CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

June 25, 2008

Nawaz and PCO judges

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:07 pm

THE NEWS

JUNE 26, 2008

EDITORIAL


Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday put off the election in NA-123 following a petition filed by the federal government against the disqualification of Mian Nawaz Sharif by the Lahore High Court. The SC judges, in an interesting observation during the proceedings, remarked that if Mr Sharif had personally appeared in their court, they would have disposed off the case in two or three minutes. That appears to be the crux of the entire matter. Mr Sharif refuses to recognize the judges who took oath under the PCO of November 3 while the PPP, the federal government and now even the Supreme

Court itself want him, may be just once, to recognize, even implicitly, that he can work with the PCO judges. The petition in the SC was filed not by Mr Sharif or his party but by the government because the PPP-PML-N coalition has come into severe strain after the disqualification of Mr Sharif. In an angry reaction to the disqualification his party MNAs staged a walkout of the National Assembly on Tuesday. This was the first boycott of proceedings by the party inside the NA while others staged protests across the country, some supporters appearing outside the Lahore High Court wrapped in chains. What the LHC judgment has done to the overall political situation in the country is worth noting. While the lawyers’ movement was facing some fatigue after the long march and people were confused at the sudden wrapping up of the otherwise magnificent show in Islamabad, the LHC decision against Mr Sharif has again provided robust momentum to the country-wide movement against the PCO judges.

As it has done since the coalition was formed in March this year, the PPP immediately entered into parleys toto the Supreme Court which put off the election, providing a temporary relief but the standoff continues. Mr Sharif still refuses to appear in the SC and the PPP will have to get a decision in his favour if the coalition is to be saved. The question is, how long can this process continue? There is a limit to PML-N’s patience, which now indeed seems to be running out. The party believes the disqualification of Nawaz is a result of presidential game-playing and is deeply frustrated by the PPP’s reluctance to either remove the president or restore the pre-Nov 3 judges. Within the party, the hardliners – buoyed by recent surveys that show a rise in PML-N popularity – are also suggesting it may be time to part ways with the PPP. It is even being said that Nawaz Sharif had never okayed the increase in the SC bench included in the finance bill, but had in effect been duped into supporting it.

All this having been said some of the points raised by the LHC in its detailed judgment are cause for thought. The court has stated Sharif, now a vocal advocate of judicial independence, had in the past ridiculed the institution and had filed a false affidavit with his nomination papers, stating he was not disqualified from contesting elections. The problem is that the lack of confidence in the independence of the judiciary complicates the situation. As it stands at present, the picture is a rather cloudy one. The PPP-PML-N partnership is once more under severe strain, the courts are perceived as not being neutral, the president is suspected of pursuing his own agenda – and given this set of grim circumstances, it seems the political crisis we are caught up in is not likely to vanish any time soon. One quick resolution of the crisis would be for the PPP to move quickly and swiftly on its constitutional package, so that the restoration and appointment or continuation of the PCO judges is done and over with.

attempt and pacify its disgruntled partner. After discussions with Mian Nawaz Sharif and PML-N leaders the government went

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Musharraf toeing US line to break Pakistan: A Q Khan

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:06 pm

THE NEWS

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Updated at  
Thursday, June 26, 2008

News Desk

RAWALPINDI: President Pervez Musharraf is working on the US agenda of dismembering Pakistan by 2015, a news agency reported here Wednesday quoting renowned Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.

It quoted Dr Khan as having told an Urdu-language weekly published from New York in a telephonic interview that Musharraf is doing whatever the US wants. He said the US plans to break up Pakistan by 2015.

Bitterly criticising the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said it is not an international organisation but belongs to the Americans and Jews and he is not bound to appear before the IAEA.

According to the report circulated by the South Asian News Agency, Dr Khan said that Libya is lying as Tripoli did not get anything from Islamabad. He said they purchased nuclear hardware from the person from whom Pakistan had purchased nuclear hardware. He said he admitted it not because of any fear but in the interest of the country. He said at that time he was told that if he did not accept the allegations, the country might be bombed.

