In a world with an intellectual history of seven thousand years behind it, where do Pakistanis stand, what are they doing, what do they aspire to be, and what ought they to be doing? This Blog takes Notes of all of that ...
man can do wonders, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice of the Supreme
Court proved that. His 8 years in the Supreme Court shook the foundations of
the un-challengeable rule of Riyasati Ashrafiya in Pakistan.
from March 9, 2007 and till his second restoration, and even after that I wrote
many an article on various aspects of political and constitutional crisis
facing Pakistan, and as the Honorable Chief Jistice retires this December 12, I
will be posting / sharing some of the writings I penned during this period.
is one incomplete piece which I wrote on July 13, 2008.
Asif Ali Zardari - General Zia Incarnate
How keen was the observation
of Senator Mushahid Husain Secretary General of PML (Q), when he likened Mr.
Asif Ali Zardari, Co-Chairman of PPP, to General Zia-ul-Haq, a military
dictator who ruled over Pakistan from 1977 to 1988 till his death in a military
helicopter crash. While responding to a question why PPP is flip-flopping on
the issue of deposed judges’ restoration, he said Mr. Zardari’s politics is
surprisingly similar to that of General Zia who used to create uncertainty regarding
the crucial issues and never committed himself to a clear point of view on that
issue. Second, he used to drag the issue hoping that the time factor would make
The most crucial issue that
needs to be addressed urgently by the government is the fate of General
(Retired) Musharraf’s unconstitutional acts of November 3 last as a result of
which about 60 judges of superior courts were deposed and detained in their
houses. The lawyers’ community and Pakistani civil society are on the streets demanding
their restoration. In addition, in February 18 elections, a major part of the
Pakistani electorate voted for the ouster of General (Retired) Musharraf and
deposed judges’ restoration. The same demand was the election slogan of the
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz Sharif) which swept in the majority province
Punjab. It bagged 73 National Assembly seats mostly from Punjab, and 91 seats
in the Punjab Assembly. This clearly shows cogency of the demand.
Then, the two major parties,
PPP and PML (N), traditionally considered arch rivals, made a coalition both in
the center and Punjab province. As reiterated time and time again, and as
embodied in the Murree Declaration of March 9, 2008, the PML (N) leadership
accepted the federal ministries on the condition of restoration of the deposed
judges within 30 days of the forming of federal government. But Mr. Zardari and
his party men made a joke of those 30 days that passed without taking any step
towards the restoration. However, it was the patience of PML (N) leadership
that they kept on negotiating with the defiant and deviant PPP leadership, and
again a deadline was announced.
That deadline of May 12 also
went with the wind. Quite naturally, PML (N) federal ministers quit the
ministries and the formal negotiation on the issue of restoration stopped. The
whole blame is on the new leadership of PPP and especially on the person of Mr.
Zardari, virtually the lone heir of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s and Benzir Bhutto’s
Now when he has got PML (N)
off the board, he is playing dilly-dallying with the lawyers’ movement. Still
there are no clear signs from the PPP leadership whether the party is prepared
to restore the deposed judges to their due positions with grace and honor, or
not. Every now and then, a new move is seen floating on the scene on behalf of
the PPP leaders, such as federal law minister Farooq H. Naek, Senator Sardar
Latif Khosa, and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani himself. While attending the
World Economic Forum Middle East meeting in Egypt, he made a very controversial
statement. He said: The problem is that we have one post of Chief Justice while
there are two claimants of the same post. This is really characteristic of PPP
new leadership: create so much confusion around the issue so that it gets
blurred. Also, generate artificial and unreal issues out of the original and
[This incomplete piece was written
on July 13, 2008.]
“The military use of
children takes three distinct forms: children can take direct part in
hostilities (child soldiers), or they can be used in support roles such as
porters, spies, messengers, look outs; or they can be used for political
advantage either as human shields or in propaganda.”
Which category Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari’s or Aseefa Bhutto Zardari’s political use by Pakistan Peoples Party or
Asif Ali Zardari falls in?
The last temptation of
Asif Ali Zardari
When good government prevails men of little worth
submit to men of great worth. When bad government prevails men of little power
submit to men of great power.
[Mencius, c. 300 BC]
A good government produces citizens distinguished for
courage, love of justice, and every other good quality; a bad government makes
them cowardly, rapacious, and the slave of every foul desire.
[Dionysius of Halicarnassus,
c. 20 BC]
In rivers and bad governments the lightest things swim
at the top.
Self-interest runs supreme. It
is natural and logical. However, it is market that discovers and maintains a
beautiful balance between clashing self-interests. Voluntary exchanges in the
market where all the parties involved seek their own interest ultimately benefit
all the parties. Otherwise, if any one fears to incur harm or loss, the
exchange does not take place. This is how self-interest of one individual takes
care of other individuals’ interest. It is in this perspective that the science
of economics has been defined as the study of how and how not we fulfill our
But what about the science of
politics! Is there no market here that creates a balance between clashing
self-interests? If not, why? No doubt,
politics has a flourishing market, especially in developing countries where
political self-interest both immediately and in the long run results in the
fulfillment of economic self-interests of the elite classes. In clear contrast
to the economic market, in these countries political market is more distorted.
It has scant voluntary exchanges. It has lies, frauds, deceptions, coercion,
manipulation, exploitation, and huge corruption rampant in its bazaars. In
fact, there no rule reigns supreme but the personal rules.
As matter of fact, after the
fall of Soviet Union, opening up of economic markets, particularly in
developing countries, took a swift turn. But no doubt the opening up of
political markets could not run at the same pace. Rather, there prevailed a stubborn
rigidity. The elite classes which had monopolized the political markets would
never allow them to be free to others. This helped them keep their hold intact
on monopolized closed national economic markets whether through de-regulating
or regulating these markets. Pakistan is the best example of such a country.
Ironically, it is through
this mechanism of de-regulation and regulation that the elite classes permitted
a sort of ‘trickling down’ that kept the poverty steam of the people
controlled. This brought temporary phases of artificial prosperity to various
sections of society. And, this helped the elite classes to keep their
monopolization of political markets undisturbed and running smoothly. Again,
Pakistan excelled in that.
However, as there is always a
Moses to a Pharaoh, most of the sections that prospered on de-regulation of the
economic markets were able to see the real face of the Pharaohs. This real face
is their elitist politics, controlled and distorted democracy, and fake
constitutionalism. It was revealed to them that in the political market, there
are no rules. They found out that though there is much fanfare on the issue of
constitution, it is merely a plaything for the elite classes. It has nothing to
do with the rules of the political game being played in Pakistan since its
This real knowledge was
manifested somehow in the person of Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, honorable Chief
Justice of Pakistan. Such real knowledge is always threatening to the interests
of elite classes and their rule. The first person who somehow smelled this
danger first or reacted to it first was General (retired) Pervez Musharraf. This
made us witness to the fateful episode of the year 2007, the March 9, where the
real knowledge and the vested interests collided. Rest is known to us all.
