Original Articles

Khalid Anwer and the NRO – by Aamir Mughal

Mr Khalid Anwer is an ’eminent’ lawyer, and according to his legal firm profile:

“Khalid Anwer & Co. is a premier law firm having a total strength of eleven lawyers in Karachi and associate firms in Lahore and Islamabad. It was formerly known as A.K. Brohi & Co. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious law firms in Pakistan.”

Everybody who knows Pakistan’s history also knows that “the law of necessity” was basically the brainchild of Late A.K. Brohi who used this at the behest of General Zia/Jamat-e-Islami to commit the judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

It is however a fact that human memory is very weak particularly of Jang Group/Kamran Khan when they discuss PPP/NRO/Zardari and that’s what happened during a talk show on NRO with the so called legal Wizard Mr Khalid Anwer.

RAWALPINDI: Any case can be initiated against President Zardari under Section 4 of Article 248 of the Constitution, but neither the Supreme Court has mentioned it nor the media discussed it, said former Law Minister and constitutional expert Khalid Anwar on Wednesday. He was talking to Kamran Khan in Geo News programme ‘Aaj Kamran Khan Kay saath’. He said there should be no doubt that the Supreme Court’s decisions should be implemented. He said the government made a mistake by not implementing the short order of the SC. Now the apex court can take a suo moto notice on why the government didn’t act as the short order was announced a month earlier. Khalid Anwar said under the Constitution, the Supreme Court cannot issue notice to the president of Pakistan, but it can order the government to get the court verdict implemented. On this the government would apply in the court that the president has got immunity under the constitution, and the SC can issue a stay order in this regard after receiving the government’s application to review the decision. On this application the court will decide whether the president has got the immunity or not.

REFERENCE: Any case can be filed against Zardari, says Khalid Anwar Thursday, January 21, 2010 News Desk
http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=26800

Mr Kamran Khan and Mr. Khalid Anwer (and other parrots working for Geo TV) “conveniently” forgot as to what the same Jang Group had published 9 years ago on the “Dirty Role of Barrister Mr. Khalid Anwer” and that news was published on 05-02-2001 on its front page.

LONDON: The “Sunday Times“ has published transcripts of conversations in 1999 between top minions of the Nawaz Sharif government and a High Court judge hearing the case of PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, bugged by an intelligence official who later fled Pakistan with the tapes. The disclosure came from a senior Pakistani intelligence officer who has said in a letter to the president, obtained by The Sunday Times, that he was told to bug the Justice Abdul Qayyum`s phones. The bugging allegedly revealed that Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister, was intent on securing Bhutto`s conviction at any cost.

In Pakistan Justice Qayyum challenged the veracity of the tapes saying they could have been concocted or doctored. He refused to comment on the merits of the case as it was being heard by the Supreme Court but said he gave all decisions according to the dictates of his conscience and the requirements of the law. By coincidence, the judge who sentenced him to hang was Qayyum`s father. Since she left Pakistan the government of Musharraf has intensified efforts to track assets Bhutto is suspected of having acquired illegally. Many were received by Zardari, who is in prison.

Transcript (I)

PA to Khalid Anwar: Is Justice Qayyum at Home?

Girl: Who is going to talk?

PA to Khalid Anwar: Khalid Anwar – the federal law minister – would like to talk.

Girl: Please hold on

Justice Qayyum: Hello!

PA: Please hold I`ll connect you with Khalid Anwar.

Khalid Anwar: Asalam-o-Alaikum

Qayyum: Salam-o-Alaikum, how are you sir.

Khalid Anwar: I rang you earlier but you were not at home. Where are you now?

Qayyum: I am in Lahore at the moment

Khalid Anwar: Frankly speaking, I have to discuss two, three issues which

Saif has discussed with me.

Qayyum: Who did?

Khalid Anwar: Saif Sahib has. I can`t talk clearly but in my opinion you would understand it. The fact is that I really respect you and also Saif Sahib does.

Qayyum: Yes, it is all right.

Khalid Anwar: Somebody [Nawaz Sharif]is unhappy over the delay of hearing of his case to Saif that nothing has been done so far and why has it not been concluded. In return Saif defended you and said there is no such delay. There should be no misunderstanding because he is trying his level best. But the gentleman [Nawaz Sharif] is very unhappy, because of the situation. There was discussion regarding this issue and I was wondering that a problem might arise. Now I am thinking if you could reach the final result within the outside limit of two weeks.

Qayyum: Apparently there is no problem we will have to complete the procedure. Cross-examination has been completed entirely. Now their statement under 432 has to be recorded.

Khalid Anwar: So get it done on Monday.

Qayyum: It is being done on Monday. After this we have to give them some time for defence evidence and then the matter will be closed.

Khalid Anwar: What we should do is to start the hearing day to day.

Qayyum: We were hearing it day to day but they have requested for two days time, as there are 356 documents. Now you tell me when we will have to fix the date for defence evidence, some time will be required.

Khalid Anwar: If you are giving them two days so after that you should proceed without any break and stay in Islamabad for the full week instead of two days so that this case is completed within two weeks.

Qayyum: I have been there nearly every day of the last two week.

Khalid: You should just take up this case for the whole week.

Qayyum: I am doing nothing else.

Khalid: I am the one who keeps on asking you all the time and by the Grace of God you have done a good job in banking cases. Whenever I meet the World Bank people you are… Last time you sent me a fax. I was in meeting so I showed it to everybody and said this is what you call performance.

Qayyum: Regarding this, when I come this time , I shall meet and tell you. Our Chief Justice is already there. I also told him that a slight delay is inevitable. For, example, if you ask them for defence evidence, then you will have to give them time, you just cannot say bring that tommorow.

Khalid: Kindly try that the work is done. And next time you call me so that we can have a quiet cup of tea.

Qayyum: I shall definately do it. But I had to tell that the others like me are nowhere close to me.

Khalid: I know how much I respect you.

Qayyum: By the Grace of God we shall conclude this very soon.

Khalid: Kindly do it because from reading between the lines I could gather that there is a lot of pressure on Saif.

Qayyum: No, no… I shall definitely do it.

Khalid: Thank you.

Qayyum: No, sir, I am at your disposal.

Khalid: Allah Hafiz

Qayyum: Thank you sir

REFERENCE: `Nawaz put pressure to convict Benazir` By our correspondent http://www.chowk.com/interacts/4959

Here is some more dirt on Khalid Anwar, Justice Malik Qayum, Saifur Rehman and Justice Rashid Aziz Khan of Lahore High Court (the Punjabi justice mafia).

“Ms Bhutto won a major court battle when a seven-member Supreme Court bench upheld her appeal, suspending the five-year jail sentence awarded to Bhutto and Zardari, and ordered a fresh trial into the Cotecna bribery case. The couple was accused of accepting millions of dollars in kickbacks from a Swiss firm. In addition to the jail sentence, the special accountability court headed by Justice Malik Abdul Qayyum had fined them 8.6 million dollars each and disqualified them from public office for five years. The Supreme Court ruling overturning the sentence did not come as a surprise after it was established that trial by the accountability court was manipulated. Bhutto’s legal position was strengthened after the disclosure of a taped conversation between Justice Abdul Qayyum and Saifur Rehman, chief of Mr. Sharif’s accountability cell. The sensational disclosure of 32 tapes which revealed that the judge was pressured to convict the former prime minister and her husband, left the superior court with no choice but to overturn the controversial verdict. However, the retrial order makes it apparent that the bribery charge has not been quashed. REFERENCE: The Judgement and After By Zahid Hussain May 2001 The Newsline [Monthly] http://www.newsline.com.pk/NewsMay2001/coverstory1.htm

To read full article and other related stories, read:

http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/01/nro-kamran-khan-dirty-role-of-barrister.html

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Abdul Nishapuri

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  • Ehtesab – 2 Ardeshir Cowasjee D A W N W I R E S E R V I C E Week Ending : 24 May, 1997 Issue : 03/21 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1997/24May97.html

    THE low-flying Senator Saifur Rahman who pilots the prime minister’s
    Ehtesab Cell has of late been at the receiving end of a lot of flak aimed
    at him by the Press. He says he expected it, and is prepared to counter any
    criticism, even that which can vaguely be substantiated. Brave words indeed!

    Last week I spoke to him about the many allegations made against him by
    various publications which, for their own reasons, seem desperate to prove
    that the Senator himself needed to be cleansed.

    AC: Every new-born democrat of ours, fascist at heart though he may be,
    claims that we cannot have democracy without accountability. From 1988
    onwards those in power – Ghulam Ishaq, Benazir, Jatoi, Nawaz, Mazari, Moeen
    Qureshi, Farooq Leghari, Benazir again – could have started the Ehtesab
    process but did not, mainly because of their own individual greed for power
    and pelf. They did not want to rock the boat. At last, the Leghari / Meraj
    Khalid team put the process on the rails and now that Nawaz has got it
    going. Every right thinking citizen of this country should help him. Why
    did you accept this onerous ‘win-or-lose, you lose,’ position?

    SR: Nawaz is my friend. He could hardly have asked any politician or
    bureaucrat to take on the job. He asked me. I have faith in him. I
    accepted. By and large, the people have supported me. I am prepared to
    answer any allegations obliquely or directly made against me in any of our
    more responsible publications. As a matter of fact, I would like to clarify
    some of the unsubstantiated charges that have been levelled against me.

    AC: Is there any truth in the allegation that your present role as the
    Mian’s chief gunner is a bit of a cover, that you and the Mian intend doing
    business together, you ‘fronting’ for him?

    SR: A baseless allegation. No joint ventures have been planned. As a matter
    of fact, our group of companies have decided not to bid for any public
    sector project in Pakistan as long as I head the Ehtesab Cell.

    AC: It is said that your past businesses in Pakistan culminated with your
    having a dispute with the Customs Department involving some Rs900 million
    which still has to be resolved, and that you are counter-attacking Customs
    officers to ease your way out of the predicament. Is there any truth in this?

    SR: Absolutely none. Can anyone produce any evidence to support this
    allegation? Of course, my companies have had the usual disputes and
    arguments with the Customs, just as have had all other business houses.

    AC: Bank loans: Have you or any of your concerns defaulted?

    SR: Our problems in Pakistan began when we were politically victimised by
    Benazir. The banks controlled by the government reneged on their
    contractual obligations. Our limits were cancelled without assigning any
    reason or giving us due notice. To this day, the banks have not been able
    to explain why they took such action. The operations of our textile
    businesses had to be suspended, the repayment schedules were affected. Some
    payments are overdue, we have sought redress, rescheduling. The matters are
    before the proper tribunals and are at present sub judice . The banks stand
    secured. We are solvent.

    AC: Were you involved at all in the building of the Murree- Rawalpindi road
    project?

    SR: No. The road was constructed by Saadullah & Brothers.

    AC: Did Redco, or any of your other concerns, land any hefty government
    contracts at highly inflated rates during Nawaz’s first round as prime
    minister?

    SR: None. Again, let those who make the allegations come forth with evidence.

    AC: Are you at all involved in the recent cancellation of the Lahore
    airport expansion contract recently awarded to a concern known as JAPAK?

    SR: I have no knowledge of the Lahore airport project, I have had no
    dealings with JAPAK and do not even know who owns or runs it.

    AC: It is claimed that your younger brother, Mujeeb, is now in Seattle,
    wheeling-dealing for the purchase by PIA of two Boeings. Is he?

    SR: My brother is not in Seattle. We have neither had nor have any dealings
    with Boeing.

    AC: Are you, or any of your concerns, about to land a Rs 700 million
    contract to fence the Lahore-Islamabad motorway?

    SR: No. We will abide by our commitment. We will not bid for this or any
    other government business.

    AC: ‘They’ say you are on friendly terms with such men as Salman Faruqui
    and that your pursuit of the ‘bad’ bureaucrats is just a hoax.

    SR: Of course, I know Salman Faruqui, and many of his likes. As you all
    have, I too have heard and know much about them. But I am not ‘negotiating’
    with anyone to let anyone off the hook who deserves to be hooked.

    AC: What about senior bureaucrats Anwar Zahid, the PM’s Special Assistant
    and Chaudhry Iftikhar of the FIA? Are they helping you pursue your Ehtesab
    operation? Have they suggested making ‘deals’ with anybody?

    SR: The first has no connection with my cell. The second being an FIA man,
    I obviously do have discussions with him on the process. After all, we are
    both working towards the same goal. But neither has proposed making any
    ‘deals’.

    AC: Stories circulated or fabricated about your past are intriguing. One
    publication has claimed that you started ten years ago with a drug store at
    Mozang, that later you were a supervisor of expatriate labour working for a
    construction company in the Gulf and sleeping in a shed, that there you
    befriended Abdun Nasir, a rich Arab Sheikh, who enabled you to take off and
    make your pile.

    SR: If all this was so, this rags-to-riches story true, would it not be to
    my credit? My father, a farmer of Sialkot, was also a pharmaceutical
    distributor. I went to Lahore, first to F.C. College to do my F.Sc. and
    then to Hailey College for my B.Com. Then I went to Qatar as a trainee
    executive in a German company. We built up our family businesses in the
    Gulf with partners such as Sheikh Abdur Rahman Al-Thani, a member of the
    royal family of Qatar, and Sheikh Sultan Bin Hamadan al Nahyan, of the
    royal family of the UAE. Our interests include textile spinning and
    weaving, construction, transport, cement and so forth. The group’s head
    office is in Doha. I do know Sheikh Abdun Nasir, but we have never been
    business associates.

    AC: There was a letter about you in Dawn on May 15, written by Syed Kausar
    Ali Shah of Lahore, who stated: “It would be graceful of him if he
    volunteered to face accountability for the rapid rise of his own
    construction firm in controversial circumstances. This would vindicate his
    position and clear his credentials for accountability.” Your reaction?

    SR: I am willing to face the process. Would I have taken on the job
    otherwise? Let any man of any credibility question me, privately or
    publicly, as it may suit him.

    AC: The same letter writer is “concerned about the manner in which 91
    senior bureaucrats, the majority of whom command general respect, have been
    suspended from service and publicly humiliated without justification.” What
    are your views?

    SR: As can be appreciated, the tentacles of the suspended are long and
    widespread. Naturally, they, their relatives, friends, associates and
    dependants are unhappy. What does “general respect” mean? Whatever it be, I
    would say that generally the people have applauded this action.

    AC: As compared to bureaucrats, you have so far netted very few
    politicians. Why?

    SR: The evidence against the politicians is coming in and is being sifted.
    You are a businessman, you tell me, could the country have been robbed to
    the extent it has been by the politicians and their partners without the
    connivance or collusion or compliance of the bureaucrats? Could they not
    have stopped or impeded the corruption? Corruption is easier to detect than
    to prove. As you yourself said during your TV interview, “Chor receipt
    nahin choortay.” And if everyone who has been touched is innocent as he
    claims to be, then who has robbed the country?

    My comment: If all that Saifur Rehman has said is to be believed, he has
    emerged as white as driven snow. For the doubters, it is open season. He
    says, shoot him down if you can.

  • Consistent honesty? Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 12 April 1997 Issue : 03/15 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1997/12Apr97.html#cons

    HOW fortunate can a man be? Take me, for example. I have had the pleasure
    of knowing, partaking of their wisdom, and enjoying the company of Allah
    Baksh Kadir Baksh Brohi, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, and Brohi’s protege,
    Khalid Anwer. Friend Brohi is with us no more. Friend Sharifuddin is very much around, but for the time being enjoying a sabbatical. One can but admire his self-
    confidence, as he is still sure that he can convince his Maker (if his
    Maker will hear him) that all he has done upon this earth has been good and
    just. Khalid is on his way up. He successfully had Nawaz’s dissolution
    overturned. He successfully had Benazir’s dissolution upheld. Now he has
    had 58(2)(b) erased from the Book. As a member of the government, he bears
    a great deal of the collective responsibility for any action taken by this
    government, for he is by far the brightest, the most finely educated, the
    most well-read, and the most balanced of the democrats amongst whom he
    sits.

  • Fascism on the march By Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 13 December 1997 Issue : 03/50 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1997/13Dec97.html#fasc

    THEORETICALLY, in a Westminster-style democracy that this country
    has tried to emulate, there are four pillars of state – the
    legislature, the executive, the judiciary, and the press. But our
    country rests imbalanced on five. The fifth pillar, the most
    powerful, the richest, the most organized, is the army. Fortunately
    for us, it is now headed by a good commander.

    Nawaz Sharif’s `overwhelming’ mandate, comprising less than ten per
    cent of the total population of the Republic, but sufficient for
    him and his `sovereigns of parliament’ to do good by the 140
    million should they so wish, did not satisfy him.

