Tag Archives: Supreme Court of Pakistan

Dr Masuma Hasan: In Memory of the Legendary Fatehyab Ali Khan, Federal Urdu University, 30 September 2015

Dr Masuma’s speech at Federal Urdu University, 30 September 2015, as delivered: Mr Raza Rabbani, Dr Pirzada Qasim, Dr Suleiman Muhammed, members of the audience. Some friends had suggested that this meeting and debate to honour the memory of Fatehyab Ali Khan should be held, as it was held last year, in the University of Karachi. But Fatehyab was not only the first elected president of the Karachi University Students’ Union, he was also president of the Inter-Collegiate Body, so he represented the entire student community. Therefore, it was in the fitness of things that the Vice Chancellor decided to hold this event in the Federal Urdu University. Here, I want to praise Asif Rafique and the members of his team who have arranged this event with so much devotion and care. My association with Fatehyab lasted for 50 years ─ first as students in Karachi University and later during our marriage. In politics, there were very few who matched his integrity and honesty of purpose. Since his youth, he was in the forefront of every democratic movement in our country.

During his political career, he made numerous sacrifices, was persecuted and subjected to many deprivations. He faced trials and convictions by military courts, long prison terms and externments but never compromised on his political principles. He was fearless and never yielded to political threats or pressure of any kind and he had that remarkable courage to refuse which is found in few people. He never changed his political party. He joined the Pakistan Workers Party and when it merged with the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party, he remained its president until he passed away in 2010. Fatehyab was a people’s hero, a brilliant orator, and he wrote extensively on constitutional, political and contemporary issues. During the Movement for Restoration of Democracy, which was launched against Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship, he made his greatest contribution to politics. That decade saw the most relentless persecution of Fatehyab and all those who were fighting for democracy and the rule of law.

A consensus builder, he tried to bring all like-minded political parties on one platform so that, together, they should work against dictatorship and establish a democratic order in Pakistan. He always championed the supremacy of the 1973 Constitution, both from political platforms and in the courts of law.

In his personal life, Fatehyab was remarkably free of prejudice ─ religious, sectarian or social. Yes, he was prejudiced in favour of his political ideology. He used to smile and say that he was a nazaryati person. He was extremely cultured and soft spoken ─ even when he opposed somebody, he did so with utmost grace. There were no temptations in his life ─ not for power, pelf, authority, property or money. He was completely immune to such temptations.

What is the message of this meeting today? We must ask ourselves this question. We should not forget that if we see any institutional autonomy, emerging democratic values, some freedom of thought and expression, it is the result of the struggle waged by Fatehyab, his colleagues, and countless political workers whose names have faded from our memory. The young people of this generation cannot, perhaps, even begin to comprehend, how difficult and cruel that struggle was.

The quatrain you see on the screen behind you, was written by the late Habib Jalib for Fatehyab and his externed colleagues ─

Fiza mein jis ne bhi apna lahu uchal diya

Sitamgaron ne usey shehr se nikal diya

Yehi tu hum se rafiqan i shab ko shikva hai

Ke hum ne subh ke rastey mein khud ko dal diya

About politics in Pakistan, he often recited this couplet by Mohsin Bhopali:

Nairang-i-siyasat-i-dauran to dekhiye

Manzil unhe mili jo shareek-i-safar na the

But perhaps that is not true, because this large gathering testifies to the fact that true recognition belongs to those whose sacrifice and devotion we are celebrating today.

In spite of the trials and tribulations which he faced during his lifetime, Fatehyab was never disappointed. He used to read this verse:

Hame yaqin hai ke hum hain chiragh-i-akhir-i-shab

Hamare bad andhera nahin ujala hai

And that same light glimmers today on the faces of the students gathered here who are the future and hope of our country.

Happy Birthday Fatehyab Ali Khan

Speaking in 1962

Speaking in 1962

Fatehyab Ali Khan, President of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party and a legendary figure in the public and national life of Pakistan, passed away on 26 September 2010. A visionary in politics, his relentless struggle for democracy, fundamental freedoms, justice in society and the rule of law forms a glowing chapter in the history of our country. His support for the cause of the oppressed and under-privileged will long be remembered. Today, i.e. 19 May, is Fatehyab’s Birthday.

