Congratulations Mr. President, Commiserations Mr. Prime Minister

After the passage of the 18th Amendment by the parliament and its subsequent induction into law, the 18th Amendment is now officially a part of the Constitution of Pakistan. A big achievement indeed, the political parties, Prime Minister and especially the President–who agreed to strip his powers, deserve praise.

However while on one hand the 18th Amendment does away with the notorious 58(2)b, which gave the power to the President to dissolve all sitting assemblies at will, on the other hand, it has also given the power to the heads of the political parties to sack any member of the National or Provincial assemblies belonging to his party. Just in case you forgot, our President is currently the effective chairman of the PPP, which means he can sack the PM at any time, in a matter of minutes.

In other words, the final word will be the Presidents, and it will be on his orders that the government will act.

Apart from this, the requirement for political parties to hold intra party elections has also been finished. Another controversial clause in the amendment is the procedure for the appointment of the judges. Apparently many top jurists and eminent lawyers are not happy with it, and see the issue going to the Supreme Court, which they say the SC can strike down on the basis that it is against the basic structures of the constitution.

The 18th Amendment is big step but our lawmakers should begin the groundwork for the 19th Amendment to amend the flaws in the 18th Amendment.

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WikiMir Fraudia List: A compilation of all the big names of corruption in Pakistani politics and beyond

I was googling around when I happened to stumble upon this interesting list, dubbed the ‘fraudia’ list, which is an initiative to compile the names of the all the corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, Generals and journalists. The list contains names from people like our President to corrupt bureaucrats like Ahmed Riaz Sheikh along with all their known corruption. A message on the page says:

We are compiling this list as a community project. If you have any information regarding a Pakistani politician, bureaucrat, military person, journalist just write it here. If you do not want to edit this web page, you car write on the Discussion Page for Fraudia List. It would be then added onto the Fraudia List. Any, all help is highly appreciated.

This a highly appreciable project– if you think you know any politician/bureaucrat/general or journalist involved in corruption, feel free to add their name to the ever growing fraudia list.

Govt Vs Judiciary: Who Stands Where

Usman Manzoor of  The News enlightens us of the legal arguments in favor of the government and counter arguments in favor of the SC, in the ongoing tussle between the executive and the judiciary which erupted when the SC suspended a notification by President Zardari, appointing Chief Justice Lahore High Court Justice Khwaja Sharif as a judge of the Supreme Court while elevating Justice Saqib Nisar, senior judge of the LHC as acting Chief Justice of the High Court.


By Usman Manzoor

While the government is keeping mum over its failed adventure to subdue the country’s independent judiciary, only a few constitutional and legal experts are trying to defend the government’s action.

Only a respected jurist Fakhruddin G Ebrahim had the courage to immediately correct himself, after issuing an ill-informed interpretation. For the guidance of readers, the arguments generally being presented to defend the government are as follows. The Constitutional position is also given below:

Arguments in favour of government:

1. The president has powers to appoint judges of the SC under Article 177 of Constitution.

2.The president has consulted the CJ as written correspondence was done with the head of judiciary.

3.The govt has followed the rule of seniority as mentioned in the Al-Jehad trust case while appointing Justice Khawaja Sharif as judge of the Supreme Court.

4. The consultation of CJP is not binding on the president.

5. The president can appoint acting CJ of a high court under section 196 of the Constitution without consulting the CJ.

6.What was the necessity of suspending the presidential notification so late in the evening?

7. We acted according to Constitution and the law.

The response

1) Article 177 (1) says: The CJP shall be appointed by the president, and each of the other judges shall be appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice.

The consultation of the CJ is mandatory as mentioned in Article 260 of the Constitution which says “consultation” shall, save in respect of appointment of judges of the SC and High Courts, mean discussion and deliberation, which shall not be binding on the president.

2) A mere correspondence does not mean consultation but in fact the recommendation of CJP regarding appointment of a judge in the SC has to be followed as it is and if the president has any objection then he has to mention those reasonable objections. Those objections are then justiciable in a court of law and once the court passes an order then that order is the final verdict.

The Al-Jihad trust case states: “The words “after consultation” employed inter alia in Articles 177 and 193 of the Constitution connote that the consultation should be effective, meaningful, purposive, consensus-oriented, leaving no room for complaint of arbitrariness or unfair play. The opinion of the CJP and the CJ of a High Court as to the fitness and suitability of a candidate for Judgeship is entitled to be accepted in the absence of very sound reasons to be recorded by President/Executive.

