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Justice Iftikhar’s “love” and “respect” for law – by Saeed Minhas

A quest for personal glory or strength of an institution?
By Saeed Minhas

ISLAMABAD: Preceded by kangaroo, jiyala and Dogar courts, the Chaudhry court is certainly the product of a months-long lawyers’ movement that shook not only the power corridors of the country, but also washed away several stigmas – such as the ‘doctrine of necessity’ and ‘immunity for dictators’ – from the face of our judiciary, and to some extent, the media.

Lawyers throughout the country have every right to celebrate their achievement, while the higher judiciary should now be assessing the strength and reach of their new-found machoism.

Meanwhile, huffed-and-puffed masses are questioning if that was all. “Was the lawyers’ movement meant to dethrone some and re-crown others or was it meant to strengthen institutions to build a transparent and participatory form of government, to ensure cheaper and quick justice and determine the limits and parameters of laws, so that all institutions work not only in unison but under a framework for the constitutional rights and responsibilities of the citizenry?” they ask.

The appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, in addition to other confrontations, has remained a lingering issue since the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. Delay in this context hindered the implementation of the chief justice’s new judicial policy announced in March 2009 to come into effect in June 2009.

Following a knockout punch to the executive and the selection of ‘my lords’ from known chambers, the masses are now hoping that backlog would vanish and ‘my lords’ would deliver justice instead of only making public speeches about justice.

Unfortunately, some leading faces of the lawyers’ movement seem to have come under fire for taking millions from industrialists and businessmen in trouble. But Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan says there is no harm in taking millions of rupees in fees for a guest appearance for clients at the Supreme Court.

All wealthy “justice-seekers” appear now to be rallying around these leading figures of the lawyers’ movement: Haris Steel Mills went from Aitzaz to Khosa to Babar Awan, while Khanani and Kalia have landed Munir A Malik’s services for Rs 50 million to bail them out of the jaws of Rehman Malik’s ministry. However, Munir A Malik claims he was only given Rs 4 million.

Similarly, Justice (r) Tariq Mehmood was hired on good terms and conditions to represent the Ministry of Industries in the Supreme Court to defend a Pakistan Steel Mills case.

All these figures have lost much of their business and are duly getting their hard-earned compensation by selling their services. Unfortunately for all those 100-odd ordinary civilians who lost their lives during the marathon rallies of the lawyers’ movement, the Islamabad district court blast and the May 12 carnage in Karachi, not a single of these leading figures or ‘my lords’ have bothered to visit their families or take suo motu notice to ensure that those unsung heroes at least get a memorial if not free education for their children or some other form of compensation, says a man who lost both his legs in the Islamabad blast, Dr Israr Shah.

Former civil judge Saeed Khurshid might be another example of this neglect, as several of the leading lawyers don’t even know that his second resignation was tendered in protest at the “self-serving attitude” of the higher judiciary. Those burnt alive in Karachi and Sahiwal have never been mentioned by any of these towering personalities, who are busy fighting for their powers or hefty fees, says Khurshid.

Apart from all these things, what lies ahead in terms of delivery of justice is the realisation amongst the legal fraternity that the higher judiciary should lay down a path the future judiciary can follow, rather than let justice hinge on personalities. They fear that otherwise, all may crumble like a house of cards once the personality-driven SC approaches December 2013 – the year the chief justice reaches his age of superannuation. “This dichotomy of self service and slogans of institution building should end now just like they did in 2000 when they termed Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal legal by saying that self-service cannot be allowed,” says Khurshid.

While the new judicial policy has so far led to a marginal decrease in SC backlog – from 19,055 cases to 18,312 – there has been a considerable increase in high courts of Lahore, from 84,708 cases to 110,110; Sindh, from 18,571 cases to 29,414; Peshawar, from 10,362 cases to 14,522; and Balochistan, from 4,160 cases to 4,893. The lower judiciary – ranked among the top 10 most corrupt departments of the country, as per Transparency International – has almost two million cases pending.

There is no mention of the Human Rights Cell in the CrPC, yet it is functioning in the Supreme Court. Why the matter cannot be sent to parliament for consideration is something several leading lawyers fail to respond to. The same cell was offered to former civil judge Saeed Khurshid when he was asked to rejoin the judiciary by the CJP, informed our moles. But Saeed refused to accept this on the pretext that his struggle was not for personal glory. He said it was rather for institution building. Whether his dream will come true is a big question for our rejuvenated judicial supremos to answer.\story_9-3-2010_pg7_12

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  • They got what they were after:

    Judges get hefty raise in salary, allowances
    By Syed Irfan Raza
    Wednesday, 10 Mar, 2010

    Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the president signed the summary that proposed increase in salaries and allowances of the superior court judges on the recommendations of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. – Photo by APP.
    ISI chief gets one-year service extension
    ISI chief gets one-year service extension
    ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday approved a 30 per cent increase in the salary and allowances of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts.