Fatehyab’s family migrated from Hyderabad Deccan to Pakistan after the Partition and settled in Shikarpur and Karachi. His bold stand against injustices in the local education system made him prominent at a very early age. Gifted with unusual organizing skills, persuasiveness and charm, he joined the National Students Federation and soon assumed leadership roles in the student community. He was elected as Vice President of Islamia College Students’ Union (at that time the president of the union used to be an official), President of Karachi University Students’ Union and Chairman of the Inter-Collegiate Body. He was a brilliant debater in both Urdu and English.

During the students’ movement against Ayub Khan’s martial law, when political parties were quiet spectators, Fatehyab shot to fame as a national figure and the leader of the movement. He was tried as Accused Number One and convicted by a military court in 1961. After he had served his sentence in Bahawalpur Central Jail, along with other activists, he was twice externed from all parts of the country, except Quetta. He was denied a passport to study abroad by the regime and ultimately took up law as his profession in Karachi.

Fatehyab was in the forefront of all movements against dictatorship in the country. His greatest contribution to politics came during the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD). He was a fearless fighter against Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship. The Mazdoor Kissan Party, of which he was president, was a member of the MRD alliance. On 12 August 1983, he courted arrest in Empress Market Karachi as part of MRD’s civil disobedience campaign. He worked tirelessly to organize and spread the movement and to develop a consensus for the alliance to work from a common platform in the future, which was not to be. The decade of the 1980s was a period of internments, externments, and numerous prison terms for Fatehyab. He was the only signatory of the MRD declaration who was tried and convicted by a military court. However, he never yielded to pressure and never compromised on his political principles.

Fatehyab served his prison terms in the 1980s in Karachi and Sukkur jails but whenever he found respite, he turned his attention to The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, of which he had become a member in 1972. In 1980, Ziaul Haq had taken over the Institute through a presidential ordinance, turning it virtually into a government department. Between prison terms, he led a determined and courageous legal campaign to get the Institute restored to its original independent and non-official status. After many setbacks, his persistence triumphed and the presidential ordinance was declared ultra vires of the Constitution by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1993.

In 1995, Fatehyab was elected as Chairman of the Institute’s Council, a position he held until 2009. As Chairman, he jealously guarded the independent character of the Institute, countering all pressure with the strength of his own personality. Free from traditional prejudices, Fatehyab was a great supporter of the rights of the marginalized, including the women’s movement, and stood by every initiative for women’s empowerment.

He was a prolific writer and has left behind a rich archive consisting of numerous constitutional petitions filed by him against martial law, articles on constitutional and international issues, political analyses and statements. These documents reflect not only his own commitment and contribution but also the dilemmas of the times in which he lived. These historic documents in the struggle for democracy will be exposed in a forthcoming book by his wife Dr Masuma Hasan.

Mahmood Shaam Remembers Fatehyab

Legendary journalist Mahmood Shaam recently remembered Fatehyab Ali Khan and Rana Justice Bhagwan Das (who only recently passed away last month). Mr Shaam mentioned the great loss that the country suffered when Fatehyab Ali Khan passed away but said that his transparent politics will never be forgotten.

 

Raja Rental Bites The Dust

ImageAs Pakistani politicians endlessly hark on about what ought to be done about the crisis in the country (by raising their concerns and also their voices on live television), yet again the answer has come from the Supreme Court. In the past – for example in the 1950s –  the Court has been accused of destroying Pakistani democracy. In recent times, however, the apex Court has certainly found its feet in fighting against the corrupt politicians of our country.

It is common knowledge that the current president Mr Zardari, who no longer enjoys the immunity of the NRO, must remain in power to be able to avoid criminal proceedings for his corruption and crimes. So it is not at all surprising that he desperately wants to cling on to his presidential seat so that he can keep up his venal designs. Otherwise, outside of the president’s house, Mr Zardari will have to leave Pakistan but ordinary Pakistanis will want to see his name placed on the Exit Control List.

And it is also no secret that “prime minister” Raja Parvaiz Ashraf (in inverted commas as Mr Raja Parvaiz Ashraf’s name is now on the Exit Control List) is in reality no longer the prime minister. Raja Rental, as he is popularly known, is finally being hauled up for his venal role in impoverishing our country by bilking the taxpayer for $5 billion. It was about time the avaricious figure of Mr Ashraf paid for his sins. Raja Rental should be tried in a criminal court and awarded a harsh criminal sentence that matches his grave crimes.