(xiii) That since consultation for the appointment/confirmation of a Judge of a superior Court by the President/Executive with consultees mentioned in the relevant Articles of the Constitution is mandatory, any appointment/confirmation made without consulting any of the consultees as interpreted above would be violative of the Constitution and, therefore, would be invalid.”

3) The appointment of a judge of a Supreme Court is a fresh appointment and neither the constitution nor the Al-jehad trust case or any other judgment speaks of seniority rule while elevating a judge of a High Court to the SC. Even in the present SC eight out of the total 16 (including one ad hoc judge) have never remained chief justices of the high courts.

Article 177 says: “Appointment of SC Judges.

(1) The CJP shall be appointed by President, and each of other Judges shall be appointed by President after consultation with the Chief Justice.

(2) A person shall not be appointed a Judge of the SC unless he is a citizen of Pakistan and;

(a) Has for a period of, or for periods aggregating, not less than five years been a judge of a High Court (including a HC which existed in Pakistan at any time before the commencing day); or

(b) has for a period of, or for periods aggregating not less than fifteen years been an advocate of a High Court (including a High Court which existed in Pakistan at any time before the commencing day).” There is no mention of seniority in this article.

4) The consultation regarding the appointment of judges of the superior judiciary is binding on the president according to Article 260 of the constitution which says, “Consultation shall, save in respect of appointments of Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, mean discussion and deliberation which shall not be binding on the President”.

The word save here means except or to avoid.

5) The Al-Jehad trust case clearly mentions, “That permanent Chief Justices should be appointed in the High Courts where there is no permanent incumbent of the office of the Chief Justice”. Therefore Justice Saqib Nisar could never be made acting CJ.

6) A similar situation had occurred on the eve of November 3, 2007 and an eight-member bench of the SC passed a verdict setting aside the emergency rule late that Saturday. And in the interim order of Feb 13, the learned judges of the SC have mentioned, “The Additional Registrar, who appeared on Court’s call, informed the Court that a news was telecast in the electronic media regarding the aforesaid notifications and it was also in the news that Mr. Justice Mian Saqib Nisar would be administered oath by tomorrow morning (Sunday), which necessitated the hearing of this case as an urgent one and this Bench was constituted”.

7) the Al-jehad trust case and the constitution was already there and the Supreme court also interpreted it.

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FIA: Protecting the corrupt of Pakistan

According to a report in The News daily, “The Federal Investigative Authority secretly helped the main accused in Pakistan Steel Mills case, now being heard by the Supreme Court, to run away from Pakistan although she was on an FIA watchlist and had to seek prior permission from the SC to leave the country.”

The FIA’s watch list was abolished a day before Sabin Sakina, accused director of Abbas Steel Mills and daughter of Riaz Laljee, a close friend of one of the top personalities in Islamabad, flew to the UK under official protocol provided at the Islamabad International Airport.

The staffers of an important minister escorted Sabin to the Rawal Lounge, reserved for VIPs, in connivance with FIA officials on duty.The watch list carrying her name was abolished on December 3 and she fled by the night of December 4. The action was so secretive that the then DG FIA remained in the dark about this clandestine operation for several days, an official privy to details said.

How do we expect our country to progress when our law enforcement agencies are promoting and protecting corruption in Pakistan ? Will the Supreme Court kindly take suo moto notice of this serious development ?

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Aftermath of the SC verdict

A look at the events that have taken place so far after a 17 member bench of the Supreme Court unanimously declared the NRO null and void.

Defence Minister Barred from Travelling to China

ISLAMABAD: Federal Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, whose name was placed on the Exit Control List after the Supreme Court’s verdict on the National Reconciliation Ordinance, was stopped from leaving for China at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport Islamabad on Thursday. The minister, along with his delegation, was scheduled to leave the country on PIA flight PK-852 for China on an official visit, when he was stopped by Federal Investigation Agency staff before boarding the plane. staff report

Gilani suspends officials for barring minister to travel

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has suspended four government officials for barring Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar from going on an official visit abroad. Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, Naveed Ahsan, apologized to Mukhtar for stopping him from going to China for an official visit on Thursday.