Later on, after the murder of
Benazir Bhutto and February 18 elections, the relay race of protecting the
interests of the elite classes changed hands. General Musharraf handed over the
torch to Asif Ali Zardari, who had just won a political lottery to the Co-Chairmanship
of Pakistan Peoples Party which otherwise would have gone to the share of his
wife. This torch was a symbol that represented the knowledge of threat to the
elite classes. What is happening to this day is proof enough that Asif Ali
Zardari is running well like an experienced racer.
It is this sort of political
market where there are no rules of game observed and enforced that temptations
abound. Also, it is such a market where no rules of game are permitted to be
enforced and observed that temptations come true. Really, in a country where
there is no constitution and no regard for it in the elite classes; where there
is no rule of law and no regard for it in the elite classes; where there is no
independent judiciary and no regard for it in the elite classes; such a country
is a perfect example of monopolized political market that serves the economic
interests of the elite classes best.
In such a perfectly distorted
political market, the temptations are not only abundant but irresistible. Here
we have money-whitening schemes, concessions, rebates, tax holidays, SROs, loan
write-offs in the economic realm and all that to benefit the elite classes. In
the political realm, we have suspension of rules, under-hand deals, pardons, and
NROs and all that to benefit the elite classes. This makes Pakistan a
thoroughly monopolized political market.
Sure, if there is a
constitution which is respected by all persons and enforced equally to all
persons and situations without any suspension, abeyance, crooked amendments and
abrogations; if there is rule of law which treats all equally without making
any discrimination between them on any count; if there is an independent
judiciary which takes its inspiration from the constitution, keeps its letter
and spirit sacred to its heart, plays as its real custodian in every situation,
and never bows to the whims of both dictators and elected rulers and their mala
fide amendments; in such a political market though the existence of temptations
and those who are susceptible to these temptations may not be ruled out,
however, it may be ensured there that temptations are scarce and those who go
after them be not rewarded, but duly punished.
This perspective helps us
understand what’s going on in the present day Pakistan. It’s a fight and that
too a neck-deep fight between the representatives of the elite classes and the
people. The most deceptive factor and character in this battlefield is that of the
political parties, especially Pakistan Peoples Party. They do politics in the
name of people but indeed they just use them to further their economic and
political interests. Previously, PPP’s Chairperson Benazir Bhutto used her
party’s clout to create “new temptations” for her own benefit which manifested
in her deal with General (retired) Musharraf, and that was in addition to the
existing elitist temptations. After her, it is Asif Ali Zardari who is
safeguarding not only his own and his family’s interests but also the interests
of the elite classes of Pakistan. It needs no mention of his party’s interests.
In his person, it may be his very personal and private temptation what he
gained in consequence of the NRO, but on the social plane, he represents the
elite classes of Pakistan and is protecting their interests.
Thus, it must be clear to us
that for Asif Ali Zardari consolidating NRO, maintaining the status quo by not
restoring the thrown away judges, or restoring them by keeping the PCOed judges
along with them in the same courts, by making the judiciary pliant, pro-elite
and anti-people by way of the ‘Constitutional Package,’ may be his last
temptation, but for the elites of Pakistan it is not their last temptation.
That is why it makes the rule
of law movement so important and so decisive to the fate of us, the people of
Pakistan. It requires that we should clearly recognize who are our friends and
who are our enemies. We should realize that it is rule of games for which we
must stand up beyond our affiliation be it to caste, clan, ethnicity,
community, sect, religion, party or any other thing. It is supremacy of the
rule of games, or the constitution, that will ensure our fundamental rights to
us; it is an independent judiciary that will ensure dignity and justice to us.
A political party which does not favor restoration of the judges, supremacy of
the constitution and rule of law can never ensure us our fundamental rights,
dignity and justice. Only guarantee for the security of our fundamental rights,
dignity and justice is supremacy of the constitution and not the parliament, an
independent judiciary, and rule of law. We must stand up for the judges, who
were thrown away on November 3 last, to get back in their courts to move fast
in that direction. That is simple and straight!
Why to focus on social media that it incited sectarian violence; whereas sectarian outfits and their comfortable fund-raising and publishing ventures may be causing the sectarian violence, as the following cartoon shows:
One of the lawyers from
government side while commenting on the Supreme Court’s judgment restoring the
Chief Justice of Pakistan and quashing of the presidential reference against
him in a talk-show first said: one side has to lose and the other to win. Then,
in the same breath he said: it’s a win-win situation. He said: it’s a victory
for justice, a victory for the rule of law, and a victory for General Musharraf
also. He explained that it’s during the regime of a dictator that such a
historic ruling was made. Probably, he meant that the judgment might have been
influenced in favor of the government. Regardless of what would have been this
lawyer’s stance had government won the case, it’s worth-pondering where the
government stands now.
The reactions from the
government after the verdict show that its thinking is not much different from
that of the lawyer’s. It says it accepts the judgment and it won’t be going for
a review petition or another reference against the Chief Justice. But it’s
eager to take credit for letting the court hear the case on merit and decide it
independently. Also, it seems it’s not in a mood to admit its mistakes, and
beyond that to mend its ways. A strong reason for this belief is its past
behavior and of previous governments’ also. Just like the general sentiment
before the verdict that the court’s judgment would be providing a saving for
the faces involved, especially for the government; the present public sentiment
expects some “balancing act” from the government to neutralize its defeat in
the apex court. But if so happens it will be most uncalled for and making the
It’s time for the present
regime to take stock of its character and performance. As is clear, it has a
long list of negative points to its credit. It’s unconstitutional, it’s
military-led, it’s immoral, it’s manipulated, it’s dictatorial, it’s imposing,
it’s a travesty of democracy, it’s without a social base, and last but not
least, whether it is at its climax or not, it seems like all other military
governments it will leave the people of Pakistan ever more insecure and
deprived, and their problems enhanced and aggravated incomparably.
Additionally, as such
governments derive their power from a deformed constitution; this one has also
been bent upon seeking more and more power. This lust for power has landed it
in self-created crises, the most recent examples of which are the issues of Lal
Masjid and Chief Justice’s removal. As to the Lal Masjid issue, the delaying of
government action against the Lal Masjid brothers and their accomplices
strengthened the stances of the conspiracy theorists. As one of the important
explanations, it was suggested that government itself or some intelligence
agencies were behind its staging. Another such explanation placed the Lal
Masjid issue against the backdrop of judicial crisis and fight against
Be that as it may, the crisis
of Lal Masjid was, directly or indirectly, one of the biggest lapses of the government
and its agencies. As governments in Pakistan have been fond of patronizing
elements which could be used at various occasions for furthering their cause, Lal
Masjid brothers were no different. With time, when they thought they were
powerful enough they started “challenging the state or government’s authority.”
