Setting right a historic wrong

Published: January 15, 2012

The writer is a former information secretary of the PPP and has been an MNA since 2002.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan under his Lordship Mr Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, has taken upon itself the mantle of purging the country of all its ills and all its impurities. It has and rightly so, in a plethora of its judgments pledged to uphold the Constitution at all times to come. In one of its recent judgments, Supreme Court wrote: “Good or bad fortunes of a nation depends on three factors, its Constitution, the way the constitution is made to work and the respect it inspires. The Constitution is a sacrosanct document which establishes various institutional apparatus of the government, defines the relationship between the individual and the state, between the federation and its federating units and various organisation of the state. The judiciary is under oath to preserve and defend the Constitution under the rule of law.”

During the lawyers’ movement, 20 PPP workers sacrificed their lives when a bomb exploded on July 17, 2007, at an Islamabad reception being organised in honour of the deposed chief justice. This happened minutes before his arrival.

The restoration of the once-reinstated-then-deposed chief justice on March 16, 2009, was welcomed by all, particularly civil society and the media, and most people were of the view that it would usher the country into a new era of judicial independence and impartiality. One of the various challenges that the judiciary took upon itself after resuming office was to set the record straight about the actions of November 3, 2007, of then General Pervez Musharraf which were validated by the Supreme Court through its judgment in the Iqbal Tikka case. It was of critical importance that this judgment was nullified for a number of reasons including strengthening the Constitution but also for the reason that Justice Chaudhry had always remained the Chief Justice and was never deposed.

On another occasion the chief justice had stated that decisions like the one in the Tikka Iqbal case or the Maulvi Tameezuddin case came due to the judiciary’s own fault. These were published in various newspapers during the hearing of Sindh High Court Bar Association vs Federation of Pakistan case. This particular case was decided by the most revered Supreme Court on July 31, 2009. The impact of this judgment was twofold. Firstly, it removed 110 Honourable Judges of the superior courts but in effect also overturned the decision in the Iqbal Tikka case. Citing the principle of natural justice “no person shall be the judge in his own cause” some critiques have categorised this judgment as self-serving since the most respected chief justice was a beneficiary of this case. However, for people like me, it was a clear sign that my beloved Pakistan and democracy was free from all adventurists.

This decision also gave hope to the PPP which decided to seek redress regarding a grave error in the annals of history committed by the superior courts to appease and please former military ruler General Ziaul Haq, namely in the case of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, sentenced to death in a fabricated case. If this was not enough to show miscarriage of justice, Mr Justice Nasim Hassan Shah who was a member of the bench of the Supreme Court that sentenced Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to death admitted in a TV talk show that the decision was made under duress from General Zia and accepted that the decision was essentially wrong.

In this regard, in April 2011, a presidential reference under Article 186 was filed to re-open the case to put right a historic wrong and thereby vindicate the position of the founding chairman of the PPP. This reference was sent on the understanding that principles are absolute. If the principle is to uphold law by which one wrong committed by the Supreme Court can be overturned (in the Iqbal Tikka case) then the same principle can be used for reviewing another wrong committed by the Supreme Court.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Plausible
    Jan 15, 2012 - 10:50PM

    Oh look its miss congeniality!

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  • Hasan
    Jan 15, 2012 - 11:04PM

    This presidential reference is a testament to the the joke this government has become. With the country being confronted with problems of monumental proportions, with the lack of governance being evident to all, this government feels the taxpayers hard earned money is well spent trying to state the obvious. There are not many who would claim that ZAB’s trial was fair. But to use his death to score cheap political points.Orwell himself could not have conceived a better farce than what this inept and completely pathetic group of individuals have been able to make out of the chance they had at democratic governance. Zardari and his circus troupe have been able to do what 2 previous terms of corrupt and incompetent PPP governments have been unable to do…….. They have effectively destroyed Pakistan’s only secular, national political party. For that all secular, progressive Pakistanis thank the likes of Ms Wahab.Recommend

  • Kjkhan
    Jan 15, 2012 - 11:07PM

    The PM in his speech, and the PPP leaders are reiterating the “favours” that they have done upon the CJ by reinstating him. What’s expected of him? that he should feel obliged to return your favours by overlooking your despicable selves. Its not about the figures, Iftikhar vs. zardaris or Iftikhar Vs, Musharaf. Its about a country, that has been plundered by crooks whose constitution is played. We are watching what SC is doing, we are not blind. Yes, we were blindfolded in love of BB that we voted for you guys. It was a mistake, for which we repent each day.

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  • mansoor iqbal
    Jan 15, 2012 - 11:09PM

    she has got to be kidding. i think ppp is a master of twisting facts. but am glad that people like her r writing articles. its easy for people to decide.

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  • Jan 15, 2012 - 11:14PM

    This article has been written only to undermine the Apex Court Judgement of 31July 2009 which dismissed about 110 judges of Pakistan and the according to PPP the main Beneficiary was the present Chief Justice. But what to say about the NRO which enable the co Chairman of PPP Asif Zardari a convicted person of the NAB to become the President through back door. The Zardari would never tolerates honest judges and independent judiciary, Therefore the ppp stalwarts one or another pretext making ridiculous, to the apex court judgement but they are not ready to see their own hand besmeared with the corruption and a lot of other anti democratic planning. Recommend

  • Peer Pinjar
    Jan 15, 2012 - 11:31PM

    Have you watched the clip of Shiekh Rasheed Ahmad’s interview of 2008? The Honorable Chief Justice is same as he was in 2001, and 2007. Judiciary is also the same, earlier it was Naseem Hassan Shah and now it is his son in law Asif Saeed Khan Khosa on same char. Do you still expect a different decision?

