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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Veni, Vidi, but not Vici!

Why is the suddenly pro-active Pakistan Supreme Court deafeningly silent on this? The justices under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary are taking suo moto notices on various issues but are tight lipped over this petition. Again, why?

By all accounts there will be elections shortly. Does the nation not have a right to know before the elections, how the political parties were manipulated? Who maneuvered them? How much money passed into whose hands? Under what laws the ISI was structured?

A reinvigorated court is in every one's interest.

I have no illusions that once the opposition gains power they will, not stifle its powers. Both BB and NS and their cohorts have scores of cases against them. And despite a plethora of platitudes and all their coyness mixed with righteous indignation they have to answer the nation for the gross mismanagement, corruption and even murders when they were in power.

In We never learn from history – 10 - Ardeshir Cowasjee wrote:

Now let us revert to an old but currently vital subject. In June 1996, after the Mehran Bank/ISI scam had been revealed in the National Assembly, retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan wrote a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah asking him to initiate legal proceedings against the former chief of army staff General Mirza Aslam Beg and the former head of the ISI, Lt General Asad Durrani.

Notice # 10? He has written eight other columns on the same subject beginning from #1 in July 21, 2002. (Could not find #9...perhaps Dawn missed it?) Here are the links.

#1-July 21, 2002
#2-Aug 04, 2002
#3- Aug 11, 2002
#4- Aug 18, 2002
#5 - Aug 25, 2002
#6 Aug 05, 2002
#7 Aug 12, 2007
#8- Aug 19, 2007
#10 - Sep 02,2007


Why did the judiciary not intervene in this extra-judicial action? - Aaman

veni, vidi, but not vici

In the chess game being played between the increasingly pro-active judiciary and an executive that gives off mixed signals, but has guns - the two protagonists are moving pawns and measuring each other.

The Rip van Judges of the SC realise that they can push the executive only to a certain limit.

The K(h)akistocracy also has begun to realise the limits of its interventions in national affairs.

Then there is the politically active ISI with its alleged dossiers on every Pakistani who is anybody in politics, media or business.

The judiciary will (seemingly) weigh in, pushing the envelope, as it had been doing lately, without rocking the boat. (read pushing Musharraf/Army to impose martial law or emergency.)


Nawaz Sharif has either seized the opportunity or missed the boat.

He badly fudged on three counts.

He had an agreement negotiated on his behalf by the late Lebanese President Rafiq Hariri (who agreed to do this on behalf of the then Crown Prince, and now King Abdullah of Saudi America) to seek his release from lifetime imprisonment in 2000. Nawaz Sharif signed the documents in which he promised to stay away from Pakistan and not take part in politics for ten years from that date. After signing this agreement, the then President Tarrar pardoned him and Nawaz Sharif readily abandoned most of his political associates in limbo and left for the Suroor Palace in Jeddah along with his brother Shehbaz and other family members in a Saudi jet.

Count One: He convened a conference of Opposition Parties in London in August where Bhutto's PPP finessed him. She had earlier seized the opportunity and benefited from her semi annual pilgrimages to the US over the last decade. The US Administration suddenly gave a green signal and every major TV and cable station and newspaper lined up outside her apartment to interview and project her as a moderate, liberal partner for Musharraf to share power with. Nawaz Sharif woke up and did too little too late to repair the perception in the US eyes as a softie with talibanesque sympathies. (There were reports towards the end of his second stint as PM, when he had two thirds majority in the parliament, that he was going to push through an amendment to the constitution declaring himself as Amir ul Momineen - that would be akin to Imam + Vilayat Faqih in the Iranian Constitution.)

Count Two: For seven long years he vehemently denied the existence of any agreement. Then two or three months back he started fudging and said to a media person that he had not signed any agreement with Musharraf (meaning Pakistan): then he hinted that the agreement was signed with a third party, which changed to a third country, which changed to a 'friendly' country. Then the duration of the agreement which the GoP claimed was for ten years, Sharif - a seasoned businessman, a former PM who had two shots at Premiership, two days before his departure for Pakistan claimed the duration was verbally agreed to for five years, not ten. All this fudging has puzzled and weakened his defenders in the media and in his party in Pakistan.

Count Three: (And this applies in equal measure to Benazir Bhutto also).The unchecked Rip Van Judges of the SC would be problematic for them both should they return to Pakistan and/or power in Pakistan. Both the major parties and their leaders have countless cases of abuse of power, corruption, murder, and extra judicial killings against them and their leaders. So a real independent judiciary would be an anathema for all the power players. If this scene plays out the Rip Van Judges know too well they will be silenced. (A trial balloon has already been floated: restrictng the CJ's tenure to 30 months.)

So, to answer you Aaman, the judges can only push the envelope so far. After all they have to play on the same chess board with the Army today as with NS or BB tomorrow.

Yes, it is all a game. The public? Did you say the public? What is Latin for who cares? quisnam blandior...desolo?


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