Articles of the year 2005

The Law Fraternity
Published on January 29th, 2005

Watching a program on TV the other night, a lawyer was holding forth on how the history of Pakistan has seen a tussle between the leaders and the masses, and as the leadership kept changing ,but the masses remained unchanged, ergo it must be the masses to blame for the predicament that is prevailing in the country. I think his argument drawn to a logical conclusion would be that it is the masses that have to bring about the changes in the country. Quite right. But somehow the representatives of the masses get enamored of the good life, and lose their lofty ideals, the ones that they used to bring them to power in the first place. Then they become part of the establishment, and quickly resort to the same sins of their predecessors. This is a law of nature. You must make benefit from your new surroundings. So why should they be different?

However, the checks and balances are there to ensure that these limits are not crossed. In our Society it is these very checks and balances that are twisted out of shape to suit the new ruler, and his coterie. In Pakistan's history Nawab Kalabagh was the only man who stayed honest, and ensured the honesty of the people in and around power at that time. It was this policy that led to his removal, after he had come afoul of Ayub's sons. His exit also led to the downfall of Ayub.

It is the law that is used by the rulers here---always selectively, and always to derive benefit. In Pakistan if there is to be an accountability, it must start with the Judiciary. Everything else will follow. The removal of Tarrar as President was belated, but very welcome. He should not have been appointed President in the first place. In fact the biggest single insult to the Pakistani people by the Sharifs, was the elevation of Tarrar. After his clandestine trip to Quetta, and the Supreme Court Coup that followed will forever be a blot on our Judiciary. It is such a shame that the collective conscience of the legal Bar Councils has slept on, and the issue has not been taken up either at that time or even now. Indeed their silence is deafening. Perhaps the Jadoogar of Jeddah is as effective with the Bar Councils as he is with the Judges.

The Law fraternity is normally very vocal on all issues that effect Society as a whole, and they usually do police themselves—or should. It would have been more appropriate for them to storm the Sharif's house in Model town and not the Supreme Court. They of all people should have attacked all aspects of the Sharif's regime at that time, for is not the Supreme Court the ultimate platform to which all Lawyers aspire, to appear before, if not to appear on? This lapse allowed the Sharif's to genuinely believe that they were above the Law, and this led to the eventual sacking of their Govt. For them to cry foul sitting in Jeddah is not only crass but unseemly.

It would seem that Nature does do its own accountability ,but it is here and it is now. These tears are best shed before the act, and are more painful after.It should be the Law fraternity that must now decide their own future course, and if they agitate, it must be to prevent the influencing of the Judiciary, for they must realize that for every case that is won in this manner, there is a loser, who will bide his time, and will strike when his team comes to power. But the pattern will continue, and merit will be the loser.