Articles of the year 2009

Leading from the Front
Published on February 14th, 2009

The prime minister has made his most significant move to date, stepping out of the murky world of Pakistani politics of which Sharifuddin Pirzada was the grand wizard. But Pirzada's greatest achievement was the ability to have the judgement of his choice delivered when it was required of him. Whenever the government faced a problem, no matter how severe, the wizard would first appoint the bench, and then deliver the judgement. All seemingly legal, at least to the layman - and to some of the lawyers. The circumstances kept changing and each change brought a new solution from the wizard. To sack the grand wizard so publicly, will shake the entire legal fraternity, and will serve notice that the manipulation of the judges will no longer be acceptable. Nor will the judges take such dictation. These then are the immediate benefits that will accrue to the nation.

Sharifuddin Pirzada has succeeded in folding the constitution of Pakistan, like an origami paper figure, changing it to suit the will and demand of the dictator of the time. His success at the manipulation of the judges by strong arm tactics, and a few carrots so that the niceties of fine legal issues were resolved by a 'cooperative' judiciary.

The Pirzada clients were mainly those who considered 'these bloody civilians' as a subspecies of the Pakistani peoples, to be trifled with at will, and Sharifuddin did so successfully time and again, with consummate ease. His expertise at producing a judgement on command will go down in our history as a black chapter, one that we hope will not be repeated.

The prime minister is to be congratulated for his removal of the Rasputin who towered over the judiciary, and it may be too much to ask for appropriate punishment for the jadoogar and the beneficiaries of his largesse.

The rapid decline of a judicial system that had been placed by the British, so effectively that it functions even to this day in India and Sri Lanka.

The public disgust is so complete, that in our northern areas the demand for Islamic Justice, is growing, with chopping of hands and beheadings now growing increasingly common. This brutal transformation from a civil social system is being brought about by the machination of a corrupting mind that is in place. The colossal damage to our society shows in the reversion to a medieval culture. It is indeed shocking that we in Pakistan have regressed especially in our legal system. Islamic law, and tribal law are being considered as alternates to what was once a perfectly functioning judiciary. We do not need new systems, but we do need to protect our existing laws from the manipulators like Pirzada.

The resistance to CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, is to be found amongst the members of the establishment and politicians who have preferred the manipulations of the Wizard rather than obey the law of the land. As usual this band of men considered themselves above the law, which existed for the others, but did not apply to them.

For the country to evolve we need to start by protecting the constitution, and enforcing it. There are enough safeguards that have been built in, but these safeguards must now be enforced. As Sharifuddin does not have ministerial protection, he should be prosecuted for his part in this sordid and dangerous repetitive saga, of allowing military rule by giving protection under laws invented by magic.

The prime minister has done well, and has shown that he is capable of taking action when it is in the interest of the nation. Never before has there been such a need for honest and strong actions, for on this will depend the well being of our future generations.

The prime minister has also done well to challenge his convictions through the High Court, rather than exercise his option of the infamous NRO. He is setting a brilliant example, of leading from the front, by showing that he does not need such cover. This law is already being ridiculed throughout Pakistan, and the militants in the north use the NRO as an example of their Tribal/Islamic law as being incorruptible, and therefore preferable.

Prime Minister, you have shown the way, and the judges will themselves follow.