The Express Tribune
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
http://www.rferl.orgAfghanistan's reputation as a haven for drug smugglers is well known. But while it is normally opium and its derivative substances that grab all the headlines, it seems that a little blue pill
Pakistan rebuilds its education network after Taliban are driven out of Swat A government operation to drive out militants has seen a gradual return to the classrooms in a district where more than 400 schools were destroyed, 70% of them girls' schoolsIn a rundown building in the mountain village of Sijban, girls sit at their desks, hair loosely covered in white or black scarves, staring raptly at their teacher. They say they want to become either doctors or teachers when they grow up. This is the one government primary school for girls in the Swat valley that was spared destruction by the Taliban. Their headteacher, Gul-e-Khandana,
CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry should be asked to appear before Parliamentary Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges
In the light of recent commentaries by leading Pakistani and international lawyers including but not limited to Asma Jahangir, Justice Markandey Katju (Indian Supreme Court), Saroop Ijaz etc, it is evident that Supreme Court of Pakistan has violated not only national constitution but also attacked the very foundation of parliamentary democracy in Pakistan. Former Indian Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju, writing in The Hindu recently, questioned what he said was the “lack of restraint” on the part of Pakistan’s superior judiciary. I regret to say that the Pakistani Supreme Court, particularly its Chief Justice, has been showing utter lack of restraint. This is not expected of superior courts. In fact the court and its Chief Justice have been playing to the galleries for long. It has clearly gone overboard and flouted all canons of constitutional jurisprudence. Justice Katju noted that Article 248, Clause 2 of the Pakistani Constitution very clearly states: “No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or governor in any court during his (or her) terms of office”. He then went on to ask that if this is the case, how could a court approach what is a settled provision in the “garb of interpretation”? The Pakistan Constitution draws its basic structure from Anglo-Saxon laws, which establishes a delicate balance of power among the three organs of the state — the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. However, in recent past, particularly since April 2012, Pakistan’s top judiciary led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has encroached into the elected parliament’s domain. This situation is not only a violation of Pakistan’s constitution but violates privilege of the elected parliament. In his obsession to become a saviour of the nation and hero of Pakistani media, CJ Chaudhry has become a tool in the hands of right-wing dominated politicians and media, and is through his actions and verdicts hurting Pakistan’s very security and stability. Lawyer Saroop Ijaz writes: The Pakistan Supreme Court has sent an elected prime minister home. This in itself is disturbing, however, permissible it may be under some circumstances. What is infinitely more worrying is the fact that the Supreme Court did not feel itself constrained by the procedure of law. The argument that the order of the Speaker cannot overrule the Court is a very decent one, yet does not explain why the Court ignored the clear provisions of the Constitution to send the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan. There is also the issue of the three-member bench making a mockery of the seven-member bench. However, there is a vaguely linear progression to all of this. The Supreme Court terminated the employment of “PCO” judges without reference to the Supreme Judicial Council, which was allowed to go unexamined. More recently, when memberships of members of parliament were suspended for dual nationality, again without reference to the Election Commission of Pakistan, not enough noise was created. Demagogy has a tendency of being incremental sometimes; they have tested the waters and now found it appropriate for a splash. It is likely to get worse now, it always does. Even now there is a curious reluctance to unequivocally condemn, or mildly speaking, criticise the judgment of the Supreme Court. Yousaf Raza Gilani and his maladministration is not the issue here, the issue is considerably more fundamental, namely the right of the people to elect their representatives and also to send them home. The Supreme Court does not represent the will of the people and the Courtrepeatedly saying so to the contrary would not change that. Let me also say this about the law of contempt, if the Court in fact does believe that it represents the will of the people then it will have to make its peace with the fact, that people talk and also talk back. It is high time that Pakistan’s parliament, not only ruling PPP but also other parties (PML-Q, ANP, MQM, JUI-F etc), require Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges to explain his position on supremacy of elected