Thursday, December 12, 2013
In the first ever execution of any war-criminal in the country’s 42 years history, Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah was executed at 10.01 pm on Thursday hours after receiving the copy of the order of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (SC) that dismissed the petitions filed by defence lawyers. Till the filing of this report at 10.10 pm the jail authorities were taking preparation to send his body to his village home in Faridpur. Earlier, after meeting Mollah in the central jail at 7 pm, his son Hasan Jamil told the media that Mollah wanted to meet his lawyers to discuss the issue of filing mercy petition. “He told us that as per the jail code he has seven days for filing mercy petition and he would finalise his decision by this time. He wants to meet his lawyers,” Jamil said. Earlier, SC on Thursday rejected the review petitions of Mollah, clearing the way for the execution of the Jamaat leader. Of the two petitions, defence counsels sought stay on the death warrant passed by the International Crimes Tribunal. The other plea sought a review on SC verdict that sentenced Mollah to death. On September 17, the apex court had awarded death penalty to Mollah for crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War. The government decided to execute Mollah on Wednesday at 12.01 am, but his execution was halted following the defence petition moved on Tuesday night at the residence of Supreme Court chamber judge Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain. The chamber judge stayed the operation of the execution order till 10.30am, following the defence petition. After hearing the two petitions, the five-member bench of the Appellate Division, led by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain, dismissed the pleas, saying, “Both the criminal review petitions—No. 17 and No. 18—of 2013 are dismissed.” However, the reason for dismissal could not be known immediately. “There is no legal bar to execute Mollah following the apex court’s order,” attorney general Mahbubey Alam told reporters soon after the top court’s dismissal order. However, barrister Abdur Razzak told reporters: “The jail authorities cannot take any action without getting the copy of today’s Supreme Court order as the court did not reject our petitions. The apex court may give its observations in the full verdict.” Soon after the dismissal order was pronounced, pro-Jamaat lawyers brought out a protest procession on the SC premises and chanted slogans: “If Quader Mollah is hanged, every home will be set on fire”. Pro-AL lawyers brought out a procession, hailing the SC ruling at the same venue. There was tight security in and around the Supreme Court premises to avert any untoward incident ahead of the review petition hearing and its verdict. Earlier, in the morning, the SC resumed hearing on the review petition of death row convict Quader Mollah around 9.20am. The court first heard arguments whether the petition could be accepted and asked the chief defence counsel, barrister Abdur Razzak, to start hearing on the merit of the review petition. Razzak asked the court if it had accepted the review petition. The court replied that it was yet to take any decision on the maintainability of the petition. Later, the defence counsel sought time from the court to take preparation for review hearing. Afterwards, Razzak began to put forward arguments on the merit of the review petition. During the hearing, Razzak raised a question regarding the acceptability of the statement of witness Momena, as her statements at the tribunal and before the investigation officer were different. “If the statement of a witness was not same, his/her statement cannot be acceptable and the court cannot deliver sentence to the accused person,” he added. Then Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha told that the court had accepted her statement and awarded the death sentence to Mollah. Referring to Article 104 of the Constitution—the Appellate Division shall has power to issue such directions, orders, decrees or writs as may be necessary for doing complete justice in any case or matter pending before it, including orders for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person or the discovery or production of any document—Razzak said that the tribunal had issued the death warrant against Mollah by violating the jail code provision. In response to Razzak’s submission, Justice Sinha said that the tribunal had issued the death warrant as per the apex court’s directives. Razzak told the court that as per the jail code provision, after issuing the death warrant against any convicted person, the jail authorities cannot implement it before 21 days. But, it did not follow the jail code provision in Mollah’s case, he said. Responding to Razzak’s submission, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain said that the sentence of the tribunal would be implemented in accordance with the government order's as Section 20 (3) of the ICT Act states that any sentence awarded under this Act shall be carried out in accordance with the orders of the government. Opposing Razzak’s submission, attorney general Mahbubey Alam told the court that as per Section 47 (A) (2) of the Constitution, Mollah would not get any remedy for filing a review petition against the apex court verdict. After that the court went for tea break for 30 minutes at 11am. The court resumed hearing at 11.35. Mahbubey Alam told the court that Mollah did not get remedy to file review petition against