Public prosecutor in Taseer murder case and the CFD’s stance – by Barrister Waseem Ijaz

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

12 responses to “Public prosecutor in Taseer murder case and the CFD’s stance – by Barrister Waseem Ijaz”

  1. The pattern is the same. Incite someone to rebel. Incite Someone to Kill. When killed blame the victim. Blame the family of the victim. Blame the party of the victim. Use this is a campaign.
    Get Zardari is the motive.

  2. “The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.” – Dante

    Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto often cited the above quote to highlight the hypocrisy of urban chatterers.

  3. #CFD is a gang of PPP haters and NGO aunties. Useless and good for nothing. Thier main objective is to squeez funds from international donors and do some vigil’s to post pictures for ‘karwai’ purpose.

    If Ansar Burni is ‘Citizen for Democracy’, then I am Nelson Mendela.

    Funny, check the names on #CFD page. Who are they? Thier sole purpose is to put blame on PPP and rescue PMLN, Mullah, Establishment. Same dirty tricks as proxies use.

  4. Rana Maqbool is Chief of Prosecution in Punjab.

    He is absconder in case of murder attempt on President.

    He is the person who tried to rope Shaheed Salman Taseer in Khawja Sharif’s murder.

    Will he listen to President or PM?

    #CFD and Fake Civil Society is trying to cover up the issue by writing to President not to CM Shahbaz, Rana Maqbool and Mian Nawaz Sharif.

    Same pattern, one group kills PPP leaders, other justfies it and #FCS pushes the blame on PPP itself.

  5. CFD is a new platform which is being used by the FCS in disguise to malign the PPP.

    See for example this post by Nasim Zehara posted on CFD blog:

    Shadow boxing with imaginary blasphemers in a ‘republic of fear’
    FEBRUARY 4, 2011

    by Citizens for Democracy

    Analysis and chronology of recent moves to amend the controversial, man-made ‘blasphemy laws’ of Pakistan

    By Nasim Zehra

    Feb 3, 2011

    The new aspect to Prime Minister’s announcement was that he had consulted Sherry Rehman and she had agreed to withdraw her Bill. As Sherry’s statement posted here indicates, this was the PM’s unilateral decision.

    Sherry Rehman has also explained, such a move was unnecessary since the Bill was not even tabled. She also points out that while many parliamentarians were told about the bill beforehand, key people in the party had assured her they would support it especially if media built some consensus.

    Sadly, the contents of the bill were never laid before the House. More people would then have known that the proposed amendments had to do with procedural changes that prevented misuse of the law.

    What is truly ironical is that the same statement in which the PM announced the withdrawal of the Bill, he invited the various parties to come and discuss how to prevent misuse of the law – which is largely what Sherry Rehman’s proposed amendment bill is about.

    How the government has handled this issue is not about an individual, of course, the fact remains that it was Sherry Rehman who piloted the initial Bill alongside initial government moves to amend it; later, the religio-political parties demanded withdrawal of her un-tabled Bill, and made this point a symbol of their victory. Therefore, some facts around Sherry Rehman’s moves need to be stated.

    1. While human rights groups have been working on the misuse of blasphemy law for years, it was when the PPP led government announced a Committee to amend the laws that Ms Rehman tabled her bill. She shared it with all party leaders, and made it a point to inform the Chief Whip of the Government of her plans – and he did not ask her to hold off for a while. She consulted with several lawyers about the bill and did not submit it in secret. The proposed amendment created a wave of awareness that has finally led everyone (including the Council of Islamic Ideology, CII) to concede that changes are required to end and tackle its misuse. Even the religious parties have taken this position of reform repeatedly in various forums. All this contradicts the claims of those who now hold the view that the introduction of this bill was an ill-timed move.

    2. The government blundered along making contradictory moves and statements on the issue of amending the blasphemy law ever since Aasia bibi’s conviction. They set up a Committee to review it and created a parliamentary subcommittee headed by Nafisa Shah. But with the first whiff of criticism by other groups, the Law Minister announced that amendment will take place “only over my dead body”! And so went the saga. On one hand the Punjab Governor criticised the law and lobbied for Aasia’s presidential pardon, on the other, the Law Minister and even the Interior Minister made statements countering their own government’s attempts. Instead of ironing out these stark contradictions, the departure of JUI from the coalition convinced the government that backtracking on the amendment would buy it survival security. Hence Sherry Rehman’s bill was not a victim of bad timing but in fact a victim of PPP’s bad politics.

    3. Every backtracking move by the government emboldened those who equated amendment of the man-made law with ‘blasphemy’. Parties like PTI, PML-N and PML-Q have become actively engaged in street protests organised by the ‘religious right’ that are shadow boxing with imaginary blasphemers. Such farcical politics has few parallels, to which the government’s trajectory of contradictions and retreat made no mean contribution.