NAB court issues arrest warrants for Rehman Malik

ISLAMABAD: A NAB court has issued arrest warrants against Interior Minister Rehman Malik in connection with two previous references against him.

No one can arrest Rehman Malik: Gilani

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that no one can arrest Interior Minister Rehman Malik as he gets suspects arrested himself. He said that no minister will be arrested in Punjab.

Govt Will Not Revive Swiss Cases

“The Swiss cases were withdrawn after spending millions of rupees (on them) and the Swiss authorities have also stated that how can they proceed in cases which the Government of Pakistan cannot proceed in its own country,” Prime Minister Gilani said on Thursday.

Khosa not yet restored as DG FIA

A three-member SC bench had ordered the immediate reinstatement of Khosa as FIA DG, ordering cancellation of a notification issued by Interior Minister Rehman Malik in the Pakistan Steel Mills case. Sources in the Interior Ministry told Daily Times that the ministry was yet to issue a notification for the reinstatement of Khosa as the FIA director general. Likewise, to assert his constitutional position as the chief executive of the country, Primer Minister Gilani is said to have bluntly refused to reappoint Tariq Khosa as DG FIA on the grounds that only he (PM) had the powers to appoint or remove any government servant.

Supreme Court Issues Contempt Notice to Rehman Malik

Supreme Court of Pakistan issued Thursday a contempt of court notice to Minister for Interior Rehman Malik on transferring DG FIA against court’s will and asked him to file his response by December 24.

Non-bailable warrant issued for Law Minister Awan

A Rawalpindi local court issued non-bailable warrant for the arrest of Federal Law Minister in twin cases of row, Geo News reported Saturday.

The Civil judge issued the arrest warrant for the federal minister for not appearing before the court in the case filed under Clause-398, 365 and 279.

Babar Awan gets pre-arrest bail in criminal case

Civil judge Mehr Sarfraz Hussain on Saturday granted pre-arrest bail in a criminal case to Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Babar Awan.

The Prime minister stands shoulder to shoulder with his troubled President, it seems he is ready to take on SC, if he must.

Update 1:

Second Court summons Rehman Malik to appear on Jan 2

A second court on Monday summoned Interior Minister Rehman Malik over revived corruption charges after the Supreme Court scrapped a controversial amnesty, his lawyer said. “The accountability court has summoned my client to appear on January 2. Mr. Malik will appear in court. We are not afraid of appearing in the courts,” the minister’s defence lawyer Amjad Iqbal told reporters in Rawalpindi.

Update 2: The Lahore High Court has suspended all sentences against Rehman Malik.

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NRO: The Complete Judgement [Official]

IFTIKHAR MUHAMMAD CHAUDHRY, CJ. – The above titled
Constitution Petitions have been filed under Article 184(3) of the
Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan [hereinafter referred to as ‘the
Constitution’] challenging the constitutionality of the National
Reconciliation Ordinance (No.LX) 2007 [hereinafter referred to as ‘the
NRO’], while HR cases and Civil Appeal, by leave of the Court, have been
filed by the applicants/appellant for extension of benefit of the NRO to
them.
Click here to continue reading the official verdict of the apex court.

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Supreme Court Declares NRO Null and Void


Supreme Court has just announced what could be called one of the most important verdicts in the judicial and political history of Pakistan. The black law, NRO, has been struck down and done with, once and for all. All the cases including cases against Zardari will now reopen.

Click here to read a short summary the NRO judgement.

According to the judgment, the NRO is contrary to the equality guaranteed by the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. Similarly, all the cases, disposed off because of the controversial ordinance, now stand revived as of Oct 5, 2007 position, said the judgment.

In addition, the court has ordered the government that it should immediately reopen the Swiss cases concerning President Asif Ali Zardari.

“The provisions of the NRO seem to be against national interests thus it violates the several provisions of the constitution,” the ruling said.

I offer my heartiest congratulations to Pakistanis’ around the world as we have taken the first step to deal with the ever increasing corruption. This verdict will result in the re-opening of about 8000 cases… I wonder how the judiciary plans to handle these cases, in such a huge quantity.

The verdict was suppose to be out by 4:30, but it was delayed by more than 5 hours during which rumors emerged that a military coup might be in store. Fortunately though, the day went through without any mishaps although there were reports of firing in Karachi.

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