Regardless of the controversy that the whole episode of Lal Masjid was a
concocted drama, what was happening in and around the Lal Masjid made
government’s authority suffer a dangerous setback.
It is appreciable in clear
terms that in executing the ‘operation silence’ the government acted very
cautiously, showed restraint and cared for the lives of a large number of
innocent girls and boys. It’s a victory for the rule of law. Had it bowed down
to the demands of the Lal Masjid occupiers whether due to outside political
pressure or for its own expediencies and let the occupiers escape from the law,
the conspiracy theorists would have been proved right.
However, the restraint and
care for human life do not absolve the government from its negligence or
complicity. Why and how did it let this happen in the heart of the capital? How
come the Lal Masjid brothers got such fire power store and such militants hide
in the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa? Why the Lal Masjid brothers were set free on
the instance of a minister while they were caught in possession of unlawful
arms? Hadn’t one minister who is now a member of the federal cabinet passed a
number of years in jail for the same offence? Why under the nose of government
and its agencies the Lal MasJid brothers were given unbounded freedom to play
with the freedom of local and foreign citizens? Why in the presence of many
cases registered against them the Lal Masjid brothers were never taken to task?
Same is the case with the
Chief Justice’s removal from his office. From the very start, the government
behaved quite irresponsibly. It didn’t care a dime for the constitutional
provisions on the issue. The more one looks into the events unfolded during
March 9 to March 13, the more one is convinced of the fact that it was simply a
case of outright removal of the head of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Isn’t it
enough to show where stood the highest court in the eyes of the present
government? It was very likely that the government had succeeded in getting the
Chief Justice resigned quietly. But for Mr. Justice Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry’s courage, unprecedented in the history of Pakistan, and for the
lawyers’ rallying together on Mr. Chaudhry’s side that the government miserably
failed in bringing the court under its sway.
No doubt, both the crises
were a creation of government’s own inaction and action. Now, it will have to
cope with the unintended consequences unraveling in the form of suicide
bombings, terrorist attacks on the security forces, and far weakened and
demoralized government machinery. For this it is necessary for the government
to accept the Supreme Court’s judgment whole-heartedly in letter and spirit,
and not to jeopardize its independent working in any manner. In the context of
euphoria and hopes of realizing a dreamland generated by the restoration of
Chief Justice and rising level of expectations of the various strata of
Pakistani society from the Judiciary, it is of utmost importance that
government must follow the sentiments of the people.
It is high time for the
government to realize that taking advantage of this moment the crucial issues
such as political instability, terrorism, ethnic and religious strife marring
the integrity of Pakistani society may be resolved amicably. It should see
through this moment optimistically to a new Pakistan emerging out of the future
horizon. It should not fabricate hurdles and put them in the way of this
movement to let there be a smooth transition. Surely, it will beget more
violence. Rather, it should let the judiciary hold free and fair elections to
have the people of Pakistan a government of their choice. Like the Supreme
Court’s judgment that has opened new venues for the aggrieved and deprived
sections of society, smaller provinces and political parties, and as they are
most likely to make use of this as a door where they could knock at for
justice, free and fair elections will prove to be an impetus to this process of
resolution. They will ensure that instead of a government that comes to power
as a result of some deal with the military regime, their true representatives
are there to solve their problems.
Lastly, another significant
issue needs to be addressed here. It is most unfortunate that the US and Western
powers and their statesmen dogmatically believe that it is only a military
government be that of Musharraf or any other General that could contain
terrorists and fight terrorism. Or, as they fear lest the terrorists take hold
of Pakistan’s nuclear installations. This is quite a mistaken view and
outrageous to the people of Pakistan. Constitutionally, Pakistan Army is an
institution that is supposed to work under the civilian set-up. Why doesn’t it
fight terrorism and terrorists under the aegis of a civilian government? Mind
it this civilian government need not be one that is of US or West’s choice.
This must be one that wins the elections fairly and freely, and cares for the
aspirations of the people of Pakistan. That’s the way to the long-term
resolution of the problem of terrorism also, and that is what the present
Pakistani government must heed to make the Supreme Court’s judgment a win-win
[This article was completed
on July 22, 2007. A shortened version of it appeared in the Mint (India) on August 6, 2007.]
member of the national assembly is disqualified by the Supreme Court for
holding a fake / forged degree. See the details and especially her reaction;
she did not a bit feel ashamed of her misdeed:
disqualifies Sumaira Malik in fake degree case
The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) on Monday declared Pakistan Muslim
League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Sumaira Malik as ineligible for holding a fake degree,
Geo News reported.
SC had reserved the ruling in a case pertaining to alleged bogus degree of
PML-N leader and MNA Sumaira Malik. The court also declared 2008 notification
as null and void, declaring her successful in 2008.
three-member bench of apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed announce the
verdict reserved on October 09, 2013.
is worth mentioning here that Malik Umar Aslam Awan had filed civil appeal
against high court verdict given in fake degree case against Sumaira Malik.
Malik was an elected member of National Assembly from constituency NA-69 of
Khushab district in Punjab on PML-N ticket in 2008.
the course of hearing, Hamid Khan Advocate appeared on behalf of applicant Umar
Aslam Awan while Barrister Iftikhar Gilani argued the case on behalf of Sumaira
News, October 28, 2013]
disqualifies Sumaira Malik over fake degree
The Supreme Court on Monday disqualified the ruling PML-N MNA Sumaira Malik for
possessing a fake degree and ruled that she would not be entitled to contest
three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry and comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Gulzar Ahmed,
disqualified Sumaira Malik under Article 62(1) (f) of the Constitution.
court ruled that the PML-N MNA was not qualified to contest the elections in
terms of constitutional provisions and she was not holding the office of MNA
from Constituency 69 with lawful authority, as a disqualified person had no right
to represent the electorate of the country.
on account of such qualification she would not be entitled to contest the
election in future as well, and if she does contest elections and is declared
as successful, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) shall be bound to de-notify
her,” the court ruled in its judgment.
court noted when she submitted nomination papers she was not qualified, as
according to the findings so recorded by the court, she had obtained a BA
degree through impersonation and as it was normally disclosed by the candidates
in the nominations papers, she had proved herself not to be a truthful person.
court after allowing the appeal filed by Malik Omar Aslam, the rival candidate
of Sumaira Malik, declared the notification dated 01.03.2008, notifying Sumaira
Malik as the returned candidate from the Constituency NA-69 (Khushab-I) in the
general elections held on 18.02.2008, to be void.