    He first tackled the executive, emasculating the president, rushing
    through at midnight the 13th Amendment, suspending all rules of
    procedure, aided and abetted by a pliant assembly speaker and a
    pliant senate chairman (both front-runners in the present
    presidential race). To neutralize the legislature, he repeated the
    exercise with his 14th Amendment (passed without a single dissent)
    banning dissension or abstention in parliament. Never in the
    recorded history of any democracy have parliamentarians voluntarily
    given up their right to speak.

    At the time when Farooq Leghari and his caretaker government were
    assuring Nawaz Sharif his second term, Abbaji was heard to declare,
    “leghari Sahib kay ehsan, mein, aur merey baitey, aur hamara
    khandan, kabhi nahin, bhoolengey.” This was forgotten on February 3
    when Nawaz Sharif was elected.

    Nine months down the line, a weakened Leghari, given the choice
    between a threatened impeachment (which, because of the numbers
    game, may never have come off) or resignation, chose the latter. He
    should have called Nawaz Sharif’s bluff, and, following the
    dictates of his conscience, gone on to sign or not sign whatever
    was presented to him. An independent judiciary would have
    intervened and passed appropriate orders against a mala fide and
    colorable impeachment.

    Leghari having resigned, a new president now has to be elected.
    When my friend, Nawab Mohammad Akbar Shahbaz Khan, Tumandar Bugti,
    was asked whether he was an aspirant, he replied “No. I do not
    qualify. I have a spine.” Amongst the pliable favorites are Wasim
    Sajjad, Sartaj Aziz, Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro, and, of all people, Ghous
    Ali Shah. Of this sorry lot, one is guilty of having lied under
    oath in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

    The fourth pillar of the state, the press, is no longer just the
    printed word. it is also the predominating electronic media. Nawaz
    Sharif and his men do not, or cannot, read, so, by and large, we
    remain relatively free. PTV, our prime ministers’ personal
    television channel, remains abjectly controlled, so much so that it
    was prevented from broadcasting President Leghari’s resignation
    speech to the nation. Shots were shown on foreign television
    channels, and the world informed that it was banned from the
    national channel. This reinforced international opinion as to Nawaz
    Sharif’s authoritarian tendencies.

    The army stands as one. Chief of Army Staff General Jehangir
    Karamat has acted prudently. Nawaz Sharif’s propaganda about his
    having army backing is neither correct nor is it generally
    believed.

    Why do you glorify the army chief so, asked Ayaz Amir (not so long
    ago one of our credible national columnists but now a budding
    Nawazite)? Have you forgotten your history? Have you forgotten how
    Hitler divided and destroyed the Wehrmacht? Have you forgotten the
    Blomberg-Fritsch affair? Have you forgotten how the ageing giant
    Hindenburg was duped by Hitler? If Nawaz succeeds in his aim, will
    Karamat be forgiven? I told him I had not forgotten any of it and
    how not so long ago I had sent to the general a copy of a video
    film on the Fuhrer which is being followed up by a copy of Shirer’s
    `The Rise and Fall of the third Reich’.

    As for the judiciary, Nawaz Sharif with his (or rather, our) money,
    with his carrots and sticks, has successfully managed to undermine
    this institution so recently built up. Neither history nor the
    people can ever forgive him for this.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah (to the Bar and the
    people he is neither `under restraint’ nor `under suspension’) was
    appointed by Benazir in 1994. No judge, or member of the Bar, up to
    November of this year, voiced any protest against his appointment
    or his administration. As Rashed Rahman, son of a former Supreme
    Court judge, wrote about him in The Nation, “That he is a man of
    courage and has a clean record goes without saying. In that sense
    he can be compared to a hero of a Shakespearian tragedy whose fall
    is brought about as much by a flaw in his own character as by
    outside factors.”

    Fali Nariman, a former Attorney-General of India and now president
    of the bar association of India, who keeps himself abreast of
    happenings in the courts of our country, asked me to fax him the
    orders passed by the Quetta and Peshawar Benches and by Chief
    Justice Sajjad Ali Shah relating to the ouster. On December 5, a
    perplexed Nariman asked, `but is there any legal or constitutional
    basis for the orders of the Quetta and Peshawar Benches?”

    My constitutional adviser and senior counsel, Barrister Makhdoom
    Ali Khan, was immediately consulted. Careful Makhdoom’s first
    response was to say, “Not to my knowledge.” I asked him for a one-
    word answer, either `yes’ or `no’. “No,” he said. There are
    certainly no precedents in Pakistan for what has happened, but
    there are many against. It is a settled principle that no writ will
    be issued by one judge to another.

    On November 28, I was in the Supreme Court whilst the contempt case
    against Nawaz Sharif and others was being heard by Chief Justice
    Shah’s Bench. Sitting beside me was my friend and lawyer, Khalid
    Anwer, now federal law minister. Whilst alleged contemner Nawaz
    Sharif’s lawyer, S.M. Zafar, laboured on and on, Khalid shook his
    head from side to side. Zafar, making his usual noises, shifting
    his weight from one foot to the other, told the court that its
    constitution was in question. A calm and composed Sajjad asked, why
    then are you here before us? Zafar also questioned the legitimacy
    of Sajjad’s appointment as chief justice. If you do not recognize
    me as chief justice, do you recognize me as a judge of the Supreme
    Court? queried Sajjad.

    As the harangue continued, I remarked to Khalid that his writ as
    law minister does not extend far, and asked if it would extend far
    enough for him to protect my seat whilst I nip out to attend to a
    call of nature. Good humouredly, he replied that though he may not
    succeed as law minister, he could manage to do so as a senior
    counsel of the Supreme Court. Before I could reach my destination
    one floor below the courtroom, a surging screaming crowd of
    hooligans appeared in the corridors. Zahid Hussain, correspondent
    for The Times (London) and the chief of AP in Pakistan, was with
    me. We were both hurriedly sent back by court officials who were
    rushing around instructing each other that the doors of the
    courtroom be closed, that the crowd had arrived to arrest the Chief
    Justice.

    As we re-entered, I heard Sajjad remark, to Zafar, “Thanks to you,”
    whilst adjourning the case and leaving the courtroom just before a
    section of the crowd, spearheaded by women, rushed in. Turning to
    Khalid I said that if Nawaz Sharif must use women, he should at
    least see to it that they are good looking rather than frightening.
    A lawyer of Lahore standing close by informed me that they were not
    actually women, but intermediary beings, and that I would look like
    them were I to shave off my beard and moustache and put on lipstick
    and make-up. He even recognized a few of them as being famous
    `tanglas’ from certain specialized areas of Lahore. As we pushed
    our way out of the courtroom, a dejected Khalid Anwar muttered to
    himself, “Most unnecessary, most unnecessary.”

    Acting Chief Justice Ajmal Mian is so far clean on record, and, as
    far as is publicly known, free from any impropriety. His first
    challenge is to deal with all those involved in the attack on the
    Supreme Court. This will not be easy. It must nevertheless be
    faced. The mob did not attack a man, or a building. The institution
    of the judiciary, with the Supreme Court at its apex, was the
    target of the assault. This was contempt of court of the worst
    kind, and any lack of firmness or alacrity in dealing with the
    culprits will only encourage others to use similar methods each
    time the court is seized of a politically sensitive matter. The
    authority of the court will become subject to the muscle- power of
    the mob and the machinations of those who hire them.

    The master-fixer, my friend the Jadoogar of Jeddah, Sharifuddin
    Pirzada, who snoozed besides me as we flew back to Karachi, was
    firm in his opinion that the gravest of contempt had been
    committed, that it’s an open and shut case.

  • Fascdism on the march — II Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 20 December 1997 Issue : 03/51
    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1997/20Dec97.html#fasc

    AN open letter to Justice Ajmal Mian, the honourable J-1 of the
    Supreme Court:

    As a citizen of Pakistan, no more no less, I address you, today the
    principal custodian of the honour and dignity of the judiciary of
    Pakistan, particularly that of the Supreme Court. You may perhaps
    have read my column printed last Sunday, the manuscript of which is
    sent herewith.

    The crucial issues pending before your court include;

    * Contempt of court action against Nawaz Sharif and seven others.

    * Petition regarding the unlawful allotment of thousands of plots
    by him when chief minister of Punjab.

    * Petition regarding the unlawful ISI distribution of Rs 140
    million of the people’s money to him and others.

    * Petition regarding award of wheat transport contract by him to
    his crony Saeed Shaikh.

    * Petition regarding his misuse of power in pressurising banks to
    settle loan cases out of court.

    * Petition challenging his Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

    * Petitions regarding suspension of 13th and 14th Amendments.

    Fascism has been on the march in our country from 1954 a mere six
    years after Jinnah’s death. Governor General Ghulam Mohammed used
    fascist force to try to prevent Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan from
    arriving at the High Court of Sindh to file his petition against
    the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. He ordered that
    Tamizuddin be arrested before he could get there, and the High
    Court was surrounded by the police. Disguised in a burqa,
    Tamizuddin managed to get through to the Deputy Registrar, Roshan
    Ali Shah, father of the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah,
    held by certain of his bretheren now to be “under restraint.”

    Roshan Ali protected Tamizuddin and took him to Chief Justice Sir
    George Constantine, who accepted the petition and ordered the
    police to disperse or face action. You will also recall how, in
    1973, District and Sessions Judge of Sanghar Mohammed Owais Murtaza
    was hand-cuffed, arrested while presiding over his own court, and
    jailed by provincial minister Jam Sadiq Ali, as ordered by Bhutto,
    for having granted bail to certain men he had imprisoned. The
    steadfast CJ Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman stood his ground and
    protested. Why was his judge humiliated, why was he, the Chief
    Justice, not consulted? Judge Murtaza moved the High Court for bail
    and Bhutto had him released before his application could be heard
    by Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman.

    It was also in the 1970s, when I first heard of you. You were a
    young legal adviser of the Karachi Port Trust. My father Rustom,
    the senior-most trustee, was acting as the Chairman of the Trust.
    One fine morning, an agitated Chief Engineer Aftab informed him
    that Chief Minister of Sindh Mumtaz Bhutto had arranged to lay the
    foundations of a labour colony on port land that afternoon. The
    platform had been erected, flags were flying and buntings hung. My
    father immediately wrote off to the CM telling him that the land
    was port land reserved for its development, that he should
    therefore cancel his building programme and save himself
    embarrassment.

    Within minutes, the gruff CM telephoned. Who are you? he asked, and
    how dare you address me as you have? Dared I have, replied my
    father. Right now, I am the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of
    the Karachi Port Trust, and therefore the chief conservator of all
    the land and water notified as falling within the port limits.

    Whoever you may be, responded the Talented Cousin, always remember
    that every inch of land in Sindh is mine to do with as I will. What
    will you do if I lay the foundation stone and build a colony? I
    will file a petition in the High Court, came the answer, and stay
    your designs.

    At lunch that afternoon, my father related this exchange to his
    sons. But, he said, we have a clear-headed young lawyer. “Ajmal
    tagro che,” and Tufail will stay Mumtaz’s hand within fifteen
    minutes. However, before we could finish lunch, Aftab rang saying
    that the platform, flags and buntings had all been removed and the
    ceremony was off.

    My father could act as he did, banking on an honest High Court
    presided over by a fearless CJ who would feel bound to protect the
    Trust.

    Moving forward to the present, may I request that this letter of
    mine be accepted as a petition, and that you take suo moto action,
    for the gravest contempt committed in the face of the court,
    against those who stormed the Supreme Court on November 28 as well
    as all those responsible for organizing, paying, and directing them
    to so do, and that severe deterrent punishment be handed down to
    all of them. (Possibly taking their cue from the Nov 28 happening,
    50 mobsters on December 12 attacked the court of a civil judge of
    Faisalabad). Collectively responsible and guilty is the entire
    federal cabinet and its primus inter pares.

    As evidence, sent herewith is a cassette. You will see clearly from
    this video recording, that the disgraceful and unprecedented scenes
    that took place on the premises and inside the court building on
    November 28 were undoubtedly government inspired and led, funded by
    the peoples money. You will, as did I, recognize certain prominent
    members of the present government, of the Senate, the National
    Assembly and the Punjab Provincial Assembly. And should you be
    familiar with the Muslim Leaguers of the prime minister’s own home
    town, Lahore, you will no doubt see many familiar figures,
    flaunting the flag of the ruling party, proving that the
    substantial and violent mob was bussed in from the provincial
    capital specifically for the raid.

    You will see on the portion taken from BBC tracks, that prominent
    in the pushing, shoving and shouting crowd outside the court is the
    well known federal minister Mushahid Hussain who works closely with
    the prime minister. As he jostles along he is smiling the smile of
    sweet success and contentment. You will observe that he made no
    effort to pacify or dissuade the mob. Clambering over the gates of
    the court premises can be spotted the ample figure of MPA Sa’ad
    Rafiq, a former leader of the Muslim Students’ Federation.
    Encouraging the attack is the since- sacked-then-reinstated
    political secretary to the prime minister, Mushtaq Ali Taherkheli,
    who later was interviewed by the BBC. You will also see the many
    law enforcers, flak-jacketed policemen, standing watching, or
    strolling by, apparently under orders not to react.

    Women were well represented by Najma Hamid, a former MPA of Punjab,
    I am told.

    Amongst those directing the mob within the court building was
    Senator Saifur Rahman, Nawaz’s chief trouble-shooter and man for
    all affairs, and his chief-in-charge of ehtesab. It was very sad to
    spot him amongst the hooligans. I thought better of him. The night
    before, he was hurriedly sent for by provincial chief minister
    Shahbaz Sharif and he flew back with him from Lahore in the CM’s
    special plane at 0300 hours that morning.

    Sardar Naseem, an MPA of Lahore, was prominent, as was an associate
    of the well-known Khwaja Riaz Mahmood, a former deputy mayor of
    Lahore, famous for remarking that he cannot understand why two
    police constables were not simply sent to arrest the chief justice
    and get the whole thing over with quickly.

    Other honourable Senators seen directing the rioters were Raja
    Aurangzeb, and a man recognized by some as Parvez Rashid. MNA Tariq
    Aziz did his active best. Former hockey star Akhtar Rasool, and
    Mian Abdul Sattar, both MPAs of Lahore, performed well. From
    Rawalpindi there was MPA Chaudhry Tanvir, a former vice-chairman of
    the Cantonment Board. You will see how the rowdies were guided in
    and, after forcing the court to adjourn, hurriedly ushered out.
    They were later accorded a celebratory feast at Punjab House.

    The affairs of state will trundle on and soon Chief Justice of
    Pakistan (under restraint) Sajjad Ali Shah will be invited by the
    government to honour his constitutional obligation and swear in the
    new President, as required by Article 42. But, on you, for the
    present, rests the onerous responsibility of reconsecrating a badly
    desecrated and purposefully divided Supreme Court.

  • Fascism on the march – III Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 27 December 1997 Issue : 03/52 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1997/27Dec97.html#fasc

    THIS true story relating to the election of the first president, to
    suit the genius of the 1973 Constitution warrants repetition.

    When President Bhutto decided to step down to the prime ministerial
    slot he looked around for a ‘suitable’ replacement. What he sought
    ideally was a blind, deaf, mindless, crippled candidate. Prior to
    his sighting of the gentle Fazal Elahi Chaudhry, his eye lit upon
    the politically acceptable Begum Shahnawaz, daughter of Sir
    Mohammad Shafi, sister of my late lamented friend, Mian Iqbal
    Shafi.

    My first reaction was to exclaim, good grief, she must be pushing
    ninety. To check, and to congratulate Iqi in the event that it was

    true, I rang him. Yes, he said, there is something to it and, yes,
    she is getting on for ninety. But she qualifies perfectly. She can
    barely see, she is almost stone deaf, and she is mobile only if
    helped. We must hope they don’t let her down. She is preparing her
    trousseau for the move to the presidential palace, and it will hit
    her hard if it doesn’t come off. Nusrat and Zulfi have been
    visiting. Keep your fingers crossed, pal. You and I may be on to a
    good thing. She will have a special train. We’ll organize an extra
    bogey and tour Pakistan in style. Pack your bags, pal, he
    instructed me before he signed off.

    A few days later Iqi called. Unpack, pal, unpack. Bad news.
    Jehanara’s chances have receded. She has regained her hearing in
    one ear, her eyesight has improved, and she has thrown out her
    nurse. No go. She has ceased to qualify.

