Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and Zulekha – by Ali Raja

is saadgi pe kon na mar jae ae khuda?

There is a cute little proverb in our Punjabi language “Zulekha mard si ke aurat.” This proverb is applied to a person who proves to be a symbol of innocence and simplicity.

As far as I can sketch the facts, innocence and simplicity are mild replacements for stupidity and ignorance because when ever someone utters an absolute stupid line this proverb jumps out of the tip of tongue.

Similar to any other language Punjabi also has “originators” for all its proverbs. They say once there was a man who was a symbol of innocence and simplicity. He used to sit amongst the wise men of the village in order to portray himself as an intellectual. One night a story teller narrated the story of Yousuf (A.S) and Zulekha. The story extended to the dusk of dawn that is when the the good fellow could not resist to ask “Zulekha Mard Si Ke Aurat”(Was Zulekha a man or a woman).

In spite of being a Punjabi myself I never was inclined to the authenticity of of this historical background. Every time I listened to this sweet story a grin appeared on my face which widened as I thought more and more about it. The reasons for this wide grin were very straight. In the world that I had seen I could not find a person so stupid and dumb.

First of all how is it possible that after listening to story whole night one can not make out the gender recognition. Secondly if someone does not make it out why would he would he spend the whole night listening to it. Thirdly in case a prank like this does take place how on earth is it possible that he asks about the gender in the morning?

I was always very confident over my calculations that lead to my inference of not believing in this proverb but it was 2nd day of November 2010 which made me fell like a 5 year old child who comes to realize that trees do not run when we drive the car. All my calculations, inferences and theories died out and I realized the extent to which stupidity can go and the man who made me realize was none other than “The Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chauhdary.”

The superior judiciary of Pakistan is very fond of issuing remarks or I must say cheep statements in name of remarks during the court proceedings. Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chauhdary, Justice Khalil ur Reman Ramdey and Justice Javed Iqbal are the the top pranksters in this business. All three are in a continues competition of issuing remarks which make up the next day headline. Though none is slower than the rest but on 02-11-2010 the Big Boss broke all records. Chief Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chauhdary issued a remark that I guess has surpassed all the remarks issued till date. I went though the remark mot less than ten times and finally reached the conclusion that Punjabi proverbs are never to be neglected.

While listening to the case of “Missing Persons”, Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chauhdary said: “We want to know who is behind the disappearance of citizens.”

I was stunned to see this statement by Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chauhdary. After a small pause my mind started to run in reverse. Events started to float before my eyes and I turned speechless as history flashed back. It was 2005 when after desperate efforts from the human rights activists the status quo of Pakistan’s Judiciary broke up and Chief Justice of Pakistan took a suo moto action in this regard. As soon as this suo moto action was taken tides began to appear in Pakistan Army’s steady ocean.

Every now and then strategic experts appeared over the television enchanting slogans of national security pleading Supreme Court to halt this move of bringing into accountability the sacred cow of Pakistan. Then Attorney General asked the Supreme Court at several points to abandon the case as it is connected to the “Strong Lobby” before which his civilian government is helpless. Supreme Court continued to proceed the case and managed to extract a few people which enlightened the hopes of further progress. On 9th of March 2007 General Musharaf summoned the Chief Justice to Army House and as the Chief Justice later revealed, he asked the Chief Justice to abandon the case and let the government do it’s job.

Failing to achieve a compromise he dismissed the Chief Justice from his position. The matter though continued and civil society pressed on the Supreme Court to poke nose into the Military Land. 3rd November was the result of this poking, Chief of the Army Staff imposed a mini-martial law dismissing 60 judges of the superior judiciary.

The proclamation of Mini-Martial law had a line in it saying “The judiciary was intervening in the matters of national security by releasing suspected terrorists.” So in short this case was one of the master blasters of our judicial history. A case which defined the right to a fair trial. A case which defined the citizenship rights.

A case which defined the individual autonomy of a commoner and a case which defined the accountability of the “sacred cow” This case brought the most pious institution of the state in the spot light but players of the darkness never fell comfortable in the light. Justice Ifakhar Muhammad Chauhdary doubtlessly owes his pubic recognition to this very case. His public support was a symbol of national wish of civilian rule over military.

Justice Iftakhar Muhammad Chauhdary now seems to be a different guy. Scince his restoration he seems to be highly obliged to the military establishment of Pakistan. He seems to owe his restoration to the “Men in Khaki” rather than the “Men in Black”. He seems to have steeped into an unsaid accord with the GHQ. The “Missing Persons” case is perhaps the most evident outcome of this accord. Since his restoration he has not been able to extract a single person, not even once a military official has been summoned to the court, not even a single notice has been sent to the Judge Advocate General in this regard.

In fact he is feeling pride in parading the police officers and is busy in their monitoring. He now wants to know “Who is behind this?” Though having a firm belief in the intellect of our Chief Justice I would like to assist him by refreshing his memory. I would like him to shake his head and have a look a the history of his beloved country, he will definitely come up to a conclusion:-

a) Brig. Siddiq Salik in his book “Witness to Surrender” explains the methodology of disappearing citizens in East Pakistan. This book will highly benefit the Chief Justice in finding out the “unseen hands.”

b) General Musharraf the President of Chief Justice Ifatkhar Muhammad Chauhdary has by chance written a book by the name “In the Line of Fire.” Along with bringing under the pen the per head rate of missing persons General Musharraf has also named some “Organs of State” that played a commendable role in this regard. General Musharraf happens to a former “Army Chief” and not a “Baldia Councelor.” Chief Justice must go through this book as it would reveal the secrets he is looking for.

c) Dr. Imran Munir an alleged spy was released in 2007 and managed to get to the Supreme Court alive. Fortunately he gave a written a statement in the Supreme Court. I request the Chief Justice to go through that statement once again, it will help him in looking beyond visual range.

d) Munir Mengal a traitor released by the democratic government has given dozens of statements about the the 22 months he had passed in the torture cells. These statements will work as spectacles if the Chief Justice looks into the case through them.

e) At last but not least I would request the Chief Justice to have a look at his own remarks issued “earlier.” In which he had found out what he is looking for today, he said “In every case we pick, there lies a major, colonel or brigadier.”

I hope Chief Justice of Pakistan regains his memory and abandons the search of what lies before the eyes. He must now try whipping of the tears of the mothers crying for their sons, sisters crying for their brothers and daughters crying for their fathers. He must follow the culprits instead of asking “Who Goes There?” He mus stop compelling us to remember Mirza Ghalib and his verse:-

is saadgi pe kon na mar jae ae khuda
larte hen aur haath men talwar bhi nahin



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