Category Archives: Sindh High Court

Elite Pakistani Judiciary Unapproachable For Common Man

On 26 February 2014, the President and Members of the Managing Committee of the Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi hosted in the High Court Lawns what they described as a “Welcome Dinner” in the honour of the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

The Honourable Chief Justice of Sindh Mr Justice Maqbool Baqar made a fine speech about constitutionalism and in making his point that Pakistan is undergoing a traumatic period in its history he went as far as quoting from the historic case of A & Ors v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] UKHL 56.

Similarly, the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan followed his learned brother and he too made a fine speech about how Pakistan was under threat from Islamic extremism and how we needed to strengthen our resolve to get through hard times. He also made splendid remarks about how much him and his Court like exercising their constitutional jurisdiction and emphasised that the bench and bar together would bring justice and harmony to Pakistan (by upholding the fabled rule of law of course).

He also said rather fleetingly that the minorities’ rights should be protected.

What, may we please ask with the greatest of respect,  have their Lordships done about the persecution of the Ahmadis then?

Nothing it appears …

And this deceptive, misleading and misrepresentative write up in Dawn – SC empowered to intervene in public matters –  on what happened in the “Welcome Dinner” cannot conceal the honest truth. Fine words were spoken by the elite judiciary of Pakistan but in fact these pretty words lack substance.

Why?

In fighting for the little freedom that exists in this country today, we of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party have shed our sweat and blood without hesitation or expectation of reward.

In the High Court Dinner we sent our delegate (the President Karachi Division) with our greetings and warm regards to the learned judges. We also sent a proposal to modernise the way the law is recorded in Pakistan. We would have liked it if our proposal to lobby for a “Legal Institute of Pakistan” website (to achieve parity with Legal Institute of India, a free website following the phenomenal BAILII model which records all the decisions of the courts and interlinks them) had been heard.

But it was not to be: our proposal was never heard because some people from Sindh High Court Bar Association would not allow our representative access for 5 minutes to the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

How does the bench explain allowing individuals with well known criminal antecedents (but inexplicably enrolled as advocates of the High Court) to hover around it? They were not stopped from mingling with the senior judiciary but rather disgracefully seemed to be running the show.

But this is Pakistan (ye Pakistan hai): a corrupt and primitive country where there is no law. It is a disgraceful and pitiful place where honest advocates of lengthy standing representing public causes are not allowed to speak to the country’s senior most judicial figure (who claims to descend from the English legal system and speaks fondly about the House of Lords).

But the contradiction for the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani is that his words are hollow whereas the words of his beloved House of Lords are of great substance because its judges and the judges of its successor UK Supreme Court do actually take the time and trouble to meet everyone and don’t retreat to some VIP enclosure to talk to people of questionable character instead. Can there be a VIP area for justice? Does the judiciary also operate an exclusive domain for the very important thugs and cheats of this country?

And unlike the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan, the Gora (i.e. white) judges also don’t use the opportunity to be the Chief Guest to create media frenzy in relation to their colleague’s son’s book about the Constitution by describing him as “energetic advocate” and by singing his praises.

Overall the dinner hosted in the High Court Lawns by the President and Members of the Managing Committee of the Sindh High Court Bar Association, Karachi was a farce and it really cast serious doubts about the claims advanced by the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan and the Honourable Chief Justice of Sindh that they will somehow bring harmony to Galaxy Pakistan because they don’t even want to meet the members of their own bar; leave alone hear any proposals in respect of modernising/digitalising legal reporting which we might have.

We cannot say that we stand with the judiciary if it surrounds itself with thugs and crooks. They – i.e. the judiciary – did hang, or “judicially murder”, Bhutto and will never be able to wash their hands off his blood …

And more than the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, Pakistan’s greater challenge is that it has to save itself from endemic corruption. Of that there can be no doubt. But the bench failed to mention this point. If the point was made at all it was purely expressed as a rebuke to the country’s corrupt political elite: But what about corruption in the judiciary My Lords? Are you incapable of addressing that. Or are you just too well fed and blind to care about such things in your VIP Ivory Tower?

