Original Articles

Aftermath of the PPP-Judiciary confrontation: It’s not hard to imagine – by Nadeem Khan

Current judicial crisis is and will remain as an impasse and the outcome will be unpleasant for the Pakistan People’s Party as well as for the whole country. What options PPP have in the current situation, and what could be the upshots of present crisis which is gaining momentum day by day, is not hard to imagine.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s judicial execution and the aftermath was very painful. The party suffered the worst shock and was maimed for a long time, leaderless in all sorts, till Benazir Bhutto took the reins of a real deep rooted party in her hands.

In a stone cold, man dominated society and in the ugly political arena like of Pakistan’s, it was hard to believe that a feeble feminine character would be able to hold, progress and continue the business of affairs. But she did and the party was reincarnated by the same charisma as was before. The important characteristic of her leadership was her personality uniqueness. She created her own identity much broader than using the name of her father. That is the real trait of a leader to make up one’s own identity rather to use the crutches of heirs for his/her success.

The question is, given that PPP is facing another dilemma of crisis in its existence, what could happen in short future? We can visualize this game of chess and can assess the moves and counter moves on the forthcoming chess board of time.

1- Create a picture that after Zulfiqar Ali Butto’s judicial murder, this is the second attempt by the establishment and judiciary?

By conflicting the court‘s decision on NRO, making it an analogy of another judicial assassination attempt against PPP will not help. This will indeed spread a sympathy wave amongst PPP loyalists to protest against the court’s decision thereby creating anarchy in the country. The point is, such anarchy will be welcomed by the opposing forces as a fair ground to jump into the arena against PPP to make them abide the law in spirits. PPP is rightly accredited in reviving the 1973 constitution in its best form again may not be able to avoid abiding the court’s decision on NRO.

2- What are the odds for showing acceptance on opening all swiss cases as directed by court?

Do the cases hold any ground with evidence and there is a risk of being charged, or there is a good chance of getting 100% acquittal from all courts, in and out, once an for all. That fact is yet to be observed.

3- If PPP ignores or openly shows their disobedience over the court directives, would there be another crisis between government & judiciary thereby summoning anti democratic forces?

PPP government may not afford to let the court summon up the Army for the implementation of court orders.

4- Storming the courts like PMLN and try to oust the current judiciary?

Again, it is not possible or feasible to become a sitting duck in such a situation where media is free, vigilant and almost all opposing political forces including establishment and may be army, are waiting for one wrong move by PPP be taken as an alibi for mid term elections or demanding fresh polls.

5- Even if the PPP’s CEC decides to defend the names of Benazir Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto in NRO cases, then what’s going to happen to President Asif Ali Zardari, if charged under any case in any country?

This decision must be based on practical legal grounds and not on sheer emotions just for triggering the feelings of PPP loyalists. Although, such a situation will bring every thing back to square one, as President Asif Ali Zardari is now heading the party and any charge against him would indirectly fall upon the whole setup of PPP. Even if Bilawal is to lead the party in future, the echoes will harm his popularity and will haunt his political career.

6- Will the strategy of law ministry work and will it holdup the flooding pressure of the courts and opposing parties?

Practically no, as this will immensely change the opinion graph of the masses currently in favor of the party. This act is or will be taken as intentional avoidance in pursuing the cases due to potential threat of being charged and the plea of ‘politically motivated wrong cases’ will not hold good any more, even in front of PPP loyalists at large, as well.

7- Alack-a-day ahead.

About the author

Nadeem Khan

Businessman and part-time/freelance writer


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  • I agree with the author.

    In the words of Haroon-ur-Rasheed:

    Ehtiat, huzur-e-wala, ehtiat. Tolerance is the real test of life.

  • Another round in the judiciary-executive tussle has ended on a note of uncertainty. On Friday, the attorney general, Mansoor Khan, resigned, claiming that “non-cooperation and the non-cooperative attitude” of Law Minister Babar Awan and the law ministry were to blame for the non-implementation of the NRO judgment.

    Mr Khan’s statement was unusually blunt — usually vague ‘personal reasons’ are cited for resignations where differences are involved — and indicate that the government is still undecided about implementing the Supreme Court’s order to write to Swiss authorities to reopen old cases and claims that affect President Zardari. What happens next? It’s difficult to say. However, what is clear is that both sides, the government and the Supreme Court, need to reassess their strategies.

    First, the government. On Saturday, Law Minister Babar Awan addressed the press and dismissed the suggestion that he had done anything wrong and claimed that his ministry was fully aware of its duties and responsibilities. On Thursday, the law secretary told the Supreme Court that the letters drafted by NAB and addressed to the Swiss authorities were in his possession and that he needed to study the law before deciding what to do with them. True, legal issues should not be resolved in haste and need to be deliberated thoroughly, but the government has had plenty of time now. If the government believes that the review petitions need to be heard and adjudicated before it can implement the NRO judgment, then it should state this clearly. Or if the government believes that the president’s constitutional immunity prevents the government from writing to the Swiss authorities, then it needs to tell the court this plainly and move the matter forward. Additionally, the government needs to perhaps reassess the composition of its legal team. The law minister is mired in charges of alleged corruption and while it is true that allegations alone do not warrant the removal of a minister, propriety must be kept in mind, too. It is unseemly, to say the least, to have a law minister who is facing the kind of allegations that Mr Awan is.

    Next, the judiciary. The Supreme Court triggered murmurings of disquiet last week even among those who have no overt political leanings for its elbows-out approach to getting the NRO judgment implemented. Due process must be followed in all instances and, as Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry himself said from the bench, there should be no hint of the personal involved. The government may be deliberately delaying reopening the Swiss cases, but its objections have some legal merit and they deserve to be heard fairly and impartially.

    AG resignation
    Dawn Editorial , 04 Apr, 2010


  • If confrontation is chosen as a mode to conduct democracy in Pakistan, it won’t help the cause much. The newly established democratic setup needs support from all spheres in Pakistan to work for the greater benefit of the nation.