Why is Asma Jahangir repentant? – by Farman Nawaz

Although confession is not a tradition in Pakistan but since restoration of judiciary few very prominent and impartial leaders of the lawyers’ movement have openly criticized the same judiciary which got freedom because of their sincere efforts.

Some journalists and politicians were raising questions about the independence of judiciary even before its restoration and when it was restored then it was also said that it will not remain independent as it is a ‘thankful’ judiciary. But Ahmad Ali Kurd was the first impartial person, and the man who really worked for the restoration of judiciary, who expressed his reservations about the behavior of the judges. Ahmad Ali Kurd  declared these Judges as Pharaohs. Previously Asma Jahangir too had declared this free Judiciary a type of dictatorship. Civil Judge Mr. Sayeed Khurshid had resigned in protest against the present seniors and elders of the same judiciary.

Memogate issue is unique in the history of Pakistan as apparently opposing sides has taken weird steps. Manssor Ijaz about whom it is said that late Benazir Bhutto did not trust him, he accuses Pakistani official for contacting him to convey president Zardari’s secret memo to US chief of army. Again the same Mansoor Ijaz who is also held responsible for writing against ISI, is contacted by the ISI chief General Shuja Pasha and then he also starts believing in his accusations. Mansoor Ijaz writes an article and this time Pakistani media which is very conscious about US accusations and interference in Pakistan, readily accepted Mansoor’s (US citizen) accusations. Pakistan army which prepared NRO doubts Zardari and expresses its reservations but strangely very late.

Nawaz Sharif who is considered anti-establishment and he is the one who twisted army’s arm after Osama’s death, carries the same memo issue to the court of the Chief Justice who is also once disgraced by the establishment. During the peak of memogate episode when this issue was taken to the Supreme Court some analysts were of the opinion that though government is mistaken to criticize judiciary but they were also of the opinion that judiciary has also put question mark on its impartiality by accepting the applications for hearing.

Very strange questions are raised in one’s mind to listen the court hearing. First of all Chief Justice Iftekhar Muhammad Chaudhry who always derides the government for the poor performance of the institutions accepted the answers of Army and ISI chief without affidavit and not through proper channel. Secondly he did not believe in the statement of General James Jones as our own COAS Kayani has reservations but strangely CJ seems believing in the accusations of Mansoor Ijaz despite the fact that our local Hussain Haqqani has repeatedly denied the charges. Is this impartiality or partiality? Lastly Asma Jahangir represents Hussain Haqqani and indirectly she also represented the civilian authority against the establishment. Attorney General represents the federal government but the question is who was represented by the Chief Justice. His arguments prove that he was also representing someone. And more precisely we can say he seemed a party rather then an impartial arbitrator.

Chief Justice also failed to mention the status of Mansoor Ijaz. Is he a partner of the person who ordered him to prepare the memo, or he is the main witness or he is the main conspirator. And if this case is decided against Hussian Haqqani so what will be the punishment for Mansoor Ijaz who helped Haqqani to convey the memo – the so-called security threat to Pakistan. Or if this case is decided in favour of Hussian Haqqani then again what will be the fate of Masoor Ijaz.

Though this case can start a new chapter in the politics of Pakistan but this case cannot in any way find a clue to disgrace the president Zardari unless if Hussain Haqqani is found guilty. But if People’s party starts agitation against the impartiality of the judiciary then we must fear of the consequences of agitation of PPP, the freedom of judiciary and consciousness of the army.

Now the question is why is Asma repentant for her endeavors to restore judiciary and why she said, “It is the darkest day in the history of judiciary”. The lawyers’ movement essence was to stop military interference in politics and institutions. But today judiciary along with so-called anti-establishment entity Nawaz Sharif, has again sided with the same establishment which set s one against the other to prolong its reign and control. Asma is right when she says that the petitioners will also repent one day because this memo case can give an authority to establishment to play with the fate of the politics in the country. She is right when she says that this case is political in nature and political institution must solve this issue politically. Otherwise nonpolitical solution will cause in harsh political consequences. And making issues of nonissues as well as bringing them to court will mar the credibility of the courts.  In the end I will just add a sentence that our efforts to disclose realities must not create another Sheikh Mujeeb Ur Rehman.



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