    Looking around this time, Nawaz Sharif’s eye focused on
    octogenarian Fida Mohammed Khan as a suitable candidate. He also
    qualified on other grounds. Hailing from the NWFP, he would be
    acceptable to most as a symbol of the federation. But Wali Khan,
    Sharif’s coalition partner, spoilt that one. Fida did not suit his
    purposes. He was relatively sharp of hearing and sight, and had
    almost all his brain cells intact.

    Up came the name of Mohammed Ali Khan Hoti, also from the NWFP. He
    was immediately rejected, for he has a good solid spine and is
    quite capable of deciding for himself what is what.

    Ghous Ali Shah of Sindh’s name cropped up, but was hastily
    discarded as too many people who mattered insisted that he was far
    too ‘controversial’ (the local euphemism for ‘totally
    unacceptable’).

    Then Abbaji stepped in, and within the space of one minute settled
    everything. Cut the cackle and forget about the ‘smaller’
    provinces. Let’s keep it all in the family and in Punjab. Select my
    friend and legal adviser, Rafiq Tarar, whose wit and wisdom I
    share, and with whom I often sup late into the night, exchanging
    sick Sikh jokes from our vast reservoirs. He is, and will prove to
    be, perfect.

    What is good for the Sharifs, is good for the party, and is good
    for the nation. Soon, with God’s blessings, we will have a Sharif
    nominee at the head of the Supreme Court and at the head of our
    powerful army.

    ‘Der Fuhrer’ had spoken. Without further ado, without consulting
    his ruling party members, or the leaders of the coalition parties,
    Nawaz Sharif nominated Tarar.

    Thought-broadcaster and ‘media developer’ Mushahid Hussain was
    ordered to tailor Tarar to fit the slot, and vice versa. Mushahid
    trumpeted: Tarar is a moderate Muslim, a clean, devout, upright man
    and, contrary to what is said, is not a misogynist.

    He has been cleared by the agencies (who codified him in the
    records sent to those prosecuting Benazir’s Bhutto government’s
    dismissal as DW1 — Dari Wallah 1). He is a son of the soil,
    officially born in Pirkhot, District Gujranwala, on November 2,
    1929, educated in Gujranwala and Lahore. Gujranwala is his oyster.
    It was there he grew his formal beard and in 1951 launched himself
    as a pleader.

    He moved up to become advocate of the high court, to additional
    district and sessions judge, to district and sessions judge, and
    was elevated to the bench of the Lahore High Court in 1974, in the
    good old days of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s PPP. In 1989, in the equally
    good old days of Zia, he became chief justice of that court, moving
    up to the Supreme Court in 1991, from where he retired in 1994.

    His brilliance on the bench of the Supreme Court has been
    immortalized. During the three years he sat there, one sole
    judgment authored by the Honourable Justice Tarar was recorded in a
    PLD — his concurring judgment in the case of the 1993 dissolution
    of the National Assembly when the presidential dissolution order
    was struck down and the government of Nawaz Sharif restored.

    Amongst his friends who share his thoughts and beliefs and over
    whom he wields considerable influence are Justice Khalilur Rahman
    (codified as DW2), a signatory to the November 1997 order of the
    Quetta bench of the Supreme Court which sparked off the sorry
    disintegration process; Afzal Lone, a benefactor of the Ittefaq
    empire, rewarded with a Senate seat, who is inevitably to be found
    lurking in the prime minister’s secretariat, and Major General
    Javed Nasir (DW3), Nawaz Sharif’s former chief of the ISI and of
    the ‘Afghan misadventure’.

    Tarar’s nomination was filed on December 16, together with that of
    his covering candidates Captain Haleem Siddiqi and Khwaja
    Qutubuddin. (It is somewhat of a disgrace that a master mariner
    should have allowed his name to be included amongst the spineless.)
    Tarar’s nomination was rejected on December 18 by Justice of the
    Supreme Court Mukhtar Ahmad Junejo, who also holds the post of
    Acting Chief Election Commissioner. Junejo, in this case, proved
    himself to be as strong as Seshan.

    Can we remove Junejo, was Nawaz Sharif’s first Gawalmandi reaction.
    Risky, he was told. Then file a petition against Junejo’s order in
    the Lahore High Court and have the order suspended. Suitable
    counsel were hurriedly contacted, and it goes to the credit of the
    bar that not one of the top constitutional lawyers was willing to
    accept Tarar’s brief.

    Ejaz Batalvi, expert criminal lawyer, was roped in. Justice Qayyum
    admitted the petition on December 19 and suspended Junejo’s order,
    allowing Tarar to “participate in the election provisionally
    subject to further orders”. A larger bench will hear the petition
    on the 23rd.

    My renowned constitutional expert (who for his own good explicitly
    asked me not to name him) maintains that Tarar may sail through the
    Lahore High Court. But, in the Supreme Court, it may, just may, be
    a different kettle of fish. Passing muster there will not be that
    simple.

    The irony is that the order of Acting CEC Mukhtar Junejo will be
    defended by Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq, who, though
    technically the first law officer of the land representing the
    people still acts as if he were the personal hired lawyer of
    Ittefaq and Nawaz Sharif.

    As for the president of the republic, with the powers now left to
    him in the Constitution, all he can depend upon is his moral
    authority and his presentability to the world. Tarar,
    unfortunately, possesses neither. To quote from the ‘Comment’ of
    man-of-integrity Kunwar Idris, published in this newspaper on
    December 20 :

    “Also casting a dark shadow on him is the referendum of December
    1984 when, as a member of Zia’s Election Commission, he solemnly
    assured the people that 55 per cent and not just five per cent of
    the electorate had turned out to confer legitimacy on Zia’s
    dictatorial rule. Mr Tarar also has to dispel the widely insinuated
    impression that he was involved in the ‘Quetta Shuttle’ which
    divided the Supreme Court and wrote the saddest chapter in
    Pakistan’s constitutional history.”

    The task before the present de facto chief custodian of the Supreme
    Court, the honourable J-1, Justice Ajmal Mian, is onerous indeed.
    Before he can reform and unite his ‘farishtas’ (as the judges of
    the SC are affectionately known) he has to clean up the paradise
    over which they preside. The dignity and honour of the court remain
    desecrated and dented by the mob attack upon it organized by the
    ruling party. The court must be cleansed and reconsecrated, the
    sponsors and their stormers punished for committing a criminal act
    in the face of the court.

    Another task awaiting Justice Mian is the reining in of the
    parallel judiciary incorporated in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997
    (a Lone-Tarar creation).

    Also (important and urgent) he must demolish the formation of a
    squad of honorary magistrates planned to be recruited in Punjab
    from the ranks of party bosses of the Muslim League. Following in
    his master’s footsteps, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat is said
    to have thought up this brilliant fascistic move.

  • Fascism on the march By Ardeshir Cowasjee

    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1997/13Dec97.html#fasc

    THEORETICALLY, in a Westminster-style democracy that this country
    has tried to emulate, there are four pillars of state – the
    legislature, the executive, the judiciary, and the press. But our
    country rests imbalanced on five. The fifth pillar, the most
    powerful, the richest, the most organized, is the army. Fortunately
    for us, it is now headed by a good commander.

    Nawaz Sharif’s `overwhelming’ mandate, comprising less than ten per
    cent of the total population of the Republic, but sufficient for
    him and his `sovereigns of parliament’ to do good by the 140
    million should they so wish, did not satisfy him.

    He first tackled the executive, emasculating the president, rushing
    through at midnight the 13th Amendment, suspending all rules of
    procedure, aided and abetted by a pliant assembly speaker and a
    pliant senate chairman (both front-runners in the present
    presidential race). To neutralize the legislature, he repeated the
    exercise with his 14th Amendment (passed without a single dissent)
    banning dissension or abstention in parliament. Never in the
    recorded history of any democracy have parliamentarians voluntarily
    given up their right to speak.

    At the time when Farooq Leghari and his caretaker government were
    assuring Nawaz Sharif his second term, Abbaji was heard to declare,
    “leghari Sahib kay ehsan, mein, aur merey baitey, aur hamara
    khandan, kabhi nahin, bhoolengey.” This was forgotten on February 3
    when Nawaz Sharif was elected.

    Nine months down the line, a weakened Leghari, given the choice
    between a threatened impeachment (which, because of the numbers
    game, may never have come off) or resignation, chose the latter. He
    should have called Nawaz Sharif’s bluff, and, following the
    dictates of his conscience, gone on to sign or not sign whatever
    was presented to him. An independent judiciary would have
    intervened and passed appropriate orders against a mala fide and
    colorable impeachment.

    Leghari having resigned, a new president now has to be elected.
    When my friend, Nawab Mohammad Akbar Shahbaz Khan, Tumandar Bugti,
    was asked whether he was an aspirant, he replied “No. I do not
    qualify. I have a spine.” Amongst the pliable favorites are Wasim
    Sajjad, Sartaj Aziz, Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro, and, of all people, Ghous
    Ali Shah. Of this sorry lot, one is guilty of having lied under
    oath in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

    The fourth pillar of the state, the press, is no longer just the
    printed word. it is also the predominating electronic media. Nawaz
    Sharif and his men do not, or cannot, read, so, by and large, we
    remain relatively free. PTV, our prime ministers’ personal
    television channel, remains abjectly controlled, so much so that it
    was prevented from broadcasting President Leghari’s resignation
    speech to the nation. Shots were shown on foreign television
    channels, and the world informed that it was banned from the
    national channel. This reinforced international opinion as to Nawaz
    Sharif’s authoritarian tendencies.

    The army stands as one. Chief of Army Staff General Jehangir
    Karamat has acted prudently. Nawaz Sharif’s propaganda about his
    having army backing is neither correct nor is it generally
    believed.

    Why do you glorify the army chief so, asked Ayaz Amir (not so long
    ago one of our credible national columnists but now a budding
    Nawazite)? Have you forgotten your history? Have you forgotten how
    Hitler divided and destroyed the Wehrmacht? Have you forgotten the
    Blomberg-Fritsch affair? Have you forgotten how the ageing giant
    Hindenburg was duped by Hitler? If Nawaz succeeds in his aim, will
    Karamat be forgiven? I told him I had not forgotten any of it and
    how not so long ago I had sent to the general a copy of a video
    film on the Fuhrer which is being followed up by a copy of Shirer’s
    `The Rise and Fall of the third Reich’.

    As for the judiciary, Nawaz Sharif with his (or rather, our) money,
    with his carrots and sticks, has successfully managed to undermine
    this institution so recently built up. Neither history nor the
    people can ever forgive him for this.

    Chief Justice of Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah (to the Bar and the
    people he is neither `under restraint’ nor `under suspension’) was
    appointed by Benazir in 1994. No judge, or member of the Bar, up to
    November of this year, voiced any protest against his appointment
    or his administration. As Rashed Rahman, son of a former Supreme
    Court judge, wrote about him in The Nation, “That he is a man of
    courage and has a clean record goes without saying. In that sense
    he can be compared to a hero of a Shakespearian tragedy whose fall
    is brought about as much by a flaw in his own character as by
    outside factors.”

    Fali Nariman, a former Attorney-General of India and now president
    of the bar association of India, who keeps himself abreast of
    happenings in the courts of our country, asked me to fax him the
    orders passed by the Quetta and Peshawar Benches and by Chief
    Justice Sajjad Ali Shah relating to the ouster. On December 5, a
    perplexed Nariman asked, `but is there any legal or constitutional
    basis for the orders of the Quetta and Peshawar Benches?”

    My constitutional adviser and senior counsel, Barrister Makhdoom
    Ali Khan, was immediately consulted. Careful Makhdoom’s first
    response was to say, “Not to my knowledge.” I asked him for a one-
    word answer, either `yes’ or `no’. “No,” he said. There are
    certainly no precedents in Pakistan for what has happened, but
    there are many against. It is a settled principle that no writ will
    be issued by one judge to another.

    On November 28, I was in the Supreme Court whilst the contempt case
    against Nawaz Sharif and others was being heard by Chief Justice
    Shah’s Bench. Sitting beside me was my friend and lawyer, Khalid
    Anwer, now federal law minister. Whilst alleged contemner Nawaz
    Sharif’s lawyer, S.M. Zafar, laboured on and on, Khalid shook his
    head from side to side. Zafar, making his usual noises, shifting
    his weight from one foot to the other, told the court that its
    constitution was in question. A calm and composed Sajjad asked, why
    then are you here before us? Zafar also questioned the legitimacy
    of Sajjad’s appointment as chief justice. If you do not recognize
    me as chief justice, do you recognize me as a judge of the Supreme
    Court? queried Sajjad.

    As the harangue continued, I remarked to Khalid that his writ as
    law minister does not extend far, and asked if it would extend far
    enough for him to protect my seat whilst I nip out to attend to a
    call of nature. Good humouredly, he replied that though he may not
    succeed as law minister, he could manage to do so as a senior
    counsel of the Supreme Court. Before I could reach my destination
    one floor below the courtroom, a surging screaming crowd of
    hooligans appeared in the corridors. Zahid Hussain, correspondent
    for The Times (London) and the chief of AP in Pakistan, was with
    me. We were both hurriedly sent back by court officials who were
    rushing around instructing each other that the doors of the
    courtroom be closed, that the crowd had arrived to arrest the Chief
    Justice.

    As we re-entered, I heard Sajjad remark, to Zafar, “Thanks to you,”
    whilst adjourning the case and leaving the courtroom just before a
    section of the crowd, spearheaded by women, rushed in. Turning to
    Khalid I said that if Nawaz Sharif must use women, he should at
    least see to it that they are good looking rather than frightening.
    A lawyer of Lahore standing close by informed me that they were not
    actually women, but intermediary beings, and that I would look like
    them were I to shave off my beard and moustache and put on lipstick
    and make-up. He even recognized a few of them as being famous
    `tanglas’ from certain specialized areas of Lahore. As we pushed
    our way out of the courtroom, a dejected Khalid Anwar muttered to
    himself, “Most unnecessary, most unnecessary.”

    Acting Chief Justice Ajmal Mian is so far clean on record, and, as
    far as is publicly known, free from any impropriety. His first
    challenge is to deal with all those involved in the attack on the
    Supreme Court. This will not be easy. It must nevertheless be
    faced. The mob did not attack a man, or a building. The institution
    of the judiciary, with the Supreme Court at its apex, was the
    target of the assault. This was contempt of court of the worst
    kind, and any lack of firmness or alacrity in dealing with the
    culprits will only encourage others to use similar methods each
    time the court is seized of a politically sensitive matter. The
    authority of the court will become subject to the muscle- power of
    the mob and the machinations of those who hire them.

    The master-fixer, my friend the Jadoogar of Jeddah, Sharifuddin
    Pirzada, who snoozed besides me as we flew back to Karachi, was
    firm in his opinion that the gravest of contempt had been
    committed, that it’s an open and shut case.

  • Fascism on the march – IV Ardeshir Cowasjee
    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/03Ja98.html#fasc

    SHOULD their mindset allow them one, all those who are still able
    to believe that the system we have is a democracy that suits the
    genius of and is capable of governing the 140 million people of
    Pakistan should have second thoughts.

    Reproduced are extracts from a series of columns entitled ‘Ehtesab
    or intekhab’, printed in this space in this newspaper during the
    Leghari caretaker period:

    Dec 12, 1996 — “Never have we been nearer the edge of the
    precipice. The people must be taken into confidence and their will
    must prevail. A direct reference must be made and this caretaker
    government must ascertain what it is the masses want. The
    Constitution adequately provides in Article 48(6): “If, at any
    time, the President, in his discretion, or on the advice of the
    Prime Minister, considers that it is desirable that any matter of
    national importance should be referred to a referendum, the
    President may cause the matter to be referred to a referendum in
    the form of a question that is capable of being answered by ‘yes’
    or ‘no’.”

    Dec 29, 1996 — “The constitutionalists who support Nawaz maintain
    that elections must be held within 90 days. They ignore Article
    254: ‘When any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be
    done within a particular period and it is not done within that
    period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or
    otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within
    that period.’ They overlook Article 48(6).

    “Why is the President afraid of holding a referendum? He must know
    that the overwhelming majority of the people will insist that the
    holding of the accountability process must be completed, and that
    the guilty politicians should be disqualified, or convicted, before
    any elections are held? But does he know that the majority of the
    people find many of the present caretakers unacceptable? He could
    easily replace them and appoint men in whom the people have
    confidence.”