apex court order as the constitution does allow it for him. Barr ister Razzak urged the court to accept the two petitions to ensure justice for Mollah. Later, the court concluded the hearing at 11.47am and said that it would deliver verdict after 10 minutes. The court sat at 12.05pm and the verdict was delivered in one minute. Then the judges left the courtroom. After coming out of the court, advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, another counsel for Mollah, told reporters that Mollah could not be hanged till the defence receives the full text of the order on the review petition. “The jail authorities would not be able to execute the verdict till we receive the full text of the order,” he said. Appellate Division shall has power to issue such directions, orders, decrees or writs as may be necessary for doing complete justice in any case or matter pending before it, including orders for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person or the discovery or production of any document—Razzak said that the tribunal had issued the death warrant against Mollah by violating the jail code provision. In response to Razzak’s submission, Justice Sinha said that the tribunal had issued the death warrant as per the apex court’s directives. Razzak told the court that as per the jail code provision, after issuing the death warrant against any convicted person, the jail authorities cannot implement it before 21 days. But, it did not follow the jail code provision in Mollah’s case, he said. Responding to Razzak’s submission, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain said that the sentence of the tribunal would be implemented in accordance with the government order’s as Section 20 (3) of the ICT Act states that any sentence awarded under this Act shall be carried out in accordance with the orders of the government. Opposing Razzak’s submission, attorney general Mahbubey Alam told the court that as per Section 47 (A) (2) of the Constitution, Mollah would not get any remedy for filing a review petition against the apex court verdict. After that the court went for tea break for 30 minutes at 11am. The court resumed hearing at 11.35. Mahbubey Alam told the court that Mollah did not get remedy to file review petition against apex court order as the constitution does allow it for him. Barrister Razzak urged the court to accept the two petitions to ensure justice for Mollah. Later, the court concluded the hearing at 11.47am and said that it would deliver verdict after 10 minutes. The court sat at 12.05pm and the verdict was delivered in one minute. Then the judges left the courtroom. After coming out of the court, advocate Khandker Mahbub Hossain, another counsel for Mollah, told reporters that Mollah could not be hanged till the defence receives the full text of the order on the review petition. “The jail authorities would not be able to execute the verdict till we receive the full text of the order,” he said. However, Mahbubey Alam said that the jail authorities do not need the order’s copy as the Supreme Court did not provide any observation in the verdict. Replying to a query, Alam said the government can execute Mollah any time. Barrister Abdur Razzak, however, said that Mollah still has time to seek presidential clemency till December 23. He said, “We still have time to seek the President’s clemency till December 23. We will meet Mollah on December 21 or 22 and a decision on seeking presidential clemency would be taken,” he added. On Tuesday, state minister for law Quamrul Islam, at a press briefing, said Quader Mollah had refused to seek the president’s clemency in the presence of two magistrates.
By Bilawal BhuttoPlato's philosophical discussion, the Crito, illustrates the dilemma faced by those of us who yearn for an independent judiciary in Pakistan. Too many of us had to suffer at the hands of a judiciary so independent that it often acted independently of both the basic principles of jurisprudence and the very constitution it swore to uphold and protect. Plato's Crito is a dialogue written about Socrates, who was imprisoned on trumped up charges. His friends come to him in prison, and try to convince him to escape. He refuses, stating that he had lived by the city's laws while they benefited him, he would live by these laws too even if it kills him; he could not pick and choose. His position was that one has to buy into the city and its laws in their entirety or not at all. In essence, it is ever good to respond to injustice with injustice? Can a state exist in which the law becomes optional?
The Baloch Hal
MALIK SIRAJ AKBARTensions are brewing on Pakistan-Iran border in Balochistan. To explicitly explain the situation, on needs to borrow a term or two from the contemporary Pakistani political lexicon. The Iranians are violating our “sovereignty”. The Pakistanis routinely use the term “sovereignty” only to refer to the drone strikes launched by the United States. But there are two reasons why the Pakistani media does not report the violation of our sovereignty on the Pakistan-Iran border. One, sovereignty, according to the Pakistani official narrative, is something only a non-Muslim country such as the United States violates whereas Iran is an Islamic republic which cannot be involved in breaching the sovereignty of a brotherly Muslim country. Secondly, it indeed sounds absolutely ludicrous to call for Islamabad’s help considering the fact that Pakistan itself has been involved in violating people’s sovereignty in Balochistan for decades. For the past one