What is the agenda behind the attacks on parliament and its attempts to by members of the legal community and judiciary? While the lawyers behind these attacks are quick to say that it involves questions of the ‘basic structure’ of the constitution, Supreme Court Advocate Athar Minallah asks a very good question:
“All those who’ve suddenly remembered the ‘basic structure’ were more than happy to appear before the Dogar court. Where were their concerns about structure then?”
Indeed, it appears that many of the very same lawyers and justices who were only too happy to work with dictators and tyrants while they were trampling on the constitution and the people’s rights, are suddenly very worried when a democratically elected government repeals the aberrations they oversaw.
Raza Rabbani observes this point as well:
Rabbani also posed this question: “If anything, the 8th and 17th amendments altered the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution and yet they were subsequently validated by the judiciary. How can the judicial appointment process be compared to those amendments?”
Zia and Musharraf were able to force perversions into the constitution while these same people – the Chief Justice included – watched from their luxury boxes without complaint. Of course, it has always been only the moment that the authority and privileges of the Chief Justice or his legal followers have been threatened that they speak out.
Aamir Mughal compiled an extensive history of the self-interested acts of many of these prominent jurists, including the Chief Justice himself.
It seems that several advocates – including Barrister Akram Sheikh and Abdul Hafeez Pirzada – have long and sordid histories that put into question their current actions.
Let me give a glimpse of Barrister Akram Sheikh [who is nowaday itching for the Supremacy of Judiciary over Parliament, Rule of Law, Constitution and bla bla bla] and one of his most Lethal and Valuable Client i.e. General [R] Mirza Aslam Beg who is involved in a worst kind of Corruption Scandal in Pakistan i.e. Mehran Bank Scandal. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada is also involved in Mehran Bank/ISI Scandal and accepted Bribe and Petition Vide Number (HRC 19/96) is still pending in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. One wonders where the hell is the Suo Moto Notice and Judicial Activism of Judiciary????
Cyril Almeida says that the issue is complicated. I agree, but I also believe that it shouldn’t be. What is complicating matters is not the legal arguments of the attackers, which are so weak and unfounded as to be laughable, but that, as Cyril rightly observes, “controversy is embedded in Pakistan’s DNA.”
It is amazing how many people stood silent for decades while dictators and tyrants trampled on the constitution and the rights of the people, looting the country and tearing down the foundation of our democracy. And yet now, after democratic elections and a real move in parliament to increase the people’s representation and democracy, these same individuals are trying to use arguments like ‘basic structure of the constitution’ to keep us in the dark.
The time for phony controversies created by people who stood next to military dictators to end.