    Jan 20, 1997 — “The people say, let there be a time-limited delay
    in the holding of elections. Article 58(2)(b) provides for an
    appeal to the electorate. Article 48(6) permits the President “in
    his discretion or on the advice of the Prime Minister” (the advice
    being binding) to hold a referendum. Can the President not ask the
    people if they wish for a time-limited delay in the holding of
    elections (say, a period of 15 months) which would give him and his
    team (a changed team, he should get rid of the known rotters) time
    to strengthen the accountability laws and complete the process?
    >From the highest to the lowest in the land, the feeling is that
    these elections are being held far too soon. Chief Justice of
    Pakistan Sajjad Ali Shah is all for accountability and has stated
    that the 90 days period is ‘too inadequate for completing the
    accountability process’ (Dawn Jan 13).

    “If, as it seems clear they will, the people vote for a time-
    limited delay, the Nawazians, the anxious hopeful beneficiaries,
    may go to court in protest. Let the CJ and his brethren then give
    their verdict.”

    All too late now, Leghari dithered, wavered, and made up his mind
    that Nawaz Sharif was to be installed in the prime ministerial
    mansion and given another round. Incapable of exercising moral
    authority, he let greed get the better of him. And what was his
    fate? In less than a year, having allowed himself to be rendered
    weak and vulnerable by the very creature he had installed, and
    fearing the remote possibility of impeachment, he fled the scene on
    December 2.

    Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister on February 17. Rather
    than concentrating on doing good by the people, for which all that
    is needed are moral qualities and endowments, moral habits and
    conduct, and the ability to know the difference between right and
    wrong, he concentrated on grabbing more power than was due to him
    by the Constitution.

    So, in less than two months at midnight on April 2, all rules and
    procedures of the parliament were suspended and in the middle of
    the night, the 13th Amendment Bill was rushed through both Houses,
    signed by the president the next day, and notified on April 4. By
    this Amendment, the president was disempowered, and the prime
    minister further empowered. The president cannot dissolve the
    National Assembly, he cannot appoint governors at his discretion
    but on the advice of the prime minister, the provincial governors
    cannot dissolve their assemblies, the president, though he remains
    supreme commander of the Armed forces, no longer has the power to
    appoint or sack the service chiefs.

    The question the president did not ask before signing this bill:
    Why is this Amendment necessary? Why were the rules of procedure
    suspended? Why was no debate allowed in the House?

    Rules dictate that a constitutional amendment is an extraordinary
    measure involving a great deal of deliberation on the part of the
    ruling party, consultation with the opposition, and an objective
    study of public opinion on the subject.

    Thereafter, according to the rules of procedure governing
    parliamentary proceedings under the 1973 Constitution, a bill
    (other than a finance bill) upon its introduction in the House
    stands referred to the relevant standing committee, unless the
    requirements of Rules 91 and 92 are dispensed with by the House on
    a motion by the member-in-charge. The standing committee is
    required to present its report within 30 days and, on receipt of
    this report, copies of the bill as introduced, together with any
    modifications recommended by the standing committee, must be
    supplied to each member within seven days. Two clear days then must
    elapse before the bill can be sent down for a motion under Rule 93.

    Less than three months after this transgression, on June 30, in the
    Senate, the rules of procedure were again suspended, The 14th
    Amendment Bill went through like a shot, passed in less than a day,
    without one single protest or dissent being recorded.

    On July 1, the bill was presented to the National Assembly, again
    rules of procedure were suspended, and the bill was passed
    immediately, again without one single protest or dissent. It went
    up to the president, on July 3 he put his signature to the bill,
    and on July 4 the Fourteenth Amendment Act of 1997 came into force.

    This Amendment admittedly has the aim of putting an end to
    lucrative defections. But ‘lotaism’ only existed because all our
    political parties were in the business of buying and selling
    bodies. However, that was not deemed to be sufficient. The prime
    minister had to be further empowered, and so he was. A member of a
    parliamentary party will also be deemed to have defected if he
    breaches any declared or undeclared party discipline, code of
    conduct or policies, or if he votes contrary to any direction
    issued by his parliamentary party, or if he abstains from voting as
    instructed by his party on any bill. The prosecutor, defence
    counsel, judge and jury who will decide the member’s fate is the
    head of the party, whose decision is not justifiable in any court
    of law.

    The 14th amendment rendered the herd of legislators voiceless and
    the bell-wethers all supreme. Again, the president did not question
    the necessity for the stifling of all dissent.

    The 15th Amendment Bill, disempowering the Chief Justice of
    Pakistan, has already been drafted. It was to be rushed through the
    two Houses in November, but for some strange reason Nawaz Sharif
    and his men stayed their hand. There is no reason for them to stay
    it any longer, and any day now rules and procedures will be thrown
    to the winds and the hasty midnight process will be repeated.

    Now, to face reality. Nawaz Sharif had, within six months, managed
    to remove most of the stumbling blocks in his way. He had so far
    not touched the judiciary. He soon realized that the superior
    judiciary, headed by an honest man, was capable of moving against
    him. He made up his mind that Sajjad Ali Shah would have to go.
    Having reached this conclusion, he then sought the means.

    If fascistic practice prevails, ladies and gentlemen of the press,
    we are next on the chopping block.

  • Hear no evil Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/07Mar98.html

    OUR two alternating juvenile prime ministers and opposition leaders are
    made of the same stuff. They care not for our Constitution; they make no
    effort to conform to it; they amend it to suit their own purposes. They
    have no regard for our laws, which they chop and change at will. When a
    chief justice asserts the independence of the judiciary, he is deemed to
    be ‘non- cooperative’ and is removed by machinations defying law.

    Had the seven honourable judges of the Supreme Court now hearing the
    cases against this prime minister and his minions been able to hear the
    testimony of former president Farooq Leghari (who suffered both
    juveniles), he would have sworn on oath that neither is capable of
    tolerating, or surviving, an independent judiciary.

    He would have reaffirmed his public statements of December 2, 1997 when
    he announced his resignation (and might even have revealed other issues
    such as Tarar’s flight to Quetta on November 26, 1997). He would have
    substantiated his affirmations with details of past shameful events, and
    the Supreme Court of Pakistan might just have found the present and
    former heads of government guilty as charged.

    Shortly after the March 20, 1996, judgment was announced by the then
    Chief Justice of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah, Prime Minister Benazir
    Bhutto went to President Leghari and asked him to denotify the Chief
    Justice. Why? Because his judgment, repugnant to her selfish interests,
    would stand in her way. Impossible, he told her, and advised her not to
    take on the judiciary in a battle she was bound to lose.

    Eighteen months later, on October 16, 1997, shortly after the then Chief
    Justice had nominated five High Court judges for elevation to the
    Supreme Court, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to Leghari, taking with
    him as support and as his voice Leghari’s erstwhile friend, Punjab
    Governor Barrister Shahid Hamid. They asked him to denotify the same
    Chief Justice, giving as an excuse their fear that with the five judges
    elevated, he may shoot down their Anti-Terrorism Act. Nawaz had the
    denotification document ready for the President’s signature in his
    pocket. Once again, Leghari had to refuse. Nawaz Sharif went a step
    further and asked him to send to the Supreme Judicial Council a
    reference against Sajjad Ali Shah on the grounds that his appointment
    was unconstitutional and that he was guilty of misconduct. There was no
    way, under the Constitution, that Leghari could agree to this. Nawaz
    Sharif then put on a brave face and announced that all was not lost as
    they had “worked on the Judges.” When Leghari pressed them to give the
    true reason, they admitted that it was Nawaz Sharif’s fear that Sajjad
    Ali Shah, with the support of those elevated, might well disqualify him
    in the cases filed against him. And, besides, it suited Nawaz to have
    two of the five remain where they were.

    At around 0130 hours on November 27, following the unprecedented
    unconstitutional suspension of Sajjad Ali Shah (Chief Justice of
    Pakistan for almost four years) by the Quetta Bench of the Supreme Court
    in the afternoon of the 26th, Nawaz Sharif arrived at the Aiwan to meet
    Leghari, bringing with him Speaker Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro, Senate Chairman
    Wasim Sajjad, Law Minister Khalid Anwer, COAS General Jehangir Karamat
    and DG-ISI Lt. General Rana. For four hours they tried to pressure him
    into swearing-in as Chief Justice the seniormost judge of the Supreme
    Court, Ajmal Mian. The Law Minister trotted out at length various
    precedents to support the action of the Quetta Bench, in response to
    which Leghari informed him that during the past three months it was his
    advice that had brought Nawaz to his present predicament.

    Leghari informed them that he would not sign Sajjad Ali Shah’s
    denotification, that he would rather resign and hand over to Wasim
    Sajjad who, as Acting President, would have no moral compunctions to
    swiftly signing on the dotted line. They begged him not to resign, quite
    ignoring the fact that for the past many days Nawaz Sharif, Illahi
    Bakhsh and Wasim had been frantically busy trying to move an impeachment
    motion against Leghari.

    Five days later Leghari did resign rather than uphold Sajjad Ali Shah’s
    unconstitutional removal. In his December 2 resignation speech (recorded
    by his men) to an audience which included some 200 international and
    national media people, he spoke at length on the crisis engineered by
    Nawaz Sharif, intent upon his confrontation with the Chief Justice,
    loathe to make any attempt to resolve it. He spoke of the cost to the
    nation in economic terms of the two-month paralysis of the government, a
    cost of some Rs.1 billion per day, and of the cost in other intangible
    terms – the negation of the rule of law, the subjugation of the
    judiciary, the damage done to the nation’s institutions and morale.

    He spoke of the engineered disruption of the Supreme Court, of
    government pressure exerted upon the judges of the Court in order to
    deliberately and with mala fide intentions fuel the confrontation
    between the executive and the judiciary. He spoke of how the prime
    minister’s parliamentarians in open court had insulted the chief
    justice, of how the ruling party had sent in “goons and militants and
    parliamentarians to assault the Supreme Court, to jump over fences, to
    break through doors, to go through corridors waving flags, chanting,
    dancing and hurling abuses at the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the
    Supreme Court of Pakistan.”

    He spoke of how he had done his best to dissuade Nawaz Sharif from his
    tussle, to instead concentrate on the major issues confronting the
    nation, such as poverty, illiteracy, the backwardness of its women, its
    health, the need for social reforms, the need for modern technology, the
    need to improve science and agriculture through research. He spoke of
    how he had begged Nawaz Sharif to back down, to uphold rather than
    destroy the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law, to not
    damage irreparably the institutions of the state. He spoke of how Nawaz
    Sharif had thrice offered him a second term in return for his
    ‘cooperation’ and how thrice he had refused.

    On February 24, 1998, an application under Order V Rule 1 of the Supreme
    Court Rules 1980, was filed by Advocate Muhammad Ikram Choudhary,
    petitioner in the contempt case against Nawaz Sharif and others now
    being heard in the Supreme Court, and his Advocate on Record, M A Zaidi.
    The application pleaded:

    “That Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee has written an article in Dawn of Karachi, on
    Sunday the 22nd of February 1998, titled ‘The second Tumandar’ relating
    to alleged ‘subjugation and politicising of the judiciary,’ as stated by
    Mr Farooq Leghari, the ex-president of Pakistan, and so stated in the
    above article.

    “That Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee … has already sent the speech on video
    cassette to the Resgistrar S.C. Islamabad. “That Mr Leghari, as per
    Ardeshir Cowasjee, is ready to make a statement on oath in the learned
    court for the purposes of analysis of the relevant facts and events
    involved in this case and to do so in the interests of justice.

    “That the petitioner is placing on record the video cassette containing
    the speech of Mr Leghari and other things stated above and requests for
    an appropriate order”.

    The application came up the next day before seven judges. They ordered:

    “In our view, Mr Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari’s the then proposed speech
    which is contained in the video referred to in the application cannot be
    taken by this Court as a piece of evidence on the controversy in issue.
    The application is dismissed.”

    The video cassette of the speech submitted to the Court is not the
    recording of ” Mr Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari’s the then proposed speech”.
    It is the recording of the speech actually made by President Leghari at
    the Aiwan-e-Sadar on December 2, 1997.

    Excerpts from this speech were broadcast on international television
    channels on December 2 and December 3, but no part of it was allowed to
    be broadcast by the government-controlled PTV. Excerpts were also
    reported in the national and international press of December 3.

  • The second Tumandar Ardeshir Cowasjee
    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/28Feb98.html
    On February 19, I sent a letter to Mr M. A. Latif, Registrar of the Supreme
    Court of Pakistan :

    “Sent herewith is a video cassette of the resignation speech made by
    President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari on December 2, 1997, which the
    Government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif refused to telecast live or to
    later telecast a recording. Nor was the speech published in full by the
    national press.

    “The speech contains references to the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to
    the Constitution, to the contempt of court committed by the Prime Minister
    and others of his government, to the storming and the desecretion of the
    Supreme Court by the ‘goons and parliamentarians of the ruling party’ on
    November 28, 1997, (against which and whom no action has so far been
    taken), and to other relevant vitally pertinent issues which the Supreme
    Court is presently adjudicating.

    “Would you please hand over this cassette to Chief Justice Ajmal Mian
    enabling him to take such immediate appropriate action as he may deem
    necessary.

    “It may also be conveyed to the honourable Chief Justice that on February
    18, when the former President addressed the members of the Karachi Press
    Club, I publicly asked him if he would be prepared to testify in the Court
    and reaffirm under oath all that he had stated that day. He answered in the
    affirmative. He is prepared to reaffirm and be questioned.”

  • Storming of the Supreme Court Ardeshir Cowasjee Week Ending : 04 April 1998 Issue : 04/14
    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/04Apr98.html

    AS you drive towards the rear entrance of the Sindh High Court, on the left
    hand side, near the old Sukkur Barrage offices, you will see a 70-year old
    shady tree which should wear a plaque with the engraving: “Saved by Nasir
    Aslam Zahid.” One day in 1993, on my way to the Court, I noticed that two of the four old trees that had been planted when the British built the Barrage offices had
    been chopped down and uprooted. They were just about to start on the third. The
    Chief Justice in those days was Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid. I approached him in
    his Chamber and told him of the destruction taking place just outside the
    Court compound. What can we do to save what is left, I asked. He did not tell me to
    file a writ, he did not consult the law books to check on what sections
    permitted him to do what, he was ready to act immediately. I got the
    Commissioner on the line and he then and there ordered him to stop the
    felling. By that time three had gone, but one was safe.

    Nasir Aslam Zahid was one of the best CJs that Sindh has had, and afforded its
    people full protection. Upsetting the prime minister or the provincial chief
    minister and their various minions never worried or concerned him, so
    obviously he had to go. Soon after Benazir Bhutto came in at the end of 1993, he was
    exiled to the Shariat Court. His departure was a great loss to the people of
    the province. However, when his two-year term on that Bench came to an end he
    was elevated to the Supreme Court. So, it was with great relief that I read early this month that Chief Justice of Pakistan Ajmal Mian had appointed Justice Zahid to preside over the Bench comprising Justices Munawar Ali Mirza and Abdur Rahman Khan, former Chief Justices of the Balochistan and the Peshawar High Courts, to investigate the November 28, 1997 storming of the apex court of the land by the rowdies of the government. After the passage of four months, something would be done about restoring the people’s faith in their judiciary.

    Soon thereafter, a notice was sent to me from the Supreme Court asking me
    to be present in the court of Justice Zahid at Islamabad on March 25 to record my
    statement concerning the video cassette I had sent the Chief Justice with my
    letter to him of December 13, 1997. This video cassette contained a recording
    of the disgraceful events of November 28 shown by the BBC and recorded by the
    CCTV cameras installed in the Supreme Court. Inter alia, I had written :

    “You will no doubt appreciate the urgency of the matter. Apparently encouraged
    by the successful storming of the Supreme Court on November 28, a fortnight
    later a mob invaded the court of a civil judge at Faisalabad.
    “It is my firm belief, which, needless to say, is shared by many others, that,
    as is the case with Benazir Bhutto, her family and followers, Nawaz Sharif and
    his adherents can neither tolerate nor survive a strong united judiciary.

    “If Nawaz does survive beyond the next six months, he will find ways to remove
    you.” Since I myself am not familiar with the majority of Nawaz Sharif’s MNAs and
    MPAs, and certainly not with his party workers, I sought the help of Spin
    Doctor Hussain Haqqani, who had spun for both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto,
    and Zahid Husain, correspondent for The Times (London), in charge of the AP
    bureau in Pakistan, and writer for Newsline. Apart from Mushahid Husain and
    Saifur Rahman and Nasreen Jalil who I know, Haqqani was able to identify a few
    MNAs, MPAs and others and Zahid confirmed the identity of those he knew. This
    was conveyed to the Court. Those listed as having been seen on the film were Mushtaq Tahirkheli, political secretary to the PM, information minister Senator Mushahid Hussain of the PML, Ehtesab Bureau Chief Senator Saifur Rahman of the PML, PML MNAs Khwaja Asif and Tariq Aziz, PML MPAs Saad Rafiq, Chaudhry Tanvir, Akhtar Rasool, Mian Abdul Sattar and PML party worker Najma Hamid.

