Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has written a must read thought provoking article on 1971 Independence of Bangladesh.
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The monitoring mechanism reflected in the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment for the accountability courts is well within the parameters of judicial functions of the Supreme Court and a practice that is going on for years.
However, the judgment has been grossly misinterpreted by some to show that it amounts to interference in the functions of the executive branch.
Independent sources in the Law Ministry confided to The News that all the special courts, set up in the past or are functioning right now in Pakistan, have been and are being monitored and supervised by the apex court, which adopts such monitoring mechanism to ensure that cases pending before the courts concerned do not get delayed unnecessarily.
The sources believe that those feeling uneasy with the monitoring mechanism announced in the Dec 16 judgment for the accountability courts are deliberately creating confusion to prove this judgment as a move by judiciary to interfere in the executive functions.
These sources said such elements are said to be oblivious of the fact that a similar monitoring mechanism is working in the apex court for anti-terrorist courts.
Even for high courts and the subordinate judiciary, a comprehensive monitoring mechanism is presently in place as part of the national judicial policy to ensure quick disposal of cases and to clear the backlog.
Following the government’s complaint that the terrorism cases are not timely pursued and result in increase in terrorism, the present Supreme Court under Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had set up an effective monitoring system to keep a vigilant eye on the anti-terrorist courts so that no unnecessary delay could occur in such cases.
Under this monitoring scheme, Justice Javed Iqbal serves as a monitor for anti-terrorism courts of Sindh; Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday oversees the ATCs in Frontier; Justice Nasirul Mulk supervises the Balochistan ATCs; and Justice Sardar Raza Khan is monitoring the performance of the Punjab ATCs.
Neither anyone had objected to this monitoring mechanism for the ATCs nor was any objection raised for such overseeing strategies adopted in the past for the special courts during the last three decades. However, the sources said a vested interest group is deliberately trying to create confusion for the monitoring mechanism evolved for the accountability courts by the Supreme Court.
In its latest judgment, which has unnerved many powerful and mighty in the government, the Supreme Court clearly said this mechanism is evolved to “monitor the progress and the proceedings in (NAB) cases”.
Since the NRO beneficiaries and their sympathisers were generally complaining that the cases terminated under the condemned NRO remained undecided for over 10 years, this mechanism was evolved to address these complaints and ensure the NAB accused get quick justice.
The NAB has been condemned by the NRO beneficiaries while the Supreme Court also found its incumbent chairman, the prosecutor general and the deputy prosecutor general incompetent. Therefore, the apex court judgment directed the Bureau to transmit periodical reports of the actions taken by them with regard to NAB cases to the Monitoring Cell of the apex court set up following the same order.
Interestingly, similar directions were given to all the provincial governments under the national judicial policy to ensure that the challans in criminal cases, pending before the lower or superior judiciary, are submitted by prosecution within the stipulated time period to avoid unnecessary delays in dispensing justice.
In a remarkable judgment by 17 member bench headed by Iftikhar Chaudhary, Supreme Court of Pakistan has declared NRO as unconstitutional from the day of issuance.
As a result of this judgment all the cases closed by NRO are reinstated on the positions of 5th October, the day General (R) Musharraf issued the order of National Reconciliation Ordnance (NRO).
According to the judgment of SC 17 member bench the NRO is contrary to the equality of all citizens in front of the law guaranteed by the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan.
The historic judgment also says:
1) All the High Courts will make sure that cases reopened by this judgment get a fair trial, proper investigation and proper legal procedure.
2) Government is responsible to pursue the cases in Swiss court against Asif Ali Zardari and team.
3) NAB Chairman, Prosecutor General and Deputy Prosecutor General to be sacked and replaced by some other persons.
4) Government needs to take action against former Attorney General, Justice (R) Malik Qayum for writing unauthorized letter to Swiss court to withdraw cases against Asif Zardari.
During the proceedings Chief Justice also made clear that even parliament has no right to change the basic structure of the constitution.
The court has also shown displeasure on Acting Attorney General Shah Khawar and said he hide the truth.
The judgment is welcomed by a majority of legal community and civil society considering it another milestone towards to goal of real independent judiciary and rule of law.
History teaches lots of lessons and nations which don’t learn from it often become a forgotten part of it.
Below are the words of Hamood ur Rehman commission report. The commission was made to investigate the 1971 Fall of Dhaka or Independence of Bangladesh. As Bangladesh is a sovereign state now and we wish best of luck to them on their independence day.
“Indiscriminate killing and looting could only serve the cause of the enemies of Pakistan. In the harshness, we lost the support of the silent majority of the people of East Pakistan.” Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report on 1971
It seems we have not learned the lesson from our history and still repeating it in NWFP,Baluchistan and FATA.