The Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the petition of Tehreek-e-Minhajul Quran chief Tahirul Qadri for the reconstitution of the Election Commission of Pakistan, saying that Qadri has failed to satisfy it on his bona fides and fundamental rights in this regard. A anti Taliban moderate Brelvi Muslim leader was dis graced by a a pro Taliban Deobandi judge. Is it a mere coincidence that Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri (a Sunni Sufi cleric) is hated by Takfiri Deobandi militants (Taliban and ASWJ) while Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry (himself a Deobandi) is a darling of Sipah-e-Sahaba and Taliban, is a cousin of Rana Sanaullah, and has released most dangerous terrorists including Hafiz Saeed, Malik Ishaq, Molvi Abdul Aziz etc.
Refer also to this item in Daily Times:
“Taking suo motu notice on a plea by a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Saturday issued notices to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, ISI Director General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani, the attorney genera of Pakistan and others.
Shafqatullah Sohail, a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, had sent a letter to the CJP on November 19, pleading that every Pakistani was at threat due to the alleged memo and that there was a need to find out the truth in the interest of the nation.”
Readers must also see the glaring double standards in the treatment given to Tahir ul Qadri vs the treatment given to a military establishment petitioner, Shafqatallah Sohail during the Memo case. This was highlighted in the post by Ali Raja.
The latest incident not only reveals the double standards of PCO Chaudhry. It also breaks down the media crafted myth that Chaudhary is anti-establishment and has stood up to the army. Aside from selective rhetoric, Chaudhary has delivered nothing of substance on Balochistan.
Contrary to the blatant mistruths peddled by pro establishment mouthpieces like Najam Sethi and Hamid Mir, PCO Judge Iftikhar Chaudhary stands with the military establishment. A pro-army petition by a Canadian national is gleefully accepted but a pro-Constitution petition by an anti-Taliban cleric Tahir ul Qadri is not even allowed a proper hearing!
In simple words the CJP was not impressed by Qadri’s pretentious rant, which the CJP did not find as euphonic as some other pious chants he loves to entertain. Apparently the fact that Qadri is a dual national was of greater import to the court than the legal merit of the petition. Not known for his wearing his patriotism or piety lightly, the CJP said that Qadri’s bona fide were not established because he has a dual citizenship. What SC did not explain though, is how his dual citizenship undermines Qadri’s right to challenge something as a Pakistani citizen in accordance with the constitution of the Republic. How do two oaths, which do not conflict each other from any angle, divide a person’s loyalty? SC thus continues to act in an unusual manner under the stewardship of its Chief Justice, treating cases on other than constitutional and statutory grounds. Unfortunately for Qadri, the CJP did not subscribe to his assertion that there was no difference between pledging loyalty to President Musharraf and Queen Elizabeth. One may argue that the petition may have been admitted for hearing to decide on its legality. However, Qadri should have known that one-eyed justice can’t see more than one dimension. In this instance, it is hard to see how the rejection of Qadri’s petition, whatever its legal merit, is anything other than a straight political judgment unmoored from the text or purpose of the Constitution.
SC’s ruling can be probably viewed as an affront to millions of oversees Pakistani, whose loyalty and love for their country of origin are above any doubts, in setting a precedent that prejudices overseas Pakistanis’ right to question and seek justice in matters back home. These are strange times we live in. If you are in tune with the happenings in Pakistan then you will probably have no trouble following the storyline. Basically, Chief Justice has been aligned with the ultra conservative notions of justice and is disposed to turning a blind eye to all other matters like wanton killing of Shias around the country. As expected, most of the local media has lauded the SC for giving a fair, even-handed decision. And conservatives have taken turns taking potshots at poor Qadri. Nobody seems to care that overseas Pakistanis too have a right to invoke justice in matters they feel important.
Delving into the judicial output of the SC, I fear, justices’ public comments will have the effect of diminishing the Supreme Court and, alas, of Justice Chaudhry himself. Whatever the merits of the Constitution, CJP’s repeated allusions to it have distilled its essence to a few quotations that have the unintended consequence of conveying the weakness of his intellectual thought. In saying so, I do not want to be understood as disagreeing with whatever Justice Chaudhry says. Quite the opposite as a classical liberal thinker, I think that some of CJP’s opinions should be regarded as landmarks in the law. But I do believe that his popular remarks, which have been widely quoted, have done real disservice to public discourse about the Supreme Court. What is key about these opnions is that they show an interference of the apex court in public affairs, which is not quite its role. What is so sad about CJP is that his frequent outbursts also go in exactly the same direction, by lashing out at matters that he does not like, without worrying much whether or how they fit in with the original constitutional scheme of the country. Worse still is the dismissive attitude that CJP takes toward those who disagree with him by simply bypassing the arguments that cut against his position. Rightly understood, CJP’s views fall squarely in the intellectually moribund conservative tradition that sees few if any constraints on the power of Islam to regulate whenever and however it chooses. Taken as a whole, what is so troublesome about CJP’s general views is the unmistakable sense that he has erased the line between what he thinks of as ethically undesirable and constitutionally required. Indeed, on his view of the world, constitutional law seems to depend on his own sense of right or wrong.
While Qadri’s petition may have been an exercise in frivolity, on substantive matters too the picture is no better.