    On March 25, the CCTV cassette was shown in the courtroom and I confirmed the
    listing of the names as submitted with my affidavit and was then cross-examined
    by the Attorney General. Of those listed, in the court that day was Tariq Aziz, who was asked to make his statement. He swore that he was a law-abiding man and
    that contrary to what was reported in the press it was not he who had removed a
    court signboard. When he was caught by a press photographer, with arms
    upstretched and the board in his hands, he explained that he had reacted
    subconsciously and was actually trying to hand it back from where it had been
    torn down. Two others who had been present at the court that day but were not
    identified on the film, PML MNAs Mian Mohammed Munir and Rao Qaiser,
    volunteered their statements which were recorded by the Court.

    The ‘heavies’ followed the next day. Najma Hamid made her statement and
    testified that she was neither in Islamabad nor in the Supreme Court on
    November 28, that the chaddar-clad woman filmed climbing up the staircase (and
    identified by Hussain Haqqani) was not her. It was a case of mistaken
    identity. I apologized, she graciously accepted the apology and withdrew. Next came Senator Saifur Rahman, seen in the film waving the crowd on towards the courtroom door. He had no intention of coming to the court on November 28, but had been sent there by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif (whose jurisdiction does not extend to Islamabad) to see what was happening as he had heard that there was some sort of disturbance going on in the court premises. All he had done was to try and control the crowd and get them out of the court.

    Khwaja Asif, MNA and Privatisation chief was in the court that day, as he was
    one of the contemners summoned by the then Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah. He
    had also done his best, pleading with folded hands whilst standing on a table,
    begging the stormtroopers to disband and go home. Lastly came the prime minister’s Spin Doctor Mushahid. His stance and demeanour was that of a minister making a political statement in the Assembly and on several occasions the judges had to restrain him and remind him that he was not in the National Assembly, but in a court of law, where he had been summoned to give an explanation and to answer questions, not to give a political speech. To quote Justice Zahid: “You might be a minister, but in this court of mine you are here merely as a witness, testifying under oath.” Justice Munawar Mirza also felt compelled to reprimand him: “You should remember that this is a courtroom of the Supreme Court and not the floor of the National Assembly.”

    Mushahid Husain’s explanations were at odds with each other. He firstly, in
    his statement, claimed that the storming of the court was “a spontaneous reaction
    of the people to a charged atmosphere.” Later he proclaimed, in answer to a
    question, that the storming was the result of “a conspiracy hatched by Farooq
    Leghari and Sajjad Ali Shah to destabilize the government.” Again he had to be
    reprimanded. Justices Zahid and Mirza firmly informed him that it was quite
    improper for him to refer to Justice Sajjad Ali Shah as plain “Sajjad Ali
    Shah.” Then, with a flourish and a satisfied smile, Mushahid Husain produced a
    copy of Dawn of March 25, and turning to the letters page pointed to a letter to the
    editor headed “Selective criticism,” written by one M Riaz-ul-Haq Ramay of
    Multan, opening with the sentences: “Mr Ardeshir Cowasjee is really a
    turncoat. He makes selective criticism.” It ends: “He has his blind spots – selective
    criticism, as I said.” The Court allowed me to respond to this by informing the honourable judges that every information minister has a team of letter-writers paid to discredit journalists and columnists who are not complimentary to their masters and to
    “set the record straight.” The very same letter sent by the same Ramay of Multan had been printed in Dawn eight to ten days ago. (On checking, it was found to have been printed on March 17.) At this, a flustered Mushahid held up the back page of Dawn and pointed to the print line where the name of the editor is printed. Exuding false
    innocence, he exclaimed that planting letters in a paper edited by the present editor of
    Dawn was an impossibility. The judges asked him to keep calm, not to get excited,
    not to persist with making unsolicited statements but to restrict himself
    strictly to answering questions. I sprang to his defence and the court was most indulgent. I was allowed to explain that normally Mushahid Sahib is a very calm man, extremely good natured, who smiles and laughs with the greatest of ease. In fact, one of his assistants had told me how on one occasion when he was informed of the
    death of an acquaintance he responded with his usual happy laugh and had to be
    prevailed upon to listen carefully while the sad news was repeated to him.
    The court assembles again on April 2 when the remaining five on the list will
    be examined. They are Tahirkheli and four MPAs from Lahore.

  • Storming of the Supreme Court – 2 Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/11Apr98.html

    TO borrow Information Minister Mushahid Hussain’s favourite opening
    49-letter word, “thegovernmentofprimeministernawazsharif” will not
    be forgiven for many years to come for having demeaned our
    judiciary to the extent it has for its own selfish good and
    survival.

    At present, a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Nasir Aslam
    Zahid, sitting with Justices Munawar Ali Mirza and Abdur Rahman
    Khan is investigating the storming of the Court by the rowdies and
    supporters, and parliamentarians, of the ruling party on November
    28 1997. The Judges delve deep into details and with their
    experience can easily perceive who is and who is not lying under
    oath. Reports published last month in this newspaper and the report
    front-paged on April 3 under the heading “PML trying cover-up : SC”
    substantiate this.

    The people must not forget that this is the first case of its kind
    in the recorded judicial history of any democracy. It is
    unprecedented that a ruling party, a government of the day, has
    committed contempt “in the face of the court” by perverting the
    course of justice with a preplanned invasion.

    Morris v Crown Office was the first case in Britain in which the
    Court of Appeal had to consider ‘contempt in the face of the
    Court’. The Rt Hon Lord Denning, then Master of the Rolls, in his
    book “The Due Process of Law,” published in 1980, devotes a chapter
    to the dramatic invasion of the Court by a group of Welsh students
    who were upset because programmes to Wales were being broadcast in
    English and not in Welsh. He recounts :

    “Eleven young students had been sentenced to prison. Each for three
    months. They were all from the University of Aberystwyth. They were
    imbued with Welsh fervour. They had been sentenced on Wednesday, 4
    February 1970. I always see that urgent cases are dealt with
    expeditiously. We started their appeal on Monday, 9 February and
    decided it on Wednesday, 11 February. I also have some say in the
    constitution of the Court. So I arranged for one of the Welsh Lords
    Justices to sit. Lord Justice Arthian Davies was well qualified. He
    was not only Welsh. He could speak Welsh. He sat with Lord Justice
    Salmon and me. We heard the argument on Monday and Tuesday. We
    discussed the case on Wednesday morning and delivered judgment on
    the Wednesday afternoon.” He goes on to give extracts from this
    judgment (1970 2 QB 114) :

    “Last Wednesday, just a week ago, Lawton J, a judge of the High
    Court here in London, was sitting to hear a case. It was a libel

    case between a naval officer and some publishers. He was trying it
    with a jury. It was no doubt an important case, but for the
    purposes of today it could have been the least important. It
    matters not. For what happened was serious indeed. A group of
    students, young men and young women, invaded the court. It was
    clearly pre-arranged. They had come all the way from their
    University of Aberystwyth. They strode into the well of the court.
    They flocked into the public gallery. They shouted slogans. They
    scattered pamphlets. They sang songs. They broke up the hearing.
    The judge had to adjourn. They were removed. Order was restored.

    “When the judge returned to the court, three of them were brought
    before him. He sentenced each of them to three months’ imprisonment
    for contempt of court. The others were kept in custody until the
    rising of the court. Nineteen were then brought before him. The
    judge asked each of them whether he or she was prepared to
    apologise. Eight of them did so. The judge imposed a fine of fifty
    pounds on each of them and required them to enter into
    recognisances to keep the peace. Eleven of them did not apologise.
    They did it, they said, as a matter of principle and so did not
    feel able to apologise. The judge sentenced each of them to
    imprisonment for three months for contempt of court.

    “In sentencing these young people in this way the judge was
    exercising a jurisdiction which goes back for centuries. It was
    well described over 200 years ago by Wilmot J in an opinion which
    he prepared but never delivered. “It is a necessary incident,” he
    said, “to every court of justice to fine and imprison for contempt
    of the court acted in the face of it.” That is R v Almon (1765)
    Wilm 243 254. The phrase “contempt in the face of the court” has a
    quaint old-fashioned ring about it; but the importance of it is
    this; of all the places where law and order must be maintained, it
    is here in these courts. The course of justice must not be
    deflected or interfered with. Those who strike at it, strike at the
    very foundations of our society. To maintain law and order, the
    judges have, and must have, power at once to deal with those who
    offend against it. It is a great power – a power instantly to
    imprison a person without trial – but it is a necessary power. So
    necessary, indeed, that until recently the judges exercised it
    without any appeal. There were previously no safeguards against a
    judge exercising his jurisdiction wrongly or unwisely. This was
    remedied in the year 1960. An appeal now lies to this court; and,
    in a suitable case, from this court to the House of Lords. With
    these safeguards this jurisdiction can and should be maintained.

    “Eleven of these young people have exercised this right to appeal
    and we are here concerned with their liberty : and our law puts the
    liberty of the subject before all else.

    “………… I hold, therefore, that a judge of the High Court
    still has power at common law to commit instantly to prison for
    criminal contempt, and this power is not affected in the least by
    the provisions of the Act of 1967. The powers at common law remain

    intact. It is a power to fine or imprison, to give an immediate
    sentence or to postpone it, to commit to prison pending his
    consideration of the sentence, to bind over to be of good behaviour
    and keep the peace, and to bind over to come for judgment if called
    upon. These powers enable the judge to give what is, in effect, a
    suspended sentence……..

    “[The Advocate conducting the defence] says that the sentences were
    excessive. I do not think they were excessive, at the time they
    were given and in the circumstances then existing. Here was a
    deliberate interference with the course of justice . . . . It was
    necessary for the judge to show that this kind of thing cannot be
    tolerated. Let students demonstrate ……..But they must do it by
    lawful means and not by unlawful. If they strike at the course of
    justice in this land….. they strike at the roots of society
    itself, and they bring down that which protects them. It is only by
    the maintenance of law and order that they are privileged to be
    students and to study and live in peace. So let them support the
    law, not strike it down.”

    Lord Denning’s decision was that the law had been vindicated by the
    sentences passed by the High Court judge, that the students had
    already served a week in prison, and that it had been shown that
    they had done very wrong by invading the court, by committing
    contempt in the face of the court. He, therefore, ordered that they
    be released that day, that they be bound over for good behaviour to
    keep the peace and come up for judgment if called upon within the
    next 12 months.

    Also on the matter of contempt, and on the need for courts to
    maintain their dignity and authority, Lord Denning quotes from his
    judgment in the case of Balogh v St Albans Crown Court (1975 1 QB
    73):

    “The judges should not hesitate to exercise the authority they
    inherit from the past. Insults are to be treated with disdain –
    save when they are gross and scandalous. Refusal to answer with
    admonishment – save where it is vital to know the answer. But
    disruption of the court or threats to witnesses or to jurors should
    be visited with immediate arrest. Then a remand in custody and,if
    it can be arranged, representation by counsel. If it comes to a
    sentence, let it be such as the offence deserves – with the
    comforting reflection that,if it is in error, there is an appeal to
    this court.”

    In the case of the Welsh students, the Court was invaded on
    February 4, they were sentenced on February 4, the appeal was heard
    on February 9 and decided on February 11 – all within the space of
    one week.

  • Storming of the Supreme Court – 3 Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/18Apr98.html
    SOON after receiving a notice from the Supreme Court summoning me
    up to Islamabad to appear on March 25, where my statement in
    connection with the November 28 storming of the Court was to be
    recorded, one of our senior most journalists rang to say that what
    he could not tell me on the telephone he wished to come, pronto,
    tell me in person.

    He came and whispered that an Intelligence Bureau man had enquired
    about my antecedents and those of my General Staff Officer-1 (G-1),
    my fellow-columnist by avocation. The IB had been ordered to
    compile files. Nothing new, I told my worried friend, they have
    been preparing files on me since 1948, and my telephone remains
    tapped. A new man has apparently fallen upon an old job.

    This was filed away as a circumstance.

    In the early hours of March 22, a man broke into my house, came
    into my bedroom, and when I sleepily asked who he was and what was
    happening, with hand held over his mouth, he ordered me to go back
    to sleep. Switching on my beside light, I asked why, having awaken
    me, he now wished me to sleep. He put off the light, hand still
    over mouth, hoarsely whispered “Paisa, paisa.” I had none, I said,
    but he could take whatever pleased him, and depart. Patting his
    midriff, he threatened, “Goli marega, goli marega.” Go ahead, I
    told him. An inquisitive man, he wanted to know how I eat without
    money.My money is with my major-domo who feeds me. He could go
    downstairs, and rob him if he could. He then pulled out my
    telephone wire.

    He rifled around the room, opening cupboards and drawers. Intrigued
    by my hat boxes in one cupboard, he wanted to know what they
    contained? My ceremonial Parsi pugrees, I told him. Take them. In
    another cupboard were my panama hats. How many hats do you wear, he
    asked? He fondled the CD player, the VCR, the receiver. He
    inspected my camera, put it back. Fiddling about on my dressing
    table, he picked up my gold signet ring and my watch, padded about
    a bit, and then left.

    Not a usual occurrence, but not that unusual in this city devoid of
    law and order. The man was a junkie, I concluded, wanting money for
    a quick fix. On second thoughts, he was far too clean for the
    normal junkie, too well dressed, in a ‘khadar’ shalwar-kamiz. The
    incident was filed away as a happenstance.

    Whilst in Islamabad, I narrated this happening to my retired
    friend, Khan Roedad Khan, the longest-serving interior secretary of
    our country who glorified that office for nine years running.
    Secure in his knowledge and giving me a severe look, he told me not
    to take the matter lightly, it was an ‘agency’ intimidation ploy.
    How ‘unlightly’ do I take it, I asked? Shall I double my guard and
    oil my revolver?

    Back in Karachi, after the March 25 hearing, due once again in the
    Supreme Court on April 2, when a further lot of ‘stormers’ were to
    give their statements, I prepared a second affidavit attaching
    additional press cuttings in which names of the MNAs, the MPAs and
    the PML stalwarts were mentioned as having been present at the
    Court on November 28, and in which were printed photographs of
    certain prominent ‘stormers.’ We worked on this on the evening of
    March 31, prior to flying off to Islamabad on April Fool’s Day.

    Finishing late, my General Staff Officer 1 (G-1) left for her home
    at around 2330. Going up the Shahrah-i-Iran towards the sea, just
    short of the British High Commission, one takes a right turn to
    enter the gate of the block of flats in which she lives. Halting at
    the intersection, the lanes leading down to the Do Talwar
    roundabout were clear. On taking the turn, to slightly double back
    and drive into the gateway, came an almighty explosion, jostling
    the creeping car to a halt just short of the driveway.

    The left side of the car was in smithereens, shattered glass all
    over the place. My G-1 got out of the car, leaving the engine
    running, to find out just what had happened. A motor bike was lying
    on its side in the middle of the road, with a man getting to his
    feet. He walked over to the kerb and sat down. Before she could ask
    him what the hell he was doing riding without a light and banging
    her broadside, a hefty man strode out of the darkness, switched off
    the car ignition and pocketed the key. In the meanwhile, the
    apparent unhurt kerb-sitter lifted his shirt to rub his midriff.
    Around it he wore a belt and a gun holster.

    She requested the ‘hefty’ to kindly give her back her car keys so
    that she could get the car off the road and into her compound. He
    waved a plastic card at her, would not let her hold it to see
    exactly what it was, said he was the law, lifted his shirt and
    pointed to the gun holster he too wore. There was no reaction to
    her complaint that the motor bike had no lights. He then walked
    over to the man on the kerb and spoke to him.

    After a few minutes, when the normal crowd had gathered, all
    passing traffic having stopped to see the ‘tamasha’, the motor-
    biker decided to lie down on the road and do a bit a moaning and
    groaning. The ‘heavy’ used his mobile phone and called a police
    mobile which duly arrived. My G-1’s further requests for her car
    key were refused, the ‘heavy’ handed it over to a uniformed
    mobileman, mounted the mobile with the motorbike rider, informing
    all present that he was taking him to hospital. Whilst all this was
    happening, a few of G-1’s neighbours arrived to help. One, a friend
    of the former DC of District South (to our sorrow recently
    transferred), raised him on his mobile phone. The cop was ordered
    to relinquish the car key.

