Supreme Court Chaos

The Guardian has a very interesting read on the Supreme Court’s NRO decision:

Who profits from this? Rightwing members of the senior judiciary; sections of the military and intelligence establishment who regard Mr Zardari as too pro-American and want to stop him cracking down on the Afghan Taliban; and the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. His own previous conviction was not covered by the NRO, but he profited from Ms Bhutto’s return to Pakistan by coming home from exile himself.

This is sure to stir quite a hornets nest. Do you think The Guardian is right? Who do you think benefits from the decision?

There was jubilation among Pakistan’s lawyers about the decision by the country’s supreme court to strike down an amnesty which allowed the late Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari to return from exile. Lawyers called the decision a landmark judgment. One former president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, Anwar Kamal, said that the supreme court had closed the door on corruption in the country for all time to come. We shall see, but on one thing we should be clear. This was not purely a judicial act. The judgment reeked of politics, designed to unseat an unpopular president halfway through his term.

Any independent court worth its name would have struck down the national reconciliation ordinance (NRO), the selective amnesty that the former president Pervez Musharraf concocted in 2007 as part of a power-sharing deal with Ms Bhutto brokered by the US and Britain. But the supreme court went far beyond this. By turning the clock back to the date when the ordinance was issued, the court ordered that all cases and investigations frozen by the amnesty be revived.

Knowing that Mr Zardari would be protected by the immunity he gets from his position as president, the court ordered the government to inform the Swiss authorities that a case against him there may be reopened. The thinking behind this is that if the president cannot be prosecuted in his own land, he should be prosecuted in another. This is designed to increase the pressure on him to resign. The court also ordered the government to sack prosecutors, and ordered the interior minister Rehman Malik to issue himself with an arrest warrant. A decision conducted in the name of good governance was aimed instead at crippling the government.

Who profits from this? Rightwing members of the senior judiciary; sections of the military and intelligence establishment who regard Mr Zardari as too pro-American and want to stop him cracking down on the Afghan Taliban; and the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. His own previous conviction was not covered by the NRO, but he profited from Ms Bhutto’s return to Pakistan by coming home from exile himself.

Mr Sharif has called for midterm elections. The unpopular Mr Zardari and his ruling Pakistan People’s party are far from blameless. They could have seen this situation coming. Yesterday they were forced to say they respected the judgment, but also insist the president would not resign. Politics and the law are entwined in Pakistan, but the jubilant lawyers should be wary of getting what they wish for. They could be preparing not just the ousting of the PPP from power, but the re-entry of the army into it.

2 thoughts on “Supreme Court Chaos

  1. I agree with guardian. Survival of Zardari lies in revival of idiological peoples party. These non political elements around him can not save him. This is a war between two corrupts and it should be converted into a class war. Bhutto identified the enemies of people but compromised for power. And thats why peoples party going down and down. Opportunisit leader ship is responsible for the problems of this country

  2. Mr Zardari brought this upon himself and as late
    Dag Hammarsjkold stated: Your errors of the past makes your relation to others difficult when the present shows that you might repeat them. Which is
    true in many instances in case of Mr Zardari? If the Guardian thinks that certain group benefits from this decision its wrong,the nation overall is
    the benefactor.The government senior ministers are
    giving statements which clearly indicates their intention to defy the decision of December 16,2009
    in different ways.They would try to prevent the civil society and opposition from coming unto the streets to ensure the implementation of the verdict.Perhaps the only right and viable solution
    is for the party to replace Mr Zardari with that person who is accepted by all political parties and the nation.Then give Mr Zardari all the legal
    help he needs as the Co-Chairperson of PPP to defend himself against all the charges;This would
    enhance his image both internally and externally.

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