Original Articles

Hijacking Democracy – by Anas Muhammad

Today we live in an increasingly dangerous world, which is filled with people who have their ulterior motives and willingness to harm others to benefit themselves. Our world is filled with criminals, gangsters, murderers, and terrorists. The people who would go to all extremes to get their way being inconsiderate of the rights of other human beings.

Every state and the government has the right to arrest any criminal it wishes to put off the street for the safety of others, it does that to keep the law and order intact, and most importantly to keep the social order in place. The state also provides services to its peaceful citizens, hoping that nothing out of ordinary will happen, that no one with their ulterior motives will try to abuse that service.

A service like a commercial plane is there to help its passengers travel, but often we see maniacs abuse that service, in other words hijack the plane for their own ulterior motives. That is when things start to turn chaotic, everyone panics, the innocent lives and the system is put on stake by a few hijackers.

In situation like this a state, who would arrest criminals, has to release them. At time it has to pay them, or help them escape. It does it for greater welfare of the innocent lives. It negotiates with the hijackers, listens to their demands, regardless of how absurd and illegal they are, state fulfills them.

When this happen and the plane lands safely, the passengers come out and breath freely, and many lives are saved, we consider it a victory of the state. Although state might have given up to many criminal demands, released prisoners, given money to the hijackers, or let them flee to a different country safely. The state does not lose in this case, but succeeds to protect the most valuable asset, the life of innocent.

This very situation occurred in Pakistan. As the country began a perfectly normal day, went on with its business, everything was perfect and normal till some one got into a flight and hijacked the plane. All the sudden there was uncertainty, havoc, and chaos, created by the commentators in the studios lashing out at the government for its inability to stop the hijacking.

As the hijackers stood to their grounds the government had to go in action, they started formulating plans, and counter plans, assuring their citizens that they have everything in control. Before the government could sort things out, it started to face retaliation from the sympathizers of the hijackers. Government stuck, between a rock and a hard place, started the process of negotiation with a very few options. It started to become a zero-sum-game, as the sympathizers and the commentators, disregarding the sensitivity of the situation, kept giving the “end of the world” impression.

All democratic governments know how to deal with situations like this, but the key is not to let its citizens panic, cause if they do, their negotiation position is compromised. That is exactly what happened – thanks to commentators and sympathizers of hijackers – and things got worse. Things happened exactly as the commentators wished, apparently they were hoping to capture a plane-crash in their cameras.

End of the day, the government gave into the demands of hijackers, allowing them to get what they wanted. Doing so the government succeeded in freeing up its citizens and saving the nation. Pakistan’s very valuable asset, democracy, and its citizens were saved from incurring great losses. It was a victory for the government, democracy, and the peace loving citizens of Pakistan.

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Anas

11 Comments

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  • The sheer duplicity of the writer of this article is unbelievable. In his earlier article, “The rightist Judicio-politico mafia”, he had described the legal formalities against the NRO criminals who had robbed the nation of hundreds of millions of dollars as “politically motivated”. He then went out of his way to use the most heinous terms (e.g. the word “mafia” of the title) to describe those who wish to bring the criminals heading the current government to justice. In support of his hypocritical arguments he quoted extensively from the writings of Pakistan’s westernised fascists, who are mostly held in thrall by the American Witch in Islamabad.

    In an earlier post I had commented:

    “Has Zardari porphed into Musharraf, Mark II? He seems to have taken leave of his senses much as that dictator had done before him. Musharraf, Mark I at least had the might of the armed forces behind him. What has Zardari got? Only the devious machinations of discredited National Robbers and their looted millions stashed away abroad. Will this bunch of criminals succeed in breaking the resolve of the Judiciary that the “iron man” Mush failed to achieve?

    Only time will tell. Insha Allah, Pakistan will emerge stronger from these vile moves by the National Robbers Organisation (NRO). At a time when the Judiciary is wrestling with the secret agencies over the Missing Persons case, Zardari’s obscene Saturday night raid on the judges is little short of treason against the country”.

    Alhamdulillah, the conspiracy hatched by the criminal gang and the westernised fascists has come to nothing. For a full explanation of the dark designs which lay behind this conspiracy, please click the following link to an article in Jang today:

    http://www.jang.com.pk/jang/feb2010-daily/17-02-2010/col2.htm

  • @Sakib Ahmad,
    This tired, biased and irrational method of lashing out at Zardari based on elitest drawing gossip is getting tiring. Yawn. On what basis have you labelled Zardari and the cabinet as “robbers”. Do you have any proof aside from the allegations that are floated by the non-elected representatives? Or do you believe in a lynch mob, where the idea of justice is a mob frenzy that uses its advantage in lynching those who it disagrees with. If so, then your stance makes complete sense.

  • Messrs Aamir Mughal and Ali Abbas:

    The following editorial in The News adequately answers your queries, I think.