Malik is hereby declared to be disqualified from becoming member of parliament
with all its consequences and a copy of the judgment be sent to the ECP for
further proceeding in accordance with law,” says the
verdict. The court also ruled that appellant was also held entitled to the cost
Malik was elected an MNA on PML-N’s ticket from Khushab in 2008. However, Malik
Omar Aslam challenged her victory in the Supreme Court, stating that she had
fake academic record and that she hired a person impersonating her in degree
court observed that Sumaira Malik had obtained a BA degree by way of
impersonation meaning thereby that at the time when she filed nomination papers
she was not qualified to contest and had proved herself not sagacious,
righteous, non-profligate, honest and Ameen in terms of Article 62(1) (f) of
the Constitution, as has held in the case of Syed Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi’s case
(PLD 2012 SC 1089).
may be noted that under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic
of Pakistan there are certain disqualifications which are of temporary nature
and a person disqualified under Article 63 can become qualified after lapse of
certain period as mentioned therein, whereas, the requirements of Article 62
are of permanent nature and a person has to fulfill certain
qualifications/conditions to become eligible to be elected or chosen as a
member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), otherwise he is not eligible to be a
Member of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament),” the
News, October 29, 2013]
finds Sumaira Malik’s husband guilty of manipulation
Sumaira Malik’s husband, a government servant and the key position he held when
she did her fake graduation from the Punjab University, found mention in the
Supreme Court judgment that disqualified her as an MNA and found the husband
guilty of manipulation.
Sarfraz was in a position to have his way with university officials who were
dependent on him and he could manipulate matter in the university and actually
did so,” the judgment said.
senior bureaucrat Tahir Sarfraz did for his spouse was nothing out of the
ordinary but was normal as husbands do for wives, without knowing that one day
even such a routine favour would turn out to the great disadvantage of their
ruling said that it may be noted that at the time of submission of application
form for examination of Bachelors of Arts in the Punjab University, Tahir
Sarfraz, was Additional Secretary (Schools) in the Punjab Education Department
and had attested her alleged admission form.
reply, Sumaira Malik denied the allegation as false and her stand was that she
was bona fide graduate and the allegation was highly degrading and vague.
However, the Election Tribunal (ET), which dismissed the petition against her,
referred to the statement of Muhammad Rauf Nawaz, Deputy Controller
(Examination), who appeared as prosecution witness, and also discussed the
details of the record, including the statement of Rauf Nawaz and details of the
document, which according to him was admittedly part of the record of the
judgment said it is important to note that the ET also observed that what is
important to note is that the allegation of impersonation was leveled by the
petitioner, Umar Aslam, against Sumaira Malik for the first time in the year
2002 by way of an application before the Punjab University. These charges were
not proved and after due inquiry in which the both parties participated, her
degree was found to be valid and the charge of impersonation was found to be
baseless. The ET relied upon the university findings.
said that the so called enquiry and its findings are evidently fake, false and
manipulated in order to cover up the impersonation. There is no notice of proceedings
of enquiry for 2002 as is evident from the report of December 10, 2002. She
does not seem to have appeared before any enquiry committee and the writing and
signatures appears to have been procured because she does not remember the
number of committee members, who was its head, what were their designations,
what is thedate of appearance before the committee and who dictated her
to the judgment, her husband at the given time held a very important position
being Additional Secretary (Schools) and the Punjab University is controlled by
the Provincial Education Department as per the rules of Business of the Punjab
Government. Thus, Tahir Sarfraz was in a position to have his way with
university officials who were dependent on him, and he could manipulate matter
in the university and actually did so, the decision said.
Malik’s election in 2008 from Khushab was challenged the same year, but the ET
handed down its decision in her favour in 2013.The apex court did not approve
such long delay and said that the provisions of section 67(1A) of the
Representation of Peoples Act(RPA) are mandatory in nature. This is evident as
the section contains penal consequences for taking adjournments and failing to
decide an election petition within four months.
this regard it is instructive to have recourse to the decision of apex court in
the case of Maulana Nurul Haq v Ibrahim Khalili (2000 SCMR 1305), wherein it
was held that it is abundantly clear that Section 67(1A) is a mandatory
provision of law that entails penal consequences for non-compliance. Therefore,
the ET failed to penalize Sumaira Malik for repeatedly delaying the
decision quoted the law, which said where a petition is not decided within four
months, further adjournment sought by any party will be granted only on payment
of special cost of Rs10,000 per adjournment, and adjournment will not be
granted for more than three days. If the ET itself adjourns it will record
reasons for it. Where delay in the proceedings is occasioned by any act or
omission of a returned candidate or any other person acting on his behalf, the
ET itself, or on application of the aggrieved party, will after issuance the
show cause notice to the returned candidate, within 15 days from the date of
show cause notice may order that the returned candidate has ceased to perform
the functions of his office either till the conclusion of the proceedings or
for such period as the ET may direct.
ruling said that It has been noticed that not only in the instant case but in
so many other identical cases pertaining to elections, timely decisions are not
taken by the ETs because they are ordinarily presided by high court judges, who
remain unable to conclude matters expeditiously on account of their other
judicial commitments, or because of delaying tactics employed by respondents who,
having been declared as returned candidates enjoy the status of member of the
National or Provincial Assembly.
are of the considered opinion that, as held by this Court in Muhammad Usman
Achakzai v Election Tribunal Balochistan PLD 2010 SC 943), such delays in
disposal of election petitions before the Tribunal in fact deprive a large
number of electors of the constituency to have their due representation in the
elected Houses, particularly in those matters where a whole term has been
enjoyed by a winning candidate, who may later turn out to be disqualified on
the decision said, delay causes the people of constituency to be represented by
a person who is not duly elected. This clearly negates the principle of
democratic system of government. There is wisdom in fixing the period for
decision of such cases that there should be no uncertainty for the persons, who
have been elected or who have challenged the election before the ET or the
court and after expeditious disposal of the same. They should consume all their
energies for the welfare of the people whom they represent, instead of wasting
time in pursuing such matters before the courts, it said.
was held that the contention of an appellant that fair hearing was not afforded
to him was without merit and in fact spoke volumes of his propensity to prolong
litigation at any cost. It is thus clear that a legal duty has been cast upon
the ET to reach a conclusion expeditiously by following stringent/coercive
measures of imposing a cost and assigning the reasons if cases are adjourned by
News, October 29, 2013]
a fake degree: Top court disqualifies PML-N’s Sumaira Malik
Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Sumaira
Malik for holding a fake degree. She has proven not to be a truthful person,
the court judgment held on Monday, asking the Election Commission of Pakistan
(ECP) to proceed against her and not allow her to contest elections in future.