    Under the revised pay structure, the Chief Justice of Pakistan has been given an increase of Rs60,000 per month (30 per cent increase). His salary will now be Rs259,838 against his previous salary of Rs199,838 per month.

    Other judges of the Supreme Court will each get a salary of Rs245,457 per month against their earlier salary of Rs188,813 per month.

    The chief justices of all high courts will get Rs240,825 per month instead of Rs185,250 while high court judges would now fetch a salary of Rs231,563 per month as against Rs178,125 they earlier drew.

    Apart from the salary, the judicial allowance of the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts has also been increased and the chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court would now be taking a judicial allowance of Rs113,750 per month as against Rs87,500 per month.

    Similarly, the chief justice and judges of high courts will now get Rs91,000 as against Rs70,000 after the increase in their judicial allowance.

    The increase in salary and allowances of the judges shall come into force with retrospective effect from July 1, 2009.

    The salary and allowances are allowed to judges of the Supreme Court under paras 1 and 2 of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution (Supreme Court part) while the salary and allowances of the judges of high courts are allowed under paras 1 & 2 of the Fifth schedule (High Court part) to the Constitution.

    The salary and perks of the judges were raised on a day when the legal fraternity was observing a ‘black day’ to mark the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry by former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf three years ago.

    Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the president signed the summary that proposed increase in salaries and allowances of the superior court judges on the recommendations of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

    The president signed the order during a ceremony at the presidency which was attended by Minister for Law and Justice Babar Awan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira, Adviser to the prime minister Sardar Latif Khosa and senior government officials.

    Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges of the apex court would accept the increase because it was due from July 1, 2009.

    “Judges of the Supreme Court and high courts did not avail the increase last year when the government had announced the overall increase in salaries of the government employees,” he claimed.

    The increase in salaries of the judges, he said, had required a summary from the law ministry, which was moved to the president for approval after a lapse of eight months.

    Under the provision of the fifth schedule to the Constitution, the president announces salaries and allowances of the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts through a presidential order.,-allowances-030-hh-04

  • Since several flaws in SC judgment on NRO have been highlighted so far and there are several drawbacks which are yet to be underscored for example formation of 17-member full bench and the presence of former Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq’s brother Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday on this bench is totally unjust. The full bench leaves no unbiased judge to hear a review petition and the fact that Chaudhry Farooq initiated the Swiss cases in 1997 leaves a question mark on Justice Ramday’s impartiality. I could remember back in the day, Justice Ramday as judge of the Lahore High Court did in fact refuse to hear the case against late Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari in the SGS Cotecna reference on the grounds that his brother Chaudhry Farooq had prepared it in the capacity of Attorney General of Pakistan.

    Similarly the removal of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor general, Danishwar Malik in line with the SC’s directives contained in the verdict on the NRO seems to contradict the existing NAB laws. Under the NAB Ordinance in effect, the prosecutor general has legal as well as constitutional protection according to Articles 6 and 8. Furthermore, the registrar’s office at the SC is refusing to allow the right of appeal to a government. After unveiling these facts, it seems that SC is getting mad to punish Zardari.

  • Lawyer slaps civil judge in Faisalabad By Muhammad Saleem Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010

    The district and sessions judge and other judges were satisfied with the bar’s decision to suspend the advocate’s membership and recommend to the PBC to cancel his licence. – Photo by APP.

    FAISALABAD: A lawyer slapped a civil judge across the face on Monday when an observation made by the latter in a case relating to a rent dispute angered him.

    Advocate Liaqat Javed had appeared before civil judge Tariq Mehmood and complained to the judge that a court bailiff had taken into custody his client Shehzad Mehmood, the accused in the case, although he had deposited the amount of default.

    The judge reportedly told the lawyer that he had not yet received the receipt of the payment. The remark angered the lawyer who allegedly started abusing the judge and the staff of the court.

    When other civil judges of district courts heard about the incident, they suspended work and demanded a stern action, including registration of a case against the lawyer.

    The district bar has convened a meeting to discuss the matter and suspended the membership of the lawyer.

    A delegation of the district bar association met the judge and informed him that the membership of the lawyer had been suspended and his case would be forwarded to the Punjab Bar Council for cancellation of his licence.

    Faisalabad bar president S.M. Iqbal, who met the district and sessions judge on Monday night, denied reports that some judges had resigned in protest against the incident.

    Talking to Dawn, he said the district and sessions judge and other judges were satisfied with the bar’s decision to suspend the Mr Javed’s membership and recommend to the PBC to cancel his licence. He said the judges would resume work on Wednesday.

  • Rogue & Terrorist Lawyer of Supreme Court Bar Insults Pakistani Voters.