Dr Khan, who is respected as a national hero in Pakistan, said that now it is time to show the real picture to the nation because the other side is spreading false stories one after another. He said that his report would not remain under wraps like the Hamoodur Rehman Commission report because he has told each and everything to his family and the nation would soon know the truth.

About the threat to his life, Dr Khan said he is a true Muslim and believes that life and death are in the hands of Almighty Allah, therefore, he is not afraid of death. About procurement of conventional weapons by Pakistanto the nuclear weapons and are being bought just to receive commissions. In this regard, he referred to the construction of flyovers in Karachi and said that in the areas inhabited by the poor there are big potholes all around. When big projects are executed, he added, these are meant to receive commissions.

Commenting on the personality of Benazir Bhutto, Dr Khan said she was a wise woman and had she been alive, the situation would have been different now. He feared that she might have been eliminated because she had announced to investigate the affairs of the nuclear programme.

About Nawaz Sharif, Dr Khan said he is a brave man and remains committed to whatever he says. Regarding Asif Zardari, he said that he does not know much about him. He profusely praised Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and said he is a great person. About his oath under the PCO (Provisional Constitutional Order), Dr Khan recalled that some companions of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) were non-believers before embracing Islam but they cannot be remembered as non-believers.

Online adds: Dr Khan said Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by those very elements that were responsible for forcing him to confess smuggling of nuclear plans. He disclosed that Israel had once been warned of the destruction of Tel Aviv if it ever tried to attack Pakistan. despite having nuclear weapons, he said they have no value as compared

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NAWAEWAQT

JUNE 26, 2008

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NAWAEWAQT

JUNE 26, 2008

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NAWAEWAQT

JUNE 26, 2008

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NAWAEWAQT

JUNE 26, 2008

EDITORIAL

Why not a democratic NRO?

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:03 pm
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DAWN

JUNE 25, 2008

EDITORIAL
IS there any other country besides Pakistan where law and constitution are a source of such chaos? Double trouble: that is what the Sharifs now have. Monday’s Lahore High Court (LHC) judgment that went against Nawaz Sharif is less unsettling for the PML-N than the implications of Shahbaz’s election to two seats in the Punjab Assembly. While the PPP felt disappointed by the LHC verdict, the PML-N termed the decision ‘political’. Also a source of embarrassment to the PML-N is the issue of enhancing the number of judges in the Supreme Court to 29. The party voted for the budget and for the 29-judge provision and now seems to be regretting it. Its members have a point. Voting for the budget does not mean an approval of the concept behind having 29 judges. If that is so, they should put the issue behind them instead of letting it become a source of acrimony in their ranks. It is time the PML-N leadership realised the ground they have lost over the last four months. On the morning of Feb 19, their position was unassailable. Punjab was in their pocket, and the PML-N had emerged as the second largest party in the country. When the federal government was formed they were co-sharers of political power. They could have used this situation to consolidate their position and achieve gradually whatever their political aims. Instead, they let the advantage slip when they chose to quit the federal cabinet. What the Sharifs should know is that the more they focus their attention on one point — the restoration of the judiciary — the more they play into the hands of Asif Ali Zardari. The PPP co-chairman has used his position effectively and often kowtowed to the Sharifs to advance his own agenda carefully.

If the PPP is sincere about letting the second biggest party in parliament play its due role it should help the Sharifs overcome the legal hurdles. The petitioner who challenged Nawaz Sharif’s participation in the by-election accused him of being ‘dishonest, a defaulter and a convict’. Evidently, the LHC tended to agree with him. The only way out of this legal tangle is adopt a political approach — in other words go in for a democratic version of the NRO. If President Pervez Musharraf could frame a national reconciliation law by decree for the benefit of the PPP and hundreds of MQM convicts and under-trials, there is no reason why the coalition government cannot enact a similar law through parliament for the Sharifs’ benefit?

Pakistan faces enormous challenges. The food inflation, power outages, the situation in Fata, and the menacing tone of some of Pakistan’s “allies” in the war on terror need a leadership combined in thought and action. Instead we have a hopelessly divided and confused leadership that makes the people wonder whether those they voted for have anything in mind for the nation’s good.