had emerged victorious in the elections in constituency NA-69 Khushab in 2008.
apex court said that Malik should be asked to reimburse all the expenditure
incurred while she was in office. The decision was reserved by a three-member
bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on October 9 and was
announced by the court on Monday. Malik’s sister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
(PTI) member Ayla Malik was also disqualified in July for the same reason.
is clear that in order to make herself qualified for contesting elections in
the year 2002, she arranged for a Bachelor of Arts degree by way of
impersonation to fulfil the requirements of Article 8-A of the Conduct of
General Election Order, 2002. After having passed her Intermediate exam in the
year 1981, it was not necessity for her to obtain a BA degree,” the judgment
court further held that as a disqualified person she has no right to represent
the electorate of the country and on account of such qualification, she would
not be entitled to contest the election in future as well. Meanwhile, if she
does contest elections and is declared successful, the election commission
shall be bound to de-notify her win.
to the defendant, the record does indicate that she actually took the BA
examination herself. However, the complainant argues that in the absence of
having her photographs on the application form, registration record, as well as
the record of examination, someone else took the examination on her behalf and
Sumaira Malik procured a bogus degree.
was further argued that if there is any record with the university, it was
falsely created under the direct and unlawful influence of her husband, Malik
Tahir Sarfraz, who was then serving as Additional Secretary, Schools, and had
attested her alleged admission form.
a Punjab University committee had given a clean chit to Sumaira Malik, whereas,
an Election Tribunal also relied on the committee’s findings. However, the case
remained pending before the courts and finally landed in the Supreme Court,
which resulted in her disqualification.
plain comparison of the signature on the ID Card bearing No 128-64-180716,
handwritten samples and the signatures on the admission form clearly indicate
that there is lot of difference….” the court observed in the judgment.
court defended the delay in this case: “It has been noticed that in so many
other identical cases pertaining to elections, timely decisions are not taken
because, inter alia, election tribunals are ordinarily presided by learned
Judges of the High Courts who remain unable to conclude matters expeditiously
on account of their other judicial commitments.”
Higher Education Commission (HEC) had received over a hundred degrees for
verification belonging to legislators from the National Assembly as well as the
figures had revealed that around 50 MNAs and MPAs with alleged dubious or fake
degrees belong to the ruling PML-N. It is followed by PTI, the party ruling in
K-P, which has degrees of 24 MPAs and MNAs being challenged in the courts.
drowned deep in debt, is sinking deeper and deeper with each passing moment.
The situation, if not remedied on a war footing, will eventually lead the
country to an economic collapse. During the last three months, the debt burden
has soared by Rs 980 billion - an unprecedented increase pushing the total
domestic debt up to Rs 15 trillion. This does not include borrowing from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert a serious balance of payment crisis.
The Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) was very critical of the Pakistan People's
Party (PPP) government for increasing the debt burden of the country by 100% in
five years, but its own record during three months is more deplorable - adding
Rs 11 billion a day is awfully gruesome!
On 30th June 2013, the federal government's total domestic debt was Rs 14
trillion which as of today stands at Rs 15 trillion. Increase of one trillion
in three months is terrifying. The total debt burden-internal Rs 15 trillion
and external $62 billion-is not debated in the Parliament. The members seem more
obsessed about arguing whether Hakimullah Mehsud, killed in a drone attack, is
a martyr or not. For them drone attacks are violation of sovereignty but
begging from USA, its allies and international donors is a matter of honour!
One needs to remind them Allama Iqbal's famous verse:
Taqdeer Ke Qazi Ka Ye Fatwa Hai Azal Se
Hai Jurm-e-Zaeefi Ki Saza Marg-e-Mafajat!
[T'is the immutable decree of the Judge of destinies - That weakness of a
nation leads to its subjugation]
Nobody in the National Assembly or Senate is worried about erosion of our
resources consumed largely by debt servicing and how to come out of 'debt
prison' that is main cause of political subjugation. They are wasting words and
energies on non-issues.
When the PPP government was borrowing on an average of Rs 3-4 billion a day,
Senator Ishaq Dar was very critical and now he is resorting to Rs 9-10 billion
a day - still he keeps on accusing his predecessor regime for all the ills!
This monstrous debt burden is going to further enhance allocation for debt
servicing in the next budget. In the current year it is Rs 1154 billion, 61% of
target assigned to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and double the defence budget
of Rs 627 billion. The surge of Rs 325 billion in external debt and one
trillion in domestic debt during July-September 2013 portrays an alarming
situation. The continuous accumulation of internal debt - insatiable desire to
get funds from commercial banks and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) - besides depriving
the private sector from much-needed funds for investment is giving rise to
inflation that touched the level of 9.5% by the end of October 2013.
The data released by SBP for the first quarter of the current fiscal year
--- domestic debt increased from Rs 9.52 trillion to Rs 10.16 trillion in just
three months, showing an increase of Rs 635 billion or 6.7%. Within the
domestic debt, the short-term debt ballooned by Rs 611 billion or 11.7%.
short-term debt that was Rs 5.2 trillion in June 2013 increased to Rs 5.8
trillion. The biggest jump came in the market treasury bills after the
commercial banks refused to reschedule their loans.
--- debt under the market treasury bills for replenishment of cash increased
from Rs 2.27 trillion to Rs 3.1 trillion, a net increase of Rs 750 billion or
--- external debt increased by Rs 325 billion or 7.3% - as against June 30
level of Rs 4.48 trillion whereby the external debt increased to Rs 4.83
trillion. Out of the total external debt, the major increase was in the
long-term debt that increased from Rs 4.48 trillion to Rs 4.8 trillion, a jump
of Rs 325 billion or 7.3%.
--- 7% devaluation of local currency against the US dollar resulted in massive
jump in the long-term foreign debt. By end June the US dollar was equal to Rs
99.20 that devalued by Rs 6.90 to Rs 106.1 a dollar by end September 2013.