    Not once was my G-1 asked her name, where she lived, or what had
    happened. No lawmen present asked for her car papers, or driving
    licence, or expressed the slightest interest in the event. No
    questions, no hint of investigation. The motor-bike too was taken
    away. The whole matter ended there, in the middle of the road in
    the middle of the night. No queries, no follow-up, nothing. This
    also was filed away as a coincidence, one of three within the space
    of three weeks.

    Now to less frivolous matters. The contempt of court cases
    initiated by former Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah against Nawaz
    Sharif and his apostles, Benazir Bhutto, columnists, authors,
    publishers et. al., have been decided. To no one’s surprise, all
    have been let off. Three contemners, MNAs Khawaja Asif, Hamza
    (ruling party), and Asfandyar Wali Khan (ANP) were found guilty but
    not punished. The opposition politicians must be rejoicing. These
    three they can have disqualified by filing references before the
    Election Commissioner.

    Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, S.M. Zafar, has boasted that the 500- page
    judgment (which needs to be seriously analysed) is monumental,
    historic. Would Law Minister Khalid Anwar please assure the people
    that S.M. Zafar and others, who defended the legislators, have not
    been paid, directly or indirectly, from the national exchequer.

    Now, the most serious matter. The next hearing of the inquiry into
    the storming of the Supreme Court by members of the ruling partly
    is fixed for April 23. The Attorney-General and his officers tutor
    the PML legislators and others summoned to testify before the
    Court. Why? To his credit it may be said that at the hearing on
    April 2, the Deputy Attorney-General was honest enough to admit
    that summoning other PML members would produce no fruitful results
    as they would all tell the same story they are law-abiding
    citizens who hold the judiciary in the greatest esteem, they were
    present in the Court on November 28 solely with the intent to
    persuade the court-stormers to cease their dancing and chanting, to
    leave the premises and uphold the sanctity of the honourable Court,
    so on and so forth.

    Lastly, to the man who relieved me of my watch and ring. The ring
    has gone, melted down by now, no doubt. Many years ago in England a
    burglar cleaned out the flat of King George V’s jockey, Gordon
    Richards. Richards wrote to the press, telling the burglar that he
    can keep all the rest of his booty but would he consider returning
    the gold cigarette case presented to him by the King, which bore
    the engraving “George V, R.I.” as it had great sentimental value.
    The burglar obliged. Now, please, will my forty-year-old Vacheron
    Constantin, specially made for me with loving care, shaped and
    sized to fit my wrist. I will compensate him.

  • Storming of the Supreme Court – 4 Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/02May98.html#stor

    YET again, on April 23, I found myself before the Bench of the
    Supreme Court presided over by Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, sitting
    with Justices Munawar Ahmed Mirza and Abdul Rahman Khan, appointed
    to enquire into the disgraceful events of that sad November day and
    to establish whether those involved in the attack can be charged
    with contempt or not.

    The Judges were angry. They expressed their ‘dissatisfaction’ over
    my explanation given under oath on the first day of the hearing as
    to how I had come by the video cassette recording of the events of
    November 28, of which, after verifying its authenticity, I had a
    copy made and forwarded it to the Chief Justice of the Supreme
    Court for him to take appropriate action. In response, I expressed
    my helplessness over their dissatisfaction.

    Once more I explained how much mail I receive each day, either by
    post, by hand or by courier correspondence (mostly requests that
    I write on certain subjects), circulars, magazines, cassettes of
    political speechifying, of maulvis preaching, of dancers dancing,
    of singers singing, etc.

    I did not explain that my feeling upon receiving the cassette was
    that whoever had sent it had sent it so that I should write upon
    the subject particularly as I am shown on the recording as being
    present in the Court that day.

    My earlier written request that I be provided with an unedited
    version of the CCTV recording of November 28 was not considered
    appropriate and was denied. However, my affidavit filed on the 23rd
    was taken on record. It reads as follows :

    “Pursuant to my Affidavits of 20/3/98 and 1/4/98 and their
    attachments, which have been taken on record, and my request of
    10/4/98 that I be provided with a copy of the unedited full-length
    film recorded by the CCTV cameras of the Supreme Court on November
    28 1997 on which day I was present in the honourable Supreme Court
    and was witness to the storming of the Supreme Court by, inter
    alia, parliamentarians, members and supporters of the Pakistan
    Muslim League, the ruling party :

    “I, Ardeshir Cowasjee, son of Rustom Fakirjee Cowasjee, Parsi,
    adult, citizen of Pakistan, resident of 10 Mary Road, Karachi, do
    hereby solemnly state :

    “1) That the framers of our contempt laws never envisaged the
    possibility that the government of the day would organise a mob to
    storm the Supreme Court whilst in session, i.e. commit contempt in
    the face of the Court. The procedure laid down in Order 27 Rule
    7(2) of the Supreme Court Rules reflects this.

    “2) That it is on record that the first law officer of the people,
    Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq, has himself committed contempt in
    the face of the Court. During the 1993-96 PPP government of Benazir
    Bhutto, Advocate Chaudhry Farooq, defending an Ittefaq case in the
    Lahore High Court, swore at the presiding Judge, Mr Justice Munir A
    Shaikh, in open court, using the crudest of language. For this
    blatant contempt committed in the face of the court, the honourable
    presiding Judge could have convicted and imprisoned him.

    “3) That Advocate Chaudhry Farooq was not prosecuted does not
    deviate from or alter the fact that he abused an honourable High
    Court Judge in open court, thus committing contempt in the face of
    the court.

    “4) That with the advent of the PML government of Nawaz Sharif, the
    Prime Minister appointed as Attorney General of Pakistan, as the
    people’s lawyer, his own lawyer, Ittefaq’s lawyer, Advocate
    Chaudhry Farooq.

    “5) That the judiciary and the people accepted him, without
    protest, as the first law officer of the land rests heavily on the
    heads of the people and even more heavily on the heads of those in
    power and authority who could have opposed his nomination and
    subsequent appointment, and, additionally, this advocate can hardly
    be considered to be competent to aid the Supreme Court in the
    investigation it is now conducting to establish the identity of
    those members of the ruling party who had either organised the
    storming or were leading the mob, or were with the mob on November
    28, 1997.

    “6) That at the last hearing on April 1, 1998, when Mr Justice
    Nasir Aslam Zahid asked the Deputy Attorney General, Mian Tariq
    Mahmood, to identify additional members of the attacking mob, as
    shown in the video recording, the latter was honest enough to admit
    that it would be an exercise in futility as all the Muslim League
    members would take their oaths and recite the same story.

    “7) That when examined on April 1, 1998, the officers of the
    Islamabad police force regretted their inability to identify any of
    those seen on the video recording, pleading that many people had
    been brought in from Lahore and/or other parts of the Province. It
    is safe to presume that not one government factotum, whether under
    oath or not, will tell the truth.

    “8) That on April 20, 1998, members of the opposition party, the
    PPP, held a demonstration outside the Assembly building. The police
    force present there, less in number than they were when on duty at
    the Supreme Court on November 28, 1997 and not clad in riot gear as
    they were that day, laid into the PPP demonstrators, injuring
    several, including parliamentarians.

    “9) That, evidently, on April 20, 1998, the government’s intent was
    to defend the ‘honour’ and ‘sanctity’ of their Parliament in the
    manner in which it did. Had its intent been clean and honest on
    November 28, 1997, it could that day have defended the ‘honour’ and
    ‘sanctity’ of the Supreme Court and thus saved it from contempt and
    desecration. This further illustrates the complicity and
    acquiescence of the government in the shameful events of November
    28, 1997.

    “10) That violence can breed nothing but violence. Had the crowd of
    November 28, 1997 been controlled, and the rowdies arrested and
    jailed immediately, it is highly likely that many violent events
    that have subsequently occurred, including the police action of
    April 20, 1998 in the precincts of the Assembly building, would not
    have taken place.”

    On the day of the previous hearing, the Judges had ordered the
    Deputy Attorney General that he arrange to produce in Court on
    April 23 Mushtaq Tahirkheli who was at that time on Haj. The DAG
    explained that Tahirkheli had returned from Haj, but was ‘unwell’
    and in Lahore and had declined to be present. Justice Zahid asked
    him to get him to the Court the following day. The DAG explained,
    “But it is Friday tomorrow.” “Quite so,” responded Justice Zahid,
    “If today is Thursday, then tomorrow is Friday.” “I don’t think he
    will come,” said the DAG. So it was settled that Tahirkheli would
    be called during the coming week.

    Tahirkheli is the PM’s political secretary who had unsuccessfully
    heckled former Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah in his Court on
    November 27, shouting and screaming, “No chief justice, no supreme
    court. . . . what kind of justice are you dispensing,” and was
    amongst the slogan-mongering flag-waving stormers of the Court on
    November 28. For this he was sacked, jailed, then released and
    garlanded, and finally re-employed by the Prime Minister in the
    same post. All very proper and logical.

    All that the DAG managed to produce on April 23 was the President
    of the Nawaz Sharif Force, Shahbaz Goshi of Rawalpindi. He declared
    himself to be 30 years old, his occupation to be ‘ex-student’ with
    no regular source of income. He commands a Force of over 2,500 men
    dispersed all over Pakistan, with some 2,000 in the RWP-ISL area,
    whose mission it is to spread the gospel of Nawaz Sharif. The Force
    receives no funding other than donations collected by its members.
    It liaises with the Shahbaz Force and with the MSF. He confirmed he
    was present outside the Court building on the day of the storming.

    DAG Mian Tariq Mahmood is a likeable, pragmatic man. A relative of
    the Attorney General, he is about to be made a High Court judge.
    The men of the administration were unable to identify any further
    persons on the video cassette, but had provided a list of 23
    persons identified from press photographs and by others who know
    them. The DAG more or less expressed his helplessness to produce
    these people in Court as they would not come when called. The Court
    would have to summon them. What about members of the administration
    who were present that day, the Court asked? Produce them. But,
    protested the DAG, the entire administration was present.

    It was finally ordered that the DAG obtain affidavits from all
    those identified, and produce in Court ten from the list of 23 on
    April 28 and a further ten on April 29. A doleful-looking DAG
    mumbled something about the impossibility of coming up with either
    affidavits or live bodies.

  • Storming of the Supreme Court – 5 Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/16May98.html#stor

    ON April 4, the Bench presided over by Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid,
    sitting with Justices Munawar Ahmad Mirza and Abdur Rahman Khan,
    now inquiring into the pre-planned Storming of the Supreme Court by
    parliamentarians, members and supporters of the PML on November 28,
    1997 heard the statements of three witnesses.

    Media-wizard who knows all the tricks of the political trade,
    Hussain Haqqani, filed his affidavit, as did Altaf Hussain Bhatti
    of Asas / Lashkar, and Aslam Butt of the Frontier Post.

    Haqqani suggested that the November 28 video recordings of the
    Supreme Court CCTV cameras, and those made by the various TV crews,
    be shown on PTV, and members of the general public invited to
    identify any recognizable individuals. This is in line with the
    action taken by the Tribunal that inquired into Murtaza Bhutto’s
    murder, also presided over by Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid, which had
    “published a notice in the newspapers that anyone in possession of
    any information regarding the incident in question may send his
    name and address and an affidavit to the Registrar of the
    Tribunal…”.

    Brave Bhatti, shrugging off all ‘inconveniences’, filed his
    affidavit, written in Urdu, relevant translated portions of which
    read :

    “I was an eye-witness to whatever happened outside and inside
    Courtroom No.1 on November 28, 1997 and give this statement to
    assist the apex court of the country in my capacity as a
    responsible citizen.

    “Whilst the Bench headed by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah
    comprising Justices Bashir Jehangiri, Mohammed Arif, Maimoon Kazi
    and Munir A Shaikh, was hearing the contempt of court case against
    the Prime Minister and other parliamentarians on November 27, 1997,
    Zafar Ali Shah, MNA, Advocate of the Supreme Court rose and said
    that the Chief Justice could not conduct the Court, as after the
    judgment of the Quetta Bench he was no longer CJ. Minister Chaudhry
    Nisar Ali Khan, and MNAs/MPAs Kabir Khan, Inamullah Niazi, Sardar
    Naseem and Advisor to PM Mushtaq Tahirkheli also stood up in Court
    in support of Zafar Ali Shah. The Muslim League crowd present also
    heckled the CJ, and when he declared that the Quetta Bench decision
    was null and void in law they shouted ‘Chor , chor .’

    “PML workers also demonstrated against the Chief Justice on
    Constitution Avenue. That evening, government sources briefed
    journalists that Justice Ajmal Mian will be sworn in as CJ the next
    morning and CJ Sajjad Ali Shah will proceed on leave.

    “On the morning of November 28, I read a prominent headline in the
    ‘Daily Pakistan’ announcing that the Muslim League was to
    demonstrate its strength outside the Supreme Court that day. This
    news story said that the PM and the CM Punjab had directed PML MPAs
    to bring Muslim League workers to Islamabad, via the motorway, for
    a show of strength. So, I left my home at 0700 hours and arrived by
    wagon outside the Supreme Court at 0815. At that time, traffic was
    flowing on Constitution Avenue and a few people had arrived outside
    the SC. Police reserves had just started taking their positions.
    The SSG Police group was led by Inspector Mehr Yar Mohammed. SHO
    Secretariat Jamil Hashmi and SHO Bahra Kahu, Mussarat Khan were
    also there with their men.

    “At around 0830, people arrived in buses and wagons from the
    direction of Punjab House. Muslim League office bearers from
    Rawalpindi and Islamabad came with their workers. MSF, Nawaz Sharif
    Force and PML Women’s Wing were particularly active. Efforts were
    made to get inside the SC. The gate was shut because entry was
    restricted to holders of entry passes, but certain PML
    parliamentarians were allowed entry without passes. Demonstrators
    held banners and placards reading ‘We respect the Court but Sajjad
    Ali Shah is dishonest,’ ‘Jewish agent Sajjad Ali Shah,’ ‘Sajjad Ali
    Shah na manzoor,’ ‘Justice demands that the Chief Justice be
    dismissed.’

    Retired Major Rashid Warraich, head of Hizbollah, was also present
    and his group held up their own placards. Women standing next to
    the main gate were singing ‘Qadam barhao Nawaz Sharif, hum tumarhey
    saath hein.’

    “At 0900 serious slogan-mongering commenced. The workers who had
    come from Lahore were led by Akhtar Rasool, MPA, and others, while
    Rawalpindi workers were accompanied by MPAs Sardar Naseem, Advocate
    Akhtar Mahmood, and Chaudhry Tanveer Khan. I know several of the
    workers who were there, including Riaz Khan, Shakil Awan, Zahid
    Qureshi, Babar Awan, Maqbool Ahmed, Mumtaz Ahmed, Farooq Khattak of
    Zia Foundation, Ali Abbas and Liaquat Ali Khan. From the Women’s
    Wing in the forefront were Javedi Fatima, Nilofar Bakhtiar, Seema
    Gilani, Tahira Shaukat, Naseem Ali and Mukhtar Begum. Prominent in
    the hullabaloo were Shahbaz Goshi, Suleman Khan, Raja Hafiz,
    Chaudhry Allah Ditta and Malik Shuja.

    “At 0930 I entered Court No. 1 after showing my pass, and sat on
    the press seats, with Khushnood Ali Khan, Rao Khalid, Wadood Qureshi,
    Mushtaq Minhas, Nasir, Rashid Habib, and Zafar Shaikh.
    Present in Court were MNAs Ejazul Haq, Khwaja Asif, Asfandyar Wali,
    MPAs Ashfaq Sarwar, Raja Basharat, Chaudhry Tanveer Khan, Akhtar
    Mahmood, Sardar Naseem, Senators Raja Aurangzeb and Saifur Rahman,
    and other PML MNAs, MPAs and office bearers.

    “In the course of the proceedings, Khwaja Asif, through his
    counsel, sought permission from the Court to leave. As the Chief
    Justice was about to show the video cassette [of the Assembly
    session at which the alleged contempt took place] MPAs Sardar
    Naseem, Ashfaq Sarwar, Akhtar Mahmood and Ali Afzal Jadoon also
    left the Courtroom. Soon thereafter, a noise was heard from outside
    and Fakhr Zaman, the reporter for Zaman , a Turkish publication,
    entered the courtroom, panting, and shouted ‘My Lord, the court has
    been attacked. They will kill you. The Judges should protect
    themselves.’ The CJ remarked to S M Zafar, ‘Thank you, Mr Zafar, we
    are now adjourning the proceedings, but your clients will have to
    bear the responsibility.’