month, the Iranian security forces have been excessively firing rockets from their side on the bordering towns of Panjgur and Mashkil located in Pakistani Balochistan. The unprovoked cycle of rocket attacks has caused significant outrage as well as fear among the local population. While one rocket attack on November 25 killed a three-year old Baloch girl and injured her parents and two siblings in Kech district, another citizen, Nasir Ahmed, a resident of Paroom area in Panjgur district, was shot dead by the Iranian authorities on December 10th. Mr. Ahmed’s killing took place only a day after the Iranian security forces fired nine rockets on Mashkil town of Washuk district while they shot another four rockets on Panjgur district. Local residents say the the attacks killed several goats and cows which are the primary source of livelihood for the poor Baloch families in the border areas. Last week, when the Iranians fired four more rockets on Baloch towns, Mir Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, a member of the Balochistan Assembly from the frontier towns, described the attack as a ‘border violation’. He said that a memorandum had been shared both the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the embassy in Islamabad against previous such unprovoked rocket attacks. On November 25, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr. Malik Baloch expressed his anguish over the Iranian aggression and repeated violation of the border. The head of the provincial government “condemned” the attacks and said he had raised the issue with Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan’s Interior Minister. Contrary to the Chief Minister’s condemnation of the Iranian aggression, Balochistan’s Interior Secretary, Akbar Hussain Durrani, ironically, has been insisting that the Iranians did not fire the rockets. Mr. Durrani may only be attempting to cover up the issue but the matter is rapidly getting so serious that even officials in his own department have begun to leak information to the media about the unfolding situation. For example, Dawn, on December 9, 2013, quoted a Home Department official confirming that the Iranians had violated the border and fired rockets on 11 to 12 occasions within a month. The official added that the Iranian helicopters were also flying in Balochistan’s airspace. In the wake of these alarming activities, the Balochistan government, according to the same report published in Dawn, has written a letter to the National Crisis Management Cell while the Frontier Corps (F.C.), whose primary responsibility is to guard the border, has written a separate letter to the Interior Ministry. Pakistan’s foreign office and relevant departments have not uttered a single word to protest the killing and terrorizing of the Baloch population by the Iranians. The federal government’s indifference is deeply disappointing but still understandable, as stated above, because Islamabad is known for killing, not protecting, the Baloch people within its own borders. In the backdrop of absolute silence observed in Islamabad, one is compelled to agree with the assessment of the situation by the Baloch Republican Party. Headed by Switzerland-based pro-independence leader Nawabzada Bramdagh Bugti, the B.R.P. has alleged that Iran is carrying out these operations inside Balochistan with the support of Pakistan as a continuation of their longstanding anti-Baloch nexus. “Iranian attacks on the Baloch population have become the order of the day,” charged the B.R.P. in its statement which also condemned the recent unfortunate incidents. Pakistani Urdu columnist Saleem Safi may not even be acquainted with what Iran is doing inside Balochistan but his observations about Iran’s changing role in the region that he has mentioned in his column on December 10 in Daily Jang merits attention. Mr. Safi, an ethnic Pashtun and an expert on Afghan affairs, predicted that Iran would follow an aggressive policy toward Pakistan as soon as it improves its relations with the United States. That time has not fully arrived but Iran’s behavior indicates that it has already started asserting its hegemony in the region. As the Baloch expect little from Islamabad to come to their rescue from increasing attacks from the Iranians, we wish to remind Tehran that the world is fast changing and it’s become a different place. Therefore, it is the time for Tehran to give up its decades-old policy of suppressing the Baloch because of their race and (Sunni) religion. There are always batter ways to win the hearts and minds of the people. By attacking the Balochs on the Pakistani side of the border, Iran, in a way, is unnecessarily provoking mass reaction within the Baloch community on both sides. Attacking the Balochs on the Pakistani side will only mount tensions and create new enemies for Tehran. While the Balochs on the Pakistani side are fighting a non-religious, nationalist, secular battle against Islamabad for a free land, Tehran should stay away from this battle as they do not pose a direct threat to Iran’s interests. We fear that the mistreatment of the Baloch on both sides of the border could possibly lead to an unprecedented alliance between the religiously motivated anti-Iran Sunni militant groups, such as the Jundullah, and the multiple left-wing Baloch armed groups operating inside Pakistan. Intensification of the existing conflicts will not serve anyone’s interests. Both Islamabad and Tehran should end their war against the Baloch and treat them as equal citizens instead of brutalizing them.
