Memogate: SC questions Awan’s statements against judiciary

Published: December 19, 2011
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Security personnel deploy outside the Supreme Court building during a hearing of memogate scandal in Islamabad on December 19, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

Security personnel deploy outside the Supreme Court building during a hearing of memogate scandal in Islamabad on December 19, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

Security personnel deploy outside the Supreme Court building during a hearing of memogate scandal in Islamabad on December 19, 2011. PHOTO: AFP Awan said that Supreme Court's probe denies parliamentary committee their right to investigate the scandal. PHOTO: INP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has asked Attorney General (AG) Maulvi Anwarul Haq to state whether former Law Minister Babar Awan had been representing the federal government when he made potential derogatory remarks against the judiciary.

Heading a nine-member bench during the hearing of the Memogate case on Monday, Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani should have taken notice of the December 1 press conference held by Awan in which he lashed out against the judiciary.

During a press conference on December 1, Awan had said that by ordering the judicial probe, the Supreme Court had denied a bipartisan and bicameral parliamentary committee on national security its right to hold an inquiry into the scandal, which has been seen as the latest rift between the country’s political and military leadership.

The CJ commenting on the press conference said: “We can suspend the secretary who was present in the press conference.” He added that the government functionaries ridiculed the judiciary in flagrant violation of the dignity of the court.

Justice Jawad S Khwaja observed that the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people not the parliament.

When the chief justice asked the attorney general to move a contempt case to bring to book the people involved in the press conference, he said that he was restricted by the rules of business on his role in contempt proceedings.

The court asked him to arrange for the recording of the press conference to be played inside the courtroom so everyone could see what was said of the judiciary. The CJ also criticised former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani’s counsel Asma Jehangir by saying that lawyers such as Jehangir watched the judiciary’s criticism in silence.

Jehangir, in reply, told the court: “I haven’t been watching television for the last seven days; still I condemn such an attitude.”

When Advocate Rashid A Rizvi took the rostrum to represent Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, the chief justice asked him to argue on the maintainability of the petitions filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. The CJ observed the court in its December 1 order had raised the question of maintainability.

The chief justice said that Awan had brought bad reputation to the family of Tariq Khosa, whom the court had named for heading the commission, by saying that he was appointed because he was the brother of Supreme Court judge Asif Saeed Khosa. Tariq Khosa had refused to head the commission after Awan’s conference.

The Supreme Court also asked the attorney general to place on record a copy of Haqqani’s resignation along with a copy of the notification of former SC judge Justice Javed Iqbal’s appointment to head the Abbottabad commission.

The CJ adjourned the case till Thursday and decided to put off the case at the request of Jehangir.

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Reader Comments (29)

  • Mirza
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:24AM

    When PC SC is hopping to the tune of a shady foreign character like the lowest of a trial court, it has lost its own prestige. After the affidavit of Gen Jones, there is no justification of wasting time and national resources on the unsigned memo.Recommend

  • Mudassir
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:24AM

    “On December 1, a news conference was called by Awan immediately after the court order on several identical petitions, including one filed by former premier Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader.

    I thought Nawaz Sharif was PML(N)’s leader..

    Recommend

  • ahmad
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:29AM

    This is what Chief justice can do best. Once a PCO, always a PCO.

    Recommend

  • Common Citizen
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:35AM

    Why all such petitions find their place in Lahore High Court????

    Recommend

  • Malik
    Dec 19, 2011 - 12:32PM

    The government should move the Supreme Judicial Council against the Chief Justice and appoint Faisal Raza Abadi and Babar Awan as its lead lawyers.

    Recommend

  • Paki Generals
    Dec 19, 2011 - 12:38PM

    Please Mr. most honorable CJ of pakistan, kick them out.
    How dare they criticize your full of law judgment?
    After all you are chief justice of pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Attif Abbas
    Dec 19, 2011 - 12:47PM

    By the way,SHakil does nt mentioned the appointment made by mr barbara Awan in law ministry.

    Recommend

  • usman
    Dec 19, 2011 - 1:01PM

    Justice Jawad S Khwaja observed that the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people not the parliament

    it means court will take a popular decision and bow on the altar of populism and justice will be the burnt offering.Recommend

  • neutral
    Dec 19, 2011 - 1:05PM

    Justice Jawad S Khwaja observed that the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people not the parliament.

    ???????????????????????????????????????????

    Recommend

  • ali
    Dec 19, 2011 - 1:08PM

    Interesting was the observation made by Justice Jawad S. khwaja that SC was an independent organ and was answerable to the people of Pakistan not the parliament. I wonder if the parliament has ceased to represent the will of people and SC judges are to be inducted through direct elections in future?

    Recommend

  • Beatle
    Dec 19, 2011 - 1:13PM

    Nepotism at its best, and that too of (un)Law minister of Punjab.