It is worth mentioning that even entering into a tough deal with IMF has not
helped Pakistan to convince other international lenders to be 'generous'. The
World Bank delayed sanction of one billion dollars making it conditional with
energy and taxation reforms. Two development policy credits - Jobs and Growth
& Power Sector Reforms - each worth $500 million are lingering on for want
of approval by the Board of Directors of the World Bank. The upfront
disbursement of these, in a single tranche, could help strengthen Pakistan's
reserves. The government after IMF programme hoped to receive these immediately
to improve the fast dwindling foreign currency reserves that plunged to $4.299
billion - insufficient to meet even one month's import bill. The massive dip in
foreign currency reserves, despite IMF's payout, has left Pakistan and the IMF
At the time of signing the IMF 6.7 billion programme, Pakistan expected to
receive additional $6 billion to $8 billion from the World Bank, the Asian
Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and other bilateral donors over
a period of three years. These institutions, after the termination of IMF programme
in 2010, stopped lending to Pakistan. Now even after the renewed IMF programme,
the World Bank has subjected approval of its funds to accelerating of FBR's
efforts for tax compliance by the rich, revamping of Planning Commission and
power sector-specific reforms. The linkage of these funds with taxation reforms
has already dampened the hopes of the government as broadening of tax base
received a serious setback in the first three months - FBR's lack of
agility, Business Recorder, October 25, 2013.
The only way to come out of prevalent mess is to accelerate growth, generate
employment, enhance tax revenues, and stop financing luxuries of elites and
losses of public sector enterprises (PSEs). But the present government like
PPP-coalition government is not serious about it. During its election campaign,
Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) made tall claims that on assuming power it will get
rid of the "cancer of external debts". However, PML-N government is
knocking the doors of international lenders more vigorously than PPP.
Internal debt has already breached the limit of 60% imposed under the Fiscal
Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act 2010. The law requires the government to
prepare and revise the debt management policy every year in January but nothing
has been done as there is no debt reduction plan. Making things worse, the
government is not inclined to impose fiscal discipline and reckless borrowing
continues to pay off liabilities of the corruption-ridden inefficient PSEs.
According to SBP, the funding of PSEs has inflicted economy heavily, increasing
the stock of total debt & liabilities (TDL) by Rs 500-600 billion.
All the governments - civil or military alike - have failed to end debt
enslavement by raising revenues even to the extent of Rs 6 trillion, though
actual potential is not less than Rs 8.5 trillion [FBR's Year Book
2012-13, Business Recorder, September 27, 2013]. Unless it is done,
Pakistan can never come out of the 'debt prison'. The Senate was informed on
January 23, 2013 that over 3.39 million individuals had National Tax Numbers
(NTNs), but only 885,999 filed their returns. The former Finance Minister,
Abdul Hafeez Sheikh admitted that the number of income tax filers had
drastically reduced to 1.6 million by 31 December 2012. The Senate was told
that "a large number of businesses and individuals, who were regularly
filing their income tax returns, are now avoiding their legal obligations by
either under-declaring or incorrectly declaring their assets and incomes".
After admitting widespread tax non-compliance, no action was taken against any
official of FBR. There is no will to eliminate wasteful spending on monstrous
government machinery and inefficient PSEs. The way the government is behaving,
our foreign debt would reach US $75 billion in 2015 and domestic debt would be
Rs 20 trillion. The policies of appeasement towards tax evaders, money
launderers and plunderers of national wealth and monopolisation of resources by
Riasti Ashrafiya (State Aristocracy) have
pushed the country towards disaster. The word 'austerity' is not available in
the dictionary of the State Aristocracy-indomitable militro-judicial-civil
complex and men in power. The habit of living beyond means-our national
addiction-has turned the nuclear-powered Pakistanis into a nation with a
beggar's bowl. When foreign lenders see the lifestyle of our ruling elite, they
immediately show indignation-it is hard to believe for them that the rulers of
a nation surviving on borrowed funds and on the brink of bankruptcy are capable
of displaying such flamboyance.
Reluctance to collect taxes from the rich and mighty, rather giving them free
benefits and perquisites at State's expense, is worsening the miseries of the
poor. There is no scarcity of resources as propagated by the rulers to shift
blame on others, but the real cause is outlandish living of the elites off
taxpayers' money. Look at residences of judges, generals and high-ranking civil
officials with army of servants and fleet of cars. Wasteful spending on State
Aristocracy and unwillingness to tax the rich is playing havoc with the
economy. Behind the present chaotic socio-economic and political situation in
Pakistan, amongst other factors, is an ever widening gulf between the rich and
the poor. With every passing day more and more people are being pushed below
the poverty line, our rulers unashamedly waste billions on their comforts and
The present crisis testifies to the failure of power-hungry, money-greedy
politicians and incompetent, inefficient and corrupt bureaucrats. Even the
so-called technocrats always take the first flight to Washington after creating
a mess and tearing apart the economic fabric of the country - where are Shaukat
Aziz and Abdul Hafeez now? In this bleak scenario, Riasti
Ashrafiya is not ready to surrender extraordinary perks and
privileges enjoyed by them at the cost of taxpayers' money. How can rulers and
bureaucrats living in fortified containments, completely oblivious of the
ordinary people's plight, feel the pinch of life's hardships?
We cannot come out of debt-enslavement unless we restructure our State on the
principle enshrined in Article 3 of the Constitution - from each according to
his ability, to each according to his work. For this, everyone should be given
work with a fair reward in return. There should be a complete change in the
style of governance - the President, Governors, Prime Minister, Chief
Ministers, ministers, parliamentarians, and high-ranking government officials
should be given 'consolidated pay' liable to tax just like the income of an
ordinary citizen. Palatial residences occupied by them should be sold or
converted into income-yielding assets, and all perquisites of civil servants
and public office-holders should be monetized to remove the burden off our country's
broken financial back.
article first appeared in Business Recorder on November 8, 2013. The writers,
lawyers and authors of many books, are Adjunct Faculty Members at Lahore
University of Management Sciences.]
Reproducing this article in my Blog does not amount to my agreeing with the
authors' point of view.
not a normal nation and live down inside the proverbial well made of our own
presumptions. Thus we are a perfect subject matter for psychologists to study. In
addition, we are never ready to admit that, instead declare others abnormal.
That makes us own a stinted mindset in our heads. What’s wrong with this
mindset is that it never allows us to live normally, to have introspection, to
see ourselves in a critical mirror, to identify our mistakes, to understand our
inconsistencies, to grant others the same rights and freedoms that only we
rightfully claim to possess and enjoy. It is this mindset that does not let us
come out of our obsession of a charismatic nation (for whom things will happen
on their own without any effort), and finally it is this mindset that never
permits us to move ahead and improve ourselves.
the present crisis and the moral bankruptcy which is more than self-evident;
let’s have a look at some crucial evidences. It was in 1870 that Sir Syed Ahmad
Khan complained: “When in the courts of Hindustan Hindus come to give evidence,
the judge even though he be a Muslim, has to think about the truthfulness of
his evidence, but when comes a Muslim witness and he tells his name and the
judge is almost certain that he will be lying and giving a false evidence until
and unless by some other manner his truthfulness establishes. Muslim
merchandise sellers as compared to other nations lie a lot, and cheat. They
would never reveal the original price of an item and remain intent upon
charging as much price from the buyer as is possible.”
in 1895 Sir Syed again resents: “For people to take part in trade depends on
many a factor. Most important of them is that they are totally honest, and with
all their truthfulness wholly dedicated to the flourishing and expansion of
this factory of trade. My friends will pardon me if I say that Muslims are
rarely endowed with this quality.”
not Sir Syed as we do not honor him the way it is due to him, here is Sir Dr.