Sorry, but our country cannot be a dictatorship of the judiciary. With the greatest of respect that is unacceptable to us citizens of Pakistan; the Mazdoors and the Kissans. We fail to see why the learned and respected senior judiciary could not take the trouble to dedicate some time to answering some questions from a large and vibrant audience of advocates? In comparison, the senior judiciary in the UK or the US always allows some time for questions from the audience. This is only logical because if not why make a speech at all then?

We were very disappointed by the dinner hosted in the High Court Lawns by the President and Members of the Managing Committee of the Sindh High Court Bar Association in the honour of the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

It was a Real Joke but at least the Chief Justice of Sindh Mr Justice Maqbool Baqar managed to mention A & Ors v. Secretary of State for the Home Department [2004] UKHL 56. Or was he talking about A & Ors v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (No 2) [2005] UKHL 71?

Guess we will never know because the venal thugs of the Sindh High Court Bar Association would not let our workers, who are accomplished advocates of the Sindh Bar Council, to ask him which case he was in fact referring to? Our workers/members were abused and manhandled by the goons of the Sindh High Court Bar Association.

There is no justice in Pakistan and we at the bar would like to take this opportunity to inform the bench of this in our post today. Indeed we rely on our right to freedom of expression under the Constitution of Pakistan.

We are informed by advocates across the border in neighbouring India that their judiciary does in fact meet the common advocate of the local bar. Shame on our country where choori and badmaashi are the Order of the Day. Nevertheless, even for insulting our representative, we would like to thank the venal thugs of the Sindh High Court Bar Association for their lovely “Welcome Dinner”. Cheers for the invite.

The “Welcome Dinner” in the honour of the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani was disgraceful and scandalous.

Grand words are not enough: the bench needs to show much more commitment to fighting corruption and nepotism rather than tolerating such vile behaviour and promoting it. Because it has a nexus with the Sindh High Court Bar Association (some elitist club claiming to be furthering the rights of the advocates of Sindh) rather than the Sindh Bar Council (the appropriate licensing authority for all provincial advocates), the senior judiciary was unapproachable for the common man on the day.

Fatehyab Ali Khan, Advocate High Court of Sindh

President, Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party

Condition of widows in Pakistan

Dr Masuma Hasan

Being a widow is not a stigma in Pakistan either in religion or under the law. Marriage in Islam, which is the religion followed by the majority of the population, is not considered as sacrosanct. It is viewed as a civil contract between two individuals which can be dissolved. Thus the extreme sanctity attached to marriage in certain other religions does not operate to turn a widow into an outcast or be held responsible for her husband’s death. Traditionally, widows have been encouraged to re-marry and marriage to a widow has always been considered as an honourable act.

According to the latest Census (1998), in a population of 132.4 million, there were 2.7 million widows in the female population of 69 million. The largest number, 442,179, were found in the age bracket 75 years and above, followed by 416,773 in ages 60 to 64 years, and 326,176 between 50 to 54 years. However, Pakistan’s population in 2010 is estimated at over 170 million so the number of     widows has also increased.

Supportive influences

The law of the land, as embodied in the Constitution of 1973, and all previous constitutions, does not discriminate between the rights of women and men. The Constitution guarantees equal rights to both and rules out discrimination on the basis of sex. It empowers the State to make special laws for the protection of women and children and take steps to ensure the full participation of women in all spheres of national life and protect the marriage, the family, the mother and the child.

A widow inherits one-fourth of her husband’s property if she has no children, and one-eighth of his property if she has children. The Government has made humane provisions for the widows of its employees. After the death of a Government employee, his widow receives the family pension until her own death. Widows of lower paid employees also receive a one-time grant for rehabilitation from the official Benevolent Fund. In the private sector, which works for profit, there are no universal rules governing support for widows of deceased employees, but given the culture of philanthropy, some short-term provision is probably made. Continue reading

For Abbu

On 22 September 2010 Fatehyab Ali Khan, my father, suffered a cardiac arrest in Karachi. On the 20 September I had been to see my rheumatologist in London and she had given me an injection in my right knee. In my last conversation with my father on 21 September 2010 I discussed my injection with him. He told me that he was not feeling well (“betay meri tabyit theek nahin hai”). I informed him that Dr Nutall who administered the injection to my right knee was beautiful and that she wore red lipstick which complemented her long brown hair. Even in his illness my father was tickled by my description of the doctor. Goodness knows he saw so many of them towards the end of his life. In June 2010 I saw my father for the last time. I made him promise that he won’t die. He told me that he would try but that he could not control time.

