Pakistan – The war within
It's been an uncertain state of affairs - always
MANZOOR AHMAD GANAIE
In an earlier article published in Greater Kashmir (January, 1st 2010) I had made a humble attempt at analyzing the mess Pakistan was in at a very critical stage of history.
Perhaps nothing has changed for better since then in Pakistan. Instead the war between her various institutions has intensified. As of now it is really a very critical stage of Pakistan history where threats to her existence have grown manifold.
Decades back Pakistan was jolted when it lost East Pakistan which emerged in the shape of Bangladesh. This colossal damage to the pride of that country perhaps was not enough to awaken that country. The causes, factors and players who contributed to that bifurcation were largely internal, many of them rooted in Pakistan and some of them of course in Bangladesh.
A national tragedy of this magnitude that struck Pakistan in 1971 should have jolted the people of that country, including her thinkers, policy makers, politicians, military and men of consequence (unfortunately for that country most of the men of consequence are in Pakistan Army only) and they should have learned the necessary lessons from such a big happening as bifurcation of that country, prompting them to indulge in some introspection and that country should have taken remedial measures, required for well being of that Nation, like identifying the areas of concern that have the potential of threatening the very existence of that country. But alas! nothing of that kind has happen, except for a brief period of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s stint as Prime Minister of that country. The army which under Ayub Khan and Yahyah Khan was largely responsible for the bifurcation of that country, again usurped the political power, hanged Bhutto and once again the country was trounced under military boot. Army’s insatiable appetite for power once again consumed all the hopes of democracy and democratic rights of the people of Pakistan.
At this time a new dimension of Islamic Rule was sought to be given to the poison of dictatorship and the people were made to drink the cup of poison in the name of Islam and Islamic Rule. Though clearly Islam had nothing to do with Zia-ul-Haq becoming the military dictator of Pakistan, but unfortunately a large section of Pakistani Society succumbed to Zia’s mechanization and this marked the beginning of an end, an end to the democratic way of life, tolerance, respect for opposition and policy of placing national interest above everything else. In fact Zia in order to perpetuate his dictatorship turned Pakistan as a country into a breeding ground of extremism.
Look at the bizarre turn of political and historical events, the Russian aggression of Afghanistan, its occupation and consequent American interest to teach the Russian bear a lesson in Afghanistan came handy to Zia to perpetuate his dictatorship and to plunge Pakistan into darkness, deep, very deep and to lead it to the path of self destruction. Lakhs of boys from under privileged strata of the society were induced and enrolled into Madrasas, given lesson in official Jihad, training in fire arms and were dispatched to Afghanistan to fight the mighty Russian army. Indoctrinated and brain washed, the young boys along with Afghan youth and people gave a tough time to the Russian army while sacrificing their own young lives, thus a generation of youngsters was wiped off.
Thereafter Nawaz Sharief an elected Prime Minister was deposed and jailed by yet another General, General Musharaff, who invented his own form of democracy and coined his own definition for almost everything. Saudi Arabia had to intervene to save the life of Nawaz Sharief and Nawaz had to take a direct flight from jail to Saudi Arabia. The Pakistan judiciary refusing to come to the rescue of a legally elected and illegally deposed and imprisoned Prime Minister.
Musharraf became an ally of Americans in fight against terrorism and while walking on this road, a forced journey for him and his country, he lost both his balance and way. In fact it was bound to happen, as Musharraf was a mere puppet in U.S. hands and not a partner in fight against terrorism as he propagated himself to be.
In order to be brief and avoiding rather insignificant and inconsequential details let me come to the war between judiciary (Supreme Court of Pakistan) and President Musharraf. This reached ridiculous levels while President Musharraf sacked the Supreme Court judges and the judges came to the streets as did the legal community against Musharraf. There was a total constitutional break down, chaos and uncertainty ruled the roost, all this culminated in the resignation of President Musharraf.
Musharraf gone, judges reinstated a new President elected, it was hoped that the institutional clash and conflict will subside and all the institutions will vigorously follow the path envisaged for these by the Constitution. But alas! the Pakistan Supreme Court with its Chief Justice Chaudary lost no opportunity to rekindle the flames of conflict between the institutions of Supreme Court, President and Prime Minister.
Instead of looking at the systemic weakness of judiciary and finding ways and means to cure these, make justice delivery system better, give speedy justice to litigants and public, introduce transparency and accountability and to try to get it nearer excellence, the Chief Justice and other Judges of Supreme court of Pakistan started from where they had left the battle after declaring N.R.O. promulgated by President Musharraf as unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court judges now insisted on opening of cases against the beneficiaries of N.R.O. particularly against President Zardari. The Prime Minister Gillani was summoned and ordered to reopen the cases against President Zardari which, he and his lawyers argued could not be done as Mr. Zardari was the President and under the very constitution the judges were acting under he (President Zardari) enjoyed immunity from prosecution. This legal battle continued for long. But the Supreme Court insisted that the Prime Minister Gillani should reopen the cases or face conviction for contempt of court. Gillani pleaded that he cannot reopen the cases as he has taken an oath to abide by the Constitution, which gave President Zardari immunity. Lo and behold the Pakistan’s Supreme Court convicted a serving Prime Minister of that country and after sometime passed yet another order on a bench of petitions declaring him disqualified as a Member of Parliament and disqualified to continue as the Prime Minister of that country, thus adding yet another enormous chapter of uncertainty to the already fragile state of affairs, as these obtain in Pakistan.
The Pakistan Supreme Court’s orders are replete with consequences which add enormously to the problems of Pakistan. These are like body blows to that country, coming at a very wrong time. One never knows what is in store for Pakistan during the times to come. How will the future judge judges of Pakistan remains to be seen.
(The author is Advocate, J&K High Court Srinagar)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 17 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 17 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 18 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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