Allama Muhammad Iqbal, our holdall sort of thinker/philosopher. In his Stray
Reflections, A Note-Book, he writes and it is in the year 1914: “Of all the
Muslim communities of the world they (‘Musalmans of India’) are probably the
meanest in point of character.”
one most recent evidence: Dr. Israr Ahmad of QuranAcademy,
in 1999, “On this earth the most hypocritical nation is Pakistani.”
greater evidence is required to convince us that we need to change this mindset
if we want to go ahead and make progress in any field of life! As I have
written elsewhere the first pre-requisite for this process to begin is to
create an environment where the existing set of laws and rules are able to be strictly
implemented without any let or hindrance, absolutely with a blind eye.
is crucially necessarily that a process of accountability be set in motion with
retrospective effect and for this purpose an independent commission consisting
of judges and prominent intellectual figures of impeccable integrity, with no
political affiliation, and with proven commitment to the constitution of Pakistan be set
up. Its mandate should not be less than investigating the constitutional and
financial irregularities since the date the constitution of 1973 came into force
and recommending trial in the courts for due punishment. This point in time may
be August 14, 1947,
but then a frame of reference will be needed for the inquiry commission to help
with. Not only will that help sift the lawless and corrupt elements from the
life of Pakistanis but discourage future adventurers also. That’s a
long-standing demand too.
not least, to break the iron-shell of this mindset, academic and intellectual
freedom at any cost be ensured to each and everyone. That again brings us back to
the strict enforcement of fundamental rights secured in the constitution. These
rights especially freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of
assembly need to be promoted and fully protected. That will let a hundred
flowers blossom and search for truth to take its due course without any fear of
persecution and stopping on this or that pretext by this or that lobby claiming
to be the sole possessor of Pakistan and its ideology. This may put us on a
track leading to a new Pakistan
with an open, tolerant and absorbing mind the essential preconditions for
change and improvement in our society.
I completed this article on April 2, 2007,
after about a month when on March 9, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice
of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, refused to budge before the mightiest
generals of Pakistan.
Like millions of other Pakistanis, I too was
excited; yeah there was a way out of the quagmire Pakistanis have been put into
by the Riyasati Asharafiya (State Aristocracy). However, I was trying to see
this development on the political horizon of Pakistan from a very different
angle: from the perspective of a theory of knowledge. The title I gave to this
article was: Pakistan – victim of a dangerous theory of knowledge
I sent this article to The News, which carried it by
a different title:
Judiciary’s first ever NO
Here is this article:
Pakistan – Victim of a Dangerous Theory
He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything.
That points clearly to a political career.
[George Bernard Shaw,
People are difficult to govern because they have too
[Lao Tzu, 604 BC - 531 BC]
our views of everything lies a theory of knowledge.
have views about the world, and what exists in and beyond the world. We have
views about man, his nature, his destiny, and his place in the society and the
world. We have views about society, about people and about the things people
believe in and do not believe in and about things people do and do not do. We
have views about everything. Sometimes we are aware of the implications of our
views and sometimes not. But most of the time we are never aware of the theory
of knowledge lying behind our views.
make a cultural conviction: The onslaught of Western media is ruining our
values. We express an economic view: Concentration of wealth in a few hands is
dangerous for the society. We utter a political statement: People of Pakistan
are not fit for democracy; they are worth a dictatorship. All these statements
are based on certain theories of knowledge.
analyze the political statement. Just as most of the elder people in Pakistan
believe that younger ones must not be allowed freedom, they need to be dictated
in everything; because they will make mistakes, harm themselves, and will be
misled. Likewise, the intellectual, economic and political stalwarts preach
that people need not be given free choice; it will put them in the way of harm,
and they will not be able to use this freedom positively and constructively.
And the governments in Pakistan practice this philosophy.
political statement derives its strength from this knowledge: that people are
incapable of living life independently and responsibly; so they need to be
supervised and controlled in their choices and behavior. Further, this presupposes
that some people are endowed with higher reason while most of the lot have no
grain of reason. They will harm and kill themselves. Thus making use of this
theory the few selected ones seize the freedom of others.
remember a chat with a graduate student that surprised me to the utmost; but it
helps us realize the social stratification embedded in our mindset. Also, it is
this thinking that makes us believe and think and practice that this
stratification must be kept in place at any cost. This is sort of intellectual
elitism. The student was contending that individual freedom will lead people
astray, they need supervision and control. My view was that freedom will
ultimately make them learn and behave responsibly. He was sharp enough to
derive the conclusion: Then, they all will become wise. . . The fear he was in
was not that all the people will become wiser, but that he, a wise one, will no
more be wiser than others.
is just one aspect of the theory of knowledge in vogue in Pakistan. On one level,
this theory states that elders are know-it-all. Sure, by elders are meant those
who are older in age. This cliché also helps keep the authoritarian structure
intact. Respect and obey the elders! Why only elders? Why not everyone, be he a
kid or a young one or an old one? Everybody needs and deserves respect
irrespective of his age, gender, status, or any distinction or discrimination.
theory of knowledge, on the one hand, implies that age and particularly
life-experience make older people wiser, they must be respected and obeyed; on
the other hand, it defies the facts of experience of humanity that reason,
understanding, wisdom, knowledge are not characteristic of age or
life-experience. These faculties may be attained in any age (of course, not in
childhood) and with little or no experience at all. Or, it may be added that,
as almost all of the elder people are not wise or knowledgeable, only a
fraction of them could be counted as such.
aspect of this theory of knowledge, and the most dangerous one, is that the one
who is powerful is right. It is fatally implicative. That the powerful is the
wisest one! That the powerful is the most knowledgeable one! That the powerful
is the omniscient one! That the powerful is the Truth!
it known here that powerful is not only the one who is the mightiest, but he is
one also who happens to exercise any authority, rightfully or wrongfully. This
authority may be derived from age, or claim to life-experience, or social or
monetary status, or degreed knowledge, or power, be it military or physical, or
any such things, or even to claimed honesty and piety.
political leaders and dictators issue declarations that they honestly want to
help the poor; or as generally people opine in Pakistan that our country needs
some honest leaders and rulers; I am forced to thinking that as ‘with fine
sentiments bad literature is made,’ with fine feelings bad government is made.
