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The decision and democracy

07 September, 2007

By Muhammad Ahsan Yatu


Almost a decade ago the Supreme Court building came under attack. The honourable Chief Justice was the target. After venting their anger hundreds of Nawaz Sharif’s supporters celebrated the ‘success’ with great fervour. They ate rich meals that were brought from a four star hotel, and sang and danced on the Constitution Avenue to express their jubilation over the humiliation they had caused to the scared Judges.

They sang and danced again on August 23, 2007. This time they were expressing their jubilation over the liberation of their leaders from a self-selected punishment — the great silence and the long exile. There lies the difference. That is how the aggrieved politicians had disgraced the judiciary. That is how a grace-filled judiciary protected the genuine rights of even those who had shown no respect for the law and the courts. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had then sunk the Titanic of judiciary. Today an independent and fearless judiciary saved Nawaz Sharif from sinking into oblivion.

It took even the judiciary a long time of sixty years to assess its own worth and to adjudge its real responsibilities. In the past it has been endorsing army’s unconstitutional acts with nominal resistance, and deciding the political matters and the politicians’ cases either on ethnic or opportunistic bases. Time is changing fast. The Judiciary is changing even faster. In the history of Pakistan it has happened for the first time that a judge has resisted, so openly and boldly, the pressures from the army and the agencies.  Though it took the Judges four months to restore their Chief Justice, their capacity to deliver speedy justice is increasing with the passing of every second. The time they took to decide the cases of many missing persons and of Sharif Brother’s petition is perhaps a record in the history of modern/western judicial system.

The way they are taking suo moto notices is remarkable  becuase for the time being and till such time politics is revived, there is no other way to move a stagnant and callous governing system, solve the piled up mountain like problems, and to make the state feel that the ordinary Pakistanis too are human beings.

But for the past eight years, the Sharif brothers have been enjoying immense support throughout their political and business career. The army, the bureaucracy, the rich and a majority of people had backed them tremendously. On the political side the rightists were obviously the comrades of the capitalist Sharifs; even many leftists portrayed them as the symbol of national bourgeoisie. The judiciary too remained kind to them. Restoration of Nawaz Sharif’s dismissed government is the only example of its kind in Pakistan. Even the verdict against him in the plane hijacking case was soft. Had he contested the judgment of Sindh High Court in the Supreme Court, there was a great possibility that he could have been a free man seven years earlier. 

As far as system’s support is concerned no other politician would come even closer to Nawaz Sharif and his brothers. They had an in-built/regional advantage. But they spent some of it to build their political and industrial empire, and most of it to destroy the institutions. In this great game of destruction they were not alone. Most of the rulers before and after them had been treading the same fascist path. What pains one is that in spite of their misdeeds the system gave the Sharif brothers enough time and unprecedented support, but they proved a failure. 

Notwithstanding their friendships inside and outside Pakistan, it looked as if their exile would not end before the committed date. However, the Supreme Court accepted their half-hearted appeal and a unanimous decision went in their favour. They are lucky that the judges around are not like Malik Qayyum and Maulvi Mushtaq. The two times prime minister of Pakistan and his brothers must learn the lesson that, one should not attack the protectors of the Constitution; no matter how serious one’s grievances are. And if they are to stay in politics for long, they must learn more: the politics is art of managing the affairs of country; it is not a money making and institution destroying activity.

All said and done, will we continue to move in a positive direction? It is not impossible. However, not all can be left to the courts. The other organs of the state will have to do their assigned jobs. Most important thing is how early real politics takes root. The Judges have a limit. They have to look also into the problems that the lower courts have.. It is in itself a big task. Delayed decisions have adversely affected thousands of families. Lower courts are no doubt short of resources, human as well as material.

The Judges cannot do for an indefinite period what they are doing these days.  Yes, it is our good luck or whatever one may call it that we now have a superior judiciary, which is different from the past ones. If politicians are inactive and the other organs of the state are free to do whatever they like, then who else other than the judges can have a check on them? Even otherwise in such complexities where constitution is silent or abstract or appears to be contradictory, its spirit speaks through the pen of the judges. All of us know what spirit of constitution means; though in the past law of necessity had prevailed. The present day scenario was summarised beautifully by MNA Qamar Zaman in a talk show. He said that, ‘The judges are performing their constitutional task. We call it judicial activism because we have no such past experiences.’

The politicians must act as real politicians; the sooner they do it, the better it would be for the entire nation. The situation has become worse than the one that we had during the last years of General Ayub’s rule. This time ordinary people have lost even their last pennies to inflation — to the alliance of the ruling rich. This time a martial law will undo whatever we have as a nation. The corporate army knows this. It has also come to know through the concepts of globalisation and its own commercialism that the economy forms the basics of everything including security. It will avoid confrontation.

