was cool so we hadn’t turned on our little generator. “Aren’t you
watching our president’s speech on TV?” asked a friend on the phone.
On came the generator. Live on Geo, the TV channel that spearheaded
the media boom under Musharraf, was the President in a dark western
suit and tie (rather than the high-collared `sherwani’ that leaders
tend to don when trying to appease nationalist or religious forces).
The obligatory portrait of the country’s founder (sherwani-clad) on
the wall behind him, Musharraf was listing his government’s
achievements.
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Filed under Democracy, Pakistan, Politics

What exactly were the ex-servicemen of Pakistan doing while in service?

All the X-men

Shahzada Irfan Ahmed and Aziz Omar

Air Chief Marshal (R) Asghar Khan

Former Air Chief Martial Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Asghar Khan was the first politician to become famous for his remark in 1977 that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto should be hanged by Kohala Bridge near Rawalpindi.

Asghar Khan’s critics, though relatively small in number, call him a power-hungry person who entered politics in 1968 after resigning as chairman PIA. At that point in time, a movement against Ayub Khan had started paving way for new leadership eager to make its mark in the national politics. He is also criticised for accepting a one-year extension in his service from Field Marshal Ayub Khan.

He is known for his hawkish stance vis-a-vis an accord with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, thereby limiting the scope of a political solution and paving the way for a martial law. In May 1977, he addressed a letter to the three services chiefs openly asking them to revolt against Bhutto. He had asked the addressed officers to differentiate between a lawful and an unlawful command and save Pakistan. This controversial letter is considered instrumental in encouraging Gen Ziaul-Haq, the then chief of army staff, to make a coup. Little wonder, Gen Ziaul-Haq offered him a slot in his cabinet after the imposition of martial law in 1977. To his credit he declined to accept this offer.

Lt Gen (R) Faiz Ali Chishti

The head of ex-servicemen society, Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Ali Chishti, had a main role in the military coup of 1977. He was the Corps Commander of Rawalpindi at that time and had worked out the details of the coup. Interestingly, he declares the imposition of martial law by Gen Zia-ul-Haq was right but rejects the way he tried to handle things afterwards.

Chishti says he was against the awarding of death sentence to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It has been reported that towards the end of Bhutto’s tenure, he sat in one of the cabinet meetings with his feet facing Bhutto. It was again Chishti who reportedly overlooked/interfered in all the local bodies’ elections held from 1979 to 1985 on the behest of Gen Ziaul-Haq. It is believed that Chishti advised Gen. Zia a lot on different matters. He has also confessed that though he could easily remove Gen. Zia he submitted his resignation to him which he tore apart. Gen Chishti (retd) also held the portfolio of Labour and Manpower in Gen Zia’s first cabinet formed after the imposition of martial law.

Lt Gen (R) Asad Durrani

A former head of the ISI and now an active member of the ex-servicemen society, Durrani has confessed to having distributed millions of rupees among the politicians in the 1990 elections. During his career, he held the posts of Director General of the Military Intelligence (MI) and later the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). His role in the formation of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) is an open secret. PPP’s former interior minister Lt-Gen Naseerullah Babar even announced on the floor of the National Assembly in 1996 that Durrani, then DG ISI, had distributed Rs 140 million among some politicians for this purpose. This amount, he said, had been withdrawn from Mehran Bank and given to Durrani by Mirza Aslam Beg to ensure that IJI was brought to power. Aslam Beg had submitted in the court that it had been routine for the ISI to support the favoured candidates in elections under the directives of successive chief executives. Durrani did not deny the allegations and submitted an affidavit listing the politicians to whom the money had been paid. The affidavit said: “It was in September 1990 that I had received instructions to provide ‘logistic support’ for disbursement of donations for the election campaign of the IJI.”

Durrani has also enjoyed ambassadorial positions in Germany (1994 to 1997) and Saudi Arabia after the military coup of 1999. It was only after completing his term as ambassador during the Musharraf regime that Durrani started criticising Musharraf. Continue reading

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Asif Zardari Ticks Off Aitzaz Ahsan??

I have no comments on this news-item published in the Daily Times. Since it is still not verified by either of the parties, it remains uncertain whether this incident ever happened?

NAUDERO: PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari is reported to have ticked off Aitzaz Ahsan in an after-dinner gathering of the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) members in Naudero on the subject of the restoration of the judges, independence of the judiciary and the threatened long march by Aitzaz and his supporters. According to sources present on the occasion, Zardari took Aitzaz to task for constantly threatening to launch a long march to force parliament to restore Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and the other deposed judges. Zardari advised Aitzaz to go ahead with his long march if he was so keen on it instead of constantly threatening the PPP about it. He told Aitzaz that he was wrong to think that the lawyers movement had forced General Pervez Musharraf to take off his uniform or hold the elections. He said that honour belonged to Benazir Bhutto who had compelled Musharraf to do so and paid for it with her life. He said the entire credit for restoration of democracy went to Ms Bhutto and Aitzaz and the judges and lawyers could not rob her of her victory. Zardari also reminded Aitzaz that while he was incarcerated for eight long years none of these heroic judges had given him justice, even when he had asked for one day’s reprieve to attend a funeral of a close relative. Zardari is reported to have said that Justice Chaudhry had politicised himself overtly and ruined his case as an advocate for an independent judiciary. He also cited other instances when some of these judges had not conducted themselves with any degree of integrity or independence in the past. Aitzaz tried a feeble defence but could not deflect Zardari’s irritation. “I thought Aitzaz would get up and leave but he just sat there,” said the source. staff report

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Filed under Activism, Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, Media, Pakistan, Parliament, Politics