Regrettably, and very unexpectedly, because of the cardiac arrest of 22 September 2010, I lost my father on 26 September 2010. Fatehyab Ali Khan was 74 years of age when he died and most people who called to commiserate called his “a good innings”. I was making arrangements for him and my mother, Dr Masuma Hasan, to visit me in London soon. But alas this was not to be. My fear, which I sought to mitigate through prayer (odd for a non-religious person), finally materialised. I had lost a parent and it was daddy who went first. He had promised my mother this: that he would die first. He also said it did not matter who died first between him and my mother because either way throngs of people would attend the funeral. And this was to be the case at his.

Since I was working in London and unable to return home because my visa application is under consideration by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, I could not even return home to bury and mourn the loss of my father. Instead, I just sat in the new rented flat I moved into near London’s Turnpike Lane tube station crying as I made sense of the ton of belongings which I had placed in plastic bags for the purposes of moving house.

But I cannot say that I was entirely alone. People who I had never known called me from all over the world to share the loss of my father and to celebrate his achievements in fighting injustice in Pakistan.

Then there were those who I did know and who knew him. My childhood friend from our neighbourhood in Karachi Kubair Ahmed Shirazee offered me great advice and was a great source of strength for me in such testing times. Kubair’s older brother Agha Abid Shirazee was murdered in Karachi just the month before. Moreover, Kubair lost his father when he was very a very young lad.

My friend told me that “Asad don’t worry … uncle was a great dad, and the only thing for you to remember and cherish is that when you were growing up your father was always around and that is all that counts.

Moreover, in our eulogy we remembered how there were the parties in which Benazir Bhutto was the chief guest and how daddy did get quite angry with us when we polished off all the champagne! All the meetings which took place over the decades in our house in KDA Scheme 1 in Karachi where we played and grew up were also revisited by us in a central London local whose name momentarily escapes me.

So as a helpless person who could not participate in the last rites of his father, I thought of what I could do to honour the memory of one of the few national politicians in Pakistan who was honest?

Miraj Muhammed Khan said in his recent speech in the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs that Fatehyab  was a man who loved his principles and loved his wife Masuma; most importantly Miraj said that his old friend loved directly from the heart (“dil se mohabat karta tha”). I can add to that my father loved Pakistan, its people, its hustle and bustle, its frontier towns, and most of all its politics. He was also caring family man and loved his children and family.

It was him who set precedents in a despotic and dictatorial state which have enabled its downtrodden citizens to fight for their rights and to not be scared of standing in the path of some big general’s loaded gun: Both Ayub and Zia would no doubt be forced to agree. That too armed only with a copy of the 1973 Constitution as Mr IA Rehman wrote on his death.

In the Sindh High Court random people informed me that my father was a “legend and a hero” when I visited the bar room there with the great man himself in 2008. People just sat around us and asked for permission to be allowed to leave. It was not something which I, a cheeky and insolent younger son, had expected! Having abhorred and repudiated dictatorship for decades made him a national hero and Fatehyab Ali Khan will always be remembered for his contribution to Pakistan’s politics. He took great relish in introducing me to members of the Sindh High Court bar as a “barrister” because he had obtained admission in Cambridge University and Middle Temple to read law but was not allowed to travel because the government refused to issue him a passport because of his student politics. Revenge for him by introducing his younger son as a barrister was bitter sweet indeed.

In order to remedy my non-attendance at his funeral I have chosen to write in memory of Fatehyab Ali Khan on this site. I have chosen to keep the domain name as “mazdoorkissan” because this was the name of his NWFP Hashtnagar based party which is a secular and socialist outfit.

I will use this space not only to write about legal and democratic issues connected to Pakistan, but also global political and legal events which are inevitably connected to Pakistan’s future. I am sure that my father would have approved of this and I hope to write this blog to represent the views taken by moderate and right-minded Pakistanis.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to this website can contact me with their work and I will be happy to add it on as long as it resonates with democracy which for me is an acceptance of all people irrespective of their race, religion, and gender etc.

The contents of this space will represent the poor of Pakistan, its mazdoors and kissans and it is my objective that their voices will be heard from here.

Thanks.

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