LUBP: Yesterday’s devils are today’s angels

The following post is re-posted from Let Us Build Pakistan and is written by Fawad Manzoor. Obviously, LUBP is a PPP supporters blog and this piece takes a pro-PPP perspective. Perhaps you support PML-N, that is okay too. But the idea being promoted in the media that somehow Nawaz Sharif is going to magically transform from conservative leader to leftist is just absurd. For more on this issue please also read Intellectual Hartal and Definition of Insanity.

Nawaz Sharif, Muslim League’s of all kinds, elements in the army, religious parties and some other Nadan Dosts have one agenda and that is to discredit PPP government and bring an obscurantist ideological government in place which in essence would potentially be towing the line of the Talibans. They have done country wrong in the past and they will do it again. They are wolves in sheep skins!

Media has talked of NRO so much that it has become a household name. Yesterday’s hawkers selling chana chat are now talk show hosts, yesterday’s Islamists are setting the agenda of media, yesterday’s blackmailers are today’s most watched anchors, yesterday’s attackers of the Supreme Court are today’s defenders, yesterday’s generals who admittedly derailed democracy are leading lights for the democratic way of life. Simply speaking, the roles have switched, time has healed wounds and yesterday’s devils are today’s angels.

NRO was offered by Musharraf to all the people who had politically motivated cases registered against them to to get relief. This NRO was implemented on the advice of Chaudhry Shujat Hussain, President of PML-Q, former prime minister of Pakistan. PML-Q was on board with this new formula before the elections. Before the NRO was announced Benazir and Nawaz had reservations on coming back to Pakistan if there was no amnesty in place against politically motivated cases. A much trumpeted attempt was made by Nawaz and Shahbaz to arrive on the scene before Benazir did. It was mind boggling to see Mustafa Khar in the plane with Shahbaz. (Mustafa Khar’s ex wife is now married to the junior Sharif). That plane load of had been politicians was returned from the tarmac. Nawaz before his landing had filed a petition in Supreme Court about Musharraf illegally blocking his return. CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry announced a decision that “every citizen of Pakistan has right to come back to his country”. But when Nawaz landed he was also sent packing with the help of Saudi Intelligence chief and Saad Harriri of Lebanon who spilled the beans of the commitment of the Sharifs not to return to Pakistan for a period of ten years. So at the end Nawaz was loaded back on the plane and send back to where he came from. Iftikhar Chaudhry or anybody else didn’t talk about contempt of court at that point of time. Later on Musharraf was proven right when the agreement signed by Nawaz and Musharraf was presented in front of the Sindh High Court. PML-N stalwarts ran for cover in the light of that document. Their gibberish proved their lies about agreement. Then NRO was implemented and Benazir landed to one of the greatest receptions in history of modern politics. The PPP gave another sacrifice of its workers when a suicide bomb struck Benazir’s convoy. At the same time a parallel movement to restore judges was in progress and CJ was well received where ever he went. He tried to get his job back which he had gotten by diligently repeatedly serving a military dictator (repeated oath on PCO and signing on the judgments written by GHQ). That movement was built up by a political artist by the name of “Atizaz Ahsan”. A stalwart of PPP and sometimes a close confidant of Benazir. There were some misunderstandings between Benazir and Atizaz on how far this movement was to be carried. The differences were also publicized at the time. Question was why CJ was sent packing by Musharraf? The reasons given in the reference filed was that he misused his authority, he was also protocol happy person and had done many other things that were unbecoming of a CJ.

The mistake made by Musharraf’s team was that they acted before the Supreme Judicial Council gave their decision. At that time Iftikhar Chaudhry was most detested man in the judiciary. SCBA had boycotted his court on constitutional matters and Atizaz Ahsan and others were on record announcing boycotts. This haste in restricting Iftikhar Chaudhry to continue being a judge created some people to jump into the fray and made it a local agitation. Then media picked up this story and ran headlines. Maybe it wasn’t done in “Hubb-e-Ali, but in Bughz-e-Muawiya”. What happened after that is a long story but to make it short he was restored by his colleagues under pressure from public in July 2007. The story was fine till that time. No one questioned his restoration. What bothered some people was what happened to the reference that was filed against him. Iftikhar Chaudhry was an accused like any other person in the country. What about the charges leveled against him, who was going to prosecute him. Then came another interesting part of this saga. A petition was filed in the court challenging Musharraf’s uniform and his reelection as president in October 2007. What followed was a funny decision by same restored CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry after one month of arguments by lawyers that Musharraf can run for reelection as president in uniform now but the decisions will be announced later after further deliberations. When lawyers came out of SC, Ali Ahmad Kurd stood up on the stairs and gave a statement by pointing his hand flat towards the cameras. This action is read as “Fittay Moon” also the words that came out of his mouth were “Dama Dam Must Qalandar”. His anger was quite visibly directed towards Iftikhar Chaudhry and SC’s decision.

