Please, My Lords, make haste

Published: August 2, 2012
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The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto 
kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto [email protected]

I must start by a short comment on Feisal H Naqvi’s excellent, but heart-rending piece “The consequences of hate” (The Express Tribune, July 31). I agree absolutely with him that the direct result of engendering hate in society by those in authority had to be the brutishness towards people of a different faith that we are seeing all across the Land of the Pure today.

I might also say that there are people still, who would ask inane questions like “Well we’ve been told what is wrong with Pakistan; but no one gives any solutions”. If someone reads me half-carefully, I prescribe the solution every other week in my articles.

Let me repeat myself: The strategic geniuses who run this country’s foreign and defence policies should immediately desist from striking attitudes; they should not try to box above their weight; they should foreswear the use of terrorists as ‘assets’ in an unlikely conflict with India or Afghanistan and therefore stop mollycoddling the murderers; and, last but not least, sincerely cooperate with regional countries, yes including India and Afghanistan, in uprooting terrorism from this part of the word. For the umpteenth time let me remind them that their handiwork has, in addition to visiting great miseries on Pakistanis, completely alienated this hapless and helpless country from the rest of the world.

And now for a most unpleasant matter. I wish that this increasingly messy Arsalan Iftikhar case would never have happened: it has diverted the attention of important people from matters that are of critical import to this country, specially at this time when the American/Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan looms so very menacingly and Pakistan is about to be enveloped in the Mother of all Crises as the geniuses stumble about trying to wrest  ‘victory’ in Kabul.

Pakistan will soon get the real drift of things as the Taliban, all 57 varieties of them, turn more of their kind attentions towards this poor country, helped by their managers and handlers who live in the dark recesses of the very deep and very large bosom of our Deep State. We will experience a huge upheaval sooner than we think.

It will take all of the sagacity and all of the attention of our political leaders; our judiciary; and those sensible elements within our high Army command who might have by then understood the immensity of the problem we are faced with, to tackle it effectively. A main player in all of this is the Chief Justice of Pakistan himself. Most specially when he has bravely questioned the brutal disappear/kill and dump policies of the Deep State.

It goes without saying that the twists and turns the Arsalan case is taking are becoming a bigger and a more embarrassing tamasha by the day. One day notices to appear before NAB are not received; the next, people raise objections to the make-up of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT); the third, allegations are made that the Registrar of the SC is firing off emails to the merchandisers/hostelries where Arsalan is alleged to have spent other people’s money, and on the fourth day, the SC officially denies these reports.

This is doing no one any good: not to the majesty of the SC; not to the gentlemen who sit on its benches; not to the good Chief Justice himself, and more than anything else not to the already-battered and bleeding image of the country. Indeed, people are actually alleging that the ball has been kicked into the tall grass by the Supreme Court in the hope that the whole sordid business will soon be forgotten. As My Lords would appreciate, that is not about to happen given the unfortunate stand-off between the judiciary and the government.

It is of utmost import, therefore, to short-circuit this whole investigation business immediately to bring it to a quick conclusion. I have suggested it before peripherally, but let me say it in detail here. Let the Supreme Court immediately set up a judicial commission made up of the same three Chief Justices who looked into ‘Mammogate’. The Commission should be mandated to travel to London or Monte Carlo or Marbella or wherever young Mr Chaudhry is alleged to have done what he did, to get to the bottom of it all in double quick time. And if, as Arsalan says, he is not guilty of any wrong-doing, to declare him innocent asap.

This should not be a problem at all for the jurists I suggest because we know how quickly they came up with detailed findings; despite delving into affairs not remotely connected with the allegations of that upstanding member of US high society, Mansoor Ijaz. Such as determining how much Ambassador Husain Haqqani had spent out of the secret funds allocated to him to run the most important Pakistani embassy in the world! Indeed, with a Commission made up of the three chief justices, even the registrar of the Supreme Court will not refuse to go before it. (Well, hopefully).

I write the above as someone who has always stood for an independent, fair, impartial, and even-handed judiciary. More than that, may I repeat myself, as one who stood on the roads for months on end along with my family for the attainment of this objective during which we got harassed by goons belonging to the government in which the brand-new champion of the judiciary Shiekh Rashid ‘Tulli’ was a minister; and during which we got tear-gassed and beaten-up.