    MPAs take strong exception to SCBA president’s comment By our correspondent Tuesday, March 30, 2010 Karachi

    Sindh Assembly members on Monday took strong exception to the statement of President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Qazi Anwar and termed it an insult to the august house. PPP’s parliamentary leader Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq said that the SCBA president had breached the privilege of legislators by saying that “smugglers and rogues” were sitting in the parliament. He condemned such attitude of the leader of lawyers’ body, saying that the lawyers were supposed to follow their code of conduct, which calls for using cautious language and avoiding allegations. He said that good and bad people happen to be everywhere but it was not advisable to generalize the matter. Minister for Law Mohammed Ayaz Soomro said that parliament was a supreme body that makes the constitution. MQM’s Shoaib Bukhari said that Qazi Anwar has “belittled” his stature by using such awkward language. He said that Supreme Court exists because of parliament, adding, if the lawyers continued this attitude the people might stop respecting them. Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro observed that the legislators could move a privilege motion to summon the SCBA president before the PA body.

    Qazi Anwar under fire in NA By Asim Yasin Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: The statement of President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Qazi Anwar in which he labelled the parliamentarians as “smugglers” made the legislators protest strongly against these remarks in the National Assembly and urged the House to move a joint privilege motion against these remarks. Raising the issue on a point of order on Monday, PML-Q legislator Waqas Akram Sheikh contended that the SCBA president had declared all the parliamentarians “thieves and smugglers” without any evidence and thus insulted parliament that is a supreme body. He proposed for a joint privilege motion of the House against such remarks so that no body could level charges against parliamentarians without any evidence.PML-N legislator Khawaja Saad Rafiq declared the SCBA president as an unbalanced person, who should not be taken seriously yet he opposed any motion against him.

    But PPP legislator Nadeem Afzal Gondal, who supported Sheikh Waqas Akram’s view of presenting the joint privilege motion against the SCBA president’s remarks, at the same expressed the desire that some anchor persons and a section of the media should also be included in it. However, independent legislator Saima Bharwana and PPP legislator Syed Zafar Ali Shah opposed the proposal to move a privilege motion. Saima Akhtar Bharwana said rather than focusing on these remarks there is a need to question those legislators, who spent two years in the House with fake degrees. “The government should go into a review petition with a plea to put a life ban on those who got fake degrees and recover all the money from them spent in two years on their perks and privileges,” she added. While Syed Zafar Ali Shah was of view that rather than focusing on this issue there is need to consume the energies on the issues relating to people. Earlier, raising the issue on a point of order, Sheikh Waqas Akram suggested that the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms was still working so they should be requested to add a clause to the Constitution that anybody who accused the parliamentarians without any evidence would be liable to contempt of parliament.

  • Qazi Anwar was sentenced nine months in jail for possessing explosives in 1979, adding Lahore High Court curtailed his punishment; however, his charge was kept unchanged. PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court’s Barrister Bacha requested Pakistan Bar Council’s Executive Committee for the ineligibility of Supreme Court Bar Association President Qazi Muhammed Anwar, Geo News reported Monday. Talking to Geo News, Bacha said Qazi Anwar was sentenced nine months in jail for possessing explosives in 1979, adding Lahore High Court curtailed his punishment; however, his charge was kept unchanged. Bacha said a convicted person cannot be the representative of the lawyers; therefore, he demanded the removal of Qazi from his office. He said the PBC’s executive council directed Qazi Anwar to appear before the body on February 14 for explanation in this connection. REFERENCE: PBC approached for Qazi Anwar’s ineligibility Updated at: 1445 PST, Monday, February 01, 2010

    Monday, February 01, 2010, Safar 16, 1431 A.H

  • LAHORE: Protests a gainst a lawyer slapping a civil judge in a Faisalabad courtroom are still being registered, as at least one hundred civil judges of Lahore have decided to go on leave, a private TV channel reported on Saturday. According to the channel, civil judges in the provincial metropolis and Arifwala also demanded a one-month leave of absence in protest against the slapping incident. Liaquat Javaid advocate had slapped Civil Judge Tariq Mehmood in a local Faisalabad court during case proceedings. Meanwhile, lawyers have warned that they would continue to boycott courts until the withdrawal of charges against Liaquat, while court proceedings in Pakpattan and Arifwala remained suspended for a second day on Saturday. REFERENCES: 100 civil judges go on leave over slapping incident Daily Times Monitor Sunday, March 28, 2010\28\story_28-3-2010_pg7_6 Lawyer slaps civil judge in Faisalabad By Muhammad Saleem Tuesday, 23 Mar, 2010

