Sunday, August 26, 2012
How Pakistan's Supreme Court Is Undermining DemocracyA Foreign Affairs roundtable discussion on the causes of instability in Pakistan and what, if anything, can be done about them. On June 19, Pakistan's Supreme Court charged the country's prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, with contempt, disqualifying him from being a member of parliament and consequently unseating him from power. Gilani's crime? He refused to revive a money laundering investigation against his boss, President Asif Ali Zardari, who technically enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office. According to the country's constitution, only the election commission and the parliament itself have such authority. By simple fact, then, the Pakistani judiciary just pulled off a coup. The timing was particularly suspicious. The Supreme Court's decision came on the heels of a bribery scandal that involved Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of the chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry. And because Iftikhar's accuser was Malik Riaz Hussain, a politically connected real estate tycoon with ties to the president, some have argued that the court sacked Gilani as revenge. Some in the Pakistani opposition have applauded the move, arguing that judicial intervention is the only way to deal with the corruption of Zardari and his party. In their view, the judges' soft coup was far less insidious than those led by generals in the past, which have invariably led to full-blown authoritarian rule. But as Pakistan heads into an election year, the aggressive move has left the state's democratic foundations weakened, its judiciary less credible, and its military more powerful. To be sure, the development serves as only another chapter in an ongoing saga. For years, the Supreme Court and the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have been at odds over the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), an amnesty law instituted in 2007 by Pakistan's then president, General Pervez Musharraf, as part of a U.S.-brokered power-sharing deal with Benazir Bhutto, who was the PPP's leader in exile. In return for the government's withdrawal of corruption charges against Bhutto and Zardari, her husband, the party agreed to support Musharraf's re-election bid in October 2007.
''Judges should not rule nation''Asserting that the judges should not govern the country or evolve policies, Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia on Saturday wondered what would happen if the executive refuses to comply with judiciary's directives.e asked judges if they would invoke contempt proceedings against government officials for not complying with their decisions and disapproved a recent Supreme Court judgement which said "right to sleep" was also a fundamental right. "Judges should not govern this country. We need to go by strict principle. Whenever you lay down a law, it should not interfere with governance. We are not accountable to people. Objectivity, certainty enshrined in the basic principles of the Constitution has to be given weightage," he said, delivering a lecture on 'Jurisprudence of Constitutional Structure' at the India International Centre here. Kapadia said judges should go strictly by the Constitutional principles which has clearly demarcated the separation of powers among the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. "Right to life, we have said, includes environmental protection, right to live with dignity. Now we have included right to sleep, where are we going? It is not a criticism. Is it capable of being enforced? When you expand the right, the judge must explore the enforceability." "Judges must apply enforceability test. Today if a judge proposes a policy matter, government says we are not going to follow. Are you going by way of contempt or implement it?" he asked. The CJI said judges must abide by the principles of Constitution while dealing with Centre-State relations, federal policy, etc., in the wake of the recent scandals but clarified he was not mentioning the "coalgate" scandal.
خص کم جهان پاکAfghanistan's intelligence agency said Sunday its operatives have confirmed that the son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani militant network was killed in an airstrike in Pakistan, even as the Taliban vowed that he was alive and well. Shafiquallh Tahriri, the spokesman for Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security, said Badruddin Haqqani was killed last week. He did not provide any further details, and would not say what information the agency's operatives were basing their conclusion on. Tahiri's account is similar to one provided Saturday by a senior Taliban leader who said Haqqani was killed in a drone strike. It also hews closely to a version provided by Pakistani officials who said they were 90 percent sure the militant commander was killed Tuesday in a missile attack in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region. Haqqani's death would mark a major blow to the organization founded by his father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, which is viewed by the U.S. as a powerful enemy in Afghanistan. The son is considered the network's day-to-day operations commander. The Haqqani network has been blamed for a series of high-profile attacks and kidnappings in Afghanistan, and the U.S. considers it one of the most powerful militant groups operating in the country. The Taliban, who are closely allied with the Haqqani network, have rejected all reports of Haqqani's death. Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said Haqqani is alive and in good health in Afghanistan. "A number of media have reported that Badruddin Haqqani has been killed. We would like to inform all media that this rumor is not correct," Mujahid said in the email to reporters late Saturday. "Badruddin Haqqani is in the country and is occupied with his operational responsibilities. He is alive and healthy. The rumor about him being killed is more propaganda of the enemy," he said. In a telephone call with The Associated Press on Sunday Mujahid continued to maintain that Haqqani was alive. The U.S. does not comment publicly on its drone program, which is widely reviled by the Pakistani public and has been a source of tension with Islamabad. The areas where the American drone strikes generally occur are extremely remote and dangerous, making it difficult for reporters or others to verify a particular person's death. Badruddin is considered a vital part of the Haqqani structure and is believed to have played an active role in kidnappings, extortion and high-profile operations in Afghanistan. Tahiri said that Haqqani's responsibilities included arranging foreign suicide bombings, maintaining relations with other insurgent groups, recruiting Pakistani Taliban fighters to the Haqqani group and overseeing operations in southeastern Afghanistan and in Kabul. "He was the mastermind of the organized suicide attacks in Kabul," Tahiri said, referring to a number of high-profile strikes in the Afghan capital targeting everything from hotels to Western embassies. "He was the mastermind of the organized suicide attacks in Kabul," Tahiri said. Still, there are likely people waiting in the wings to replace Badruddin, said former Afghan intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh, now an opposition leader. "They are going to find another person to replace him. What I know is that his elder brother, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is playing a larger role in the the Haqqani network," Saleh said in an interview on Afghanistan's Tolo television. He said until the group's ability to operate across Afghanistan and Pakistan is limited, "killing their commanders or leaders will have its effect, but not that large of an effect." The U.S. State Department has designated Badruddin, along with his father and brothers — Nasiruddin and Sirajuddin — as terrorists. The State Department said in May 2011 that Badruddin sits on the Miram Shah Shura, a group that controls all Haqqani network activities and coordinates attacks in southeastern Afghanistan. Badruddin is also believed to have been responsible for the 2008 kidnapping of New York Times reporter, David Rohde, the department said. After their father effectively retired in 2005, Badruddin and his brother Sirajuddin expanded the network into kidnapping and extortion, both highly profitable for the organization, according to a recent report by the West Point, N.Y.-based Combating Terrorism Center. Afghan intelligence authorities have released intercepts of Badruddin orchestrating an attack against the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in 2011, the CTC said. The U.S. has long viewed the Haqqani network as one of the biggest threats to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as the country's long term stability. The group has shown little interest in negotiating with the Washington, and has pulled off some of the highest-profile and most complex attacks in Afghanistan, although not necessarily the most deadly.