This is yet another aspect of the theory of knowledge under discussion: that the
honest and the pious one is right; he is knowledgeable; he is wise; and, he is
the possessor of Truth.
all these and other theories like these try to base knowledge on the source
from where it is issuing, emanating, and endow the source a status of
authority. Its argument goes thus: because the authority says so, it is right.
In political arena, the most glaring example from the recent history of
Pakistan is the doctrine of necessity. Since a powerful one has done the act X,
the act X is not only right, but it must needs be righted. This opens the way
to a life of might is right. What we are experiencing today in the form of rule
of the influential elites is this life of unreason and unfreedom.
implications and consequences of such a theory of knowledge are far reaching
and most destructive. In the first instance, this blocks the search for Truth
in every domain of life and learning. This confines knowledge to some
individuals and to some cliches. This kills the urge to a happy life. This sows
in people an unyielding appetite to live the life of others and not their own;
and as a result, they are intent upon controlling and dictating other people.
This creates an oppressive state inside every individual within an oppressive
state. They become a reflection of the state they live under. This is the most
dangerous state of affairs since this turns every individual at war with other
theory of knowledge that can bring us out of this inhuman situation is actually
no theory of knowledge. This is a better option because that theory will be
competing with the other theory and basing one’s ideas and behavior on such a
theory the status of which is yet to be determined is dangerous too. This
no-theory-of-knowledge is just a way of living; or it may be termed a theory of
conduct. This is like agreeing upon some initial code of doing something before
setting out to doing that something as a learning experience.
pragmatist, John Dewey, was right when he said that the ‘most pressing problem
of humanity is living together.’ Unless one renounces social life, he is bound
to live among people very unlike him. Personally, I think that the most
difficult learning we obtain the most difficult way is that people are
different from our own selves. To reconcile with these differences and
accommodate with these people with theses differences is what we need to learn
to live a happy life.
this entails a theory of conduct: that we ought to behave in a manner that does
not interfere with other persons’ freedoms. In other words, this amounts to
saying that every individual is endowed in himself with certain freedoms that
no other person can lay claim to other than he himself alone. For sure, every
one of us has a claim but to his own life; that no person owns life of other
person/s unless they authorize him to do so. Likewise, everyone is free to live
as he wishes and do as he likes provided he does not intrude into such freedoms
of other persons. This theory of conduct holds true in every domain of life, be
it social, political, economic or any other. Indeed, this leaves undisturbed
the state of other theories of knowledge, lets them compete with one another,
and to be discussed, debated, refuted and adhered to by its proponents and opponents
alike. But one thing it does not submit to is encroachment upon these freedoms
of any person irrespective of his age, gender, beliefs, status, and distinction
course, now to protect these freedoms of every individual we need an authority.
This authority is nothing but Law. This law provides for these basic and
inalienable freedoms to all equally. The law that curtails or limits these
freedoms in any way is repugnant to its own purpose. This kills its own spirit.
The people who are invested with the authority of using these laws are bound by
the same laws. They are not free to act and behave as they choose. They are not
kings, or rulers; they are simply in a contract with the people whose freedoms
they are supposed to protect. This makes them responsible and liable to the
lawful authority instituted by the law of the land. In case of any violation,
they are to be tried by the same laws like everyone else. Sure, they are not
accountable to the people they have been obligated to serve. They are the
offender of the law and it is only law that can put them to any trial.
it is these laws that provide for the establishment of various institutions and
see to it that these institutions run independently and within their mandated
jurisdiction, and that no outside influence intervenes with their functioning.
Actually, these institutions form and determine the life and soul of a society,
its overall health. If the institutions are made to bow down before the rulers,
be they dictators or democrats or any other individuals or groups, or if the
institutions play to the whims of the powerful, this is definitely symptom of a
sick society where a happy life is not possible. Probably, it is this context
that helps explain why an individual cannot live happily even in isolation
under such circumstances.
this March 09, Pakistan has been a chronically sick society produced
unseemingly by a dangerous theory of knowledge discussed briefly in the above
paragraphs. But after this March 09, Pakistan is a patient with the hope of a
fast recovery. I say hope, because if this hope dies, the patient will lie
dormant for a long time to come. Isn’t it the clearest silver lining that sixty
years’ history could not cite an instance of “NO” to the rulers from the most
important institution of Pakistani society, the Judiciary; and now there is a “NO”,
the first ever “NO” form the Judiciary of Pakistan and lo that has been taken
up like a symbolic flag first and foremost by the community of lawyers and
mediamen secondly? As it is beyond the pale of power politics that is why
political parties are in the process of being exposed on this issue of “NO.”
They know very well they too cannot afford this “NO” from the Judiciary, and
sure they do need a subservient judiciary.
there are other lessons also: first of all, people have forsaken the fear of
saying NO; they have come to know that there is a community clad in black coats
and another community with pens and mics in hands and cameras on shoulders that
can face the powerful elites ruling over Pakistan exclusively; they have come
to realize that it is the emancipation of the Judiciary from where the process
of rebirth of a new Pakistan may set in motion; they have come to feel the
importance of the moment as has been phrased as the “defining moment.” It may
be noted here that these lessons kindle another hope that will survive the
death of the Judiciary in Pakistan if it happens.
if the Judiciary emerges triumphant out of this battle, it will have to take up
many tasks to help a new and truly free Pakistan to be reborn. The first task
is to ensure rule of law in Pakistan. The second is to ensure to the people of
Pakistan their fundamental rights provided in the constitution of Pakistan.
This is what people in return expect from the Judiciary: it must protect their
life, their property, and their basic inalienable freedoms both in the first
instance from the encroaching state, and then from encroaching groups and
individuals. Not only this, people also unawarely want such changes in the
constitution which will ensure to them their inalienable freedoms such as
freedom to think and express themselves, freedom to earn and spend as they
wish, freedom to pursue happiness as they choose, and freedom to live freely.
It will be an uphill task for the Judiciary to protect people from elite groups
of various sorts: social, cultural, intellectual, religious, political, and
fact, the Judiciary will have to show clearly that it is no part of any theory
of knowledge, this one or that one; or it is no accomplice in the promotion or
pursuance of any theory of knowledge whatsoever. If it happens to be a party to
any theory of knowledge, it will be a fatal blow to the spirit of humanity our
society is already short of because since 1947 Pakistan has been a victim of
above-discussed dangerous theory of knowledge that deprived its people of all
what was human in human beings, and made them a people with no values at all.
This means that the Judiciary will have to stick to the theory of conduct
instead. It will have to make sure that this theory is taken and implemented in
letter and spirit fairly and strictly. In other words, it will have to protect
the inalienable freedoms of the people of Pakistan. It should get ready and
prepare for the same!