Thanks: Pakistan Media Watch
Poor Mr. Ansar Abbasi – he does not know how to quit while he is ahead. After his very poor showing on Friday, Mr. Abbasi has decided to have another go at writing his “news analysis” about the NRO. The column, “After Sindh card, Zardari uses Benazir,” is Ansar’s attempt at playing judge against President Zardari. Of course, he did not do his homework and is therefore out “LBW” – Learn Before Writing!
Today’s column by Ansar Abbasi is, once again, published as “news analysis.” Even though it is a rather incendiary opinion piece, The News (Jang) has not seen fit to put it properly on the opinion page. This is an unfortunate habit of the The News as it is quite misleading to readers.
But perhaps more unfortunate is the fact that Mr. Ansar Abbasi continues to believe that insulting rants are a proper substitute for research and reason.
Take, for example, his suggestion that, “Legally and constitutionally speaking, there is no way out for the government but to implement the Supreme Court’s order in letter and spirit. But practically if the government does this, it would mean political death of the PPP’s co-chairman against whom the corruption cases are too serious.”
Actually, this is not quite true. The constitution states in Article 248that certain officials may not be tried while they are in office. Any cases against them will have to be heard once their term is complete.
248. Protection to President, Governor, Minister, etc.
(1) The President, a Governor, the Prime Minister, a Federal Minister, a Minister of State, the Chief Minister and a Provincial Minister shall not he answerable to any court for the exercise of powers and performance of functions of their respective offices or for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions:
Provided that nothing in this clause shall be construed as restricting the right of any person to bring appropriate proceedings against the Federation or a Province.
(2) No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or a Governor in any court during his term of office.
(3) No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the President or a Governor shall issue from any court during his term of office.
(4) No civil proceedings in which relief is claimed against the President or a Governor shall be instituted during his term of office in respect of anything done by or not done by him in his personal capacity whether before or after he enters upon his office unless, at least sixty days before the proceedings are instituted, notice in writing has been delivered to him, or sent to him in the manner prescribed by law, stating the nature of the proceedings, the cause of action, the name, description and place of residence of the party by whom the proceedings are to be instituted and the relief which the party claims.
This is no secret. In fact, it has been stated quite clearly by the government that this is their position. And it is not an unreasonable position, even if it is inconvenient to Ansar Abbasi’s political tirade. The Swiss prosecutor has been adamant about his refusal to reopen a case against Zardari until his term expires.
[Geneva prosecutor Daniel Zappelli] said he can’t reopen the case against Zardari, who was elected president in 2008 after years of battling corruption allegations, because he enjoys “absolute immunity” as a head of state.
“We could go further only if the competent authorities in Pakistan decide to lift the immunity of the head of state, which I do not know whether it is possible according to their constitution,” said Zappelli, speaking in English. “If not, we can’t. Absolutely not. Period.”
Ansar Abbasi then goes on to peddle outrageous rumours including that a major political party was planning to attack the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
After the NRO decision, the unnerved PPP was alleged to be even planning physical attacks on the Chief Justice of Pakistan to embarrass Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Money was also reportedly distributed amongst some student leaders of the PSF to organise demonstrations against the judiciary.
If this is true, it is a serious charge that should be taken up with the proper authorities immediately. I ask that Ansar Abbasi immediately file a grievance and reveal his evidence. Otherwise, what are we to think except that he has made the whole thing up?
Also, wasn’t it only three days earlier that this same Ansar Abbasi was condemning a foreign newspaper for quoting an unnamed source? But notice that now Abbasi does not even pretend to have heard his rumour from some “anonymous source.” Rather, he simply says it is “alleged.” Alleged by whom? Surely Ansar Abbasi does not want to be a hypocrite. Please, sir, tell us who your source is for these serious accusations.
Ansar Abbasi’s entire column is actually a poor attempt for him to play judge, jury, and executioner of Asif Zardari. Abbasi says the Supreme Court “is serious to ensure a fair trial of past corruption cases.” Perhaps they are, but Ansar Abbasi sees no need for a fair trial. Instead, he says “Allowing a fair trial to prove his innocence would be a risky gamble that everyone in the party knows is bound to be lost…”
What is the point of bothering with a trial, when Ansar Abbasi has already judged the outcome? This blog takes no position on the issue of Asif Zardari’s guilt or innocence. There is very important legal discussion about Presidential immunity, and even if the President did not enjoy this immunity, surely the courts are the proper place to hold a trial, not the last issue of The News. Perhaps Mr. Abbasi is challenging Shahid Masood to be “Chief Justice of the Media”?
Ansar Abbasi: Challenging Shahid Massod to be Chief Justice of Media?
Ansar closes his opinion by saying that, “Instead of being befooled by political slogans, the people of Pakistan deserve to know if there is any truth in the NAB’s claim…” Perhaps Mr. Abbasi would do us all the favour of ceasing his foolish political sloganeering, then, so that proper journalists can do their work. At the very least, sir, we beg of you…Learn Before Writing!