Category Archives: Elite

Supreme Court condemns Haqqani

On 30 December 2011, exercising its constitutional jurisdiction, the Supreme Court of Pakistan constituted a Commission for investigating the matter of Mr Haqqani’s authorship of a memo which was addressed to the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The memo was delivered to the Admiral through General (Retired) James Logan Jones (former US National Security Advisor). 

The Commission reported back to the Supreme Court in relation to Mr Haqqani who, in the wake of the memo scandal, resigned as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US on 22 November 2011. The following paragraphs of the Commission’s report were published in the Supreme Court’s Order

Final Conclusion and Findings:

(1) The Hon’ble Supreme Court appointed this Commission to probe, “to ascertain the origin, authenticity and purpose of creating / drafting of Memo for delivering it to Chairman of the Us Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.”

(2) It has been incontrovertibly established that the Memorandum was authentic and Mr. Haqqani was the originator and architect of the Memorandum. Mr. Haqqani Sought American Help; he also wanted to create a niche for himself making himself forever indispensable to the Americans. He lost sight of the fact that he is a Pakistani Citizen and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States of America, and therefore his loyalty could only be to Pakistan.

(3) Mr. Haqqani’s by offering his services as part of a proposed ‘national security team’ to a foreign government, voicing the ‘great fears’ that ‘Pakistan’s nuclear assets are now legitimate targets’ and thus seeking to bring ‘Pakistan’s nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime,’ stating that ISI maintains ‘relations to the Taliban’ and offering to ‘eliminate Section S of the ISI and to help ‘ pigeon – hole the forces lined up against your interests’ created fissures in the body politic and were acts of disloyalty to Pakistan, that contravened the Constitution of Pakistan.

(4) The purpose of the Memorandum was to show that the civilian government was friends of America, but needed to be strengthened to prevail upon the army and the intelligence agencies, and to be able to do so American help was required to set up a civilian national security team, to be headed by Mr. Haqqani.

(5) There can be no two views that terrorism must be contested, terrorists fought, nuclear proliferation opposed, civilians (and not the military) determine foreign policy and the ship of State guided by civilian hands at the helm; however, what is not acceptable is for Pakistan’s Ambassador to beseech a foreign government to with impunity meddle in and run our affairs.

(6) We may observe that Mr. Haqqani has chosen not to live in Pakistan, has been working in USA, where he appeared to have made his life, held no property or asset in Pakistan, held no money (save a paltry amount ) in a Pakistani bank, but despite having no obvious ties to Pakistan was appointed to the extremely sensitive position of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA, and in addition to being paid a salary and accompanying emoluments was handed a largesse of over an amount of two million dollars a year.

Mr Haqqani was allowed to exit Pakistan with the leave of the Supreme Court and is now expected to return to Pakistan at the agreed time for appearance which, according to the Court, was four days’ time. Under the Order, the case has been adjourned for two weeks’ time.

Opponents of Pakistan’s free judiciary would consider the text of the order to be siding with the military. But it is clear that Mr Haqqani was acting outside of his mission, to represent Pakistan as a sovereign nation, as Ambassador in America. The battle between the judiciary and government will continue and is an interesting contest to observe.

It is pretty disgraceful how people with no real connection to Pakistan can serve in high offices of the state. The Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry CJ presiding, explained at paragraph 7 of the Order that

Prima facie it seems that Mr. Hussain Haqqani, former Ambassador of Pakistan in USA has to answer about the findings so recorded by the Commission. He was allowed to leave the country with the commitment vide order 30.1.2012 that whenever the Court requires, he will appear in person within a period of four days, therefore, we direct his presence on the next date of hearing, which shall be intimated by the office according to the rules.

In the meantime, the people of Pakistan, who suffer the multiple problems of inflation (increasing petrol and food prices) and unemployment will probably just be happy to have some water and electricity to get through the hot summer.

The Court’s Order is available below

The menace within

Pakistan was created to tolerate all people regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity and gender. However, in order to achieve this ideal, and this is palpable from recents events, our country has not matched neighbouring India in building our state institutions as a democratic nation. But this was because Pakistan was caught off guard when treachery struck us and “they”, the Indians, had “Joe”. So we might have an excuse.

