June 14, 2008

Zardari vs Gen Zia

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 9:26 pm
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Saturday, June 14, 2008
The proposed increase in the number of the Supreme Court judges from 16 to 29 reminds me of an anecdote. When the position of the adjutant general of the Pakistan army fell vacant, General Ziaul Haq asked for the names of the probable from the VCOAS General Beg, who sent him the names of 11 generals of his choice. Seeing the list Gen Zia asked his chief of staff, General Rafaqat, as to whose name was not in the list. After finding the missing name, he appointed Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar as the AG — somewhat to the dismay of Gen Beg.

A few days later, Gen Zia sent an application of the daughter of a politician seeking admission in the Armed Forces Medical College to Gen Beg with the remarks to accommodate her. Gen Beg forwarded it to the AG, under whom the college came, with the remarks: “The president desires her to be admitted”. Gen Kakar known for his uprightness regretted as she was not on the merit list. Gen Beg, pleased in his heart at the ‘defiance’ of the AG appointed by Gen Zia himself over his shoulders, sent the file to the president saying that the AG did not agree to the admission.

After some days, Gen Zia walked unannounced into the office of the AG and asked him about the girl’s admission. The AG still adamant said: “Sir, under the rules she cannot be admitted, but if you order, I will do it”, and he pushed the file to the president for his orders. Gen Zia couldn’t muster the courage of flouting his own rules and felt uncomfortably cornered. “But I am sure there must be a way out to it”, he persisted. “Sir, I have examined all options but she is 79th on the merit list and we have only 60 seats”, Gen Kakar said.

Almost resigning to the inevitable Gen Zia started walking slowly towards the door, but before reaching it he suddenly turned back and ordered the number of the seats to be raised to 80 from 60. This was within his powers to do. The girl got her admission. Gen Zia increased the intake of the AFMC from 60 to 80, so has Mr Zardari raised the number of the Supreme Court judges from 16 to 29. So what if the number is more than that of the US or India? After all Pakistan is the largest Muslim state in the world and on the top of it a nuclear power too!

Col (retd) Riaz Jafri



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