Articles of the year 2007

Bad Losers
Published on October 06th, 2007

It is indeed such a pity that we Pakistanis have developed a new trait unknown before 1970. Till that time taking pride in the British tradition – of losing gracefully, the handing over the reins of power if you lost the confidence of the House, was accepted by both, winner and loser, without rancour, or remorse, and the baton was passed to the new leader, with a congratulatory handshake. Winning or losing was not as important as how the Game was played. Unfortunately Bhutto changed the rules, and in 1970 we saw half the country surrendered rather than admit to the loss of the election. Mujeeb had won the election which has been hailed by historians and by politicians of all hues to have been the fairest election ever held. This is probably the worst tradition Bhutto could established, and 'non-acceptance' of the results by the politicians has now been the norm, with the cry 'Rigged Rigged' being taken as the slogan of all parties. The funniest part is that even the winner cries 'Rigged'.

Whenever a decision is taken, it is challenged by the vested interests. Classic examples were the recent decisions by the Supreme Court, in the restoration of the CJ , which was cheered by Chaudri Aitzaz Ahsan and company while Ahmad Raza Kasuri, set new lows in his denunciation of the decision of the bench, the lawyers their mothers etal. His fury was completely indiscriminatory, and should have been censured immediately. Some months later when the same Supreme Court gave a majority decision with the split being 6-3, the same Chaudri Aitzaz forgot his Cambridge honed Law degree, and used language almost but not quite as vitriolic as Kasuri's.

Being a well bred and normally polite gentleman, his behaviour was out of character. We were sure that he had left the street fighting to others, and had elevated himself to the thinkers of the CJ movement, with the 'driving' as something to keep himself visible and busy. But lo and behold he was in there offering himself as a target with the best of them.

Being a senior Barrister, and having fought from the front for the independence of the Supreme Court, and fought a bitter battle for the restoration of the CJ, an engagement that held the entire Nation spellbound from Peshawar to Multan, to the Killing fields of Karachi, he brought the CJ into the homes of all Pakistanis, making his victory that much sweeter. But if he the defender of the legal system, with so many victories, chooses to take the decision that went against him of the same supreme Court, to the streets, then he has violated his own belief in the Supreme Court he held so precious and held up to us as a beacon. I am a great admirer of Chaudri Aitzaz, but I also feel and would insist that as he and his friends leading the fight for the restoration of the CJ, had raised with one voice, that the independence, and the sanctity of the Supreme Court was paramount. This point has been cast aside even before the ink was dry on the CJ restoration.The lawyers should realize that the Courts are meant to settle disputes between dissenting parties,---- and not the streets. For if this trend is established then we will have a new arena, and one in which the battleground could be shifted to Karachi, where the outcome of all cases could be decided in minutes.

This is indeed a foolish and dangerous drift, but if the lawyers in the highly charged atmosphere will insist on inciting the riots challenging Judgements, then they should be punished by the authorities, severely, so that the lawyers can go back to their arena which is the court, and whose sanctity they have fought for. In the streets the methods employed by the combatants is very different and Might will prevail so a tiny Kurd will lose every time.It is now upto the judges to exercise the freedom they have earned, by first establishing that they will not be cowed by mobs in Islamabad or in Karachi. Also they should ensure that the legal fraternity challenges the judgements in the proper forum, and not in the streets. The basic fundamental of civilization is the legal system, without which it is the law of the jungle,and anarchy.