Sadly, the military has dispossessed the Pakistanis of Mr Jinnah’s legacy of freedom. In that way Pakistan is still wedded to the vestiges of imperialism. In India, however, Pandit Nehru (or “Joe”) expeditiously settled the country’s constitution, whereas in Pakistan the seeds evil were sown when the venal Muhammed Munir CJ appeased his military masters by murdering democracy in its nascency. Munir upheld Ghulam Muhammed’s dissolution of the legislature in 1954 (for the Constituent Assembly’s failure to produce a constitution within a reasonable timescale) and in doing so he legitimised perpetual tyranny and violence in Pakistan.

I will not expand too much upon what Munir CJ did but he affirmed dictatorship – for example, in Dosso v The State, he used Professor Hans Kelsen’s theory of “pure revolution” to legitimise Ayub’s 1958 military coup d’état. Kelsen, of course, was truly repulsed by this and disowned what Munir falsely attributed to him. Continue reading

Congratulations to Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma

Prior to the Government of India Act 1935 British imperialists had ruled Burma as a part of India. Through the 1935 Act Burma was formally separated from “British” India and it failed to develop as a democratic state. The country gained independence from Britain on 4 January 1948 but it suffered a coup d’état on 2 March 1962 and the junta has ruled ever since. Continue reading

Mrs Clinton, Tax, and the Floods

Although, in the past, one found it difficult to be a fan of Mrs Clinton it seems that she is making herself amenable to being liked in her newer face as the American Secretary of State. When she came to speak at an obscure American liberal arts institution called Vassar College in the early 1990s almost no one went to hear her speak because everyone had had a late night partying.

On a more serious note Pakistan has suffered catastrophic floods. This calamity displaced more than one-tenth of the country’s 160 million strong population. The flooding left up to 2,000 people dead and affected up to 20 million.

Consequently, on the streets of western capitals such as London, efforts for collecting relief funds for Pakistan’s floods are numerously observable. And quite rightly Mrs Clinton observed that the elite in Pakistan is not concerned about the predicament that the country finds itself in. The Pakistani rich are more concerned with their private armies and barbed wire protected premises.

In every country the issue of how public money is collected and spent lies at the heart of political debate and in turn free and fair political debates fashion democracy. In our country this seems not to be the case. Having observed Pakistan’s tendency in not collecting taxes due from the rich, Mrs Clinton also said that the Pakistani government had to expand its tax base so more revenue could be collected to help reconstruction efforts with the floods.

Mrs Clinton found it “absolutely unacceptable” that well-to-do Pakistanis avoided paying their fair share of taxes. And no doubt the poor of Pakistan will agree. Like the the legendary Benazir Bhutto, Mrs Clinton is quick to learn how be become popular in Pakistan.

Mrs Clinton said: “It’s absolutely unacceptable for those with means in Pakistan not to be doing their fair share to help their own people while taxpayers in Europe, the United States and other contributing countries are all chipping in.”

The EU and US have contributed some $450m (£280m) each to the Pakistan flood aid effort and the EU has also offered a trade deal to lift certain duties.

Mrs Clinton went on: “The most important step Pakistan can take is to pass meaningful reforms to expand its tax base.

“The government must require that the economically affluent and elite support the government and people of Pakistan.”

The rich in Pakistani society are the worst offenders. Landlords and industrialists routinely just pay the tax man and not the tax the government should be paid. In fact many Pakistani businessmen in the cotton trade (incidentally 15% of the cotton crop was destroyed by the floods) routinely boast about evading taxes in the expensive restaurants and clubs of South Kensington.

Following the floods, the entire infrastructure of the country needs to be rebuilt with a total reconstruction bill that could potentially be tens of billions of dollars.

But it is hoped that the American foreign minister is not just using the occasion of meeting EU official to pay lip service to the victims of the flood.

Pakistani Law and Democracy will return to the theme of Pakistan’s tax system to duly expand on it later.

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