We are posting Marvi Sirmed’s bold and controversial piece that made waves today in Pakistan’s media. This piece entitled “Let reason prevail” has a clear line and PTH does not necessarily subscribe to this point of view (editors).
There is a judicial crisis, the media says. This claim seems to be correct if one realises the level of urgency the Supreme Court showed in responding to a presidential notification. This notification was nothing bigger than the elevation of the senior-most judge of the Lahore High Court (LHC) to the Supreme Court and the subsequent appointment of the second senior judge as the Acting Chief Justice of the LHC. Those having objections to the president’s notification say it violated Article 177 of the Constitution. The said Article provides for a consultation with the Chief Justice (CJ) of the Supreme Court prior to making such appointments, but it does not give a definition of the “consultation”. It is also true that the CJ Supreme Court sent a summary to the president who subsequently rejected it and sent it back. The allegation of “not consulting the CJ” thus becomes irrelevant. Article 177 does not make the CJ’s recommendation binding on the president. Continue reading
Bilal Qureshi’s rather strong position on the current judicial crisis. The views expressed below are those of the author’s and the PTH does not necessarily subscribe to them
Every objective analyst who follows Pakistan has come to the same conclusion – the judiciary is posing a serious threat not only to the country, but also to the entire democratic system that is already under tremendous stress. In fact, it is pretty much established that some behind the scene players in Pakistan are interested in seeing ‘favorable’ people take over the government and these forces are perhaps using the judiciary as a tool to achieve their nauseating objective.
As pointed out by Wajid Ali Syed, It is indeed a sad commentary on Pakistan that when an army chief is asked to leave, he refuses and instead launches a coup. When the chief justice is sacked for his alleged corruption, he refuses to accept the decision of the government that appointed him and instead comes out on the streets with thugs (dressed as lawyers) and only calms down when he gets his way. Where is the law of the land? Why can’t an elected Prime Minister or an elected President appoint or dismiss people based on the facts that are before them? Why is everything in Pakistan political? We talk about chaos in Taliban controled areas, but our own people are responsible for the current mess because they refuse to accept anything coming from others – everyone wants to get his way at every cost. Isn’t it pathetic? Yes, it is. Continue reading
by Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim
We are again faced with a judicial crisis – not a bonafide crisis but a crisis created for ulterior reasons.
Ostensibly the crisis is the elevation of chief justice for the Lahore High Court in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the elevation of the next senior most judge Justice Saquib Nasir, as acting Chief Justice of Lahroe High Court (a la Zia ul Haq style).
Being of the view that more harm is done by ignoring seniority, which opens the door for exercise of discretion in principle, I am against seniority being ignored, particularly in judiciary.
My first reaction, therefore, was that the appointment of Chief Justice Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court and elevation of the next senior-most judge as Lahore High Court Chief Justice was justified.
I had assumed that in accordance with the Article 177 of the constitution, these appointments were made by the president after consultation with the Chief Justice of Pakistan, and that the president was bound by such consultations.
Was the Chief Justice of Pakistan even consulted? Continue reading
– by Abdul Nishapuri
In a (not so) surprise move, top judicial bureaucrats sitting in Pakistan’s Supreme Court and Lahore High Court have declared war against a fragile democracy in Pakistan. The (right-wing) establishment has taken its dagger out for a final attack on the democratic government of the (left-wing) Pakistan People’s Party.
In a decision announced in the after hours on Saturday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan suspended the appointment of two judges by President Asif Ali Zardari.
According to Iftikhar A. Khan of Dawn newspaper,
The build-up to the suspension of the presidential order packed more suspense than a thriller. A three-member bench of the Supreme Court first suspended the operation of notifications for elevation of Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, Justice Khwaja Sharif, to the apex court and appointment of Justice Saqib Nisar as acting chief justice of the LHC.`The Supreme Court staff was called in the evening before the bench hurriedly constituted by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry took up the matter, leaving most observers baffled. Continue reading
We have heard of too many problems, challenges and crises. Here are a set of credible and do-able solutions by Shaheryar Azhar. Only if someone is listening. Raza Rumi
In an eternal echo reminiscent of Pakistan’s genesis, we have repeatedly abandoned our personal responsibility in addressing our fundamental issues of nationhood and governance at critical junctures of our history. Do we always need a foreign power to yank us out of our fantasies into reality and thus come to our so-called rescue?
