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Musharraf booked for judges’ illegal confinement

Interceptor

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Musharraf booked for judges’ illegal confinement

Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Case registered on court’s order

By Shakeel Anjum & Obaid Abrar Khan

ISLAMABAD: In an unprecedented first in Pakistan’s history, a former chief of the army staff, Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf has been booked for a criminal offence that could actually see him land in prison or at the minimum turn his stay abroad into a permanent exile. An ironic fate of twist for a man who once boasted that he would never allow Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto to end their exile on their own and return to Pakistan. The table stands turned on its head.

The Islamabad police registered an FIR against him for illegal confinement of the country’s top judges after Nov 3, 2007 here Monday. The criminal case (FIR No 131 dated 10-08-09) under section 344/34 of the PPC has been registered by Secretariat Police not on the initiative of the government, but following the orders of the additional sessions court.

On a petition filed by Chaudhry Mohammad Aslam Ghuman, Additional Sessions Judge Islamabad Mohammad Akmal Khan Monday ordered police to book the ousted dictator.

The petitioner had submitted an application with the Secretariat Police Station requesting for registration of an FIR against former President Pervez Musharraf and his accomplices including district management and police officers for keeping the judges in illegal confinement along with their families at their houses in the Judges Colony, Islamabad.

Inspector General of Police Islamabad, Syed Kaleem Imam, when contacted also confirmed the report, saying that the FIR was lodged on the order of the court.

Sources at the Ministry of Interior told The News that Mohammad Aslam Ghuman had filed the petition with the Additional Sessions Judge Islamabad some one and a half months back but despite repeated reminders, the Law Division didn’t take interest in pursuance of the case properly.

The FIR (131) stated that former president Pervez Musharraf and others had detained judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and their family at their houses and their children were neither allowed to attend their school nor permitted to appear in examinations.

Earlier, Additional Sessions Judge Muhammad Akmal Khan directed the police to register a case against former president General Pervez Musharraf for house arrest of 60 superior court judges.

The judge in his remarks said the Federal Law Ministry did not present its report regarding the petition in the stipulated time. District Attorney Mehfooz Paracha and S.I Shahid Mehmood were present in the court during the hearing. Mehfooz Paracha sought some more time for submission of comments, which was opposed by the petitioner.

The judge in his decision declared that a cognizable offence had been committed in palpable terms. “Therefore, the writ petition is allowed. The SHO is directed to fulfill his statutory obligation by recording the petitioner’s statement under Section 154 CrPC and proceed further in accordance with the law.”

A copy of the court order was also sent to the IG Islamabad as well as the SSP Islamabad to ensure compliance with the order and a fair investigation into the case.

Advocate Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam Ghuman had moved the petition stating that he had filed an application with the Secretariat Police Station seeking registration of an FIR against former president Pervez Musharraf for illegal house arrest of 60 judges but that the police were not registering the case.

On his application, the SHO was ordered to submit his report before the court. The police said in the report that it had written a letter to the Ministry of Law and Justice and a reply was awaited in this regard. Although the court gave time to the ministry it still failed to present its case.

The brief facts listed in the petition were that on November 3, 2007 the then chief of army staff General Pervez Musharraf prevented all the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts from functioning unless they took a new oath under his issued PCO. The same day seven judges of the Supreme Court headed by the chief justice declared the said action of Pervez Musharraf as illegal and passed the judicial orders prohibiting the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts from taking oath under the PCO.


Musharraf booked for judges’ illegal confinement
 

Spring Onion

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Just a question during all that period these deposed judges have been paid their salary now. means they were still judges. So how now their term has been extended by excluding that period when they were deposed.??
 

SummerWine

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What a turn of events...I dont know whether to be happy on this news or express sorrow.

But it is definitely unprecedented, never an ex-chief has been booked before if I am not wrong..

I guess field will be open to play for politicians now forever...

And one other thing, did Kayani give his silent nod for this?
 

EagleEyes

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This shouldn't happen. If Nawaz can return. Musharraf should too!

Politics is nasty. It is all about who plays better.

Nawaz in my opinion is taking an unfair advantage.
 

Spring Onion

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This shouldn't happen. If Nawaz can return. Musharraf should too!

Politics is nasty. It is all about who plays better.

Nawaz in my opinion is taking an unfair advantage.
He is a fool.

he is even destorying good administration of Shahbaz Sharif by takingt undue advantage there.
 

