Stories about court

Is Gilani’s indictment good for democracy?

With the news that the Pakistani Supreme Court, in a widely expected hearing, indicted Prime Minister Gilani yesterday morning, it is becoming increasingly clear that the two national institutions, the judiciary and the civilian government, are headed for a full-on collision. Despite statements over the weekend, where the Prime Minister seemed resigned to losing office, there is little indication that a resignation from the PPP stalwart is coming any time soon. If Gilani is indeed destined to cede power, it will likely come at the behest of the Chief Justice Chaudhry and his court. As chaotic and unpleasant as the ...

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The limits of judicial review

The Supreme Court of Pakistan seems to be arrogating power to itself while targeting the executive. The problem here is is two-fold. The first issue is one of judicial review, and the limits of that tactic. The Supreme Court has asked the attorney general whether the government intended to dismiss the chief of Army staff and the director general ISI, and when answered in the negative, asked for a written response from the government to the same effect. This translates as a written guarantee that both the aforementioned figures will not be relieved of their posts. The prerogative for these actions in ...

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The president’s immunity

The question of whether President Asif Ali Zardari enjoys immunity against criminal or civil proceedings requires an analysis of Article 248 of the Constitution. This states that: Article 248 (1) : The president shall not be answerable to any court….for any act done or purported to be done in the exercise of those powers and performance of those functions. The article goes on to state that: Article 248 (2): No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the president or a governor in any court during his term of office. Article 248(3): No process for the arrest or imprisonment of the ...

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Explaining the garlands for Qadri

You may argue that a large number of people in Pakistan condemn the assassination of Salmaan Taseer. But the truth, though bitter, is that many instead of condemning the heinous act of a murderer, condemn the verdict of the court which proclaims capital punishment for Mumtaz Qadri.  There are campaigns running throughout the country that pay tribute to a murderer. Huge posters of Qadri, decked with Quranic verses and beautiful roses, are plastered all over and yet there is no one to remove such aberrations. Some believe that the reason for this queer phenomenon is illiteracy, and talk about it in a ...

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Ayaz Amir versus a 15-year-old

To crush and bypass the law is an everyday phenomenon in this luckless land, but when the law is trampled upon by someone who urges the nation to respect it every Friday in his verbose columns, one worries. This is happening in my beloved Chakwal where well-known columnist and MNA of PML-N Ayaz Amir dwells. Let me first say I have considered Amir a great teacher but even the greatest teacher is not a divine figure who is above wrongdoing or exempt from criticism. A local court on Tuesday ordered City Police of Chakwal to register a criminal case against Ayaz Amir ...

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Minority rights: A tale of two divorces

It is the middle of the year 2004; two young married ladies, Parveen Amanual and Asia Tabassam, who reside in the same locality of Rahim Yar Khan, come to the court. They are both hard done by their husbands, and want to get a divorce. Their divorce cases were, thus, duly filed against their husbands. By the end of 2004, within a period of four months, Asia Tabassam was able to get her divorce, and she is now re-married living with her second husband and three kids. Parveen Amanual, however, did not have the same luck. It is 2011, ...

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Inquiries in NICL scam

The judiciary has been walking the tightrope with the doctrine of “judicial restraint” in one hand and the desire to shake off corruption in the other. The latest order in the NICL scam shows that the judiciary is inclined not to get bogged down in the balancing act and get on with pursuing corruption cases. During the proceedings, leading to the detailed order, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry had conveyed his displeasure to the prime minister through the attorney general over the transfer of the investigators of the scam. The three-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice, had repeated its ...

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The curious case of Moonis Elahi

So, the interior ministry has pulled yet another stunt with Additional Director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Zafar Qureshi. We can now officially say that the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has started reaping the benefits of joining the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led government coalition. Moonis Elahi must feel relieved. His party is now aligned with the professionals and he can be sure of the fact that the corruption charges levelled against him will probably not translate into a conviction. As usual, cleansing Elahi’s image has required sacrifice from those who believe in principles. Qureshi, the lead investigator of the case ...

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Failure of justice = power to the misogynistic jirga

If I were a murderer I’d love jirgas. In fact, I’d be thrilled at their judgments, at their twisted logic. After all, for any wrongdoing I committed, the retribution would fall not on me but on the women around me. On May 6, 2011, a jirga in Sindh handed over 12 girls to the victim party to settle a murder case. The youngest of them was five-years-old. How does that even work I’d like to know.  Kafka created a surreal world in which punishment for a crime was disproportionate to the offence. But we live in a reality where ...

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The Supreme Court can do better

The whole nation looks to the honourable Supreme Court as the last resort for provision of justice and redressal of longstanding grievances. Ordinarily, legal cases pass through a long arduous process of litigation in lower courts, especially in civil matters, before they reach the Supreme Court for the last round of litigation. It is no secret that the lower judiciary, functioning under the direct supervision of district judges, is by and large, desperately inadequate in dealing with jurisdiction, legal rights, application of the law in its totality to given cases and conduct of evidence. Lacunas are left in orders and ...

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