parliament. According to Section 227 of the Rules of Procedures: “A Committee shall have power to require the attendance of persons …. if such course is considered necessary for discharge of its duties.” CJ must be asked to explain why he is insisting on violation of Pakistan’s constitution and also why he is insulting the mandate given by the people of Pakistan to their elected parliament. The Committee should ask CJ why he wants elected Prime Minister to violate Article 248 of Pakistan’s Constitution (related to President immunity). http://criticalppp.com/archives/9123 The Parliamentary Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges must ask Justice Jawad S. Khwaja & other judges of the SC to explain their alleged past and present links with Hamid Khan Group of PTI who was a petitioner in PM Gilani’s disqualification case. The Parliamentary Committee should require CJ to assure he won’t force Pakistan’s current Prime Minister (Raja Pervez Ashraf) and other members of the executive to violate Pakistan’s constitution. He must also assure that Supreme Court will refrain from further trespassing into the parliament’s domain. In case, CJ is unable to satisfy the Parliamentary Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges, SC may be dissolved and reformed as per the Charter of Democracy (CoD) signed by late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. There are precedences in other countries where elected parliament had to intervene in order to remove a corrupt or trespassing judge or chief justice. Recently in May 2012, parliament in Philippine voted to remove the country’s Chief Justice of Supreme Court. On 29 May 2012, the Philippine Senate voted to remove the country’s top judge for failing to disclose his wealth, a landmark victory in a country wide campaign to root out endemic corruption in the Southeast Asian nation. More than two-thirds of the 23 senators voted to oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who becomes the first official in the country to be removed by an impeachment court. The decision bars him permanently from public office. The ruling is likely to be welcomed by investors amid concern that the four-month-long trial was distracting the government from policy matters at a time when the Philippines is seeing a resurgence of interest in its long-underperforming economy. (Source) The following extract from the CoD describes the formation of superior judiciary: 3. (a) The recommendations for appointment of judges to superior judiciary shall be formulated through a commission, which shall comprise of the following: i. The chairman shall be a chief justice, who has never previously taken oath under the PCO. ii. The members of the commission shall be the chief justices of the provincial high courts who have not taken oath under the PCO, failing which the senior most judge of that high court who has not taken oath shall be the member iii. Vice-Chairmen of Pakistan and Vice-Chairmen of Provincial Bar Association with respect to the appointment of judges to their concerned province iv. President of Supreme Court Bar Association v. Presidents of High Court Bar Associations of Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta with respect to the appointment of judges to their concerned province vi. Federal Minister for Law and Justice vii. Attorney General of Pakistan (a-i) The commission shall forward a panel of three names for each vacancy to the prime minister, who shall forward one name for confirmation to joint parliamentary committee for confirmation of the nomination through a transparent public hearing process. (a-ii) The joint parliamentary committee shall comprise of 50 per cent members from the treasury benches and the remaining 50 per cent from opposition parties based on their strength in the parliament nominated by respective parliamentary leaders. (b) No judge shall take oath under any Provisional Constitutional Order or any other oath that is contradictory to the exact language of the original oath prescribed in the Constitution of 1973. (c) Administrative mechanism will be instituted for the prevention of misconduct, implementation of code of ethics, and removal of judges on such charges brought to its attention by any citizen through the proposed commission for appointment of Judges. (d) All special courts including anti-terrorism and accountability courts shall be abolished and such cases be tried in ordinary courts. Further to create a set of rules and procedures whereby, the arbitrary powers of the chief justices over the assignment of cases to various judges and the transfer of judges to various benches such powers shall be exercised by the Chief Justice and two senior most judges sitting together. The CoD offers best path to reconstitute the Supreme Court consistent with the essence of parliamentary democracy. In such a scenario, Pakistan’s Supreme Court may be reconstituted just like Senate, assuring equal representation of all ethnic groups (not domiciles), also making sure that no PCO judge (i.e., one who has in the past validated a military coup or endorsed dictator’s actions) is a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or High Courts in provinces.