    “Dinner, tea and sanity
    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    The prime minister gate-crashed the dinner party of the chief justice on Tuesday evening and the rest, as they say, is history that we all saw unfolding on our TV screens by the minute. Ultimately, it took just a three-hour huddle between the prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan to do away with the stupid obstinacy hitherto displayed by the government. It must be said though that the views of those who have seen something amiss in the chief justice meeting the prime minister in the way that he did are not entirely without weight and reason. They think all this could have been done in a manner that did not depart so radically form the norms that, in this case, should have been kept. The government reeling from the lack of popular legitimacy for its illegitimate stance had obviously realised that, if it did not swallow its own pride and eschew clinging to pathetically poor legal advice then the snowballing crisis might well end up consuming it. Fortunately for itself and the democratic dispensation, the government stepped back from the disastrous precipice just in time by agreeing to all judicial appointments to the superior judiciary as recommended by the chief justice of Pakistan and the chief justice of the Lahore High Court. The government has shown willingness to go the same way along the Sindh judicial horizon.

    Certainly, this particular crisis, or rather this particular manifestation of The Crisis, seems to stand resolved. But how long will it stand so and how meaningful will be the difference made by the government’s U-turn from its illegitimate and obstinate stand? For true justice to prevail in the country there must be a long-term approach based on sincerity of purpose. Today we saw the aversion of an institutional clash on a particular issue of judicial appointments, but there will be other issues in the days to come. What is required here is not cunning creation and then ‘prudent’ handling of matters on a case-to-case basis, but a paradigm shift in the individual and institutional approaches towards the ideal of the independence of judiciary. And this ideal should not be compromised to benefit individuals who may have ‘something to hide’. The coming days will not be easy in any manner. Corruption cases are now open against sitting ministers who refuse to act honourably and resign till the clearing of their names. The issue of the corruption cases against the president is also bound to make more headlines. The Supreme Court may keep on taking suo moto action in cases involving government corruption and other excesses. It is, therefore, critical for the prime minister to ensure that his government commits itself to the ideal of facilitating an independent judiciary, no matter how inconvenient. Otherwise, we may expect all kinds of crises to surface and resurface with much greater ferocity.”

    Aamir Mughal Sahib: I try to set aside an hour of my time each day to reading the Pakistani press. According to this editorial the Prime Minister had called on the Chief Justice, not the other way round. Are you saying this is incorrect?

    I am aware that the westernised fascists of the Pakistani press are busy putting their own spin on events. I have learnt to ignore their intrigue – they are a miserable bunch, trying to curry favour with the Americans and the British.

    Ali Abbas Sahib: Surely you are not ignorant of the furtive attempts to destroy evidence that will convict Mr Zardari and the sycophants surrounding him? Have you never heard of Pakistan’s High Commissioner in the UK making a dash to Switzerland to whisk away the incriminating evidence? There is no need to panic though – copies of all documents were retained and will be produced in court at the right time. Not heard anything about the surreptitious raids on NAB offices to destroy evidence? Or, that the French are dying to unburden themselves of the secrets relating to the submarine deals? I could go on …. I concede that the Robbers have shown a great deal of ingenuity to hide and destroy evidence but they have not succeeded completely. Throughout the civilised world there is an established rule for people holding public office to resign when they are accused of financial fraud and to defend themselves in court. But not OUR public figures, apparently – they are busy weakening the prosecution case against themselves! Sooner or later they will have to be dragged into court, kicking and screaming, and the truth will emerge. It is just a matter of time.

  • Sakib Ahmad :
    Messrs Aamir Mughal and Ali Abbas:
    The following editorial in The News adequately answers your queries, I think.
    “Dinner, tea and sanity
    Thursday, February 18, 2010
    Aamir Mughal Sahib: I try to set aside an hour of my time each day to reading the Pakistani press. According to this editorial the Prime Minister had called on the Chief Justice, not the other way round. Are you saying this is incorrect?

    I am aware that the westernised fascists of the Pakistani press are busy putting their own spin on events. I have learnt to ignore their intrigue – they are a miserable bunch, trying to curry favour with the Americans and the British.

    Why CJ went to PM house when there was cases pending against Gilani Government, please read some ethics of Judicial Code of Conduct. Regarding your blame on me of Westernized-Secular-Fascist!!! How would you define this visit. Did CJ visited USA for preaching them Islam? Or Did Richard Holbrook met with CJ in his chamber in Islamabad to learn Islam: Details are as under: CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and USA http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2008/12/cj-iftikhar-muhammad-chaudhry-and-usa.html

    ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry met visiting US envoy Richard Holbrooke in the Supreme Court building on FridayBy Matiullah Jan Saturday, 06 Jun, 2009 05:29 AM PST http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/13+cj+receives+holbrooke+calls+on+zardari-za-12 .