SSGPA1

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NS is digging a tunnel for himself and not a hole this time :)

This gentleman is suffering from ego issues and revenge, to top it off NS thinks he is the most popular leader in Pakistan. Fact of the matter is that he is popular in northern Punjab but beyond that he is not popular.

This exercise will not go too far because article 6 clause 2 will get the entire lot.
 

greatsequence

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This is good. If we can try musharaf successfully hopefully we will be able to do the same with zardari , nawaz sharif and others. Strong judiciary is very good for the ordinary people and a bad news for our political and bureaucratic elite.
 

BATMAN

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What is the legal value of an executive order in Pakistan's constitution and all consequent judicial activism.

Instead of Sharif, I hold restored cheif justice more responsible for any discrimenatory taken by judiciary.
It just prove that present day judiciary is being used for political victimisation and to settel personal scores.
 

Spring Onion

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Parliament and the media



Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Dr Maleeha Lodhi

The writer is a former envoy to the US and the UK, and a former editor of The News

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court ruled the November 3, 2007 action as unconstitutional, but has, for now, left other issues for parliament to address. With the 2007 emergency declared as illegal, matters consequential to that act – laws enacted as ordinances under emergency rule – are now for legislators to decide within 120 days, the mandatory period after which ordinances lapse.

The court's priority has been to set its own house in order and it has moved expeditiously to clean its stables. Its judgment has also acknowledged the limits of the court's jurisdiction set by the principle of the separation of powers.

Throughout the country's chequered political history, the judiciary has repeatedly been burdened by what an astute foreign observer of judicial behaviour in Pakistan once described as "judging the state", i.e. being called upon to arbitrate conflicts about power and authority. While the importance of judicial opinion has been recognized by governments, regimes and challengers alike, the superior courts have served as the arena for the resolution of not just constitutional but essentially political disputes.

The Supreme Court has now thrown the ball squarely in parliament's court, obliging the country's legislature to review and decide not only the validity of the ordinances placed before it but the vexed political questions raised by them. Public attention is now focused on other organs of the state, with an expectation that parliament will match the judiciary's display of leadership.

This has renewed the debate in the media about whether parliament will live up to this challenge. Many commentators have in recent days recalled its unedifying record in the past year and a half.


Indeed the spirited interventions by the opposition witnessed in the last couple of days on the floor of the National Assembly had much to do with the insistence by the broadcast media for parliamentary activism as well as its expectation that executive actions will be subjected to greater scrutiny than has been the case so far.

The clamour in the assembly over the rental power projects, as well as mismanagement and corruption in key state enterprises has been entirely media-driven. This has reinforced a new phenomenon in the country's politics: the political agenda is increasingly being set by the media, with political leaders responding to this, rather than initiating, calibrating or resetting that agenda.

This points to an important aspect of the country's changing political dynamics: the evolving relationship between parliament and the media. The broadcast media has increasingly been filling a political vacuum created by the lack of informed or sustained debate in parliament. This in turn raises a question: the more the media becomes the main platform for political debate, does it supplant or supplement parliament's deliberative function?

Answering this question requires a consideration of the media explosion on the one hand and parliamentary performance on the other. It is axiomatic that the broadcast media has reshaped the country's political landscape and changed the way people think about politics, politicians and issues. Technology has opened up vast opportunities for media expansion in Pakistan as elsewhere in the world. The reach of satellite television has increased exponentially, and so has its mass audience and influence in what is, after all, a largely illiterate country. This evolution has taken place in a setting of weak political institutions. It is this asymmetry between the electronic media's development and that of parliament, political parties and other organizations that sets Pakistan apart from other countries, where such disparities may exist but are not so stark. It helps to explain the more pronounced impact of the media here.

In recent years broadcast journalists have taken the lead in framing political issues, (the chief justice issue being the most spectacular example), changing opinion (as on the Hadood Ordinance) and reinforcing shifts in the public mood (as for example in support for the military operation in Swat). They have also exposed abuses in society that would not have otherwise surfaced.

The media revolution has created new avenues for free expression and democratic politics. There has also been the unseemly aspect of media sensationalism and speculation that has sometimes supplanted real news, but some of this is to be expected in an early phase of growth. This will nonetheless need to be checked to maintain media credibility. On balance, the electronic media has created new public space and strengthened the process of democratic accountability. It has provided the public a powerful means of leverage over the state.