Dunya NewsPPP MNA Rubina Qaimkhani said Sharif brothers were working on mullahs agenda. The Sharif brothers are allegedly working on mullahs’ agenda and pushing party’s parliamentarians in the provincial assembly to harass women legislators belonging to PML-Q and PPP. This was stated by the Parliamentary Secretary on Human Rights and Member National Assembly (MNA) Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani while addressing a news conference on Tuesday. She condemned the vulgar words used by the MPAs Sheikh Allauddin and Abdul Rehman Dhilu against women parliamentarians. She alleged that MPA’s of PML (N) time and again harassed the women parliamentarians on directions of the Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif. She said that human rights cell of PPP submitted an application in Lahore to register FIR against Mr. Sheikh but the CM stopped the police from launching the FIR. She added that ten-day suspension from membership of the alleged violators of harassment bill was not enough to discontinue such incidents again. “We have serious concerns over such incidents and working hard to ensure implementation on harassment of women at workplace bill 2010”, she maintained. On the occasion, a renowned social activist Dr. Fouzia Saeed demanded proper legislation in all provincial assemblies including National Assembly to guarantee protection of women parliamentarians. Meanwhile, Ms. Qaimkhani demanded of the Chief Justice to take suo moto action of the incident. She requested the Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Iqbal to order disqualification of MPA’s Mr. Sheikh and Mr. Dhillu. A number of civil society workers and media persons were also present on the occasion.
The Express TribuneAt the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2012, Pakistan may be free of poppy cultivation, but the country still provides a vital transit route for smuggling of drugs worth $30 billion from neighbouring Afghanistan. Speaking at the launch of the World Drug Report 2012 on Tuesday, officials from the United Nations welcomed the decline in poppy cultivation in Pakistan. In the same breath, however, they added that the country is a major route for the smuggling of drugs cultivated in Afghanistan, primarily through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, and that drug cultivation can resurface in these areas if the Anti-Narcotics Force is not strict in its surveillance. One-third of drugs produced in Afghanistan are smuggled to other countries via the coastal areas of Balochistan, the UN officials added. Global numbers The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the annual report about the state of drug cultivation, production, usage and transport in New York on Tuesday. According to the report, at least 5% of the world’s adult population, or about 230 million people, are estimated to have used an illicit drug at least once in 2010. Some $68 billion is generated globally from illicit drugs annually, and is mainly used in terrorist activities, human trafficking and the smuggling of arms. According to the UNODC, $27 to $30 billion worth of drugs are smuggled from Afghanistan, via Pakistan, to other parts of the world annually; of this, drugs worth $1.5 billion stay in Pakistan. Drug abuse and illicit trafficking continue to have a profoundly negative impact on development and stability across the world, the report says. Heroin, cocaine and other drugs continue to kill around 200,000 people a year, bringing misery to thousands of other peoples, insecurity and the spread of HIV, the report adds. Drug cultivation Global opium production amounted at 7,000 tonnes in 2011, up from the low levels of 2010 when diseases wiped out almost half of the crop yield. Afghanistan maintained its position as the largest producer and the country’s opium production increased by 61%, from 3,600 toms in 2010 to 5,800 tonnes in 2011. High prices and increase in demand are making opium production more attractive to farmers in South East Asia, the report says. Poppy cultivation in South East Asia jumped 16% – from 41,000 hectares in 2010 to almost 48,000 hectares in 2011. Overall cultivation of opium doubled in South East Asia. Externalities Illicit drugs and related criminal networks undermine the rule of law, the report says. Central America, for instance, faces rising levels of violence fuelled by transnational organised crime and drug trafficking. The region is now home to the highest homicide rates in the world. Meanwhile, development in Afghanistan is being hindered by the highest rates of opiate prevalence in the world. In parts of Myanmar, farmers are trapped by food insecurity compelling them to grow poppies as a cash crop. The challenge is also greatly testing West and Central Africa, which lies along one of the main drug trafficking routes to Europe. Moreover, transit countries are no longer simply links in the chain of supply. About half of the cocaine trafficked through West and Central Africa now remains in the region. Solutions The drug, crime and corruption conventions of the UN form a solid basis for global solutions to these challenges, the report states, adding that these instruments offer a balanced approach to halt trafficking, promote viable alternatives to the farmers of cash crops, and offer drug users their health and human rights.
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