The debate on fake degrees has captured the middle class imagination of Pakistan’s mainstream media. True that lying and misrepresenting facts is not acceptable. Yet, discriminatory laws against the political elites are not kosher either. The debate on the issue remains sensationalist, purist and devoid of the larger context of Pakistan’s democratic history.
Each era of our existence has witnessed such campaigns. In the 1950s laws to screen out the corrupt politicians was launched with much fanfare. It was a clear tool for the unelected institutions to tame and manipulate the political class. In the 1960s such a process was institutionalized and Pakistan reeled under the ill-effects of authoritarianism leading to the break up of the country in 1971.
The establishment continued the policy throughout the 1980s and we witnessed the growth and proliferation of politicians who were absolutely wedded to the fortification of Pakistan as a national security state. In the 1990s, such games continued and we have cases from that decade which are yet to be adjudicated. The state as a whole has used these as bargaining chips. This is why the debate on NRO is complex and its moral simplification becomes a historical act in itself. Continue reading
The views expressed in this piece are not those of PTH. This article was sent to us as a contrarian viewpoint and in the interest of promoting a debate, we are posting it. Some of the contents are controversial; and we hope that the readers will correct the perceptions about the judicial activism that is supported by many people in Pakistan. (PTH Editors)
Once a democratic champion, the Chief Justice now undermines the elected government. (WSJ-OPINION ASIA)
By DAVID B. RIVKIN JR. AND LEE A. CASEY
When U.S. President Barack Obama sharply challenged a recent Supreme Court decision in his State of the Union address, prompting a soto voce rejoinder from Justice Samuel Alito, nobody was concerned that the contretemps would spark a blood feud between the judiciary and the executive. The notion that judges could or would work to undermine a sitting U.S. president is fundamentally alien to America’s constitutional system and political culture. Unfortunately, this is not the case in Pakistan.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the country’s erstwhile hero, is the leading culprit in an unfolding constitutional drama. It was Mr. Chaudhry’s dismissal by then-President Pervez Musharraf in 2007 that triggered street protests by lawyers and judges under the twin banners of democracy and judicial independence. This effort eventually led to Mr. Musharraf’s resignation in 2008. Yet it is now Mr. Chaudhry himself who is violating those principles, having evidently embarked on a campaign to undermine and perhaps even oust President Asif Ali Zardari. (image above – Associated Press) Continue reading
By Asma Jahangir Dawn, 26 Jan, 2010
The Supreme Court (SC) has spoken and the nation must bow its head. The chief justice has asked members of the bar to pray for the judiciary. This too must be respected, as the Almighty alone can rescue those who wish to destroy themselves.
There is open friction between the ruling party and the court. By not restoring the SC judges earlier and letting Justice Dogar run amok with the law, the government lost face. Continue reading
[This is another contribution by Bilal Qureshi (see here for Bilal’s previous piece on the NRO). We are pleased to publish it since we believe it is important to continue the debate. We do not necessarily subscribe to the author’s views – PTH]
By Bilal Qureshi
© The Nation, Pakistan
There are times when I am tempted to accept Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as a genuine political party. However, thankfully, I come to my senses as soon as MQM attempts one of those fascist maneuvers that have become synonymous with MQM. If anyone pays close attention, it is not difficult to see a pattern with MQM. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Duniya ki tareekh gawah hai, adl bina jamhoor na hoga
History bears witness, there shall be no republic (democracy) without justice
-From Aitzaz Ahsan’s Poem “Kal, Aaj Aur Kal” – the anthem of Pakistan’s Lawyers’ Movement.
“I am for the Law. We wish for a republic of laws.” John Adams- one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.
“The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.” Mahomed Ali Jinnah- our Quaid-e-Azam.
The decision on NRO was a historic one. Based on the short order, however, a reasonable apprehension exists that by invoking articles 62-f and 227, the Court has effectively brought into play dormant Islam-inspired clauses which shall further strengthen rightwing in Pakistan. This apprehension is obviously not without merit. Articles 4, 8 and 25 – 8 and 25 being fundamental rights which according to constitutional theory are supreme- were much stronger clauses and the court did well to invoke these but this is where the court should have stopped. Ofcourse this is entirely a conjecture without the detailed judgment. That said the important thing is that the NRO has been reversed and it has strengthened democracy whether nay-sayers accept it or not. The people need to see that the system works and punishes crooks no matter how powerful they are. And there is no doubt that the Supreme Court should also take to task those holy cows that have run amok in the country but that will also happen in good time. Continue reading