http://www.rferl.orgThe top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan wants to see intelligence from Kabul to support its claim that spies from neighboring countries encourage Afghan troops to turn on NATO forces. U.S. General John Allen says Kabul has not yet shared such intelligence. He said he wants to understand how Kabul came to this conclusion. Allen said on August 23 that there are probably a variety of reasons for an increase of "insider attacks" by Afghan troops against NATO soldiers over the past year, including the infiltration of Afghan forces by the Taliban. Kabul has been recruiting tens of thousands of police and soldiers to prepare for NATO's withdrawal by the end of 2014. Afghan officials have admitted some insider attacks were carried out by recent recruits who were not properly vetted.
THE NEWSThe sixth death anniversary of the founder of Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) and Balochistan's former Governor, chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti is being observed today. To mark this day, a shutter down and wheel jam strike is being observed across the province on the appeal of JWP and Baloch Republican Party (BRP). All the business centres in Quetta remained closed, while there was hardly any traffic seen on the roads. A shutter down strike was also being observed Gwadar, Turbat, Khuzdar, Kalat, Mastung, Noshki, Chaghi and Awaran, while in some areas there was also a wheel jam strike. This strike has the support of Balochistan National Party, Baloch National Voice, National Party, Muslim League-N, Jamaat-e-Islami, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, transporters and trading community. Nawab Akbar Bugti companions was killed in an encounter with the security forces in Kohlu area on August 26, 2006.
The Express TribuneFollowing a strike call given by the Pakistan Medical Association Balochistan (PMA), doctors in the province refused to treat patients in all government hospitals on Friday. All major hospitals in Quetta were closed, once again, in condemnation of the recent wave of target killings and kidnapping for ransom. Out-Patient Departments (OPD) of Helper’s Eye Hospital, Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital, Fatima Jinnah TB Sanatorium and Provincial Sandeman Hospital remained deserted. The decision to continue the strike was taken by the doctors at a general body meeting of PMA Balochistan chapter on Thursday night at Sandeman hospital with its President Dr Sultan Tareen in the chair. The meeting reviewed the situation following the release of senior psychiatrist Dr Ghulam Rasool on August 17 following a ransom payment of Rs50 million. Dr Rasool had been abducted earlier by unknown persons on August 1. The doctors have prepared a four-point charter of demands for the provincial government and announced that the strike will continue till their demands are met. The four points of the charter are: arresting the abductors of Dr Ghulam Rasool and Dr Din Muhammad Baloch, provision of security to doctors both inside hospitals as well as outside, recovery of ransom amount from the government and ensuring a crackdown on all elements involved in target killing of doctors in the province. The meeting announced that doctors would continue serving patients in emergency wards as well as continue their private practice at non-government clinics. The strike call has raised numerous questions about whether doctors are neglecting their Hippocratic oath by refusing to treat the majority of poor patients who travel great distances from all over Balochistan for quality medical treatment at Quetta hospitals. The recent strike call follows two earlier strikes by doctors that lasted for 24 hours. With many patients going untreated, the refusal of doctors to provide services in government hospitals, where health care is relatively affordable, while continuing their private “business” has drawn the ire of local residents across the provincial capital.
http://www.brecorder.comThe Supreme Court will on August 27 resume the contempt of court hearing against Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as he has been issued notice to appear before the apex court and explain government’s inability in relation to implementation of its verdict on National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). A five-judge special bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed will take up the case. While issuing notice to PM Raja Pervez Ashraf on August 8, the bench said in its order: “We hereby issue notice to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf under Section 17 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance (V of 2003) read with Article 204 of the Constitution to show cause as to why he may not be proceeded against for committing contempt of this court by not complying with the relevant directions oft the Court”. Besides, other than the special bench, the Supreme Court has also constituted three different benches to hear other important cases during the week commencing from August 27. The bench ‘number one’ comprises Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain; ‘bench number two’ consists of Justice Asif Saeed Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Muhammad Ather Saeed; while ‘bench number three’ will have Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry. It is vital to mention here that two benches of Supreme Court will hear customs, sales tax, service matters and human rights cases in Karachi Registry during the next week. A bench of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Sarmad Jalal Osmany and the other bench comprising Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Amir Hani Muslim will hear important cases in Karachi from Aug 27.