  • Sakib Ahmad :
    Messrs Aamir Mughal and Ali Abbas:
    The following editorial in The News adequately answers your queries, I think.
    “Dinner, tea and sanity
    Thursday, February 18, 2010

    Aamir Mughal Sahib: I try to set aside an hour of my time each day to reading the Pakistani press. According to this editorial the Prime Minister had called on the Chief Justice, not the other way round. Are you saying this is incorrect?

    I am aware that the westernised fascists of the Pakistani press are busy putting their own spin on events. I have learnt to ignore their intrigue – they are a miserable bunch, trying to curry favour with the Americans and the British.

    Was CJ sleeping when he was on visit to the USA? Did he even raise this issue when he was receiving Award in USA [was it Islamic Award for which you branded me and Ali Abbas Westernized-Secular-Fascist!] – He should have raised this Issue even on a moral and on humanitarian ground because CJ was a Man of Law. A glimpse:

    HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT Locked Up Alone – Detention Conditions and Mental Health at Guantanamo http://www.defense.gov/pubs/pdfs/App7.pdf

    Guantnamo conditions put detainees at risk for mental illness
    Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/world/americas/11iht-gitmo.1.13632157.html
    Are even aware of the meaning of Rendition???
    U.S. Says Rendition to Continue, but With More Oversight By DAVID JOHNSTON Published: August 24, 2009 – WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will continue the Bush administration’s practice of sending terrorism suspects to third countries for detention and interrogation, but pledges to closely monitor their treatment to ensure that they are not tortured, administration officials said Monday. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/us/politics/25rendition.html

    Truth Serum: Professor McCoy Exposes the History of CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror Professor McCoy Exposes the History of CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror February 18, 2006 By Alfred McCoy http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/4391
    UW-Madison Prof. Alfred McCoy talks about Torture on 9-11 at the Barrymore http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fspXZ9VlsQ

    Truth Serum, Torture – Democracy Now Amy Goodman –
    Historian Alfred McCoy: Obama Reluctance on Bush Prosecutions Affirms Culture of Impunity http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/1/torture_expert_alfred_mccoy_obama_reluctance

  • Sakib Ahmad :
    The sheer duplicity of the writer of this article is unbelievable. In his earlier article, “The rightist Judicio-politico mafia”, he had described the legal formalities against the NRO criminals who had robbed the nation of hundreds of millions of dollars as “politically motivated”. He then went out of his way to use the most heinous terms (e.g. the word “mafia” of the title) to describe those who wish to bring the criminals heading the current government to justice. In support of his hypocritical arguments he quoted extensively from the writings of Pakistan’s westernised fascists, who are mostly held in thrall by the American Witch in Islamabad.

    First of all sir, I believe you are no judge, and certainly the people under the title of NRO are not guilty unless you prove so. Stop contradicting yourself by promoting the supremacy of law and denounce the right of an individual to a fair trial. It doesn’t serve your purpose undermining anyones credibility by calling them “Pakistan’s westernised fascists” because similarly you can be labeled as “A Talibanized Fanatic” but no one seems to be suggesting that are we? As far as the Judgment on NRO is concerned, It is highly political, and reeks of biases of the current judiciary. The mere reason that it was a “discriminatory law” is a flawed argument. Because the only reason NRO came into be was to dismiss cases made under a “discriminatory” Nab ordinance. I am not about to get into debate with you here, I recommend you read the articles on this blog, they might just teach you a thing or two.

  • Anas Abbas Sahib:
    You are obviously unaware of my views on the Taliban. If you wish to categorise me as you have suggested, go ahead – you will end up with a lot of egg on your face.

    There are two monsters in Pakistan today – the westernised fascists, kowtowing to their American masters, and the Pakistani Taliban created by the American secret agencies to destabilise Pakistan. In their different ways each is as bad as the other.

    It is only this month that, following General Kayani’s forceful stand before the gathered ranks of Americans and NATO, that the American foreign policy is showing signs of flexibility. I am happy to engage in truthful and honest exchange of views but this is the wrong place for that sort of thing. You might like to spend a little time reading what the western investigative journalists have written and, in particular, the writings of Zahir Ebrahim.

    fii amaan Allah.

  • Apologies, Anas Muhammad Sahib, for getting your name wrong in my last post.

    Aamir Mughal Sahib, thanks to an excellent article in The News today, I understand now how Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was ensnared by the wily Gilani. Yes, the Chief Justice has stumbled – I hope he will have learnt a valuable lesson for the future. Here is the article in full:

    Good result, bad process
    Reality check

    Friday, February 19, 2010
    Shafqat Mahmood

    All card players know that it is easy to play a strong hand well. The real test is making the best of a weak hand. By getting the chief justice to come over to his house, Prime Minister Gilani has demonstrated that he is a very astute political player indeed.

