Related articles: LUBP Archive on Peasants for Democracy (PFD)
LUBP Archive on Fake Civil Society (FCS)
‘Peasants for Democracy’ demand Aitzaz Ahsan to be a prosecutor in the Taseer murder case
A newly found alliance of civil society individuals and organisations in the name of ‘Citizens for Democracy’ (CFD) seemed to be a good step in a situation where voices against extremism are weak and scattered. Same could have provided a platform to civil society and political society to unite against evil of terrorism and extremism, which has become an existential threat for Pakistan. But, unfortunately, things are never simple when it comes to politics in Pakistan. (The issue of dominance of urban-centric discourse has been recently highlighted by the Peasants for Democracy – PFD).
A recent appeal made by ‘urban’ Citizens for Democracy (CFD) to the Federal Government lead by the PPP reads as under:
“The letters below to protest the withdrawal of the public prosecutor and demand justice are being sent on behalf of CFD to: 1. President and Prime Minister of Pakistan; 2. Chief Justice of Pakistan; 3. SCBA and all four provincial Bar Associations”.
Apparently the above mentioned ‘protest’ seems to ba a genuine concern of Civil Society on inefficacy, lack of will and negligence of the PPP lead Government in prosecuting the case of late Governor Salmaan Taseer. If so, there is no harm in sending these letters to Prime minister and President of Pakistan as it is their duty to ensure that ‘prosecution’ is doing its job under the law.
However, when manipulation and distortion of facts becomes a norm in society, it is difficult to dig out the true intentions of ‘concerned citizens’ and motives behind their ‘sincere protests’.
While mullahs distort the religion and twist verses from holy book to get political mileage, members of of fake civil society (FCS) do the same to peddle the military establishment’s agenda by maligning democratic governments.
With respect to the aforementioned letter by the CFD, the question is: can Federal Government really appoint a prosecutor and ensure his security?
Article 8 of ‘The Punjab Criminal Prosecution Services (Constitution, Functions and Power) Act 2006’ gives powers to ‘PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT’ to appoint, remove and transfer Public Prosecutors, which reads as under:
“ Appointments.– (1) The Government may appoint Additional Prosecutors General and Deputy Prosecutors General to conduct criminal cases in the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Federal Shariat Court or any other Special Court.
(2) The Government shall appoint a District Public Prosecutor in each district who shall be the officer in charge of the prosecution in the district within the meanings of the Code.”
Surprisingly, the Fake Civil Society (FCS) is protesting to Federal Government, Prime Minister and President along with newly elected heads of Bar Associations (who “incidentally” belong to the PPP lawyers wing). While the provincial government which has the powers to withdraw, appoint or transfer the ‘Public Prosecutor’ is completely immune from sincere ‘protest’ and demand.
Further, what is happening to the PPP in name of justice in Punjab is no secret. The prosecution branch in Punjab is headed by an absconder, Rana Maqbool, who is wanted for murder attempt on the President of Pakistan. With all its powers, Federal government could not get him arrested for murder attempt on President and head of ruling PPP. Can we expect from him to provide proper prosecution for Governor Taseer’s murder case on orders of Federal Government?
Even if willing to take an action, Prime Minister and President have no authority over a provincial subject while opposition PMLN rules the province.
However, can this omission by the CFD can be a result of lack of understanding of highly qualified members of Urban Citizens for Democracy which include some of top lawyers of the country? Given the known pattern of urban activists of the FCS who are harsh on politicians but soft on GHQ (mentor and protector of jihadi and sectarian terrorism in Pakistan), the pattern is not too unfamiliar.
Why the Provincial government in Punjab lead by right-wing PMLN, which is responsible for prosecution and security of prosecutors, has not been addressed in the CFD letter and why there is no protest on its failure to provide security to prosecutor? Why the so-called ‘civil society’ activists could not address the same letter to Chief Minister of Punjab and leader of PMLN, Mian Nawaz Sharif, to take action as his party’s government failed to ensure security of its own prosecutor? Why there is no appeal to Provincial government for appointing the prosecutor?
For a contextual understanding, let us have a look at the members and endorsing organisations of the CFD’s appeal. Do you expect this to be an inadvertent mistake by top lawyers, authors (signatories of the appeal) such as G.M. Lakho (advocate), Harris Khalique (poet/writer), Ayesha Ijaz Khan (advocate, London)?
What is the agenda of ‘Citizens for Democracy’, and who is the brain behind it? Are proxies of establishment, once again, at work in disguise of civil society? Have a look at names of signatories and endorsers, you will get a clear picture. Just to give you an idea, let us check just one name in the long list of endorsers.
Mr. Ansar Burney, the former caretaker minister of dictator General Pervez Musharaf , is one of the signatories of the agenda of ‘Citizens for Democracy’.
You got to believe, gentlemen! He was not only a part of recent dictatorship but is also leading right-wing lawyer working under cover of a civil society NGO.
The top achievement on Mr. Burney’s profile is his appeal filed before the Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan in case of Ansar Burni versus Federation of Pakistan (No.K-4 of 1982). As per judgement of FSC, available on FSC website: Mr Burney requested the ‘REMOVAL of ALL FEMALE JUDGES in COUNTRY on FOLLOWING GROUNDS:
1. They discharge their functions of Qazi without observing pardah whichis a clear violation of the Injunctions of Islam.
2. During the period of the Holy Prophet and his rightful companions the duties of Qaza were never entrusted to females since it appears to be a violation of the Injunctions of Islam.
3. According to Muslim Law the evidence, of a woman is half of that of a man and her share in the inheritance is equal to half of that of her brother. The judgment of two ladies only can be equivalent to that of a male .
4. The ladies do not fulfil the qualification of Qazi according to the established principles of Muhammadan Jurisprudence.
Surprisingly same Mr. Burney endorses the ‘protest’ of the CFD against the PPP lead Federal Government, which has no powers to appoint a public prosecutor or provide him security. On one side, some right-wing lawyers and members of the Fake Civil Society (FCS) are showering rose petals on the murderer of PPP Governor Salam Taseer, on the other side, same elements are maligning the PPP government and rescuing right-wing PMLN government from its failure. (“Incidentally”, Taseer’s murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, and his accomplices too were employees of the Punjab Government, a point conveniently ignored by the urban citizens for democracy.)
Will the Fake Civil Society of Pakistan ever be honest? Or would they, in their capacity as willing tools or inadvertent fools of the military establishment, continue to undermine democracy and moderate political parties with their vicious propaganda based on twisted facts?
Welcome to the age of new ‘Civil Society’ in Pakistan. We promise them, we will continue to uncover their true, ugly faces!
Barrister Waseem Ijaz, London