    4. In pursuit of what the government believes to be its survival mode politics, the government and the party has practically abandoned Sherry Rehman. They have provided her some security outside her house but no government ministers have spoken in the parliament criticising the death threats against her. Almost no one has spoken for her at other public forums either. The government has not opted to be part of her defence in the Lahore High Court where there is a case demanding she be debarred. She is also involved, unsupported by the PPP, in trying to defend herself in a blasphemy case in Multan.

    5. The big names of the legal community who led the lawyers’ movement have seem to have opted for selective commitment to rule of law by not taking a clear cut position to stand by Sherry Rehman — barring exceptions like Salman Raja and Hina Jillani. Should they not come forward to defend Sherry Rehman in the LHC and the Multan courts, as someone calling for the amendments to the blasphemy laws, to ensure that justice is upheld?

    6.Against the backdrop of increasing cases of blasphemy being registered – against a student, a doctor and a DG khan imam and his son – Sherry Rehman stands vindicated on both the call for amendment and the timing of the call. She seems to have had a better political sense where it came to the dangers of ‘playing it safe’ and for opting for sheer expediency.

    The government’s blundering over amending article 295 of the PPC will qualify as a textbook example of how ostensibly expedient politics takes nations down the road to hell. I pray that we are proven wrong but it seems that time will testify that led by the short-sighted politics of the PPP and of other parliamentary parties, Pakistan’s politics and State have weakened the essence and values of Islam, undermined parliamentary politics and strengthened the constituency of those who want to see Pakistan turn into a Republic of Fear. Such a heavy price to pay for political blundering and opportunism.

    This is a slightly edited version of a post sent by the prominent journalist and television anchor Nasim Zehra to various email groups.

  6. @aslam arain

    I too noticed the Nasim Zehra post and commented via Twitter yesterday:

    Here is an example of an FCS: a woman who was once with Musharraf, then with Imran Khan, now has ‘dil mein dard’ for Sherry Rehman

    A PPP-phobe #FCS (anchor) is now commenting on how PPP mishandled a private member bill

    Nasim Zehra writes “Such a heavy price to pay for PPP’s political blundering and opportunism.”

    “Government’s blundering over amending article 295, example of how expedient politics takes nations down the road to hell.”

    An #FCS who supported Musharraf and Imran Khan crying over “the short-sighted politics of the PPP”. Never ending entertainment!

    Iqbal Haider (partner of Dr Shahid Masood) & Nasim Zehra (partner of Imran Khan) have no right to defame the party of the people.

  7. Apparently the CFD have now amended their 5 Feb post and retracted the original letter. However, strangely, they did not provide an explanation of why their previous letter was addressed to the Federal Government instead of the Punjab Government. Nor did they offer an apology.

    Interestingly, they still require the Punjab Government AND the Federal Government to provide protection to the public prosecutor. Why is this issue a domain of the Federal Government has been left unexplained?

    They have also retracted their letter to the SCBA and other bar associations. Why?


    Update re: withdrawal of public prosecutor in Salmaan Taseer murder hearing

    Feb 6, 2011: update – The state prosecutor appointed to prosecute Mumtaz Qadri has been provided adequate security by the government and has agreed to conduct the trial, which will not benefit from any reaction or controversy that our letters might cause. We look forward to the trial commencing, and justice being done. We thank all those who responded promptly to collectively protest the earlier withdrawal of the public prosecutor and demand justice. ——————————————–
    Feb 6, 2011: Draft of letters endorsed by individuals and organisations

    We the undersigned express our deep dismay and outrage at the withdrawal of the public prosecutor from the Salmaan Taseer case on Feb 4. The prosecutor has reportedly said he was not given adequate protection. We find this to be an utterly unacceptable situation. It is indeed a sad day when a victim cannot find legal representation but many lawyers offer to represent a murderer, gratis.

    We demand that the assassinated Punjab Governor be provided appropriate legal representation by the State.

    We demand that both the Punjab and Federal governments immediately provide the prosecutor the requisite protection to enable him to appear in court and discharge his legal duties, and that action be taken against those who are threatening him.

    Expecting justice to be done and the rule of law to be followed

  8. PP jahilon keee party hay. Issay hum parhay likhay loag kyoon pasand kareyn? Nseem Zehra, Iqbal Haider, Sherry Rehman aur baqi woh loag jinhan tum loag jaali kehtay ho, sab parhay likhay aur kamyaab loag hayn. Tum loag to crruption par chaltay ho.

  9. Two killed by Raymond Davis were ISI operatives. Shumaila, the wife of Fahim who was one of two killed, ‘committed suicide’ and died. This also looks like ISI job. US ambassador met Zardari today and release of Raymond Davis will be announced today. Police in Faisalabad and Lahore have been put on high alert. This could spark controvercy like Salman Taseer’s assasination. Imran Khan the ISI sponsored next President already expressed condolences.