    The basics are obvious. The government had absolutely no case. One can quibble over who should have the right to appoint judges, but as the Constitution stands today, the advice of the chief justice is binding. By going against it, the president and the government had put themselves in a very awkward position.

    It was also obvious to Gilani, if not to the president and his incompetent legal advisers, that if these notifications are not reversed, a clash with the Supreme Court was inevitable. And if that happened, the government, and perhaps even the democratic system, would be in jeopardy.

    This is as weak a position as it can get, but this is where Gilani’s sharp political mind came into play. On Monday, he deliberately made an unusually hard-hitting speech in the National Assembly. Those who know him well were surprised at its tone and the threats that he hurled at the judiciary.

    But this was all calibrated. He wanted to raise the ante, harden his position, so that when he gives in, it floors the other party. It is not clear whether any preliminary softening up was done by Aitzaz Ahsan or not, but when the prime minister decided to publicly eat the humble pie and gatecrash the judicial dinner, it had an enormous impact on the chief justice.

    This was obvious from the visuals of this meeting. The chief justice was the most gracious of hosts. His beaming smile and ritual words of welcome made the prime minister feel completely at home. It was then that Gilani played the masterstroke. He invited the chief justice to the Prime Minister’s House for tea the next day. The chief justice was presumably so overwhelmed by the prime minister’s unexpected, uninvited and non-egotistical entry that he could not say no.

    This invitation was a sharp, crafty, almost wily, move, because the ruling party had already decided to withdraw the notifications of Justice Khwaja Sharif and Justice Saqib Nisar. It had also decided to give in to the chief justice’s recommendations regarding judicial appointments. A face-saver was all that was needed. This was provided by the chief justice going over to the Prime Minister’s House.

    This was not the only success. There was another, much deeper and hidden, agenda. It was to reduce the stature of the Honourable Chief Justice among the legal community and the public.

    Let us not forget that the main strength of this judiciary has been the wide support it has among the people. This came about not because of the personal charisma of any one individual. In fact, on a personal level, not everything was perfect. The admiration was only due to the courage shown by the chief justice and his colleagues for not bowing before a military dictator.

    This raised the stature of the entire institution and reinforced its image of independence. It also made it stand apart from political wheeling-dealing and reversed the judiciary’s historical trend of mixing up with the executive. More importantly, it put the chief justice and the judges on a pedestal far above conniving politicians.

    This anointed the entire institution with a sanctity that was a throwback to earlier times, when the judges would not be seen or heard and only spoke through their judgments. The oft-repeated story of a chief justice in the 50s refusing the prime minister’s invitation because the government was a party in cases before the Supreme Court, illustrated this.

    Unfortunately, the chief justice’s three-hour tea party with the prime minister has dealt a blow to this image. It looked like unseemly bargaining, a negotiated give-and-take. Par for the course as far as politicians are concerned, not particularly appropriate for the chief justice.

    And Gilani is too shrewd a person not to have known this. That is why the way he has played his cards is a masterstroke. He got an honourable face-saver to reverse a bad decision and save his government from further troubles. He was also able to bring the chief justice to the level of a mere mortal, who got what he wanted, but at a cost.

    Let there be no mistake. It is good that the government has finally given in to the Constitution and rule of law. It is also a relief that a full-blown crisis has been averted. The only way forward for Pakistan and its democracy is that all institutions work within their assigned spheres.

    It is also true that this storm was of the government’s creation. It has repeatedly shown an ability to wade into trouble and then run back helter-skelter. But the process through which this particular crisis has been resolved leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    I so wish that the person for whom I have the highest regard, Mr Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, had refused an additional year as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court. I know that he was very reluctant and has been persuaded against his will, but this was one time where he should have transcended his innate politeness.

    There is much speculation about what was discussed during this long meeting between the prime minister and the chief justice. It is not difficult to guess that Mr Gilani would have talked about his concerns, and he has many. Over two months have gone by and the NRO judgement of the Supreme Court has not been implemented. A possible contempt of the court hangs over his head. Did he give his point of view?

    The very fact that this is being mentioned suggests what was wrong with this meeting. The government is a party in a number of cases before the court. In some of them, the prime minister himself is being challenged, such as the promotion of civil servants and implementation of the NRO decision. There may be others. It would thus be fair to presume that judicial appointments was not the only thing discussed over three long hours.

    Democracy is a process, not an end that is suddenly reached. There is thus a need to show flexibility and give latitude to the principals involved. But now all eyes would be on the Supreme Court. After having its primacy affirmed on judicial appointments, will it go easy on other matters before it?

    In particular, the implementation of the Dec 16 NRO judgment becomes a test case. This is said not because there is a desire for another clash between the government and the court. Only that the credibility of the apex court is at stake. It should either review its earlier decision or insist on its implementation.

    Email: shafqatmd@gmail.com