By the way, here is ‘Tulli’ being contemptuous about the CJ himself. The SC might note that this must be the nth time that I have given proof of the man’s contempt with no notice being taken. Surely contempt is not only a political tool to be used on one’s perceived nemeses?

Yes, My Lords, please make haste and immediately set up the Commission to sit in the Islamabad High Court to get us out of the sorry mess we are in. You have the power. After all, you have so recently kicked out a Prime Minister; with another counting his days.

P.S. A colossal mistake to post a retired Lt.-Gen. as defence secretary yet again. Much like shooting oneself in the groin with a 155 MM howitzer.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • entropy
    Aug 2, 2012 - 10:45PM

    Dear Kamran sahib, no disrespect but your whole world-view is wrong-headed. The world is not a hippy commune. It is in actual fact a place of constant struggle for survival and supremacy. There is no good and bad. There is only bad and bad, stupid bad and smart bad. All we can aspire to be is smart bad rather than stupid bad. Both religious fanaticism and left liberalism are stupid bad. We can’t afford to go from one delusion to another.

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  • Rehan
    Aug 2, 2012 - 10:47PM

    The solution is straightforward and known to all in political and defense circles. But I highly doubt it will ever be implemented for there is no civilian desire for it. The ordinary civilians in our country today see the ‘guardians of foreign and defense policy’, through decades of indoctrination, as heroes who do nothing but bring honor to Pakistan. The dishonorable, in their eyes, are the civilians. Ironic, isn’t it?
    Nothing will change unless this indoctrination is reversed. Even then, I feel, it could take decades more to show any kind of effect simply because of how brainwashed our civilian society has become.
    Best wishes,
    Rehan

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  • Aju
    Aug 2, 2012 - 11:11PM

    Why we need a commission of three senior judges to prove that arslan has visited monte Carlo or not? His passport and immigration record is suffient to solve this point. Commission is to confuse matters and let “brother judges” to have fun in foreign countries on tax payer’s money!!

    I agree totally about your opinion regarding appointment of new defence secretary. It seems civilians have no control at all on such crucial appointments.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 2, 2012 - 11:33PM

    Very true and as always very clearly written.
    The solution you give is also known, what is in doubt is the who and the how of its implementation.

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  • sabi
    Aug 2, 2012 - 11:53PM

    Kamran sahib
    Let me say, if ET very kindly permit me,that my intution is predicting this country is doomed to worst blood shed we have never seen before and hopefully we will get rid of all the mess afterward.Sooner the better
    regards

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  • Soothla
    Aug 3, 2012 - 12:10AM

    Sir.
    Thank you for the word Sagacity used above.
    The Dictionary says it means :-
    ” The quality of being discerning, sound in judgment, and farsighted; wisdom.”
    The writer, I believe was Sagacity.
    Please keep safe and everything of the best over the fasting Season.

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  • Shahid Jamil
    Aug 3, 2012 - 12:20AM

    Given you past opinions about the SC, if a judicial commission had been formed you would have been among the FIRST ones to have objected that judges are being partial in the inquiry, just as you were constantly alleging in the memogate and refusing to accept their verdict? Why for a change you cannot ask YOUR government to play fair and square and carry out an independent investigation? Is this country so dysfunctional that it cannot provide a couple of competent and honest FIA/NAB officials who can do the police investigations? After all it is much less simpler an affair than the death of BB.

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  • Tariq Bashir
    Aug 3, 2012 - 12:35AM

    Dear Shafi Sab- where is the parallel between a former Ambasador Haqqani against the state in the Memogate Commision versus two individuals wrapped in a private dispute? Yes- these two “individuals” are notables of the state but a “commision is out of an extra-ordinary, particulary when “NO State funds are involved”. Had SC setup a judicial commission instead of sending it to the Govt., we would be asking for something else.
    Present PPP is a party in this matter and your readers knows quite well !
    Regards-
    Tariq Bashir

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  • Tariq Bashir
    Aug 3, 2012 - 12:36AM

    Dear Shafi Sab- where is the parallel between a former Ambassador Haqqani against the state in the Memogate Commission versus two individuals wrapped in a private dispute? Yes- these two “individuals” are notables of the state but a “commission is out of an extra-ordinary, particularly when “NO State funds are involved”. Had SC setup a judicial commission instead of sending it to the Govt., we would be asking for something else.
    Present PPP is a party in this matter and your readers knows quite well !
    Regards-
    Tariq Bashir

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  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 3, 2012 - 1:48AM

    Dear Mr. Shafi,
    If only, some of your wisdom had been rubbed off on your collegues also, who incidently also write in this space and are well off the cuff material too !
    I won’t name any, as they already know, as to who they are!
    Well done sir, keep it up, and hopefully you will not be compromised either.
    Pakistan really needs people like you, even if your message falls on deaf ear, as otherwise all will be lost.