Today’s Order, in respect of the rental power plants case, passed by the Court made clear that:

5. We may clarify here that the Chairman NAB is already under contempt notice for non compliance of the judgment in the RPP Cases and copy of the same had been delivered to him as back as in the month of March, 2012, therefore, he should have been careful, however, under the circumstances, we issue notice to the Chairman NAB to explain as to why he has falsely used the name of the Supreme Court with a view to remove the IOs namely, Asghar Ali and Kamran Faisal. It is added that prima facie above said two IOs remained associated with the Investigation Reports under the supervision of the Col (R) Subeh Sadiq, D.G against Raja Parvaiz Ashraf, Ex-Minister for Water and Power and 15 others in Case No.2(3-RPP)/SOD/2012/NAB and Mr. Shahid Rafi and 21 others in case No.2(4-RPP)/SOD/2012/NAB.

7. It appears that prima facie the Investigating Officers are not being allowed to ensure the implementation of the judgment of this Court in letter and spirit, therefore, we direct the Additional Prosecutor General, NAB that he should undertake all the necessary steps during the course of day and submit Investigation Reports to the concerned authorities and to get approved the challans/references against the accused persons and to cause their arrest without any hesitation and put up report on 17.1.2013.

The Court’s judgment and order in the Rental Power Plants case – also known as HUMAN RIGHTS CASE NO.7734-G/2009 & 1003-G/2010 and HUMAN RIGHTS CASE NO. 56712/2010 – are available below. The Urdu version of the judgment is available here.

The Court’s Order of 15 January 2013 is available below.

The full judgment of the Rental Power Plants case is available here and below.

Supreme Court Approves Swiss Letter

Today, Wednesday, 10 October 2012, the Supreme Court has approved the letter to be written to the Swiss authorities to open the corruption case against the President Asif Ali Zardari.

The irony, of course, is that Zardari looks set to win the election again! So the writing of the letter is something which is likely to take second place to that fact.

But, despite the emollient effect of the letter in the short-run, it is equally likely that the standoff between the government and the judiciary, will not disappear anytime soon.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Asif Saeed Khosa J, approved the draft of the letter in the implementation of the NRO case.

The vetted draft highlights that the Swiss authorities should consider the letter – sent by former attorney general Malik Qayyum – null and void and that it should be assumed that the letter had not been written and sent at all.

Whilst the draft set that all cases be reopened, it was emphasised that – subject to Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution – President Zardari had the right to defend himself in legal proceedings.

The Court noted that the draft document was satisfactory and that it was the first time that a genuine attempt had been made to write the letter.

The case was adjourned until 14 Nov 2012.

Apex Court gives Government until 10 October for Swiss Letter

Today, Friday, 5 October 2012, the Supreme Court of Pakistan extended the time to prepare a final draft of the letter which is to be sent to the Swiss authorities so that the case against President Asif Ali Zardari, can be reopened. 

A five-member bench of the court headed by Asif Saeed Khosa J vetted the letter’s draft submitted by Law Minister Farooq Naek but the Court took the view that the draft was not in spirit of its Order. According to Dawn News, the Court thought the:

[T]he first and second paragraphs of the draft were in accordance with the court’s order but the third paragraph conflicted with the first two paragraphs as well as with the court’s order.

Khosa J remained that the last paragraph of the draft letter needed to be rewritten and he was optimistic that the matter was close to being resolved.

The Court did not entertain a request by Naek to protect the contents of the letter from public disclosure but, instead, granted his request by giving the government a few more days.

Granting the minister’s request, Justice Khosa said the matter was nearing a resolution which was why the court would give the government more time. It seems that the government and the judiciary are getting on a bit better these days.

Let’s wait and see ..

The New Order: Rapprochement at Last!

So the Mexican Standoff is finally showing signs of easing up. The deadlock has been broken and – in light of Gilani’s sacking, on 19 June 2012, by the Supreme Court – the parties to the conflict are beginning to see eye to eye. Détente, however, has not come easily for the Zardari regime. Yet, despite the costs to the PPP government, better sense has ultimately prevailed. 

In order to implement paragraph 178 of the NRO Judgment, the government has taken the initial step of withdrawing the “unauthorised and illegal” letter (written in 2008) by the former attorney general of Pakistan (Malik Qayyum) which called upon the Swiss authorities to retract the corruption cases against Zardari. The new letter, however, which must invite the Swiss authorities to reopen the corruption cases against Zardari remains outstanding.  

