By Shakeel Anjum
ISLAMABAD: Unknown attackers who last month abducted, tortured and humiliated Umar Cheema, a senior investigative journalist of The News, have again started chasing him and the latest harassment of this kind occurred on Friday night.
Cheema was heading home with his family at around 10 pm when some suspects, again in a black Land Cruiser, started chasing his vehicle and did so for as long as nine kilometres on the Islamabad Highway. They started following his car from near Faizabad and remained in pursuit until he took a U-turn from the highway towards the PWD Housing Society. As he got off the main highway, the suspects stopped the Land Cruiser and started staring at the vehicle till it remained in sight. Incidentally, it was also a Friday night when Cheema was abducted in the wee hours of September 4, 2010. Likewise, a black Land Cruiser was used for his abduction and for chasing him again.
Cheema said this is not for the first time that he has been followed, adding the Friday night’s incident panicked his family members traveling with him. He said he has written a will and handed it over to his family, advising them as to who should be held accountable in case some tragedy hits him.
Umar Cheema was last picked up in a cloak and dagger style on his way home on September 4. He was stripped naked, tortured with a long piece of leather like whip and a wooden rod. His attackers had accused him of writing against the government.
The information he gathered later on indicated that the operation was presumably done by the thugs of an intelligence agency. Cheema, who wrote critical pieces about the federal government, Army, and intelligence agencies, said that it was always the ISI people who would contact him directly or indirectly for giving him ‘brotherly advice.’
After this brutal incident, the attackers didn’t lose track of him. He noted their presence on a number of times outside his residence after this incident and was also chased in the latest incident on Friday night.
The government so far has failed to bring the culprits to justice. Even the adjournment motion on Cheema’s issue in the National Assembly that was moved by the PML-N lawmakers, though approved for discussion, was not taken up in the last session that was prorogued without discussion on this important issue. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who had promised completing the criminal investigation in a week, could not keep up his pledge as usual. A Joint Investigation Team that was formed later under pressure from journalist organisations failed to make any headway. The Lahore High Court had taken a suo moto notice of Cheema’s torture but police keeps buying time again and again without coming up with any solid clue. A judicial commission headed by a retired judge of high court is recording statements for a fact-finding report on this incident.
Besides Cheema and Ansar Abbasi who was also sent threatening messages, six journalists have recorded their statements narrating their harassment in the past by intelligence agencies. Geo TV anchor Hamid Mir, Kamran Shafi, a Dawn columnist, Sarmad Manzoor, chief coordinator of SAFMA, Shakeel Anjum, senior journalist of The News, Azaz Syed, investigative reporter of Dawn TV and Shakil Turabi, editor of SANA news agency, are among those who recorded statements before the judicial commission.
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: On the eve of a new global report on corruption, the Transparency International Pakistan has claimed that the TIP alone has identified corruption cases worth Rs 300 billion in different federal government departments during one year.
Talking to The News Chairman TIP Adil Gilani lamented that the government did not show any interest in probing these cases of corruption. He, however, said that it was only the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly and the PPRA, which took notice of some of these corruption cases.
He explained that generally the identified corruption cases involved violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) Rules of 2004. The Transparency International is releasing its report on Tuesday at 2 pm amid indications that Pakistan is all set to hit further lows amongst the world’s most corrupt nations. The 2009 report showed Pakistan climbing five numbers from the previous 47 to become the 42nd most corrupt country in the world.
Gilani expressed his disappointment that there was no effective accountability apparatus presently operational in Pakistan due to which corruption was on the rise. He explained that the TIP referred a number of corruption cases to the NAB but it did not proceed even in one single case.
Amongst the mega corruption cases, he said the Rental Power Projects of the government, presently under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, was on the top. He claimed that under the Rental Power Projects, the government awarded 14 contracts in violation of the PPRA rules as also stated in the ADB report, causing a loss of over US$ 2 billion. He said that the TIP had also written to the apex court on this case of massive corruption and irregularity.
He said that the TIP also wrote to different authorities about corruption in Pakistan Steel, whose sale policy and procurement had caused reported loss of Rs 22 billion. This corruption case, though ignored by the government, had taken been up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Gilani also talked of the alleged violation of Pubic Procurement Rules 2004 by Pakistan Railways in the tender for procurement of 150 locomotives, only US made, which might have caused a loss of at least Rs 40 billion to the national exchequer. The project, he said, is presently on hold.
Regarding the OGDCL, which made headlines in the recent past when Prime Minister Gilani appointed his jail mate and a convict who was not even a graduate as its managing director, Gilani said that the TI had also reported to the government authorities about the purchase of compressors for $30 million for Qadirpur Gas Field without inviting public tenders from M/s Valerus, which is a violation of the Public Procurement Rules 2004. He said the TIP also reported another violation of the Public Procurement Rules 2004 in tender for supply of rental drilling rigs costing the Government of Pakistan Rs 3 billion per year. He added that the Trading Corporation of Pakistan awarded contracts at exorbitant rates to cartels of Stevedores and Transporters in 2009, wheat and fertiliser, causing loss of over Rs2 billion.
Regarding the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), he said, it saved a claim of US $2.2 million for extra/additional work to the contractor of Expo 2010-Shagnahi, China, which was also supported by the Ambassador of Pakistan in China. On TIP objections, he said, the TDAP rejected the claim.
About the National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL), he said, the TIP identified a case of purchase of 803 kanal-19 marla plot in Dubai’s Liberty Tower at the rate of UAE Darham 2,750 per square feet against the market price of AED 1,200 per square feet. Alleged loss to exchequer in this case, he said, was Rs 900 million. In another case, 10-acre plot was purchased in Korangi Deh Phihai, in August 2009 at the rate of Rs 90m per acre, against maximum market price of Rs 20m per acre. It caused a total loss of Rs 7 billion.
In yet another case pertaining to the NICL, land was purchased in Lahore in 2009 for Rs1.5 billion against market value of Rs 30 million. It caused a loss of Rs 1.2 billion to public kitty. In case of EOBI, he said that the TIP challenged the EOBI to invest in one of the four Centaurus Towers in Islamabad and the Intercontinental Hotel, Islamabad. The EOBI was also purchasing Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway and investing Rs 27 billion against the provisions of EOBI Act but the PAC later stopped this move.
Regarding the NHA, he said that according to the AGP Report 2008 NHA has irregularities of Rs 29 billion out of Rs 42 billion annual fund. He said that after eating away its annual development budget of 2010, now the NHA intends to reconstruct the M-9 Karachi-Hyderabad through some other investment. It needs Rs 27 billion for the project. He said that the NHA management planned to use EOBI funds for M-9.
Gilani said that Zafar Iqbal Gondal (brother of a PPP minister), who was Member Finance NHA, has been transferred and posted in January 2010 as Chairman EOBI. Asad Ullah Shaikh, another PPP appointee, who refused to allow Rs 27 billion to be used for a losing project, was sacked to make way for Gondal. He said that after these changes, the EOBI made a proposal to become a partner of the NHA on the M-9 under the Public Private Partnership Scheme of the GoP as BOT (built, operate & transfer) Project, based on the recovery of toll tax.
Gilani said that nowhere in world, road projects on BOT basis are financially viable but still the EOBI decided to own M-9 and build it. In 2005, he said, the board of trustees of the EOBI had decided to invest in the real estate. He added that for this purpose, PRIMACO (Pakistan Real Estate Investment and Management Company Ltd) was established, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of EOBI. PRIMACO has been registered with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and this company has launched many real estate projects.
The PRIMACO, he said, has overstepped its mandate and prepared a proposal for the EOBI to build the M-9 at Rs 27 billion. They have also proposed to make the NHA as executing agency for award of consultants and contractors’ contract, total 10 numbers, and appoint PRIMACO as project managers of this project. The NHA, he said, has already awarded 10 contracts to blue-eyed contractors and consultants, without public tendering, biggest being Rs 4 billion contract to one contractor against PPRA Rules, and are awaiting approval of the EOBI to send an official letter of government approval to proceed. According to the EOBI Act and rules, he said the EOBI cannot invest public pension funds in an infrastructure project. The EOBI under Rule 2 (i) can invest two-and-a-half per cent of the portfolio. The EOBI’s current portfolio is around Rs 120 billion, minus billion of rupees losses in share market. This means only Rs 1.8 billion can be invested in M-9. But M-9 is a Rs 27 billion project.
Gilani added that in July 2010, the TIP wrote a letter to the NHA for its failure to obtain CAR, (Contractor All Risk Policy) from the NLC Northern Bypass Shershah bridge contracts causing the exchequer to pay Rs 170 million for the reconstruction of the bridge.
Additionally, contracts in 2008 & 2009 worth Rs 467 million, Rs 203 million and Rs 124 million were awarded to NESPAK in violation of Public Procurement Rules 2004. Gilani added that none of the contracts awarded by the NHA in the last two years are in compliance with the Public Procurement Rules 2004. In case of PEPCO, the TIP chief said that it reported Rs 2-2.5 billion corruption in purchase of 30 million energy saver bulbs scheme costing Rs 6 billion.
From Abdul Jabbar Khan
Karachi – As the chief of Public Accounts Committee and leader of opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is reported to have taken a serious view on the question of allotments of plots in DHA Islamabad, the Transparency International has alleged the Public Procurement Rule’ violation and prayed the Supreme Court for an action, highly placed sources confided to The Daily Mail.
The investigations show that although the case is old yet it requires to be dispensed with soon. However, the DHA authorities have not shown seriousness to remove anomalies, arresting the trend of corruption and stopping forthwith irregularities in the land allocation, appropriation and allotment.
The Transparency International referred to its various letters on alleged violation by DHA Islamabad and finally the complain was made on 5th July 2010 by overseas buyers at the overseas sector of DHA. A reminder was also sent on 14th October by Transparency International Pakistan.
This state of affairs has earned a bad name to the country and its government and allied subordinate organisations. The Transparency and Public Accounts Committee took serious notices of the situation where DHA had failed to clarify the allegations in payment and allotment of plots to the overseas buyers.
It is alleged that DHA has violated the requirement of PPRA Ordinance 2002 and Public Procurement Rules 2004 and DHA Islamabad Ordinance 2005 and 2007 which awarded contracts to M/s Bahria Town and M/s Habib Rafiq Limited worth billions of rupees comprising thousands of acres to M/s Bahria Town and Habib Rafiq Limited 2009 for “DHA Valley and DHA Valley Overseas Block” and contract of HRL on 18th May, 2006 for the development of Phase-I Extension and earth an breaking ceremony was carried out on 6th June. The total area under consideration for development is 1500 acres in Phase-I extension.
The DHA also awarded contracts against rules to M/s J.I.N. Associates Marketing Agency and contract of M/s Meinhardt Pakistan Pvt Limited 2006, for providing consultancy services on development of Phase II DHA did not clarify alleged violations for the reasons known best to the DHA officials.
The TI Pakistan is of the view that DHA Islamabad is blatantly violating the laws which are applicable to DHA Islamabad.
These two laws are very clear: Relevant sources said that DHA Islamabad was established under the Federal Law DHA Islamabad Ordinance 2005 and also controlled by the Ministry of Defence. PPRA Letter to Ministry of Defence, dated 15 June 2009 also confirmed this position which is applicable on DHA Islamabad.
One more violation of law, reported by the complainant, is that though even DHA Islamabad has not been authorised to collect municipal charges, taxes, which is only allowed to the local government of the Cantonment Board, under the laws of Pakistan but DHA has allowed these charges, as maintenance charges to be paid to M/s Bahria Town and M/s Habib Rafique Limited for 25 years.
The sources said, if the investigations were carried out by a credible agency with no political interest thereof, it would certainly lead to massive financial irregularities, nepotism and favoritism at the cost of the national exchequer.
Transparency International has issued a report on Corruption and ranked Pakistan on 34 for the year 2010. In 2009 Pakistan was at 42nd position. I think corruption is probably the only area in which our government is proudly goin up. Its another jewel in the crown of Pakistan Feudal Party (aka PPP) government, allies in politics and the designers of NRO.
Congrats Zardari, Gillani and Team.
Pakistan ranks 34 in most corrupt countries–>AAJ TV
The Transparency International has released annual Corruption Perceptions Index on Tuesday.
Nearly three-quarters of the 178 countries in TI’s annual survey scored worse than average on the scale, which ranges from zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 10 (perceived to have low levels of corruption).
According to the Index, Pakistan ranked 34 in most corrupted countries. Pakistan had scored 2.4 in year 2009 and 2.5 in 2008.
Pakistan was at number 42 in 2009 but in recent year Pakistan ranked 34 with score 2.3 in corrupt countries.
Afghanistan and Myanmar share second to last place with a score of 1.4, with Somalia coming in last with a score of 1.1.
The world’s most peaceful countries score the best. In the 2010 CPI, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tie for first place with scores of 9.3.
They were followed by Finland, Sweden, Canada and the Netherlands.
The United States was 22nd on the list, while Greece and Italy came in at 78th and 67th respectively. China was level with Greece.
Lets see where it goes as now the ball is in the court of parliament. Lets see whether country goes towards constitutional supremacy, rule of law and protection of human rights or goes for -rule of elite and rule of government.
Article175-A to be sent back to Parliament
Source : http://geo.tv/10-21-2010/73179.htm
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court delivered the verdict on the longest running case on certain clauses of the 18th Amendment, Geo News reported Thursday.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry read out the verdict in courtroom-1.
Article175-A of the Constitution will be sent back to the Parliament for review, according to the verdict.
The verdict said the Article affected the freedom of the judiciary, as judiciary’s freedom is of prime importance.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan has the main position in the procedure of judges’ appointment.
The Parliament and the judiciary are indispensable for each other and both of them should work in sync for supremacy of law in the country, the ruling said.
It should be mentioned here that Article 175A of the Constitution deals with the appointment of judges of the higher judiciary.
The ruling also dictates that under Article-68 of the Constitution, the behavior of judges of higher judiciary could not be brought under discussion at the Parliament.
The Parliamentary Committee is authorized to veto the recommendations put up by the Judicial Commission, according to the ruling. The Parliamentary Committee is bound to have in-camera sessions.
However, the Parliamentary Committee is bound to give reason for rejecting a name. The ruling said if the Parliament is suspended, the Committee will be incomplete.
The ruling on the clauses 8, 9 and 10 of the Article-175-A has been deferred.
“To enable the parliament to proceed and re-examine the matter in terms of the observations made above, these petitions are adjourned to a date in the last week of January 2011,” said the order signed by 17 Supreme Court judges.
The case has been adjourned till January 2011, when the SC will take up other remaining clauses on the pending petitions in the same case.
Nearly three dozen lawyers addressed the apex court during the lengthy hearing, spanning more than four months, starting on May 24 and concluding on September 30. Of them, 21 opposed different constitutional changes while others held the opposite view.
Since the 18th Amendment was passed some six months back, there has been no substantial implementation of it although the court had not stayed its operation. During this period, not a single judge to any superior court has been appointed as per the new procedure introduced by Article 175A although many vacancies exist in high courts.
The serious issue of extension of 34 additional judges of the four high courts on expiration of their first one-year term was temporarily resolved by the apex court when it ordered that they should continue for the time being. This was done only because of the pending verdict on the 18th Amendment.
The government representatives defended the 18th Amendment, mainly arguing that parliament has the supreme right to amend the Constitution and no institution can undo it.
The Punjab government’s stand remained confused most of the time. Its Advocate General left it to the Supreme Court to decide the issues in any way it wants while Shahid Hamid, who was separately hired by it for this case, stood for parliament’s right to amend the Constitution, which, he said, can’t be taken away by any other state organ.
The SC verdict deals with five key questions, the principal being the new mechanism of judges’ appointment to superior courts, which is yet to be put into practice.
Earlier talking, Barrister Wasim Sajjad, one of the leading lawyers, who represented the government to defend the constitutional changes, said, “Primarily, the court is likely to take care of these main issues raised in arguments and different petitions, challenging some clauses of the 18th Amendment.”
According to him, the first and foremost issue relates to the new procedure regarding the judges’ nomination that provides for the creation of a judicial commission (Article 175-A), headed by the chief justice of Pakistan, and a rare parliamentary committee that would finally approve the appointments.
The second challenge pertains to the unseating of MPs on the charge of defection (Article 63A) with this power having been given to political party heads, taking it away from heads of parliamentary parties.
The third issue concerns the undoing of the condition of elections within political parties on the ground that the requirement exists in a law and there is no need to keep it in the Constitution. Another question relates to the women’s reserved seats, which its challengers wanted to be dispensed with for being discriminatory. This was introduced by the 17th Amendment, which was retained by the 18th Amendment.
Yet another issue pertains to the shifting of some subjects to the provinces after the scrapping of the Concurrent Legislative List. The sixth question concerns the conclusive determination of the basic structure of the Constitution, which has not been elaborately settled on in any judgment of superior courts.
The performance of every additional high court judge is reviewed after one year to take a decision on confirming or showing door to him. After Thursday’s verdict, one of the major appointments is expected to pertain to Lahore High Court Chief Justice Mohammad Sharif, who retires on December 8. He will either be elevated to the Supreme Court or will retire.
Legal experts say that the new Article 175A is silent on how the judicial commission will get names of lawyers or judges for appointment as justices of the high courts or the Supreme Court. Before the 18th Amendment, the procedure being followed was that high court chief justices would generate names of lawyers or sessions judges for appointment as judges of their courts, which were finally approved or disapproved by the chief justice of Pakistan.
Experts say it is not known in view of the 18th Amendment that how the judicial commission will come to know of suitable names although it is the forum that will send its recommendations to the parliamentary committee for final approval. The committee can’t consider any name on its own. Neither the president nor the prime minister can send any name to the commission or the committee for consideration.
We have seen some interesting developments in last 4-5 days including NRO case and government deceptions, government sponsored rifts between lawyers and we also need to look at this in Supreme Court Bar elections and now the notification issue.
PPP leaders including PM gillani have given statements in the past regarding the March 2009 restoration notification . Circles in PPP have been talking about it as a possible card to counter the judiciary. PM also hinted this in parliament when he said that the restoration order is still needed to be endorsed by the parliament.
Its good to see that media , civil society and judiciary are alert on this issue. SC has clearly said that a move like this will be termed as high treason and will be dealt with according to Article 6 of the constitution.
Our ruling elite doesn’t want Supremacy of Law and Constitution based on justice and equality. They want a rule of elite including feudal-corporatist politicans and military establishment. They only know how to serve their greed and the will of their imperialist masters.
It seems our government is planning another game. They want to come out of this situation as victims as they are not able to government properly. It will be on judiciary, media and civil society to ensure accountability and justice to prevail.
We as civil society should keep ourselves ready for any attempt to again create a constitutional crisis. The struggle for Rule of Law must go on all grounds. We all need to play our part and the least thing can be done is not to support the evil.
Also there is a planning of North Waziristan Operation going on . The decision will further damage the federation and will result in more terrorism as we have seen in the past.
Issue of power sharing between center and different units of federation has always been a topic of great importance in Pakistan. In a country, which was founded on the basis of a common ideology of Islam but itself is consisted of a diversified demography, adapting a centralized common system becomes a very tricky question.
The diversity in our society is not only in terms of culture, linguistics, races, life style and living standards but if we look at religion, diversity is their to a large extent despite us being an Islamic State and vast majority is Muslim. Not only religious diversity is there in the form of different religious minorities but within the majority Muslim population presence of different sects with range of conflicting issues have created many problems in terms of legislation and implementation of law.
Distribution of resources and authority to run their affairs has also seen its share of conflicts in our country. The biggest example is the fall of Dhaka when more than half of our population felt that their rights are not been given by the authorities controlling the center. Even after the fall of Dhaka smaller provinces have felt the similar feelings. This issue of provincial autonomy has always played an important part in the electoral politics of the country. Even if we see the current parliament, we can clearly see the strong provincial and ethnic color of our political base.
The history of our country shows that these demographic diversity and provincial autonomy issues are not tackled well by our mainly centralized system. Whether we see feudal-corporatist democratic periods or military dictatorships, the tensions between different communities and regions have increased over the time. This situation indicates us of adapting a different approach of running our affairs related to governance, legislation and economy which will not only cater the problems mentioned above but ensure a sustainable progressive path for our future. This type of system will require the loosening of grip by centralized power structure over our national affairs, in other words we need a decentralized governance, legislative and economic structure.
Decentralization of governance means a state gives majority of authority and control to the lower levels of administration for e.g. provinces and local bodies. In this the decision making process will be in a bottom-up model i.e. decisions are taken at the local and gradually passed on to the center and in most cases passing on to the center is not required. This type of governance model will ensure that governance decisions and structuring of institutions is done according to the needs of local requirements for e.g. policing system of Karachi may not work well in FATA and Dera-Bugti.
If we see in past several steps have been taken like setting up local bodies, establishing alternate policing structure in the form of FC or giving some departments to the provinces. But the main problems was and still is the upper hand of central government and flow of resources from center to the federation constituents. The big size of the government also plays a negative role in implementing decentralization of governance as we see several ministries and departments work where there is no requirement of government at all.
The other thing which we need to do is to decentralize the process of legislation. Even thought we are a dominant Muslim state but still our customs and cultures vary from area to area in our country. Also the presence of different religions, sects and social communities demands for a legislative system flexible and capable enough to cater the needs of regional and social diversity. This can be achieved by keeping the centralized common laws as minimum and delegate the legislative powers to regions and social communities. By giving legislative powers to social communities means law making related to a particular social community should be done by the representatives of those communities. Careful provisioning can be done to ensure basic human rights and conflicts of interest.
Now the issue will come of handling the situation where different people from different social and religious backgrounds are involved in a dispute. This can be done through social contracts between communities like “Meesaq e Madina”, empowering civil courts to resolve disputes based on social customs and some careful central legislation just to resolve disputes between different social communities can be made.
After governance and legislation, we see how we can run our economic affairs more efficiently and transparently. It is again an issue of great discussion in Pakistan whether the state should control the economy and run the institutions like steel mills, PIA itself or not. But if we look our history more than having the issue of it should or should not, the issue is the capability of the state of doing it. We have seen huge corruption scandals involving key government and establishment personalities being highlighted in media and taken up by courts. Most of the time the main reason behind other than greed is having too much discretionary powers. If we see many of these powers are a result of unnecessary state involvement and undesired regulations. All these not only lead to corruption but also result in economic loss as a result of inefficiencies created.
Therefore regulation, in areas other than where it is required to cater corruption and social benefits, should be removed and free market economy is needed to be promoted. The discretionary powers of licensing and quotas needed to be eliminated so that fair play can take place and more economic opportunities are created. Privatization is also a key element of decentralization of economy but it needs to be fair and transparent otherwise it will be counter productive and will result in more economic instability.
The two key steps we need to do to achieve decentralization and reap its benefits are strengthening the judiciary and to reduce the size of state. Strengthening judiciary is necessary in order to ensure smooth running of affairs between different federal constituents and social communities. In absence of a strong, independent and impartial judiciary we cannot expect any smooth running and harmony among different constituents of our country. Luckily through recent lawyers movement we have at least come to the point where a big portion of our society has realized the importance of having a strong and effective judicial system. The other thing which we need and as discussed above is reducing the size of our government. This is necessary to create more economic opportunities and more freedom.
If we look at the 18th amendment, the situation is not that promising. On one hand if they have dissolved the concurrent list, the parliament on the other hand has strengthened an unelected party head who will be in actual the ruling authority whether in center or in provinces. The biggest thing which happened in 18th amendment is weakening the judiciary and making them dependent on parliamentarians by forming judicial commissions and parliamentary review committee. This will not only pave way for corruption and lack of accountability but it will also endanger the rights of people not represented by the elected parliamentarians or not represented by the government as judiciary is supposed to be an institution safe guarding the basic human rights of all people including those who didn’t vote for the government or don’t give votes at all.
If we look at our history main challenge we face towards achieving decentralization is political will not the lack of capacity and resources. Our national politics is mainly dominated by our military establishment and feudal-corporatist political class who are mainly interested in having the tight grip over the country affairs, economic resources and political decision making. This totalitarian approach has given us nothing except for miseries and sense of deprivation and hopelessness for our people.
Even though slogans like provincial autonomy, provincial harmony, devolution of power have played key roles in country politics but not much in true sense has come out. Its high time for us to re-think our strategy as a nation and decide how we should proceed towards our future course in time. Decentralization is not only necessary for efficient and smooth running of our affairs but it will give more freedom, confidence and sense of ownership to our people.
- Faisal ur Rahman
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Musharraf, you are a hypocrite. You are the Abdullah Bin Ubai of our times. Each and every word that you have uttered on the occasion of launching of your party, sounded simply hollow because your dirty past is like an open book before us. We hate you for what you did to our country, our people and our brothers in Islam.
It is unbelievable that a man like this ageing commando, whose stink cannot be avoided from even thousands of miles, because of his tainted past and whose long list of crimes against Pakistan, its people and humanity have no limit, had the cheeks to promise a great future like his past, as if we lived in heaven during his tenure.
Pervez Musharraf’s remarks show that the self-exiled ousted dictator continues to live under the illusion as if he is still an extra-constitutional ruler of this country and perhaps the most popular leader here. One wishes that such illusions go on with him to enable him to come to Pakistan and face the trial for his long list of crimes, some of which conspicuously include the abrogation of Constitution, the selling of Pakistani nationals including the country’s daughter Dr Aafia Siddiqui to America for dollars, the Lal Masjid massacre, Nawab Akhbar Bugti’s murder, the May 12, 2007 bloodshed, removal and arrest of respected independent judges of the superior judiciary, strangulation of the Pakistani media and his post-9/11 policies that compromised the country’s sovereignty and led to all-time high US interference in our internal affairs.
How can he raise the slogan of “Pakistan first” when for his own self and to perpetuate his rule, he first toppled an elected government in Oct 1999 and then imposed extra-constitutional emergency in Nov 2007 and removed all independent judges? How can he promise the moon to the people in future when he did not produce even one single watt of electricity, constructed no dam, did nothing to ameliorate the lot of the poor, politicise the bureaucracy like never before during his nine-year misrule?
How can a man like Musharraf talk of the Quran and the Sunnah when he orchestrated the massacre of Lal Masjid and killed hundreds of innocents, sold the Muslims including our own nationals, including Aafia Siddiqui, became a part of the US’s so-called war on terror, facilitated the killing of hundreds of thousands of Afghan innocents, changed the Islamic syllabi to the pleasure of his foreign masters and proudly mention all this shame in his autobiography
– ‘In The Line of Fire’?
Musharraf struck with Benazir Bhutto’s world-infamous NRO deal just to stick to power for five more years. It created turmoil and chaos in the country and the nation is facing its repercussions today. This deal has given boost to corruption in our country.
Musharraf is welcome to Pakistan. His illusions would turn into disillusions as soon as he arrives back. Expecting a sea of people welcoming him upon his return, he may find himself behind the bars. No matter from where he gains the strength, the people of Pakistan want to see him punished for the crimes he committed. Our disappointment from the present rulers, do not make Musharraf a choice of future. He tenders an apology for what he called his past mistakes but we demand his trial under Article 6 of the Constitution and other offences that he committed. A day before the launching of his party, he warned that the country is at risk of a new military coup and suggested the recipe of the Army’s constitutional role in politics. He termed it the only solution if Pakistan wants stability and a system of check and balances in democratic structure.
Instead of being ashamed of what he did in the past and how he misused the institution of the Army and the military led intelligence agencies, including the MI and ISI, to strengthen his misrule at the cost of the national interest, Musharraf has set his eyes on the military under General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to get a strong shoulder for his re-entry into the Pakistani politics.
It took General Kayani one full term, three years, to redeem the lost respect of Pakistan Army but now the retired general is alluring the military to help him getting to the corridors of power from backdoor, which has been his hallmark in the past, too.
Only an insane person can shout for a constitutional role of the Army to run democracy. But by saying such freakish things, this ageing military commando wants to hit the headlines back home and to create his soft corner in the institution of Pakistan Army that he grossly misused to prolong his dictatorial rule.
Perhaps he does not realize that a lot of water has flown down the bridges. He also does not realise that he has not many takers, whether among civvies or in the khakis. But the old man has gone crazy. Nature will take its course if he returns to Pakistan, but despite the hot air that he blew in London, he is a coward and will never dare to do so.
By Faisal Rahman
General (R) Pervez Musharraf, has launched his political party recently in London. Pakistan’s politics is amazing, a dictator who was all in all in his time and used to stop people from taking part in politics or coming back in the country is now forced to restart his politics from abroad.
Public opinion is divided in Pakistan over the comeback of Musharraf. It will surely not be an easy ride for him in politics. Arrival and stay in country will not be an easy task for the former dictator.
First and the biggest hurdle that will haunt him is 3rd November. It is something over which many sections of society, regardless of their social class and political affiliations, oppose him. 3rd November issue is not only related to the suspension of constitution and illegal sacking of the judiciary, but it also connects to several human rights violations to crush the lawyers movement, media and civil society.
Lal-Masjid operation, extra-judicial killings in Baluchistan, allowing US drone and missile attacks in Pakistan, NATO supplies and troops in tribal areas have put Pakistan into a real mess. The damage he did is so severe that even after two years we are facing the deadly impact. The violations of human rights in his tenure are probably worst in the history of Pakistan. Issues of missing people, particularly Dr. Aafia Siddiqi, will surely haunt him when he comes back.
The post 9/11 policies, which were mainly adapted to give legitimacy to Musharraf’s dictatorship in the eyes of world powers, have caused more than 40 billion dollars direct economic losses to Pakistan, according to government’s own sources. In Musharraf’s tenure, the real areas of economy such as agriculture , technology manufacturing and energy were not focused upon. As a result, we are undergoing food and worst energy crisis ever.
Some impression of stability was created through fictitious economy based on banking, real estate and telecom sector, which eventually resulted in the flight of capital and currency devaluation. This short sighted approach may have got him some political support, but for the country, the approach proved to be destructive in the long run. In fact, the economic bubble burst during the last days of his tenure.
Kashmir is another issue on which Musharraf needs to be questioned. According to APHC leaders, Musharraf damaged the Kashmir cause by sidelining the issue. The main leader from APHC, Syed Ali Shah Gillani, also accused Musharraf for the split of APHC. Keeping eyes close on India’s violations of Indus Water Treaty and letting India build dams was criminal negligence. His mishandling of Dr. AQ Khan’s issue and insulting the national hero will also not be forgiven by Pakistanis.
People including me often criticize the current setup, but we also need to see the cause of this mess i.e. NRO. We shouldn’t only see the ugly dry branches of the dead tree but also need to see who is responsible for the hot water going into roots.
Musharraf’s arrival is very important for Pakistan, as we need answers for many crimes he did against the nation. His arrival is important for strengthening rule of law as it will give chance to trial him for his unconstitutional actions. I am sure if people in NWFP and Baluchistan get a chance to file cases against him in the courts for his crimes against humanity, it will help in calming down the situation in many parts of our country. It will give a chance for Army to restore its image in the eyes of many, who have grievances against the national institution due to the policies by former dictators.
Musharraf’s arrival will also be a big test for our civil society, media and the Pakistani nation as a whole. It will give us a chance to set precedence of indiscriminate justice and rule of law. I hope we will take the right decisions without falling to our prejudices and greed.
Another story of brutality in this so called war against terror has come on internet. In the video Pakistan Army soldiers are doing extra-judicial killing of 6 prisoners (seems to be of young age) in area probably of Khaiber Pakhtoonkhwa.
Previously videos of torture including old men have come on the media and army promised an inquiry but no results came , also reports of civilian killings through indiscriminate bombings is a usual practice in this so called war against terror.
We seriously need a “War Tribunal” to probe unconstitutional actions, extra-judicial killings, drone attacks with support from Pakistan government/army, illegal abductions and other human rights violations by Army and other security institutions in this so called war against terror.
If we think we are a civilized nation with some sort of sense of justice and humanity then we need to take some bold measures. We need to understand actions like these extra-judicial killings will promote terrorism and will not help the cause of peace (if this is the real purpose of this war which doesn’t seem to be).
Though there is a statement in media as usual claiming these videos to be faked but we can’t trust them unless free and fair investigation with proper trial are conducted for these actions.
Image building dramas like stopping NATO supplies or showing false discontent on drone attacks will not solve the problem. Army really needs to behave as a naitonal and civilized army not an occupied force.