Articles of the year 2009

The System
Published on December 05th, 2009

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has fixed December 07, 2009 to hear the cases of Dr Mubashir Hasan, founding member of PPP, and a former bureaucrat Roedad Khan against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). Certainly, this case is of great significance for it puts the newly freed Supreme Court to scrutinise not only the constitutional validity of the NRO but that this scrutiny may result in many cases being opened against not just sitting ministers, but may affect the presidency itself.

Since July 31, 2009 when the Supreme Court gave the National Assembly 120 days to get the ordinance ratified by their House, the whole nation watched while the members tried half-heartedly to put the matter before the House. The entire country watched the days pass till the MQM dropped the bombshell. MQM leader Altaf Hussain not only refused to back the NRO, but he asked President Asif Ali Zardari to make the supreme 'sacrifice' by resigning from the presidency. The immediate result was the withdrawal of the NRO from the House, and the 120 days expired on November 28. Then as per the Supreme Court's ruling of July, it is now time for the court to begin its examination of the NRO.

This bill was created to benefit a handful of corrupt politicians and political workers. The basis being the use of politically motivated cases to bring various officials into the ambit of the law for their manipulation. Over 3500 individuals took benefit of this law, and even murder charges were wished away. The worst part of this law was not just the cover it provided was for corruption and corrupt practices, but they walked free.

The resentment against this 'black' law was felt throughout the country, and people from all walks of life complained that this law was enacted for special citizens, while the rest of the country suffered at the hands of the regular judicial system. Furthermore, the chief justice of the Supreme Court was flooded by requests from prisoners throughout Pakistan that they should be given similar benefits.

After the November deadline the Supreme Court was bound to start its process, the Cotecna case that had been withdrawn by the government could now be started up again, for in that case the Swiss government had gone into an appeal against the lower court conviction, the appeal was for a stiffer sentence.

According to reports, the legal team of Farooq H Naek sprang into action, and the NAB lawyer was dispatched to Geneva to retrieve the documents from their Swiss lawyer. Luckily for Pakistan, our Swiss lawyer refused to deliver the documents, for he was well aware that the case was about to be reopened and these documents would be of vital importance, as they contained original papers without which the case would be considerably weaker. While the lawyers argued, the Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK flew to Geneva to exert his superior status, and took delivery of these documents. He then escorted these documents to London where they are supposedly in the safe custody of the UK High Commission. Acting on a tip, a private television channel filmed the whole saga, with the high commissioner refusing to answer the reporter's questions. All this was broadcast on their network to a flabbergasted nation. How could an ambassador ranking senior member of our diplomatic corps be part of such a sordid affair?

Needless to say, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi must look into this case on a priority basis, for this is state property, and it seems that the Government of Switzerland is also involved.

is indeed sad that our new democratic government should be caught tampering with or destroying evidence, not realising that the video clip is enough to prove criminal intent.

It is also strange that no statement has come from the PML-N, or PTI leader Imran Khan. Perhaps they are waiting for the MQM to lead the way - again. Surely, the political parties do not want to save such a corrupt system - far better to let it choke on its own filth!