    “Soon after the Judges had left the courtroom a large crowd led by
    Sardar Naseem [who had gone out shortly before] re-entered and
    assaulted Fakhr Zaman. Some journalists intervened. Outside the
    courtroom, I saw demonstrators swaggering around in different areas
    of the building, carrying flags and placards. The ML workers were
    shouting slogans : ‘Sajjad kutta hai hai’, ‘Leghari kutta hai hai’,
    ‘Lotay judges na manzoor’. In the main hall of the Court Khwaja
    Asif, Zafar Ali Shah, and some other ML leaders were telling the
    workers to go back, but the main door of the building was shut.
    When I looked out from the balcony of the first floor, hundreds of
    demonstrators were shouting slogans inside the Supreme Court
    grounds while police inside and outside the building stood as
    silent spectators.

    “I remained in the Court until 1200 hours gathering material for my
    press report. I present herewith a copy of Asas of 29/11/97.”

    The attention of the Judges was drawn to the back page of the Asas
    that carried the photograph of a huge banner, made to measure, tied
    and displayed over half the full length of the front compound
    railing of the Court, reading : “Istehkam-i- Pakistan ka dushman
    Sajjad Ali Shah Pakistan Muslim League.” (Enemy of the solidarity
    of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali Shah – signed : PML).

    The next hearing is on May 18. Another affidavit is being submitted
    to the Court to be placed on record, to which the following have
    been attached :

    (a) A copy of letter dated November 28 1998 sent by CJ P Sajjad Ali
    Shah to President Leghari, in which he relates details of the mob
    attack that day.

    (b) A copy of letter dated November 29, 1997, sent by President
    Leghari to PM Nawaz Sharif, forwarding a copy of the CJP’s letter,
    in which he refers to : “…the disgraceful and premeditated mob
    assault on the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 28th November …”.

    (c) A copy of the Prime Minister’s November 29, 1997 rejoinder to
    the President’s letter.

    (c) A video cassette of the recording of President Leghari’s
    address to the press conference held on December 2, 1998 at which
    he announced his resignation, and in which he made reference to the
    November 28 storming and desecration of the SC by the “goons and
    parliamentarians of the ruling party.”

    At the last hearing, it was requested that certain concerned
    persons be summoned by the Court to give their statements. The
    Court informed me that for this to be considered I should make an
    application. This is being done, listing the following :

    Former President of Pakistan Farooq Leghari; the then IGP,
    Islamabad; concerned officer of the ISI; the then DIG Special
    Branch, Islamabad; the then DG IB; Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif; SAPM
    Anwar Zahid; Senator Iqbal Haider ; Zahid Husain (Newsline and AP);
    Fakhr Zaman (Turkish news agency Zaman); Khushnood Ali Khan
    (Khabrain); Rashid Hijazi (Daily Pakistan); Faraz Hashmi (Dawn);
    Aslam Khan (Internews); Zafar Shaikh (Nawa-i-Waqt); Muhammad Ismail
    and Naveed Mairaj (Frontier Post).

    The sooner the better that our honourable judges realize that the
    people are but trying to help revive and rehabilitate the honour of
    the Supreme Court.

  • ‘Are the courts functioning?’ By Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/23May98.html#aret

    The ruling party of the day, the members of which are well aware of their
    guilt and crimes, fearing disqualification under their own laws, in
    November 1997, subverted the judiciary by manipulating an internal revolt
    amongst the judges of our Supreme Court.

    Of this revolt, former CJP Sajjad Ali Shah on November 28, 1997 wrote to
    the then President: “This divide amongst the Judges of the Supreme Court
    has been deliberately created by interested quarters. I do not want to make
    any comments on the conduct and attitude motivating such actions, which
    smack of defiance and rebellion and amount to misconduct, calling for
    action by the Supreme Judicial Council for which necessary steps are to be
    taken.”

    If the former CJP did do wrong in the eye of the law, necessitating his
    removal, it should have been constitutionally effected through the Supreme
    Judicial Council. Two wrongs can never make one right, and Sajjad Ali
    Shah’s wrong, if indeed there was one, was surely the lesser.

    After Sajjad Ali Shah’s successful removal, the strength of the Court now
    is: CJP Ajmal Mian, retires 30/6/99; Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, J-1, retires
    30/11/2002; Irshad Hassan Khan, J-2, retires 6/1/2002; Raja Afrasiab Khan,
    J-3, retires 17/9/2000; Mohammed Bashir Khan Jehangiri, J-4, retires
    31/1/2002; Nasir Aslam Zahid, J-5, retires 2/3/2000; Munawar Ahmad Mirza,
    J-6, retires 17/8/2007; Khalilur Rahman Khan, J-7, retires 24/4/2001;
    Shaikh Ejaz Nisar, J-8, retires 14/6/2000; Mamoon Kazi, J-9, retires
    29/12/2000; Abdur Rahman Khan, J-10, retires 5/6/2001; Shaikh Riaz Ahmad,
    J-11, retires 8/3/2003; Mohammad Arif, J-12, retires 9/1/2002; Munir A
    Shaikh, J-13, retires 1/7/2003; Wajihuddin Ahmad, J-14, retires 30/11/
    2003.

    J-2, J-5 and J-7 delivered the Quetta judgment of November 28, 1997 against
    their Chief Justice, Sajjad Ali Shah. J-1 and the since retired Justice
    Fazal Ellahi Khan delivered the Peshawar judgment of November 28, 1997
    against their Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. J-14 as CJ of the Sindh High
    Court on November 28, 1997, asked his superior, the CJP to convene a full
    court meeting to resolve their problems.

    On December 2, 1997, ten honourable Judges of the Supreme Court of the
    Islamic Republic of Pakistan, J-1, the since retired Fazal Ellahi Khan, J-
    2, J-3, J-4, J-5, J-6, J-7, J-8, J-10, J-11, all passed the final order
    dismissing their Chief Justice. J-9 wrote a dissenting judgment on November
    29, 1997 agreeing with the Quetta Bench but saying that the matter should
    have been referred to a full Bench of the Supreme Court comprising “all its
    learned judges.”

    Apparently uninvolved in the November 1997 ‘rebellion’, ‘revolt’ or what-
    have-you , are J-12, and J-13, the honourable Judges Mohammad Arif and
    Munir A Shaikh.

    If Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid’s Pandora’s Box, which he does not wish to be
    opened, remains shut, and if no such order as the PCO intervenes, CJP Ajmal
    Mian will be succeeded by J-1 Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui who will in
    2002 be succeeded by J-6 Justice Munawar Ahmad Mirza, a worthy Leo, who
    will remain as Chief Justice of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan until
    17/8/2007.

  • Storming of the Supreme Court – 6 Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1998/30May98.html

    AND so, it ended – six months after the Storming of the Supreme
    Court by the members of the ruling party who successfully
    obstructed the course of justice, prima facie committing contempt
    in the face of the court. The Inquiry Tribunal has held ten
    sessions over the course of the last two months.

    Parliamentarians, members, activists and supporters of the ruling
    party have been examined under oath and have, more or less, given
    similar statements. They have sworn that on that 28th day of
    November they arrived at the Supreme Court merely to be present to
    cheer on their Great Leader who was to be present at the contempt
    of court hearing. And this, despite the fact that the public had
    been informed by the press that the leader had been exempted by the
    court from personal appearance. The lesser orders, the “pawns” as
    they have been dubbed, arrived with cloth banners (one measuring
    50′ x 4′ reading ‘Enemy of the solidarity of Pakistan, Sajjad Ali
    Shah – Pakistan Muslim League), printed pamphlets, placards, and
    rehearsed slogans such as ‘Sajjad Ali Shah, kutta, hai, hai, –
    Leghari kutta, hai. hai’.’

    The main players, the upper crust who testified, all swore that
    they were there to disperse a mob that had spontaneously formed and
    was spontaneously charged (in Lahore?) by the current events, thus
    implicitly admitting that there was in fact a violent mob organized
    to disrupt the Chief Justice’s Court. Their protestations of
    innocence were such that even Deputy Attorney-General Mian Tariq
    Mahmud (now wearing a halo in the Lahore High Court) was prompted
    to admit to the Bench that summoning any further ML
    parliamentarians or supporters was a waste of time as they would
    all swear to the identical story.

    He should know. For the Leaguers who were summoned to testify
    verbally came to court via the Attorney-General’s office, where
    they were tutored as to the statements they were to give. When,
    later in the hearings, the Bench ordered that written statements be
    prepared by those summoned, in the case of the four ANP leaders
    these were also said to have been drafted and typed in the
    Attorney-General’s office. With the usual government inefficiency
    and sloppiness, the men of the AG’s office inserted the phrase
    “just before tea break” quite forgetting that on Fridays there are
    no tea breaks. The newly hired super- consultant to the AG, Raja
    Muqsit Nawaz Khan, was obviously caught napping.

    Senator ANP President Ajmal Khattak and ANP’s Asfandyar Wali
    produced identical statements, as did ANP’s Arbab Jehangir and
    Ghulam Mohammed Bilour with the necessary name changes as they
    declared they came together.

    In the case of the former two: “My Lord the Chief Justice, your
    court has been raided . . . . . “. Each had heard the man who had
    ‘rushed’ into the courtroom to warn the judges whereafter the
    judges rose and the “…….. people started going out of the
    courtroom where the doors were closed from the outside and we were
    told that hundreds of Muslim League workers had entered the main
    gate of the court . . . ., ” but “….I had not seen anything
    happening . . . . . we came down and learnt about the unfortunate
    incident.” When questioned by the court, Asfandyar Wali stated that
    he saw no one outside the courtroom but he did see overturned
    damaged chairs and flowerpots. Now, who could have done the damage?

    The latter two ended their statements declaring they were both
    outside the compound, standing together on the left of the gate.
    “And then we heard cries and shouting and learnt that a mob had
    broken the main entry gate and they were heading towards the main
    building. Since I and . . . . both are physically weak, we
    therefore got to a side so as we were neither hit nor crushed.” By
    what were they to be hit or crushed? By cries, by shouts? They saw
    nothing. However, when asked by the bench whether the crowd
    resembled a group exiting from a mosque after Friday prayers,
    Bilour admitted that that was exactly how it was.

    The last man to be examined, on May 21, was Senator Iqbal Haider
    (Groovy to his friends). His statement ran into seven handwritten
    pages.

    He opened up: “The attacks on the SC started on August 21, 1997,
    when the strength of the SC judges was arbitrarily reduced. The
    spate of attacks on the SC continued thereafter with the intent to
    disrupt the course of justice and prevent the court from hearing
    the most crucial cases, incriminating the prime minister and his
    parliamentarians and friends, e.g. cases relating to the wheat
    freight contracts, recovery and rescheduling of loans under
    pressure, allotment of plots, distribution of over Rs.140 million
    of public money to the candidates of the ruling party and their
    allies, Riba, the Anti-Terrorism Act, the 13th and 14th Amendments,
    contempt of court, etc, etc.”.

    Senator Haider went to state that the attacks were twofold.
    “Firstly, efforts were made to influence, pacify and win over the
    judges of the SC, as has been revealed by former President Farooq
    Leghari in his press conference of December 2 and subsequent press
    interviews. Secondly, to physically intimidate and to harass the
    judges. This started in the court of the CJP on November 27 when
    the contempt cases against the prime minister and his
    parliamentarians were being heard.”

    Groovy related how his car was mobbed and battered, how he had to
    save himself, drive away and park, and return to the SC on foot,
    how later when the judges had retired, Mushtaq Tahirkheli had
    accosted him outside court No.1, exhorted the mob to beat him up,
    and accused him (of the PPP) of having instigated the whole
    scenario, how he had to be rescued and ultimately escorted safely
    out of the court premises by the PM’s counsel, S M Zafar.

    Groovy’s most telling and most pertinent remark is that the mob
    attack on the court on November 28 must not be seen in isolation.
    It is the background to it that is of vital importance.

    Now to Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari: It was suggested that he, being
    privy to the background, be called to give his statement. In his
    press conference of December 2, at which he announced his
    resignation, he dwelt in detail on the events leading up to the
    attack. The video cassette is on record with the Supreme Court. The
    Bench held otherwise. No, he cannot be called; he must volunteer.
    In the same breath, the judges observed that times had changed,
    that Benazir and Nawaz Sharif had appeared before the honourable
    court in other cases. Their attention was drawn to the fact that
    indeed they had appeared, but both had been summoned.

    Sajjad Ali Shah (the intended victim of the mob attack who, after
    conferring with his brother judges on that mortifying day, decided
    to rise and retire so as to save them and the court further
    humiliation and contempt): It was never suggested that the former
    Chief Justice be summoned to give his statement to the court, to be
    subject to being questioned by the very judges who, with seven of
    their bretheren, had decided that, after holding his high office
    for almost four years, he had held it unlawfully and removed him.

    In my statement of May 16, sent to the court, to which was attached
    Sajjad Ali Shah’s press statement of May 14 and his letter of
    November 28 written by him as Chief Justice to the then President
    describing the mob storming, I simply requested that this be put on
    court record, adding: “Should the court or the Attorney-General
    challenge the veracity of [former] Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah’s
    statement or letter, appropriate action is available to them.”

    Nevertheless, the people have managed to place more than sufficient
    evidence on court record to establish the truth. Press reports,
    columns and articles of November 28 and 29 are on record.

    Five reputable journalists who were in court on November 28 have
    come forward voluntarily to record their statements: Altaf Bhatti
    of Asas, Aslam Butt of the Frontier Post, Zahid Hussain of
    Newsline, The Times, and AP, Wadood Qureshi of Din, Mahmud Ahmad of
    the Business Recorder, and Naveed Meraj of the Frontier Post. They
    were witness to the assault on journalist Fakhr Zaman who warned
    the judges that a mob had invaded the building. Zaman was beaten,
    kicked and abused by PML men, infuriated that their plan had been
    thwarted.

    Those likely to be examined this coming week are members of the
    police force, the Islamabad administration (according to former DAG
    Tariq Mahmud the ‘entire’ administration was present that day), and
    employees of the Supreme Court. Their evidence, procured as it will
    be, can be of no importance.

  • Sound advice Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1999/31jul99.html#soun

    NOTHING has changed for the better. Nine years ago, in May 1990,
    during Benazir Bhutto’s first round, I was visited one evening by a
    henchmen of the prime minister and her husband, an officer of the
    grade of an SDM. He sent in his card which read “Ahmad Fahim
    Mughal, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Bilawal House,
    Karachi.”

    He had come to see me, in his official capacity, about a huge
    highrise complex, ‘Classic Homes,’ of which he claimed to be a part
    owner, the others being ‘Powerful Friends.’ I had filed a suit
    against this illegal construction and the Sindh High Court had
    granted a stay. He very directly asked me to withdraw the suit and
    have the stay vacated at the next hearing of the case in three days
    time. If I did not do so, showing me his fist, he told me I would
    have to face the consequences.

    The suit had actually been filed by 27 affected citizens, many of
    the 26 not accustomed to dealing with people such as Mughal and his
    bosses. Worried about their safety, I went to court the next
    morning to find my lawyer, Khalid Anwer, to ask him what could be
    done to save the others from potential harassment. Khalid told me
    that fifty per cent of our judges exist in fear of their rulers and
    were not likely to spring to our aid. Safety could only lie in
    exposing bullies who issued threats. His suggestion was that I
    write to President Ghulum Ishaq Khan, sending copies to the high
    office holders of the land, and spread the word in the press, which
    I did. I also wrote a column the following Friday and no more was
    heard from Mughal – no further threats issued. Khalid had given
    sound advice: when threatened, expose the threatener.

    Now, in 1999, on the morning of Sunday July 18, Moinuddin Khan, who
    had been brought in by the prime minister early in his second round
    to be chairman of the Central Board of Revenue and who has now
    reverted to his original profession, banking, rang from Riyadh. He
    told me that his brother, Naeemuddin Khan, an officer of the United
    Bank who dealt with bad debts and recoveries, had been abducted
    from his house in Karachi the night before by the FIA under
    instructions from Senator Saifur Rahman, head of the accountability
    bureau, the prime minister’s chief trouble shooter. Naeem’s
    whereabouts were not known. Knowing how Najam Sethi and Hussain
    Haqqani had been recently treated, Moin was naturally worried. What
    could be done?

    Ringing Saifur Rahman would not help as he would deny all knowledge
    or involvement. All that could be done was to file a writ of habeas
    corpus, though many of our judges are not aware of the meaning or
    importance of the urgency of this writ, and do not realize that it
    must be heard as soon as a petitioner’s advocate rises and
    announces that he has filed such a writ. Moin said that they had
    already decided to do this and that advocate Akram Shaikh was being
    instructed accordingly.