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  • @plarkin
    Aug 3, 2012 - 2:20AM

    @Soothla:

    You can lead a donkey to water but you can’t get the creature to drink. I think the word you’re looking for is sagacious. A sagacious person displays sagacity, eh?

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  • Khalq e Khuda
    Aug 3, 2012 - 2:30AM

    @Tariq Bashir:

    A business tycoon has alleged corruption at the highest levels of judiciary, how is this not a matter of state?

    He has stated that the SC Registrar, a sitting judge and the son of the sitting CJ were blackmailing him. How is this not a matter of national interest?

    The judges suspend investigation after hearing the petition on priority basis, and then suspends it, how is this not a matter of national interest?

    A business tycoon claims to be blackmailed by the top judiciary: if this happens to a local interest- try considering the impact on foreign investors, how is it not a matter of national interest?

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  • ahmad
    Aug 3, 2012 - 2:43AM

    judicial commissions are just a big waste of time and money. on the one hand they declare that they cannot determine who killed saleem shahzad despite knowing that he was in the ISI’s custody mere hours before his time of death and the word of many respected journalists as well as the head of HRWP. On the other hand they assert that Husaain Haqqani definitely wrote the memo delivered to and discarded by Mike Mullen, despite there being absolutely no evidence pointing towards this fact. The least one could ask for is consistency regarding burden of proof.

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  • Mirza
    Aug 3, 2012 - 4:04AM

    A very fair and balanced Op Ed by KS. He is not saying that the investigations are biased, but prince Arsalan is blaming the NAB to be unfair. Just to facilitate the process the author suggested making a commission just like for HH. This case is taking time and diverting attention of courts and investigators alike with no end in sight. Better to bit the now and end the case using a high powered commission at which both Malik Riaz and Arsalan would not have any excuse or complaints.

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  • Haris Chaudhry
    Aug 3, 2012 - 5:25AM

    Yes.. a lot more ‘solutions’ than the ‘solution-mafia’ could ever ask for… in your regular columns.

    The only reason you get those numerous one liners like “enough with problems.. tell us the solutions” is not because they are really interested in solutions, it is just their lame attempt to question the writer without having the intellect to make pertinent and rational counter-suggestions.

    They throw enough mud at the writer in the expectation that some will stick.

    You also get your fair share of the ‘sponsored’ one line commenters questioning your actual motives and pay-mastery to your ‘sacking’ from the army etc.

    We appreciate and thank you for standing up and in not bowing to the fear or favour from powers-that-be. Kudos to ET for providing the platform to those that have the courage to call a spade a spade.

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  • Hamid Ahmed
    Aug 3, 2012 - 7:02AM

    Good work Kamran shafi sahib, great article, sorry many of commentators above could not understand what you were saying. Yes it is a tamasha being staged everyday and it will not end as implied by Mr. Tully himself. What about lobbying for Arslan Iftikhar which was the basis of Musharraf’s reference?

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  • Enlightened
    Aug 3, 2012 - 1:17PM

    I am your fan from across the border and always enjoyed your articles on Dawn and now on ET. You have been quite consistent in soliciting sound and logical advice to the deep state but to no avail. However, please continue your good work regardless of any positive response from your establishments. Unfortunately, future of the country of my ancestors looks quite bleak from here but sincerely hope that like-minded intellectuals like your good-self could change things for the better in Pakistan.