After that it was November 3, 2007 Emergency. The judges quickly huddled inside Iftikhar Chaudhry’s office and signed a decision on a plain paper. The decision was to declare the Emergency null and void. It had signatures of five judges on it. The decision was given without any deliberations or any counter arguments. Then two days later two more judges signed the decision to make it look like there were seven judges who took the decision. This point has been brought up by Naeem Bukhari in contempt case against PCO judges. It is sad to note that media just ignores this anomaly which is tantamount to fraud and forgery.

If past mistakes of Judiciary, for which he hasn’t even apologized, have been ignored then why not the politically motivated cases against politicians can be ignored. Saif ur Rehman has publicly admitted that he has done wrong in making cases against Benazir and Asif Zardari. Khwaja Asif has apologized on the floor of NA for all the misdeeds of Saif ur Rehman. In Public Accounts Committee when it was asked to issue notices to Saif ur Rehman to appear before the committee about matters related to Nawaz Sharif 1997-1999, Chairman

Chaudhry Nisar refused. The Judiciary was hands in glove with Military men. Current SC has many judges who pledged allegiance to Musharraf. They protected him like a baby and helped prolong his stay in Uniform. I ask why can’t we open up the reference sent against the CJ, why is it collecting dust?? Media wants us to believe that SC judges are angels. Let me be very clear that if it wasn’t for NRO, no politician would be in Pakistan, No judiciary would have been restored, Nawaz would still be rotting in Saudi Palaces. Shahbaz would be looking for some other politician’s ex-wife to marry. Isn’t it a JRO (Judicial Reconciliation Order) in place to let these discredited judges serve on the benches? This JRO has created one sided accountability of PPP whereas all the cases against opposition are lying on the shelves. What gave these judges to make political statements about government affairs.

I have spent a lot of time with lawyers in district bars and I can vouch that these lawyers would not ask you for a cup of tea even if it is the last thing they had to do from their own pocket. Their assistant (munshi ) is responsible for the entertainment expenses of the clients. But during lawyers movement we saw millions and millions spent on food and arrangements. Millions were paid to buy media personalities who have been known to be on sale all the time to the highest bidder. Where did the money come from? Lawyers even boycotted the courts and there was no work but still millions were spent. Who was paying Iftikhar Chaudhry’s travel expenses (air tickets) while he wasn’t even getting his pay. Who is media trying to fool? They want us to believe that Iftikhar Chaudhry and his bench mates are honest. Let’s not live in a fool’s paradise. Who was responsible for 52 deaths on May 12th in Karachi, was it arrogance of Iftikhar Chaudhry or Musharraf / MQM or both. In which courts the mayhem witnessed is being investigated and tried? Why all of a sudden PML-N and MQM became darling of Judiciary, Why is Iftikhar Chaudhry protecting the laws made by illegitimate parliament and LFO. Has judiciary forgotten the dead bodies in bags on streets of Karachi. Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry should announce the fake degrees decision of MMA (2002-2007) what was holding him back then and now.

He didn’t announce those fake degrees just to protect Musharraf. What is holding Iftikhar Chaudhry from taking suo motto against Musharraf? What is holding PML-N from filing a case against Musharraf? What is holding him back from declaring 1999 military coup wrong and 2002 elections null and void? He can’t do any of it because he is left over of Musharraf’s cabal. He is still serving his master with a different approach.

Media has no guts to call a spade a spade. They can’t even comment on political statements of CJ LHC. Every institution claims to be independent from judiciary, in working they are but they are under executive. CJ wants to do what ever he wants, Army chief wants to what ever he wants soon we will have all heads of the institutions singing the same song. Then why do we need to have all these elections National Assembly, PM & President, why not go for elections of CJ and army chief and let them do what ever they want to do. It’s high time that we draw a line.

Fawad Manzoor

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