    Recommend

  • Ammar
    Dec 19, 2011 - 1:30PM

    @JS Khawaja:

    No your lordship Sir! Under the ongoing circumstances, the most honorable Judiciary functionaries headed by the CJ seems answerable to no one.Our most respectable SC Judges seem to be convinced by the cases presented by a hostile Lawyers’ cum-Judges’ Community (TV Anchors, Opposition Representatives, and self proclaimed public representatives and messiahs). It’s time to seriously think about strengthening our institutions and making its functionaries accountable for their conduct, be it a citizen, solder, MP, or a judge. All are humans after all…

    Recommend

  • Chacha
    Dec 19, 2011 - 1:41PM

    It is quite amazing that the three organs of the state – the executive (read army), the legislature and the judiciary – are at loggerheads with one another. Unfortunately Pakistan’s constituion is a much abused one and that counts for a large part of the malaise in its body politic.

    Pakistan needs a new constituent assembly.

    Recommend

  • Saad Saeed
    Dec 19, 2011 - 1:47PM

    @Ammar:
    Yes everyone should be made accountable. So sending Babar Awan a contempt notice is the first step in this direction, though it has been taken very late.

    Recommend

  • Ammar
    Dec 19, 2011 - 2:01PM

    @Saad Saeed:

    The people who have taken notice, are never late in hitting the current government or its affiliates :)

    Recommend

  • amjad cheema
    Dec 19, 2011 - 4:31PM

    This supreme court has lost all its credibility & moralityRecommend

  • kilo
    Dec 19, 2011 - 6:11PM

    “Justice Jawad S Khwaja observed that the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people not the parliament”…….judiciary is not answerable to people, parliament is..his lordship should know this much…judiciary in pakistan is perhaps answerable to nobody..judges are now mashaallah free and busy proving this fact every court day

    Recommend

  • Imran
    Dec 19, 2011 - 6:24PM

    @Justice JS Khwaja: “judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people”

    Sir! Its not a question of popular decisions, as you are not running a political party here. Please start following the constitution.

    Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad
    Dec 19, 2011 - 6:33PM

    Supreme court and army have failed to make any dent in this government, rather it has become more popular. Both these organs of state should step aside and leave it to people of Pakistan. In next election we will do what Supreme Court and Army has failed to do.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Tahir Younus
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:05PM

    @Mirza:
    After the affidavit of James Johns, there is no need to waste time? well! Mirza sb! it seems you are well versed in law. SC Judges should take classes from you, as no other legal brain of the country suggested such ending.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Tahir Younus
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:12PM

    @ahmad
    Dear Ahmed! Do you think that the court should allow anyone to ridicule the way Mr. Awan did? Does democracy mean the sovereignty of Politicians only, other institutions and Constitution are only to serve the Govt.? What about the so-called resolutions of the Parliament that have never been implemented? There are 16 other judges sitting in the Court besides CJ, do you think they are of no independent mind, just slaves of CJ?

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Tahir Younus
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:13PM

    @Common Citizen:
    This petition if filed in Islamabad dear, not in Lahore.

    Recommend

  • ManOfTheFuture
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:13PM

    @amjad cheema: make up your mind. first we want a hearing now we are criticizing the people who uphold our law. its the fickle nature of people like you that mainly leads to instability within the country.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Tahir Younus
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:14PM

    @Malik:
    Good satire.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad Tahir Younus
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:20PM

    @Ch Allah Daad:
    Govt. has become more popular?? did you see the jalsi of PPP in Lahore on December 18. Once a popular party could not even gather people equal to the number of people present in the procession of Musharraf’s APML

    Recommend

  • Chacha
    Dec 19, 2011 - 7:59PM

    To quote from the article ” Justice Jawad S Khwaja observed that the judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people not the parliament.”

    Not sure how the judiciary is answerable to the people. I thought impeachment was a process of parliment. Are the judges in Pakistan elected ? What are the checks on the judiciary ?

    Recommend

  • MALIK WAQAR HAIDER AWAN
    Dec 19, 2011 - 8:46PM

    Justice JS Khwaja: “judiciary was an independent organ of the state and was answerable to the people”
    Every body interpreting the pharse Negatively. Answerable to the people means that people having eyes on supreme court that it will deliver.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Dec 19, 2011 - 11:29PM

    sorry to say this but people commenting here need to have some sense of our constitution. SC has done nothing un constitutional. No offence guys but please get a sense of how judicary works (in Pak and else where in the world).

    Also I dont think Gen jones testimony takes away the need for the case to go ahead. Whether his testimony is trust worthy or not that is for the court to decide and that can only be done after the hearing.

    Recommend

  • A democrat
    Dec 21, 2011 - 3:18AM

    Look the problem isEither rise today or fall forever.Supporting puppets like babar awan can put you at lowest of lowest.
    This government has already sucked the blood out of nation. And I don’t see a point of criticizing Supreme Court here.
    Disrespect to SC is seen badly all over the world. So you all fake liberals, think about it.Recommend

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