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  • Hasan
    Jan 15, 2012 - 11:32PM

    And let’s not forget that the gentleman pleading the case on behalf of the presidency, Mr Babar Awan, support the ZAB conviction and subsequent sentence when it was carried out.

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  • Umer
    Jan 16, 2012 - 2:19AM

    Goes to show where you’re priorities are. People are dying of hunger, committing suicide due to poverty and we are pumping billions into failed institutions.Recommend

  • sana
    Jan 16, 2012 - 3:12AM

    Maybe we need to define what an ‘op-ed’ is for the op-ed editors at tribune. A sitting MNA has every right to express their opinions but to use an ‘op-ed’ to just express the party line, that’s a bit problematic, no? this reads like a PPP press release and has no substantive opinion to speak of. each and every columnist has a political bent and there allowed that but giving space to a party official to specifically peddle party politics?

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  • Zeffos
    Jan 16, 2012 - 3:33AM

    Donot pity the dead, pity the living. I guess PPP can never learn.

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  • Afaaq
    Jan 16, 2012 - 6:23AM

    Instead of focusing on the dead, they should start focusing on the living. The sadder part is these MNA’s and politicians seem so delusional, you think at times are they really our representatives talking about OUR country?

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  • KHALILULLAH
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:27AM

    To all those who just read the title and saw the name of the author, please read the point she is making. The point is:

    Blockquote If the principle is to uphold law by which one wrong committed by the Supreme Court can be overturned (in the Iqbal Tikka case) then the same principle can be used for reviewing another wrong committed by the Supreme Court.

    This in essence means that the lady is saying that the CJ and the judges can choose to correct historic wrongs because they themselves are affected, while on the other hand, anyone else who has been affected by a bad judgment do they not have a right to go for redressal?Recommend

  • Haider Hussain
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:34AM

    @Fauzia Wahab, instead of wasting your energy on this non-issue, it’s better that you people do something for the poor….what a waste of time!

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  • Aafiyat Nazar
    Jan 16, 2012 - 2:06PM

    The implied meaning coming out of the article is the Judiciary must not “defend the Constitution under the rule of law”, rather it should defend the corrupt regime.

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  • Adeel Ahmed
    Jan 16, 2012 - 3:04PM

    Maybe the SC does not agree with your OPINION that the then SC did wrong in giving death sentence to ZAB… thought about that?

    Miss Congeniality comment above was hilarious!

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  • zezu
    Jan 16, 2012 - 4:23PM

    One word after viewing all the comments “DETEST”

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  • Urooj Hussein
    Jan 16, 2012 - 4:28PM

    The trial and execution of Mr. Bhutto through a kangroo Lahore High Court & Supreme Court of Pakistan under Martial Law was the biggest miscarriage of justice in the history of Pakistan. This wrong MUST be corrected so the future generations are taught histroy & the wrongs done of the past and the country can move ahead. Why is Choudhry Iftikhar sitting on this judgement and other cases especially Asghar Khan’s that hasn’t seen the light for over a dacade??

    Mr, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was innocent without a doubt !!

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  • Kamran
    Jan 16, 2012 - 5:06PM

    So PPP want new CJ but they thing they are above the law this is there sick mind.

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  • Irfan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Ms Wahab

    May I suggest that the term “Lordship” for the honuorable Chief Justice is very condescending on a judge who, perhaps after the hounarable justice M. R. Kayani, has stood up to uphold the constitution and the rule of law against all odd’s. It the executive under the PPP rule that has abused the people’s franchise in the name of democracy. If your dynastic leadership is sincere in preserving democracy then they should resign and let the people decide. As far as I am concerned NO one has immunity not even the Army.

    “One with the law is a majority.”

    CALVIN COOLIDGE, New York Times, Jul. 28, 1920

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  • syed
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:10PM

    She thinks she is a politician, unfortunately she is not. I must admit though, that she is endowed with the qualities of twisting the facts to her advantage. How is this possible that the rules are different for a corrupt PM a corrupt president and a common man.Recommend

  • Nasir
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:32PM

    she is the real actor.Always try to proof the wrong with wrong argument.This government has no right to rule this country.Never seen such low moral govt. through out my life.in 21 century they are still making fool and nothing else.They are corrupt morally,mentally and financially.For God sake please leave us and take the nation a breath.

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  • Dr Saif ur Rehman
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Excellent article

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  • Dr Saif ur Rehman
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:43PM

    Description of trichotomy of power is written in constitution of Pakistan, I think CJP has not read the constitution of Pakistan. I would like to suggest him to read the constitution of Pakistan, If he has already read it then he is definately most biased CJP in the history of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Mehvish Bukhari
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:42PM

    An elected Prime Minister is only answerable to the parliament and no one else.
    Prime Minister has said a right thing at the right. Gilani is elected by 180 million people of Pakistan and no one has right to dislodge democratic Government through undemocratic way. It is 2012 not 1999 any military adventure will not be accepted by the people of Pakistan. I want to ask, Would our Lord, the CJ ever like to appear before Parliament if called to update on pending cases where judiciary has failed to deliver timely justice, given their refusal to let Registrar, SC appear before the PAC of the Parliament headed by Ch. Nisar to clarify some audit observations regarding illegal expenditures by the Judiciary?

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  • Irshad Khan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 10:22PM

    Nawab Qasuri was attacked and murdered in times when PPP was ruling the country with or without any nominal opposition and had complete control of all affairs of the country with Mr. Bhutto as a powerful Prime Minister. In these circumstances why the murderers of Nawab were not searched, arrested and punished like many others such as Rafiq and Dr.Nazir. Some-body had to take responsibility of these brutal murders, after all they were citizens of this country, rather very respected citizens of the country and had families, friends and sympathisers. Their killings were treated as of no value rather of animals and they were not called Shaheed, why?

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