Tangled web

We have then another stand-off between the Supreme Court and the government.


Editorial July 25, 2012

We seem to have become caught up again in the same tangled web, which had ensnared our last prime minister and brought him down. Is Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf now headed for a similar fate? We can only hope that this is not the case given the instability it would cause. Additionally, it would make us the laughing stock before the world due to the farcical nature of the entire situation. We seem to be going round and round on a circular route, with no means to escape. It is rather like being trapped on a merry-go-round that refuses to stop.

In the latest chapter of the NRO saga, the government wrote to the Supreme Court stating that it was unable to write the letter to Swiss authorities, as this would be a violation of the Constitution, which grants immunity to the president of the country. The reply to the Supreme Court emphasises the fact that the government is responsible for safeguarding the Constitution and if it has to write the letter seeking the reopening of cases, it would require the consent of the whole cabinet as the letter cannot be written by the prime minister acting on his own. This response was placed before the Supreme Court one day before Mr Ashraf was to appear before it. The line taken by the government’s legal team on the matter does not, however, appear to have impressed the Court. The Court has rejected the reply and suggested that a review petition may have been a more appropriate way to respond. It also stated that immunity for the president under the Constitution exists only as far as official acts are concerned.

We have then another stand-off between the Supreme Court and the government. This is not a pleasant situation to be in, all the more so given our experiences over the last months and how the tussle effectively clogged up the system, rendering it ineffective. We seem to be locked in the same situation again. The Court has given the prime minister until August 8 to write the letter to be dispatched to Geneva. We can for now only wonder how things will evolve or what the final outcome will be.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 26th, 2012.

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COMMENTS (13)

Abid Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

"...it would make us the laughing stock before the world due to the farcical nature of the entire situation." Needless fear. The law must take its course. There is nothing farcical about it. The Supreme Court has to struggle to bring some semblance of justice. The Government is making things difficult for justice to prevail. That is the real farce only.

Syed Ali | 8 years ago | Reply

Mirza O Mirza,

Mush's downfall was the result of his moving against the CJ. The lawyer's movement brought down Mush, not Benazir. Until the lawyer's movement and civil society support to it, Mush was not even interested in hearing the name of Benazir. Had it not been for the CJ's refusal to bow down to Mush in 2007, Benazir would have never been able to come back to Pakistan or persuade Mush to sign the NRO. The NRO was a result of Mush's weakness created ONLY by the CJ and the lawyer’s movement. Also, note that the result of Mush’s detention of judges is that Mush is now in self-exile and CJ has been restored despite worst attempts of PPP to resist such restoration. What a twisted narrative of events you have in your mind!

The guard of honour to Mush was given by the PPP instead of initiating treason proceedings against him under Article 6 of the constitution that can only be invoked by the parliament. The PPP did not invoke Article 6 despite vocal and repeated demands from the PML-N. The PPP has always been ready and is always ready to bend over backwards for the army but, unfortunately, the army is still interested only in kicking their backside. What a twisted narrative of events you have in your mind!

The SC’s ability to move against the army in the missing person’s case is complicated by the PPP’s readiness to act as the army’s concubine instead of acting like a government that enforces law and order. The PPP is also not interested even in legislating to plugs the legal gaps that allow the agencies to run amok in Balochistan and elsewhere – just the other day Farhatullah Babar has withdrawn his “private bill” on bringing the ISI under the framework of law! Indeed, the PPP is not interested in governing except to carry out corruption. Nonetheless, despite a back-stabbing PPP drooling to do the army’s bidding, the SC continues to push slowly but surely against the army’s violations of the law, even though I would like to see more consistent and stern punishment to FC so that an example is set and the army learns its place in the system. However your translations of events is quite laughable and totally rhetorical.

What passes for the PPP are just a bunch of thugs and jokers and the biggest of them all has sneakily made himself president on the basis of an illegal law (NRO) before it was obviously struck down. So after pulling this fast one on Pakistan, he holds the country hostage by making the Prime Ministers unofficially claim immunity for him

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