Long before America mid-wived the famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) deal between General Musharraf and PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhuto, this moderator and some others had argued repeatedly on the following lines: “It does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out that if the largest political party (PPP) and the most powerful national institution (Army) can not see eye-to-eye on the most pressing issues, Pakistan can never be stable”. And yet, it took two years of painful negotiation with a lot of hand holding by America, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi for what? For Pakistan to resolve its domestic issue of internal transfer of power with the help of foreign friends. Can anything be more embarrassing than that? Once is fine, twice is too many and thrice must be curtains for any self-respecting nation! Continue reading
Contibution from Mohammad Taqi
Today, is, the death anniversary of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
The judicial murder of ZAB 29 years ago, still serves us as a reminder that a tamed judiciary in the hands of the junta, is a lethal weapon that can be unleashed against popular leaders and the will of the people.
One also needs to remember the brave judges like KMA Samdani,Safdar Shah and Dorab Patel,who stood their ground in the face of a brutal martial law but declined to accept the fabricated evidence and hang ZAB.
Justice KMA Samdani has been an inspiration all along. He encouraged us to participate in the pro-judiciary movement in Pakistan last year. He was the first judge to release Bhutto , as he found the evidence flimsy, and in the process had to resign from the Lahore High Court.
Bhutto’s famous book If-I-am-Assassinated by Bhutto can be accessed here
This was published in DAWN yesterday
By Raza Rumi
THAT you are principled, charismatic and right is beyond doubt. You have inspired the cynical, intelligentsia, revived a moribund civil society and awakened Pakistan’s traditionally de-politicised middle class.
This is something that history shall record gloriously – reminiscent of the way you re-invoked the essential attributes of ‘Indus man’ in your treatise on the pre-historic identity of Pakistan.
Today, all efforts to generate ‘positive’ results from Election 2008 have foundered; and there is a new parliament ready to be sworn in. The new National Assembly, reflecting the fractured polity, has one common thread – nearly two thirds of its members constitute or sympathise with what was known as the opposition before February 2008. This is a moment of reckoning and most concrete outcome of a decade long struggle initiated by your friend Mr Nawaz Sharif, your leader the late Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and your supporters in the middle class and urban democrats. The movement that followed the suspension of the Chief Justice in March 2007 was a culmination of public discontent that started way before. That you provided a shape and led it, is, your stellar contribution.
This is a historic moment that cannot be squandered or lost to the politics of personalities and individuals. Most Pakistanis are in awe of the dismissed Chief Justice for his strength of character, they have tremendous respect for the members of the bench who refused to succumb to the executive diktat following the imposition of emergency in November 2007. And above all, they are also tired of General Musharraf whose good intentions have only led to the proverbial hell of energy and food crises, rampant inflation and roaming suicide bombers. But this struggle just cannot be about getting rid of the president and reinstating the Chief Justice. That would be a belittling corollary of this fabulous episode in our recent history.
The representatives of the PPP, PML-N, ANP and bulk of like-minded independents are touching the magic number of two thirds in the new Assembly. If they are asked to settle a score with an individual and honour another few, history will not record it in kind terms.
Your call for a march towards Islamabad and the restoration of judges before Mar 9 is bound to polarise the fragile parliament, the political parties that have been beaten, poached, hounded with leaders assassinated or disqualified. It is a delicate juncture of our history and any division in the moderate political class or resort to historical bickering and blame-games will rock the system only to benefit the martial corridors of Islamabad’s Byzantine palaces and their traditional occupants.
This is why many citizens are worried and skeptical that nothing changes in the murky waters of Pakistani politics. Continue reading