Kurram tragedy

Filed under: DOMESTIC — civilsocietypakistan @ 2:21 pm
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THE NATION

JUNE 25, 2008

EDITORIAL

THINGS are bad in the Kurram Agency. Eleven hostages were killed by their abductors, their bodies dumped on a roadside in the Faqir Khusa and Aroli areas. The victims belonged to the Toori tribe and were abducted several days earlier in an ambush when they were heading off to Parachinar. From the corpses, it was evident that these were tortured by their kidnappers before being killed. Were this any other part of Pakistan, the mere fact that the victims belonged to one sect would have raised fears of reprisals against the other sect. But in the area fears would have been raised even if the sectarian variable were not in the equation; tribal affinities would drive most of the ensuing violence.

Still, the sectarian issue cannot be ignored. The Kurram Agency has fallen prey to vicious sectarianism of late, specially after the entry of non-tribal elements in the whole mix. The ancient tribal system could resolve disputes; tribes from the different sects have even known to unite against others in certain conflicts. But not anymore. Outsiders have upset the scheme of things in the region and mechanisms to stop such conflicts are fast disappearing. Though there is much trouble in most of FATA, there is also violence between the religious militants themselves, a sectarian clash in the Kurram and a sub-sectarian conflict in the Khyber agency. It is the former that might spill over to another agency.
Speaking of violence spilling over, though the situation in the settled districts of the NWFP is far from ideal, it has been observed that the ANP government’s management of the law and order situation there has yielded many positive results. And the party’s leadership has complained on a number of occasions that it is being kept out of the loop as far as FATA is concerned. It would be a good idea to take them on board, if not let them lead the federal government’s efforts to find a solution. 

 

 

The court verdict (EDITORIAL)

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 2:18 pm
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THE NATION

JUNE 25, 2008

EDITORIAL

THE Lahore High Court verdict disqualifying PML(N) Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif from contesting the by-election due tomorrow, comes amidst growing perception that the forces averse to democracy are acting from behind the scenes to prevent him from entering the Parliament. A full bench meanwhile kept an election petition against Mian Shahbaz Sharif pending and allowed him to continue to serve as the Punjab Chief Minister till the Election Commission had decided about his eligibility. The Bench proceeded ex-parte against the Sharif Brothers since they failed to appear before the court personally or through their counsel despite having been issued notices. It also turned down applications from some of their supporters, including lawyers and Punjab Assembly Speaker to contest the case. Mian Nawaz and Mian Shahbaz have been facing legal challenges to their nominations since the EC allowed them to stay in the run following a split verdict by a two-member LHC election tribunal on the objections raised against them.

Mian Nawaz was judicially barred from contesting the by-election after the court received two petitions separately filed by an independent candidate and a voter who sought his disqualification for being a defaulter and a convict. The verdict was widely resented by the political leadership and the people representing various walks of life. PML (N) leaders and workers staged protest rallies across the province while the party legislators boycotted the proceedings of the National and Punjab Assemblies. Leaving aside the merits of the case, it is going to have far-reaching ramifications for national politics and can also adversely affect the present ruling coalition, which is already shaken by mutual distrust. PPP spokesman Farhatullah Baber went to the extent of saying that his party was disappointed by Mian Nawaz’s disqualification, describing it as a conspiracy against democracy. Mian Shahbaz, who will continue to have a Damocles’ Sword hanging over his head, has refused to appear before the election tribunal, saying he would not appear before the election tribunal even if he risked losing the Punjab government. As he pointed out, the court decision would strain relations between the PPP and PML (N), his party colleagues accused the coalition partners of acting as silent spectators.
The Sharifs’ counsel Ashtar Ausaf Ali meanwhile told BBC on Tuesday that the federal government would challenge Mian Nawaz’s disqualification in the court since he stuck to his stance that he would not appear before the PCO judges. It is going to be a test case for the PPP leadership, which presides the government at the centre, to not only dispel misgivings about itself but also save the coalition from falling apart and foil conspiracies against democracy.

 

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