The five-member Supreme Court bench (headed by Asif Saeed Khosa JSC and including Ejaz Afzal Khan, Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Gulzar Ahmed, Muhammad Ather Saeed JJSC) gave the government a few days to prepare the text of the letter and also intimated that it might review the developments in the case sooner rather than later. The Court intends to vet the letter prior to the document being dispatched to Switzerland. Yet despite these new developments, Zardari will still be immune from prosecution until he leaves the President’s office.

But the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who informed the apex Court of the federal government’s intention to withdraw the Malik Qayyum’s 2008 letter (through the venal figure of federal law minister Farooq Naek) has been excused from attending court in person on 25 September 2012 – which has been scheduled as the date for the next hearing. Likewise, the “federal law minister” has also pleaded that he needed more time to write the said letter.

A subservient and sheepish Raja Pervez Ashraf is reported to have been heard thanking the judges for granting him an earlier grace period of three weeks. And, hanging on by a thread, he was heard begging for more time to implement the NRO judgment and avoid Mr Gilani’s fate. Hence, all the fuss that Raja Pervez Ashraf made by stating that would not, under any circumstances, write the letter ultimately amounted to nothing. He was just bluffing. But it was not as one sided as that and the Court was impressed by the prime minister’s attitude and viewed it as a positive development in the case.

In times of high inflation and increasing poverty, the rapprochement has eased the heightened state of tension in the country. Many people say that the Supreme Court acts at the army’s behest.

And so what?

After its historic role in using the judiciary to weaken the democratic process, in future, the army’s involvement in the strengthening of civilian institutions, of which the Supreme Court is one, can only be an emollient thing for Pakistani politics.

The Supreme Court’s Order is available below

The Mexican Standoff …

There is a consensus in the country that the PPP will win the next election and President Asif Ali Zardari will retain his office: if there is an election that is. But on the other hand, there is also wholesale resentment and disgruntlement with rising inflation and the exorbitant cost of living: for the most part Zardari’s performance is quite pitiful. Most honest Pakistanis are, in fact, opposed to what the PPP has “achieved” and appalled by its retrograde policies for the country.

So let’s examine what has been happening. The former prime minister Mr Gilani was removed from his office by the Supreme Court’s order dated 19 June 2012: see posts here and here. Subsequently, the present prime minster Raja Pervez Ashraf took office and was summoned (in Criminal Miscellaneous Application No. 486 of 2010 in Criminal Appeal No. 22 of 2002) by the Supreme Court on 12 July 2012 and the matter was adjourned until it was heard in August by Khosa J.

But under the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 (“the constitution”), state functionaries enjoy the following protections;

248. Protection to President, Governor, Minister, etc. (1) The President, a Governor, the Prime Minister, a Federal Minister, a Minister of State, the Chief Minister and a Provincial Minister shall not he answerable to any court for the exercise of powers and performance of functions of their respective offices or for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions: 

Provided that nothing in this clause shall be construed as restricting the right of any person to bring appropriate proceedings against the Federation or a Province.

(2) No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Governor in any court during his term of office.

(3) No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the President or a Governor shall issue from any court during his term of office.

(4) No civil proceedings in which relief is claimed against the President or a Governor shall be instituted during his term of office in respect of anything done by or not done by him in his personal capacity whether before or after he enters upon his office unless, at least sixty days before the proceedings are instituted, notice in writing has been delivered to him, or sent to him in the manner prescribed by law, stating the nature of the proceedings, the cause of action, the name, description and place of residence of the party by whom the proceedings are to be instituted and the relief which the party claims.

Yet whatever deadline for writing the letter to the Swiss authorities is set by the Supreme Court and whatever the government musters up in its support, the above protections must be balanced against the larger interests of Pakistan’s people.

Thus, one must not lose sight of articles 5 and 6 of the constitution which are set out in the following terms:

5. Loyalty to State and obedience to Constitution and law.
(1) Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen.
(2) Obedience to the Constitution and law is the [inviolable] obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan.

6. High treason.
[(1) Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.]
(2) Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.
[(2A) An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.]
(3) [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.

So it follows that this the resolution of this Mexican standoff involves a balancing and proportionality exercise and it is by no means certain that whilst in office the president will enjoy  “immunity” from prosecution. The logic here is simple because given the nature of the present constitutional crisis and the terms of the armed forces’ oath of allegiance to the state in protecting the constitution it may even be possible, at least in theory, the president could be forcibly removed from office for violating his own oath of office. Under the third schedule of the constitution, members of the armed forces must affirm the following oath:

(In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.) 

