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  Asia-Pacific
Pakistan under Dark Clouds
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Choudhary

Mostly it is found that political leaders don't transfer the powers to the opposition in a gay mood. Specially in many of the Asian countries, it has been seen that many foul tricks are played just to keep themselves in power. For example, to declare emergency in the country, to get special privileges from the parliament to keep oneself in the power, to have constant control over the administration by the military administrators, to uproot the democratic government & to establish the military rule etc. Many such methods are adopted by the power greedy people. Pakistan is also one of such countries in Asia where the democratic governments & military are sometime at the opposite ends. Here many a time, the military rulers have uprooted the democratic governments & kept control over the administration. In these days, too Pakistan is under such a ruler, General Parvez Musharraf who ousted the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from power & put him in prison. Afterwards because of the interference of the Royal family of Saudi Arabia, he took pity on him but he was exiled. Another former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto too, is not allowed to enter Pakistan. To keep his strong control over the power in Pakistan, General Musharraf has kept his control over the office of Pakistan President as well as the chief of the army.

In a series to trample his opponents, General Musharraf took a wrong & untimely step in the last days. On the basis of the report sent by the Pakistan Ministry of Law & approved by the Prime Minister's office, Musharraf dismissed the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Choudhary, from his office. In this report Iftikhar Choudhary was accused of misusing his power, to interfere in other spheres of work & corruption. But these accusations were not supported by enough evidences. This dismissal was being considered a mere political step by Parvez Musharraf. The dismissal of Iftikhar Choudhary proved a headache for Parvez Musharraf. Although the popularity of judges of the Supreme Court in South Asian countries is not common yet in the case of dismissal of Justice Choudhary in Pakistan, all the opposite political parties stood along with Justice Choudhary. After his dismissal Justice Choudhary held meetings in many cities of Pakistan which were attended by a huge crowd of people, even uncommon in favour of political leaders. In fact, the people standing along with Justice Choudhary were mostly opposing Musharraf & not so much favouring Justice Choudhary.

Anyhow the dismissal time of Justice Choudhary was still fresh when General Musharraf had to take action against the terrorists hidden in Lal Masjid in Islamabad. This action was strongly opposed by the orthodox Muslims. After the Operation Sunrise in Lal Masjid in Pakistan, there had been suicidal attacks for many days in Pakistan in which army was mainly aimed at. There was also a suicidal attack in the meeting to be addressed by the dismissed Justice Choudhary in Karachi in which many people were killed. Day by day, the condition in Pakistan was going from bad to worse. In the meantime, on July 20, the thirteen member full bench of the Supreme Court in Pakistan gave its historical verdict regarding the suspension of Justice Iftikhar Choudhary & ordered to reinstate him. There was a strong stir in the politics of Pakistan by this verdict.

Some political analysts are of the view that reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar Choudhary also has got secret approval of Parvez Musharraf. But the opponents of Musharraf are calling the reinstatement of Justice Choudhary as a victory of justice & defeat of Musharraf government. The opposition is taking this decision of the Supreme Court as a silver lining in the dark cloud of the dirty politics prevalent in Pakistan. Now the opposition is expecting from the Supreme Court that it will be helpful in sending back to barracks, the marching army on the roads of Pakistan. Some opposition leaders are of the view that if the suicidal attacks in Pakistan are to be stopped, then the interference of General Musharraf & his army should be stopped in the politics of Pakistan.

Parvez Musharraf too had welcomed the verdict of reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar Choudhary by the full bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Pak Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has also given a statement that Pakistan government accepts the decision of the Supreme Court. Aziz has also said that this is not a time of thinking about victory or defeat. But the opposition is taking those statements as baseless & like a sound from empty vessels. The opposition is of the view that the welcome & acceptance the reinstatement of Justice Choudhary by the President Musharraf & the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is not their greatness but their compulsion. The opposition leaders are of the views that if Musharraf, in reality wants to give proof of accepting the court verdict by open heart, he should ask Shaukat Aziz for resignation or dismiss him. The opposition is also demanding resignation from the Law Minister Wasim Zafar.

Anyhow Justice Iftikhar Choudhary has taken the charge at the time when there is great disorder of law in Pakistan. After taking charge as the Chief Justice, Justice Choudhary has set up three special three member benches. These special benches will work in the vacations & will work in extra time. It will hear the cases lying pending for a long time. This first bench will be presided by Justice Choudhary himself & two other judges Justice Bhagwan Das & Justice Ghulam Rabbani will be other two members of the bench. On the reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar Choudhary, the lawyers in Pakistan are celebrating. They are excited over it. This incident in Pakistan is being looked not so as the victory of Choudhary as is the defeat of the government. Overwhelmed by the reinstatement of Justice Iftikhar Choudhary, a spokesman of the Pakistan has expressed his opinion as that this movement is not going to finish here. It will continue till the set up of democracy in Pakistan.

Undoubtedly, with the reinstatement of Justice Choudhary, a chapter of opposition against Parvez Musharraf has closed. But the reinstatement of Justice Choudhary will prove a boon or curse for Musharraf is under the clouds. Only future can reveal it. But one thing is there that reinstatement of Justice Choudhary has no effect on challenge of terrorism that is being faced by Pakistan. The people who openly opposed the incident of Lal Masjid & stood along with Justice Choudhary have tried to show the world that fundamentalists in Pakistan are also with Justice Choudhary. But God forbid, if Justice Choudhary got influenced by the extremist organizations, it may be helpful in waiting the plants of the extreme activities & prone fatal for the public of the Pakistan. So Justice Choudhary should be careful in dealing with the internal political condition of the Pakistan. He should take courage to deal firmly with terrorism, spread of Talibani thoughts, fundamentalists & the organizations that are strongly religionists as was done by Musharraf in case of Lal Masjid. If Pakistan doesn't undertake to clear terrorist network with the help of its army & rangers, obviously a day will come when the self styled custodian of the movement of eradication of terrorism will start an anti-terrorist movement in Pakistan & that too without even Pakistan knowing of it. If it is so, it will be a great danger for the liberty & sovereignty of Pakistan. It will also be fatal & misfortunate for the common citizens in Pakistan .



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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