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  • sick of this nonsense
    Aug 3, 2012 - 1:26PM

    @entropy:
    compare the stupid bad left liberal countries like europe, america, turkey to extremist and other nations and it will pretty much turn out that left liberal are not stupid bad they are actually intelligent evolved bad :)

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  • entropy
    Aug 3, 2012 - 4:28PM

    sick

    compare the stupid bad left liberal
    countries like europe, america, turkey
    to extremist

    So Pakistani liberals think that the West is liberal left? In fact none of these countries is liberal left. Western Europe is internally liberal (though not liberal left) but in external affairs throws liberalism, and indeed the whole of morality, into the rubbish bin. America is slightly to the left of Hulaku Khan. Western Europe also became rich when it was just slightly left of Hulaku Khan. The liberal left of Pakistan are actually extremely unintelligent and intellectually lazy. The world is driven by greed and ambition and governed by lies, fraud and, ultimately, violence, not by liberal left fairy stories.

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  • Tahir Chaudhury
    Aug 3, 2012 - 8:35PM

    @entropy:
    Hate to break it you buddy, but you sound like the classic ‘liberal-arts graduate liberal’. Your ramblings make little sense. I wonder if you even know that the term is flexible, and has multiple meanings across countries–the United States and Pakistan see ‘liberal’ as two different terms, for example–and subject ares–social, economic, cultural, political. Might want to put that liberal arts diploma down and actually study something useful for a change–might open your mind up to the realities of the universe.

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  • sabi
    Aug 3, 2012 - 10:56PM

    Kamran sahib,
    Has not Arslan Iftikhar jeopardise the credebilty of his father siting on a very high post.
    A highly respected islamic scholer, througout islamic history, Amam Bhkhari(RA), who gatherd hadith(sayings of the holy propht pbuh) and compiled a book called Sahi Bukhari.He wrote in his biography his prsonel experience.He said once he set for a journey on a boat together with other passenger there was also a thief in the boat traveling who knew somehow the exat amount of money I (amam Bukhari) had.Amam said because of that thief i got careful.As the boat traveld furthet that clever thief started shouting that someone has stolen his money and upon asking he told that exact amount which I had.The crew of the boat started checking every passanger.Amam Bukhari said although every body knew me and had great trust in me and would’nt believe any other against me still I had the feeling that the even a slighest of doubt on my honesty in coming generation might raise queston on credibilty of of that my great job,I silently threw that whole money in the river.How credebil are our cj ambitions to do justice for people.

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  • Soothla
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:18AM

    Thank you Sir for correcting me. @@plarkin:Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:28AM

    @Khalq e Khuda:

    “A business tycoon has alleged corruption at the highest levels of judiciary, how is this not a matter of state?”

    The only thing he admitted over Quran was his crime to illegally get the court decisions in his favor and alleged that he paid large sums to Arsalan for the purpose. He also admitted that his efforts to get decisions in his favor failed and that he was not blaming CJ for any wrong doings rather he has great respect for him. Now, how this is a matter of state rather than of the two private individuals. Please keep in mind this is a holy month of Ramazan.

    “He has stated that the SC Registrar, a sitting judge and the son of the sitting CJ were blackmailing him. How is this not a matter of national interest?”

    I have watched his press conference. He only raised allegations against Arsalan.

    “The judges suspend investigation after hearing the petition on priority basis, and then suspends it, how is this not a matter of national interest?”

    A convict of US$ 60 million graft money laundering, occupying the country’s highest post, is hiding behind presidential immunity and you always advocated in your comments that Supreme Court must ignore his crimes and do nothing. Whats different now?

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  • Lala Gee
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:43AM

    @sabi:

    Why is that your pangs reach up to moon when CJ tries to recover the US$ 60 million graft money stolen from the poor people of Pakistan? Once in a while say something about this crook also. Also why you go numb when a corrupt tycoon admit over Quran his crime for illegally trying to get court decisions in his favor using unfair means and paying large sums of bribes. Please note I have no sympathies with any corrupt, crook, or criminal including Arsalan.

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  • sabi
    Aug 4, 2012 - 11:40AM

    Laala Gee,
    “Why is that your pangs reach up to moon when CJ tries to recover the US$ 60 million graft money stolen from the poor people of Pakistan? Once in a while say something about this crook also”
    There is a saying, When in Rome, Do As the Romans Do.I Take It other way round i.e.
    When in Pakistan,Don’t Do As the Media(Ghairat Brigade)Do.You may laugh at it but this strange logic has helped me a lot to get to realities.How Easy!!
    Cheers.

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  • Zillay
    Aug 4, 2012 - 2:19PM

    @entropy:
    I think Mr Shafi is saying the same thing which you are repeating ..

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