    Senator Saifur Rahman, close confidante and friend of the prime
    minister from whose secretariat he operates, has taken upon himself
    the responsibility of ensuring that Nawaz Sharif and his government
    rule over us in perpetuity. Like the rest of the partymen, using
    his clout he had borrowed money from the government bank UBL in
    1991, during Nawaz Sharif’s first round and become a mill owner and
    industrialist. Some sums have been repaid but as of today he, his
    family, his textile mill and his business concern Redco owe UBL,
    from borrowings made in Pakistan and abroad, some Rs.1.4 billion
    (140 crores).

    Before Nawaz Sharif came in for the second time, the loan
    repayments were rescheduled twice but the repayment schedule was
    not adhered to. Come Sharif and his second round, banker Zubayr
    Soomro was brought in to head UBL and the recovery process in all
    cases was activated. For the third time, Saifur Rahman’s repayments
    were rescheduled, and yet again no repayments were made in time.
    Finally, UBL filed a recovery suit in the Lahore High Court and the
    harassment of Zubayr commenced. His safety was guaranteed by the
    fact that he is the son of the Speaker of the National Assembly,
    Ilahi Bakhsh Soomro.

    Saifur Rahman, in turn, filed a suit in the LHC against UBL
    claiming damages, pleading that interest was un-Islamic, etc, etc.
    The suits are being heard. Then, about six weeks ago, Saifur Rahman
    filed a writ in Justice Malik Qayyum’s court at the LHC seeking,
    inter alia, that proceedings in the UBL suit be stayed so as to
    give him time to approach the high-powered bankers’ rescheduling
    committee. Justice Qayyum passed no orders.

    The heads of seven banks and financing institutions forming the
    committee are: Shaukat Tareen, Habib; Mohammadmian Soomro,
    National; Zubayr Soomro, United; Mian Mohammad Mansha, President,
    Muslim Commercial; Rashid Chaudhry, Allied; Mohammad Ali Khoja,
    PICIC; Bilal Shaikh, NDFC. This committee cannot take notice of any
    rescheduling until the affected bank itself refers the matter to
    it. This UBL has not so far done. Saifur Rahman can prevail upon
    five of the seven committee members (let each think he is one of
    the two).

    In the meantime Saifur Rahman managed to get one-time Ittefaq
    lawyer, Chaudhry Mohammad Farooq, who is also the Attorney-General
    of Pakistan, the first law officer of the people, to write to the
    Governor of the State Bank asking him to direct the committee to
    consider questions relating to Saifur Rahman’s unpaid loans. The
    State Bank has brought this letter to the committee’s attention but
    so far it has taken no action.

    In the meantime, on the orders of Saifur Rahman, the income tax
    authorities commenced harassing Naeemuddin and his other brother,
    Banker Bahauddin of Deutsche Bank. Saif rang Moinuddin in Riyadh on
    July 9 asking him to prevail upon Naeemuddin to be reasonable. Moin
    told him his brother abided by his own norms.

    On July 18, as soon as Zubayr learnt that Naeemuddin had been
    abducted by the FIA, he moved to save his man. The first person he
    turned to was naturally his father, Ilahi Bakhsh, who leapt into
    action, and found the prime minister at Lahore airport as he and
    his ninety hangers-on were about to board their special Umra
    flight. The prime minister took a second wise decision and
    instructed his Principal Secretary, Saeed Mehdi, to order the
    immdiate release of Naeemuddin, who had been flown from Karachi to
    Islamabad and lodged in Saifur Rahman’s safe domed secretariat.

    On July 22 when I rang Saif to ask him why he felt compelled to
    harass those who did not ‘cooperate,’ he denied all knowledge of
    Naeemuddin’s abduction. For good measure, he informed me that the
    previous day certain power-wielders of Islamabad were considering
    sending the federal police to collect me from Karachi and to ensure
    my presence before the Privileges Committee of the National
    Assembly. When I asked who they were, he would not name them, but
    told me he had restrained them from taking any such action. I had
    to refresh his memory.

    On April 13, 1998, MNA Khwaja Asif, holding the rank of a federal
    minister, reported to the National Assembly secretariat that I had
    not only “used abusive language but also threatened me with dire
    consequences.” He considered this to be “a clear breach of my
    privilege and attempt to stop me from performing my duties as a
    parliamentarian.” I was summoned by the Privileges Committee. Much
    correspondence ensued. On December 5, 1998, I wrote a seven-page
    letter in the final paragraph of which I wrote : “Let me state that
    in principle I have no objection to appearing before the Committee
    but before I do I would like to be categorically told about the law
    under which I am required to appear, the details of the allegation,
    as well as the evidence upon which it is based, and the finding of
    the Committee on the crucial issues I have raised hereinabove.”

    After my talk with Saif, I wrote another letter to the Secretary of
    the Privileges Committee drawing his attention to the General
    Clauses (Amendment) Act 1997 (adding section 24A to the General
    Clauses Act 1897) passed by parliament. This requires any
    authority, office or person making any order, or issuing any
    direction, to give reasons for making the order or issuing the
    direction. I reiterated my readiness “to appear before the
    Committee as and when lawfully summoned, but I must be made aware
    of the law which entitles you to summon me . . . . . I justifiably
    feel that an unsubstantiated statement made by a legislator is not
    sufficient reason to inconvenience any citizen.”

    I would like to believe that my lawyer, Khalid Anwer, our present
    government’s law minister, is giving ‘sound advice’ to the prime
    minister but that his advice is not being heeded.

  • ‘Round up the usual suspects’ Ardeshir Cowasjee http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/1999/09oct99.html#roun

    In my column of July 24 I wrote of the bank defaults of Nawaz
    confidant Saifur Rahman and his Redco group, how Saif had
    endeavoured to get the banks concerned to ‘cooperate,’ and how when
    they resisted he harassed their officials, going to the extent in
    the case of United Bank (UBL) of having one officer picked up by
    the FIA.

    Saifur Rahman, chieftain of our accountability process, and his
    concerns have defaulted in the repayment of their loans to UBL,
    which borrowings total some Rs.1.4 billion (Rs.1b. in Pakistan,
    Rs.0.4b. abroad). UBL’s recovery suit filed in 1998 is pending
    before Justice Ehsanul Haq Chaudhry, the banking judge of the
    Lahore High Court. Redco filed a counter-suit claiming damages,
    which is also pending in the LHC. Saif filed a writ petition in
    Justice Malik Qayyum’s court at the LHC seeking, inter alia, that
    proceedings in the UBL suit be stayed so as to give him time to
    approach the high-powered bankers’ rescheduling committee. On
    September 9, Saif filed an application (CM 1099/99) which was heard
    by Justice Qayyum. Without hearing UBL or the AG, the judge ordered
    :

    “Notice to the respondents for 5.10.99. The learned counsel for the
    petitioner has stated that the petitioner was ready and willing to
    discharge its liability in terms of the package announced by the
    State Bank of Pakistan, but the respondents did not allow it to do
    so and have instead put the names of the applicants on the list of
    defaulters. To come up on the aforesaid date. In the meantime the
    names of the applicant/petitioner and its directors shall be
    removed from the list of creditors maintained by the State Bank of
    Pakistan.”

    Until this order is reversed the defaulting party will be able to
    borrow further amounts from the government banks (no foreign bank
    will lend it anything). UBL, HBL, NBP and others will be coerced
    into giving money, further indebting the nation.

    On September 30, under the heading ‘Loan and tax cases,’ Jang
    published a news report. Its translation :

    “A division bench of the Lahore High Court presided over by Justice
    Malik Qayyum reserved judgment in the case of three units of the
    Ittefaq Group relating to incorrect assessment of tax and
    adjustment of loans . . . . . . . . Whilst addressing the nation,
    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had offered three units of the Ittefaq
    Group, namely Ittefaq Foundries, Brothers Steel, and Ittefaq
    Brothers to the banks and DFIs in settlement of his
    loans/liabilities of the Ittefaq Group. These units were handed
    over to the company bench of the Lahore High Court . . . . . . . .
    The court also considered the nine-year-old case of incorrect
    assessment of income tax of the Sharif family. Advocate A. K. Dogar
    representing the Sharif family argued that the income tax
    department had assessed the liability of the Ittefaq Group at Rs.2
    crores [20 million]. Benazir’s first government had raised the IT
    demand to Rs.40 crores [400 million] in collusion with the IT
    department. On appeal [during the first Sharif round ?] the amount
    was reduced to Rs.2 crores. In Benazir’s second round an appeal was
    filed [presumably by the IT department] after a period of three and
    a half years instead of the normal 60 days period, and the tax
    liability was again raised to Rs.65 crores [650 million]. Shafqat
    Chauhan, advocate for the IT department said that it was due to the
    pressure exerted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that the case could
    not be heard. Justice Qayyum asked why, when Benazir was in power,
    did the department not proceed as at that time Nawaz Sharif was
    running from one court to another. Later the court reserved
    judgment.”

    For whom are the institutions of the state – the courts, the IT
    department, the attorney-generals, etc – working? For the state and
    the people, or for the prime minister and the party in power?
    Naturally, the latter lot will try to remain on top as long as they
    can, not wishing to be relegated once again to the list of ‘the
    usual suspects.’

  • Recourse to judiciary harmful: experts
    By Nasir Iqbal
    Sunday, 31 Jan, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: A number of legal experts have cautioned against wasting energy on the debate regarding constitutional immunity for a top office when the remedy to the controversy lies with the people of Pakistan though impeachment by parliament.

    “It is not a question of any individual or that of (President) Asif Ali Zardari, but a question of supremacy of the Constitution, which being an organic document, must not be interpreted to suit certain interests,” said Advocate Athar Minallah, who was a spokesman for Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry when the latter was forcibly removed by former president Pervez Musharraf.

    People who wanted to see the judiciary strengthened should refrain from dragging issues having political fallout in courts because a situation like this tended to make the judiciary controversial, he added.

    Advocate Tariq Mehmood, who was in the forefront of lawyers’ movement for reinstatement of the chief justice, conceded that immunity had been sought by Gen Musharraf for forwarding a reference against the top adjudicator on misconduct to the Supreme Judicial Council, but the Supreme Court had rejected it on the grounds that whatever treatment meted out to the chief justice then was not of a criminal nature and, therefore, no protection was available.
    The Supreme Court in its July 20, 2007, verdict restoring the chief justice to his office, had held that the mode employed by the then president to dismiss the chief justice on March 9, 2007, insulted the Constitution and was clearly mala fide and unsustainable in law and, therefore, impermissible.

    Citing Article 248(2) of the Constitution, Advocate Mehmood said he was convinced that no process of any criminal nature could be initiated against the president as long he was sitting in the presidency.

    “Even if corruption cases against President Zardari are re-opened, no process could commence to summon him in courts. This also applies even if money laundering cases are re-opened by Swiss courts because then the question of sovereign immunity would come,” he said.

    Mr Mehmood cited an example when Islamabad Secretariat police refrained from registering a criminal case against Gen Musharraf on a charge of detaining judges of the superior courts and their families in their houses till the time he was occupying the top office. It was after the former president’s resignation, he added, police registered the case that too on the orders of the capital’s lower court.
    “Now whenever the former president will return, he may face the charges because the immunity he enjoyed is no more,” he explained.

    Mr Mehmood also cited a petition recently moved before the Supreme Court by Khalid Khawaja seeking striking down of the protection available to the president under Article 248 of the Constitution.

    He said the apex court had returned the petition on the grounds that the petitioner had no locus standi and that the apex court was not a proper forum to decide the controversy at this stage.

    The petitioner later challenged the office order of returning the petition in the same court which is still pending.
    Advocate Minallah explained that in constitutional jurisprudence those office-holders who could face the impeachment process were always protected from litigation or immune from being dragged to courts on cases of criminal nature.

    “Let us assume a declaration comes from the Supreme Court that the president is ineligible to hold the office or convicted by any court, Article 47 of the Constitution will still apply and unless impeached by parliament the president will still be considered to be the holder of the high office.”

    Article 47 (1) of the Constitution says: “Notwithstanding, anything contained in the Constitution, the president may, in accordance with the provisions of this article, be removed from the office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity or impeached on a charge of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct.”

    The Constitution and the authority of parliament have to prevail at all cost as the offices elected by the people through their chosen representatives should be removed through the constitutional means.

    Advocate Salman Akram Raja, who recently pleaded against the controversial NRO before the Supreme Court, said the president enjoyed complete immunity from all kind of criminal cases and that the July 20 judgment did not affect this protection.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/12recourse-to-judiciary-harmful-experts-110–bi-13

  • As per The News International dated Saturday, October 09, 2010 – ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in his written correspondence with the Prime Minister termed the appointment of Deedar Shah for the post of Chairman NAB as inappropriate. Nisar terms Deedar’s appointment ‘inappropriate’
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/latest-news/2605.htm And as per the same News International

    Nawaz trusted the new NAB chairman By Rauf Klasra Saturday, October 09, 2010 Shawwal 29, 1431 A.H http://www.thenews.com.pk/09-10-2010/Top-Story/1195.htm

    ISLAMABAD: The 10-year-old official record of the Sindh High Court (SHC) reveals that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, when he was a high profile detainee of Pervez Musharraf, during his trial on the hijacking charges punishable with death penalty, had not only shown confidence but also praised professionalism of the then Sindh High Court chief justice and the new NAB chairman, Deedar Hussain Shah. The record available with The News reveals that with the elevation of the then SHC CJ, Deedar Hussain, to the Supreme Court on April 28, 2000, detained Nawaz Sharif had suddenly found himself in big trouble at the hands of the new SHC CJ, who had constituted a full bench to hear the hijacking case on a daily basis. It created panic in the ranks of Nawaz’s legal team.
    Sunday, October 10, 2010, Zul Qadah 01, 1431 A.H
    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/oct2010-daily/10-10-2010/main3.htm

    Why Chaudhry Nisar rejected Former Judge Mukhtar Junejo as Chairman NAB???-The Lahore High Court accepts (Feb 9, 1998) the constitutional petition filed by Rafiq Tarar against his disqualification by the (former) Acting CEC and declared him qualified to contest for and hold the office of President. The acting CEC, Justice Mukhtar Ahmed Junejo of the Supreme Court, had found Mr Tarar, a former Supreme Court Judge, guilty of propagating views prejudicial to the integrity and independence of the judiciary at the time of his nomination as a presidential candidate under Article 63(G) of the Constitution and debarred him from the December, 1997 contest. Former President Rafiq Tarar Sabotaged & Subverted the Judiciary. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/09/former-president-rafiq-tarar-sabotaged.html

    Unlawful Acts of Nawaz Sharif & Saifur Rehman.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/10/unlawful-acts-of-nawaz-sharif-saifur.html It is unfortunate that cases sans evidence were instituted during his tenure, but it is heartening that he (Nawaz Sharif) has revealed the truth without any fear or reluctance. Just have a look at some other words of Nawaz Sharif in the same interview. Sharif says: “I was not in favour of arresting Benazir Bhutto, but Saifur Rehman would insist upon her arrest. Ch Shujaat Hussain is witness to this fact that I wanted Benazir Bhutto to go abroad before being sentenced. In fact, I never wanted her to go to jail.” REFERENCES: Ghaddar Kaun? Author: Sohail Warraich – Nawaz Sharif opens up to Sohail Warraich in a big way

  • Babar Awan calls on SC Bar President, gives Rs. 1 million cheque October 18, 2010 by Trend PK Filed under Pakistan
    http://www.trendpk.com/babar-awan-calls-on-sc-bar-president-gives-rs-1-million-cheque/60378.html

    Federal Law Minister Babar Awan called on the President of Supreme Court Bar Association Qazi Anwar here on Monday, Dunya News reported. The federal minister gave a cheque worth Rs. 1 million to Qazi Anwar.

    Qazi Anwar welcomed the minister upon arrival in the bar in Islamabad. Qazi Anwar said that the cheque was due since March this year and soon after receiving the cheque he gave it to the employees of the bar. Qazi Anwar told the media personnel that he has advised the federal minister that there should be a continuous contact and correspondence between the bar and the federal law ministry.

    Federal Law Minister said that there are a few matters that require all of us to sit together and resolve. He also said that there is a need of strengthening the constitutional system of the country to progress and develop. We cannot afford to amend or alter the constitution, he added, legislative process is not up to the expectations. The law ministry seeks guidance from the bar councils, bar associations and the Supreme Court Bar Association.

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