I, ____________, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which embodies the will of the people, that I will not engage myself in any political activities whatsoever and that I will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the Pakistan Army (or Navy or Air Force) as required by and under the law.

May Allah Almighty help and guide me (A’meen).

By comparison, the president must enter into the following commitment and abide by its terms:

(In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.)
I, ____________, do solemnly swear that I am a Muslim and believe in the Unity and Oneness of Almighty Allah, the Books of Allah, the Holy Quran being the last of them, the Prophethood of Muhammad  (peace be upon him) as the last of the Prophets and that there can be no Prophet after him, the Day of Judgment, and all the requirements and teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah:

That I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan:

That, as President of Pakistan, I will discharge my duties, and perform my functions, honestly [this is a big question with the present El Presidente], to the best of my ability, faithfully in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well- being and prosperity of Pakistan: 

That I will not allow my personal interest [hard to say that El Presidente has not placed his personal interest first] to influence my official conduct or my official decisions: 

That I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:

That, in all circumstances, I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favor, affection or ill- will:

And that I will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person any matter which shall be brought under my consideration or shall become known to me as President of Pakistan, except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as President.

May Allah Almighty help and guide me (A’meen). 

Ultimately, if the Mexican Standoff between the government and the judiciary (which is being accused of acting at the behest of the armed forces) continues over the implementation of paras 177 and 178 of the NRO judgment then it may even be possible that there is a coup d’état rather than fresh elections. It should be noted that 18 September 2012 is the latest deadline that has been set by the apex court for prime minister Ashraf to fulfil his duties to the state and write the said letter to the Swiss authorities inviting them to reopen the case against President Zardari. So there are just two more days until time to write the letter runs out. After that the government will be running on borrowed time yet again.

On any view ordinary Pakistanis would like to see things improve and despite all the corruption (which is accentuated by the water and energy crises in the country), loss and damage are better mitigated if either the Supreme Court or the government backs down to end the stalemate.

Such is the shameful state of Pakistan today …

Supreme Court sacks Prime Minister

In an unprecedented show of judicial independence and strength, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed the Prime Minister Mr Yousaf Raza Gillani for contempt of court. In an earlier post this blog debated what Mr Gillani’s fate might be? Mr Kadri QC and I concluded that by breaching a court order and acting contemptuously, Mr Gillani was destined to get into trouble. And it seems that our prediction was correct! 

Mr Gillani was convicted of contempt and did not appeal the Supreme Court’s decision.

Stripping the prime minister of his office, a measure of last resort used by the judiciary to maintain constitutional order, was a difficult step to take and Mr Gillani’s successor will face the even harder task of writing to the Swiss authorities (pursuant to, and in implementation of, paragraphs 177 and 178 of the NRO Judgment) to restart the corruption cases against the President Asif Ali Zardari and his cronies.

In order to replace Mr Gillani, who will be departing from his official residence today, it is expected that the National Assembly will elect a new prime minister on Friday 22 June 2012.

Exercising its original constitutional jurisdiction, the Supreme Court ordered that:

Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani guilty of contempt of Court under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment till rising of the Court under section 5 of the said Ordinance, and since no appeal was filed against this judgment, the conviction has attain finality. Therefore, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in terms of Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgment of this Court dated 26.04.2012 with all consequences, i.e. he has also ceased to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan with effect from the said date and the office of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly

The Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party is pleased with the Supreme Court’s approach to the issue of Mr Gillani’s contempt. No one is above the law: especially not the prime minister. Pakistan’s citizens deserve that people with public power should be held accountable for their actions. Our country’s politicians ought to respect the rule of law and refrain from using the law of the jungle for their own political ends.

A free and fair judiciary is in Pakistan’s interest and decisions such as this one, if consistently made and respected, might help our country restore constitutional order. It is hoped that such actions will help Pakistanis make strides towards freedom.

The people of Pakistan are universally embracing the ruling: they complain that Mr Gillani was not working in the interests of “good governance”. The people, who have no water, electricity, sanitation and food are rejoicing at the prime minister’s demise/dismissal because he failed to act in accordance the constitutional role allocated to his office.

The Court’s Short Order is available below

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

%d bloggers like this: