CJ was in the know The untold story of a quiet talk with Dogar(Ansar Abbasi, The News)

Shame on you Abdul Hameed Dogar (The so called CJ of Pakistan) and congras to Ansar Abbasi for exposing the truth.

Keep it up!

CJ was in the know The untold story of a quiet talk with Dogar(Ansar Abbasi, The News)
ISLAMABAD: The story of how the head of the country’s judicial pyramid, the chief justice of Pakistan, using the services of a key officer working for the prime minister, tried to influence and stop the embarrassing story of his daughter’s FSc marks from being published, needs to be told.

One quiet night, four days before this newspaper headlined the grave misuse of powers by the Federal Board of Islamabad, this correspondent was taken by the press secretary to the prime minister to meet the Chief Justice, Abdul Hameed Dogar, to his Islamabad residence, after I refused to oblige the press secretary and stop the story.

The PS argued for the CJ and I offered not to file the story if his facts were found correct. I said that I am even willing to talk to the chief justice on the issue. After I made this offer, he asked me to rush to the Prime Minister House immediately but later called me that we both would be meeting the chief justice at 9:15pm at the CJ House on Friday Nov 21. We met him and stayed with him for over two hours.

There was no understanding, no mention at all that our discussion will be off the record or would not be published. As a journalist, I have to follow the rule that if anything is declared off the record it cannot be repeated. The meeting was never described as such otherwise I would not have agreed.

During the meeting the chief justice once stated that his statement about a brother judge should not be printed. The press secretary to the PM also requested twice or thrice that his narrations about the PM’s office were off the record. I would honour their wishes.

But for quite some time the top judge of the country pathetically pleaded that the story be not published. He did so in many ways, sometimes offering hands of friendship, sometimes describing the emotional state of mind of the innocent daughter who had been caught in the middle of this episode, at times asking me not to use the story because it would malign him, at others saying it was a question of just 20 marks, which according to him were of no consequence, at times saying that it was not a question of increasing 200 or 300 marks.

The press secretary to the PM even at times appeared threatening, as if warning me of consequences if I went ahead with the story. But to be fair to him most of the time he offered goodies, sort of professional bribes like ‘better’ stories and scoops, if I agreed to cooperate. But he too made it clear that if the story is filed, he would stop respecting me.

Press Secretary Zahid Bashir also categorically said that in case the story is filed neither the government would take action against the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) nor would the Supreme Court take suo moto notice of this case.

I remember very sharply that the chief justice was very worried about his reputation and his image. “Will the story not mention my name or that of my daughter,” he repeatedly asked. At the time of this meeting with The News Farah Hameed Dogar had already secured her admission in Islamic Medical College against a one-seat quota for judges and employees of all courts of Pakistan. However, the top judge of the country told this correspondent that his daughter was looking for admission in BBA.

The chief justice also insisted that what the chairman FBISE did in case of his daughter was allowed under the rules and that there was no violation of rules involved in the case. The chief justice insisted that the re-assessment of papers is allowed though the FBISE rules categorically say: “The answer book of a candidate in any examination shall not be re-assessed under any circumstances.”

The chief justice denied that he had used his influence on the Board in case of his daughter, but admitted that he knew two persons, also with the last name of Dogar, serving in the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. One of them Acting Director of the Federal Board Javed Iqbal Dogar is alleged to have played an important role of a facilitator.

The chief justice admitted that Javed Dogar has been visiting him. He also admitted that his staff in the Supreme Court was also involved in processing his daughter’s case. “My daughter is intelligent with the grace of Almighty Allah,” he said, adding that she had complained that she was deliberately given less marks following which the application was filed with the FBISE, which increased 20 marks thus taking her total from 640 to 661.”

When asked that re-assessment is not allowed but was done in case of his daughter, he said, “I have seen the rules, which gives the chairman Board the authority to re-assess the answer sheets. They (FBISE) have done this perfectly according to the rules,” the chief justice maintained, adding: “What benefit have we got with these 20 marks?”

He said if there had been an increase of 200 to 300 marks then you would have been in a position to say that we had benefited from such an increase. He said after his daughter applied for the re-checking, the Board proceeded in line with the valid laid down procedures.

When asked what his daughter was doing then, he responded: “We are just sitting. She would be pursuing degrees like BBA.”When told that the additional 20 marks had improved her grade from C to B thus enabling her to qualify for a medical college entry test, he said that by improving the grade his daughter could only sit in the entry exam but would not come on the merit.

But when told that the rules categorically say that there “shall” be no re-assessment under any circumstances and that it was the Board which had violated these rules to favour his daughter, he said: “But it would malign my name.”

Later the CJ again said that the re-assessment is allowed but added, at the same time, that we (the courts) also issue orders for re-assessment. The press secretary said the Supreme Court of Pakistan can do anything and that there is no challenge to the Supreme Court.

Zahid Bashir also said that pursuing the Farah Dogar’s story would be like character assassination of an innocent daughter. He advised this correspondent to do stories of national importance.

When the chief justice was asked to explain as to why the Board only did the re-assessment of his daughter’s answer sheets while there were more than 1,000 students who had applied for re-checking with the FBISE. The CJ said that there are several judgments of the Supreme Court that had ordered for re-assessment.

While this correspondent was trying to explain the difference between the validly allowed “re-checking” and the barred “re-assessment”, the press secretary suggested to the chief justice to do one more favour: “Get a petition filed and pass an order in favour of re-assessment if the applications are found on merit.”

When the chief justice was briefed in detail as to how did the Board extraordinarily dealt with his daughter’s application for re-checking but ended up re-assessing her answer sheets in violation of the Board rules, he said: “Did they write any reason for this.”

He was told: “No reason was mentioned.” Later when the chief justice was told that Javed Dogar, who serves in the Board, is said to have played important role in the out of the way facilitation of his daughter’s case, he admitted that he knew Javed Dogar.

The CJ also revealed that besides Javed Dogar, he also knows one Ibrahim Dogar, who too serves in the FBISE as a driver. He, however, said that Javed Dogar never brought the then chairman FBISE to his house. He said he knows almost all Dogars but denied to have ever interacted with the then chairman FBISE.

When told that there are reports that the chairman favoured his daughter only to secure further extension for himself, he said: “I never met him. The allegation of favour had been justified if the man had been given an extension.”

Zahid Bashir also endorsed the CJ’s statement and wondered how difficult it is for the CJ to get such an extension. He said the government would have done it within no time had the CJ been interested. “I would have asked Saeen,” the CJ said while pointing at Zahid Bashir.

After extended discussion when I told the chief justice that the story would be filed against the Board, it was Zahid Bashir, who first reacted and asked: “Tell me if you are filing the story.” The CJ followed by saying, “Just leave it. We are friends now.”

Zahid Bashir said in case the story goes for print he would never call me but the CJ said, “Listen, if the story is published it would carry my name.”When I said let me chew on it, the CJ said no, leave it now. Zahid Bashir said that I should respond positively to the CJ offer and get some other stories from the Supreme Court otherwise I would get nothing.

When told that the story is against the Board, the press secretary said that who would take action against the Board. “We (government) have to take the action but would never proceed against the Board let me tell you right now.”

When I told him that the Supreme Court might take action into this case, he again said that the Supreme Court too would not take any action. Zahid Bashir asked me not to be so harsh and rigid.

At one stage the CJ told me to extend hand of friendship to him as he is not a hidden man while Zahid Bashir offered, “If you want to write, I will give you the stories.” Referring to Farah Dogar story, he said, it has no substance, it is of no value, it will not change the history of Pakistan rather be seen as blackmailing as it involves an innocent person’s daughter.

He said people would not have good feeling about this and added that the chief justice is doing a job and is offering me to visit his office and will give me constructive things to write.“Look he is Chief Justice of Pakistan, why would he call you,” the press secretary said, reminding me that without CJ’s consent I would not be allowed to enter the premises of the Supreme Court.At this point, the CJ again invited me to visit his office while Bashir remarked: “He is inviting you. It is an honour for you.”