This has also contributed to a new relationship between the media and parliament. Given the power and reach of television, members of the government have increasingly sought to become Prime Time ministers, but have often failed to show corresponding vigour in performing their parliamentary role. The television screen has seen more substantive debate than the floor of the house. Talk shows attract more members of parliament than the proceedings of the legislature. There is rarely any shortage of MPs ready to conquer the airwaves. The same cannot be said of parliamentary attendance, a fact reflected in the frequent lack of quorum in the house.

The participation of political leaders and parliamentary members in television programmes has contributed to the reinvigorating effects of these debates on democracy. Pitching these political conversations to a mass audience has helped promote participatory politics, renew trust in politics and improve the democratic process.

All of this is positive. It is a common feature of other democracies. The difference here lies in the fact that this is happening in the context of weak parliamentary traditions and institutions. If legislators ignore their principal responsibilities for media appearances, which are marshalled out as 'proof' of their 'performance', then they are compromising on their fundamental obligation. The need to project their point of view on television should not retire their principal responsibilities or devalue their role as legislators.

These obligations after all go beyond debating. Parliament's functions are to legislate, debate and carry out oversight of executive actions. How seriously members have taken these responsibilities is evident from the meagre legislative record of the present National Assembly.

Parliament has also underperformed the other core function of rigorous oversight of executive conduct. At important political junctures it has managed to look irrelevant or has been reduced by the treasury benches to a quiescent handmaiden of the executive. Unlike other countries where the media usually reports on issues debated in parliament, here the emerging norm is for parliament to discuss issues raised first by the broadcast media. Parliament has consistently been slow to respond to issues that are uppermost on the public mind. Recent examples range from the power crisis, the rehabilitation of IDPs and questions over the rental power projects.

The government's attitude has been a major contributory factor for parliament's passive rather than active role. Parliament has been used to affirm rather than debate and to rubber stamp decisions or laws issued as ordinances. Yet the public expects members of parliament to live up to their multiple obligations. They have to summon their energy to check executive excesses and missteps, and hold the government to account.

They also have to learn to engage with the media as a necessary supplement, and not a substitute, for their parliamentary role, so that a healthy complementarity is established. Passiveness in parliament and verbal activism on television is not quite what their electors want from them.

There is also a difference between expressing opinions or voicing platitudes and offering and working on solutions to problems and challenges. A British legislator when elected to parliament two centuries ago famously said to his voters that he would be their representative, not their delegate. He would not simply echo their views but apply his own best judgment to the issues at hand.

Democracy is not just about debating. Debate is a necessary but not sufficient measure of democracy. Debate also doesn't translate automatically into making the country better governed. Democracy is about making choices between policy options and finding solutions to the pressing issues of our time in order to ensure that the country is governed well and that policy-makers make informed decisions.
 

BATMAN

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Dr Maleeha Lodhi was appointed by BB and Musharraf kept her but Zardari fired her !!!

Zardari has been confined in jail for 7 years.... was that legal?
 
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maqsad

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It sounds too good to be true that the pakistani military top brass is finally being cleaned up and tried for treason. I think this is just an opening move to start negotiations for his exile to Saudi Arabia, Turkey or wherever he ends up. No way will his puppetmasters allow him to serve time in Pakistan because he holds too many of their dirty secrets--they will kill him first.
 

BATMAN

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^^ So this is your personal wish which have no technical grounds!

I know once aitizaz Ahsan was beaten to death in a police station of Lahore while Sharif was PM. he was arrested at ravi bridge in an attempt of some march to Islamabad.
There are countless examples from past of house arrest.
What Musharraf did was perfectly legal. He only excercised his authority.

Have it ever occoured to you why no one (no political party+individual) challenge NRO in courts!
Why restored (by virtue of executive cum dictatorial order) judge does not DARE to take up the issue of NRO?
 

maqsad

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What Musharaff did in 1999 was not perfectly legal. This sham trial based on 2007 events that he is being charged with is certainly not the greatest crime he is accused of. It almost seems like this has been arranged by his own supporters to "gracefully" arrange his exit from Pakistan while still maintaining maximum dignity. How convenient that this is happening while he is on a world tour.
 

Interceptor

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Just a question during all that period these deposed judges have been paid their salary now. means they were still judges. So how now their term has been extended by excluding that period when they were deposed.??
They have retirement ages, probably 60 is the retirement age for a judge. So no extension of term.
 

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