Forensic experts link Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to attacks that the group denies involvement in, proving that the insurgents lied in what some say is an effort to rebuild their image.The TTP has said it was not behind attacks on a Peshawar church, a passenger bus on Charsadda Road, the Qissa Khwani Bazaar and several others to protect their image, but police investigators and forensic experts say the evidence shows otherwise. "The people died from wounds caused by the same explosives we have seen in other attacks," Dr. Javaid Khan at the Khyber Medical College said. "There is complete resemblance among the explosive matter and human resources used in violent acts." "Telling lies and concealing the truth is a glaring example" of how the militants have no regard for people, he said. But, really, if the TTP is not doing these acts then who is behind them, he asked. "They have mastered the art of terrorism," he said. "When one hears the word 'Taliban,' the next word that comes to mind is 'terrorism.'" The reason for the denials is simple, he said. The TTP's image has suffered a black eye recently for its continued attacks on civilians. "If the TTP told the truth that it carried out all those bombings, it would harm their reputation," he said. A police official agreed. "Denying responsibility for attacks is part of their strategy to restore their dwindling image among the public," Peshawar police investigator Khalid Khan said. They denied involvement in the All Saints Church bombing in Peshawar, for example, only after it received international condemnation, he said. Citizens not believing Taliban claims The lame attempt at cover-up, though, is not really helping the TTP as Pakistanis are laughing at the Taliban's denials, Khan said. The TTP denying responsibility shows how ridiculous they are, Khan said, adding that further denial would erode their credibility, since it is a common knowledge that they carried these attacks. "Such untruths make them a laughing stock, and issuance of untruthful statements will not make any difference," he said, adding that the militants' attempts to absolve themselves of killing innocent people mercilessly hasn't found receptive ears. Charsadda-based police officer Saleem Khan, one who linked the Pakistani Taliban to the Peshawar Church attack, noted that Ansar-ul-Mujahideen, who confessed to committing the act, is a known TTP faction. "The faction couldn't have carried out the attack without out the TTP’s approval." he said. "There are about 65 groups that operate under the umbrella of TTP … with separate wings for suicide and bomb attacks, target killing, kidnapping and other crimes." Ansar-ul-Mujahideen, which also claimed to have conducted the suicide attack that killed KP Law Minister Israrullah Gandapur, is affiliated with TTP, according to its website, which means it permitted it. The Taliban typically likes to claim responsibility for attacks, because it gives the group an opportunity to spout off its hate message. "Taliban are part of the al-Qaeda-run terrorist network that operates in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and other places," Javaid Khan said. "The modus operandi is the same, but it denies some incidents where public sentiments tend to run high." The stench of barbarism and brazenness and ignorance of fundamentalists is sheer example of shamelessness, he added. Gender hypocrisy, too The flip-flopping is not limited just to attacks. The Taliban has also voiced contradictory opinions about the treatment of women, Muhammad Rasool, a Swat-based social worker said. The militants claim they respect women, he said, but they see no problem with insulting, humiliating and flogging females, Rasool said, citing an April 2009 public flogging of a 17-year-old girl in Swat for her alleged illicit relationship with a man as an example to substantiate his claim. "First, the TTP said the decision was good and according to Islamic law, but later they termed it false after global outcry," Rasool said.
Daily TimesSenior leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Aitzaz Ahsan has said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry played his innings like Shahid Afridi, not like Sachin Tendulkar. Talking to a private TV channel on Wednesday, he said, “Iftikhar Chaudhry did politics and he wants to be a politician,” he added. He said that the chief justice might not have been expecting such a reaction over permitting only one private TV channel to cover the full court reference. “Discrimination was just a no ball from the Supreme Court’s side,” Aitzaz Ahsan said. He maintained that the CJP committed a fatal mistake in the end and he did not leave as Tendulkar, “he just played like Afridi”. Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association’s (SCBA) former president Ali Ahmad Kurd has said that the common man campaigned for two years to restore judiciary, but Iftikhar Chaudhry did not look back upon them after his reinstatement. Talking to a private TV channel, Kurd said that history will not remember Iftikhar Chaudhry as a successful judge. “Restoration of Iftikhar Chaudhry was a God-gifted thing and it was presented to him in a gold plate, but he kept that reward aside.” Kurd added that if the chief justice had issued directives for coverage of full court’s reference to only one channel then it was a blunder. “The chief justice was restored due to media and if media had not take a stand he could not have been restored,” he added. Another former president of SCBA, Asma Jahangir said that the legal fraternity wants a “constitutional and legal chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) rather than a political one”. She told a private TV channel on Wednesday that the CJP should “stop the role of a dramatist now” and it would be the biggest challenge for him in future. “If he fails to entertain media, the media would feel cheated and if he does it he would be inviting the wrath of bar associations,” she added. The former SCBA president said that it is a testing time for the coming judges so they should maintain a jirga system. “If judges said, ‘we are law’ it would be more terrible,” she warned. Asma also appealed to media to come forward by forgetting all unpleasant memories of the past. Ahmad Raza Qasuri, legal counsel of Pervez Musharraf, has said that Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would be remembered as a controversial personality. He said that Iftikhar Chaudhry established the tradition of speaking rather than issuing verdicts, while it has always been said that judges do not speak their decisions, he added. Qasuri disclosed that many controversial verdicts had been issued during his term and particular people have been promoted. In 2007, Justice Chaudhry rose to prominence when he increasingly questioned attempts by then-president, Pervez Musharraf, to cling to power. The military ruler asked the judge to step down. Chaudhry refused. Musharraf later fired him and hundreds of other judges by imposing a state of emergency.
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Patron in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that he is “looking forward to the restoration of justice” after the retirement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. On the eve of the retirement of the chief justice, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that he is hopeful that the people will have an “independent and unbiased Supreme Court” now. Bilawal wrote on Twitter, “Looking forward to the restoration of justice with the departure of the Chief Justice. High hopes we will now have a truly ind & unbiased SC”.