Tag Archives: rule of law

A Vicious Circle

By Adnan Syed

Pakistan is passing through a vicious negative feedback loop that is beginning to gather momentum. The vicious circle is a result of country’s inability to provide for the basic individual rights of its citizens. Combine that with a burgeoning population, and the rampant nationalist tensions within the society that have been suppressed in the name of religious identity, Pakistan is staring at a nightmarish scenario in the coming decade. Pakistan needs to realize that the existential threat is coming from the failure of its society and not due to the external influences that consume majority of the resources of our nation. Unless we start spending on providing for the four basic rights to our citizens, the chaos will just feed on itself in the years to come.

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Filed under Citizens, Constitution, human rights, Identity, Islam, Islamabad, musings, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Rights, state

Our Free and Independent Judiciary!


The Supreme Court has proved yet again that it is independent and free…  independent of any check by law and free of all rational sense.

It is now becoming increasingly clear that the the Superior Courts have every intention to allow every terrorist and his mother in law loose on the streets.  By dismissing the appeals of Punjab and Federal Governments against release from house arrest of Hafiz Saeed,  our honorable Supreme Court told the government,  “Arrest him when you have proof”.  What would constitute proof one wonders?  Indian Government has submitted five dossiers.  Is there nothing in them that atleast qualifies as actionable evidence?    It seems though that the Supreme Court is now unconcerned with the fate of this country. Continue reading


Filed under Judiciary, 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.

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

Reforming khakis

By Babar Sattar            The News, January 09, 2010

The end of Musharraf’s rule, return of leaders of our mainstream political parties, restoration of the representative electoral process, restitution of independent-minded judiciary, recent rulings in the PCO judges case and the NRO, together with the role of our diligent media and civil society all mark the advent of an age of constitutionalism, rule of law and democracy. This journey might be slow and perilous, but rule of law and constitutionalism are the only mechanisms available to resurrect a peaceful, strong and stable Pakistan wherein equality and justice thrive along with hope and economic well-being. Continue reading


Filed under Army, Democracy, Justice, Law, Pakistan, state

Pakistan; Looking forward and beyond 2010

By Adnan Syed

As the year 2010 approaches, Pakistan finds itself yet once again in the grip of an indecisive slumber. The nation is paralyzed by security concerns, its immediate neighbours from East to West accuse the country of harbouring terrorists, the economy barely nudges above the levels that signify growth, and lags far below the levels where poverty starts meaningfully decreasing.

It is far easier to pinpoint the shortcomings of an individual person, place the appropriate blame where it is due, and once the mistakes are identified, corrective measures can be taken. Yet, for a nation of 160MM individuals, where everyone blames everyone else for the nation’s woes, the nation gets paralyzed in the midst of finger pointing matches, the collective mistakes are seldom acknowledged, and even when the mistakes are recognized, the responsibility to take collective action falls through the cracks again and again.

It is far easier for Pakistan to continue on this road indefinitely. Status quo is always the easiest option in the short run, and usually the priciest in the long run.  But long run is too long of a time horizon for many of us.

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Filed under Democracy, Islamabad, Jinnah's Pakistan, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Zardari

Going the Wrong Way about Doing the Right Thing

By B. Civilian

The full bench of the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan unanimously declared the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) null and void, ab initio. In view of the unpopularity of the Ordinance, the PPP government had virtually disowned it over the last few weeks. The Federation decided not to defend it in the court, again, regardless of one of its lawyers insinuating that there was a threat to ‘rule of law’ from “CIA and the GHQ” (statements which the lawyer later withdrew as his own rather than his client’s view).

Pakistan is in the process of transitioning from being a military dictatorship to becoming a democracy. It’s a difficult transition for any country, let alone for one which has attempted such a transition at least twice before, without much success. But today Pakistan is waging two definitive wars at the same time – one for democracy and the other against terrorism. The latter is often described as an existential war. We are trying to define ourselves at the same time as we are trying to ‘exist’; survive and prevail over those murdering us on a daily basis. Continue reading


Filed under Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, Justice, Law, lawyers movement, Pakistan, Parliament, Politics, state, War On Terror, Zardari

Pakistani media: power sans responsibility

[TFT] A partisan media is biting the hand of democracy that feeds it, says Raza Rumi

It was hoped by many that the electronic media following its exponential growth during the last few years would take stock of its roles and responsibilities. However, the years 2007 and 2008 were not the best of times for such an introspection to materialise into a self-regulation process. Authoritarian or transitional environments are not conducive to a culture of informed debate and the evolution of sound regulatory regimes. Nevertheless, there have been scattered noises and appeals by many observers, analysts and concerned citizens even within the media community.

From the brutality of displaying dismembered limbs on television screens to creating a panic-oriented news culture and relegating the status of objective ‘anchors’ to partisan political players, the trends were and continue to be, disturbing. Against the backdrop of the events of March 2009 the role of the electronic media was far from gratifying. The self congratulatory hysteria that now pervades the various channels betrays their utter inability to look back and introspect. Continue reading


Filed under Democracy, lawyers movement, Media, Pakistan