  • BARELY days after the Punjab chief minister was caught playing to the Taliban gallery, another high official from the province is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This time, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif has sparked outrage for reportedly saying that Hindus were responsible for financing acts of terrorism in Pakistan. The remarks came while the judge was hearing two identical petitions against the possible extradition of Afghan Taliban suspects. It may well have been a slip of the tongue by Mr Sharif, who might have mistakenly said ‘Hindu’ instead of ‘India’ — nevertheless it was a tasteless remark to say the least. Although such remarks warrant criticism what makes them worse is the position of the person who makes them. These sort of comments are the last thing one expects to hear from a judge, that too the chief justice of a provincial high court. What sort of message are we sending to our minorities, as well as to the world, when the holder of such a respected public office makes comments that come across as thoughtless? The Hindu members of the National Assembly walked out of the house on Tuesday to protest the remarks. The members said the comments had hurt the feelings of Pakistani Hindus — and there is no doubt that they had. REFERENCE: Tactless remarks Dawn Editorial Thursday, 18 Mar, 2010

  • LAHORE: The Punjab government has approved 58 requests by politicians, judicial officers and senior civil and police officers, who are residents of GOR-I and II, for renovations, alterations and repairs – work that is likely to cost Rs 43.55 million, according to sources. In January, the government received 121 such requests: 79 from GOR-1 residents who asked for Rs 68.09 million and 42 from GOR II residents who asked for Rs.29.7 million, said the sources. The sources said 44 of the requests sent in from GOR I had been approved, and work on them was likely to cost Rs 33.46 million, while 14 requests from GOR II had been approved, and work on them was likely to cost Rs10.10 million.

    GOR I: Among others, Javed Mehmood, former chief secretary of Punjab and a resident of 9-Aikman Road, would been given Rs 1.05 million for the construction of servant quarters and a boundary wall; Jalal Skindar Sultan, the S&GAD service secretary and a resident of 14-Aikman Road, would be given Rs 1,633,600 for renovations; Najeebullah Malik, former Punjab chief secretary, would be given around Rs 5 million; Finance Minister Tanveer Ashraf Kiara would be given Rs 231,800; Anwar Ahmed Khan would be given Rs 79,600; the Chief Minister’s Secretariat secretary would be given Rs 10.61 million for 5 and 7 Club Road; Khawaja Shumail would be given Rs 1.54 million for renovations at 22-Club Road; Hassan Nawaz Tarar would be given Rs 212,500; Khawaja Naeem would be given Rs 1.33 million; Suhail Masood would be given Rs 145,800, Justice (r) Khalilur Rehman Ramday would be given Rs 115,700; Jehanzab Khan would be given Rs 732,200; Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary would be given Rs 853,100 for the construction of a bedroom and a fiber shed at 14-B Golf Road; Mazhar Ali Khan would be given Rs 808,800 for bamboo fences, steel doors, tuff paves, a fiber shed and a guest bedroom; Aftab Ahmed Cheema would be given Rs 722,880; Muhammad Rafiq Tarar, a former president, would be given Rs 431,330 to install barbed wire at 1-Shanan Road; Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, an adviser to the chief minister, would be given Rs 2.7 million for new tile floors, wardrobes and kitchen cabinets at 1-A Upper Mall; the Punjab Assembly speaker house would be given Rs 1.4 million for a boundary wall and tile flooring; Tanveer ul Islam, a provincial minister, would be given Rs 77,300 for a fiber glass car shed at 4-Upper Mall; Saifullah Chatta would be given Rs 726,400; IG House would be given Rs 809,000. Rs 43.55 million approved for home improvement at GORs By Anwer Hussain Sumra\story_7-2-2010_pg13_4

  • PBC issues notice to Qazi Anwar Tuesday, February 02, 2010
    ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has issued notice to Qazi Muhammad Anwar, President, Supreme Court Bar Association, to appear on February 14 and submit reply for his alleged involvement in possessing explosives and detonators.

    Barrister Bacha, a leading lawyer of the Peshawar High Court, had filed an application with the PBC, seeking disqualification of Qazi Muhammad Anwar for being a convicted person in a case of possessing hand grenades and detonators.

    The Executive Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has issued notice to Qazi Anwar to explain his position, Barrister Bacha told The News on Monday in the Supreme Court. The PBC, the main forum of the country’s legal community, is the main licence issuance authority to the lawyers of the country.

    Qazi Anwar is also facing rigging charges in the last annual elections of the association. His opponent and runner-up in the SCBA elections, Barrister Bacha had also moved an application to the committee for probing the matter.

    In his application, Barrister Bacha has alleged that Qazi Anwar is a convicted person for having grenades and detonators in his possession thus a convicted person can neither be an advocate of the Supreme Court nor could and should represent the SCBA as president as he is patently disqualified.

    Qazi Anwar, however, reportedly said that the Lahore High Court had set aside his conviction in the case. Meanwhile, Barrister Bacha told reporters that Qazi Anwar was sentenced nine monthsí imprisonment by a military court for possessing explosives in 1979, adding that the Lahore High Court curtailed his punishment; however, his conviction was still intact.

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