Army cannot break its own sponsored ‘security first’ myth.  It is peoples’ pressure that will work. If the politicians are real politicians — honest to people — they must contest the elections highlighting the need assessment of security and welfare. They must tell the people that conversion of the present security state into a social democratic state is the only way to survival. They must tell the people that we need to reduce the budget of the administration and army drastically. To respect a mandate won on the basis of this election manifesto would be a binding on all.  

The decision on the petitions of the missing people and Sharif Brothers is a triumph for all those who believe in human rights. Notwithstanding that the people do ask why has the most important constitutional issue, the provincial autonomy, not been resolved so far? Why does the political change in Pakistan always mean change of ruling faces only; and that too from within the moneyed groups? When would the masses become part of state structure? They ask a hundred plus similar and disturbing questions regarding the events of the past sixty years when all the institutions including the superior courts had failed us. All of us are responsible for our disturbed past. Yet, neither army nor bureaucracy nor judiciary nor politicians can tell about the reasons behind our persistent failures. It is the job of the social scientists.

The social scientists must, with the benefit of hindsight, find the answer to the mother of all questions: why have been our rulers, ‘democrats’ or dictators, practicing fascism? Is it the outcome of the joint rule of moneyed groups in a country, which has been having an unshaped economy throughout? Did ethnicity play the major role? Or are our elite genetically resistant to change? There could be many reasons. The sponsors of the ‘security first’ theme and the proponents of the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ can also prove helpful. Whatever they would tell the analysts, opposite of that would make a part of the answer. A complete answer to this one question will naturally be the solution to all of our problems.

Reader Comments:

Parties and Governors

We should keep in mind that this western form of democracy or ongoing power struggle can never be successful in our country. We shall become more poor and suffer under likely circumstances as have been untill now.
That is the reason that we have less time to build up our scientific and cultural resources. We are just spectators seeing one going and the other coming. The worst is that we are much interested in this game like playing cards or chess.

Mohammad Ilyas, Pakistan - 08 September, 2007

Eprofessionals must act and fuction within their un-political scope.

EVEN THE JUDICIARY SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN ANY POLITICAL CLOTHING.

JUDICIARY IS TO UPHOLD JUSTICE AND NOT TO EXERCISE OR PUSH INTO EXERCISE WHERE IT ASSUMES A POLITICAL FACE.

IN THE SAME MODE, DOCTORS, ENGINEERS AND ALL OTHER PROFESSIONALS MUST FUNCTION WITHIN THEIR DESIGNATED RESPONSIBILITIES AND SCOPES.

Anwar Mahmood, Bahamas - 08 September, 2007

Decision Democracy and Fascism

Decision making has factors controlling decision often with trial judiciary
Or via council and tribunal. Decision has to be made for everything for purchase schooling for finance .Everything for decision falls into different Category.There are billions of people human animal insect Universe requiring daily decision.Every one’s thought create Decision from space constituting Governace of God.What You decide is not important.What is given to you by God Counts.You can do 100% correct steps taken (decision)to achieve your goal but it Ends up short of expectation.This hidden missing decision maker is mystery called an act of God Or An act of God’s decision .Sometimes Satan is blamed rightly or wrongly.God has designed prayer against evil of satan or for help often called "mutual disillusion".

Democracy is principles about peace freedom success via set of practices procedures designed by God or Govt .Fundamentals of government design such as human rights judiciary equality benefit equal opportunity before the law via democratic process or democracies . In democracy, all citizens with elected or appointed officials can participate in making public decisions. This is possible with relatively small numbers of people .They can be within Family community organization or via recommended council.But greed with inside info accomplice create share the Treasury cash or loot or licence to develop profitable plum pie project within private club .

Fascism -Make yourself such that you achieve what you desire,You are happy contented to avoid disputes with rich chauvinistic imperialist greedy Arrogant discontented people around you .Above all do not go near fascists. What is fascism? Fascist denies equality. Fascist segregate aggravate. Fascist will treat you as inferior subhuman and second class. Fascist can be individual, family, a segment of society or a fascist family of relatives, fascist community or fascist Government. Fascist usually acquire power illicit wealth and design fascism style or cult or class of their own .A Fascist Can follow democracy judiciary religion or be head of illicit religion organization of caste creed or dictatorship monopolistic rich club or financial organization. Fascism is culmination of sin of sinners. To fight Fascism is to follow Islam .Leaders Political Parties or family ordering food from pricy restaurant to celebrate something once in
A lifetime is no fascism.


Z Billo, Canada - 08 September, 2007

Let people come out and placy their citizens' responsibility.

Yatu Sahib,
There are few good points in your article.,that need to be followed up on.
Movement of Lawyers helped reinstate CJ,there is some more work to be done by them and certainly much more by ordinary people all the time.As they say freedom is not free so a constant proactive struggle is the necessity by every one who can ,due to his education or money or social status.There is a big problem that is hurting almost every one in Pakistan that needs to be corrected, is the property's buying and selling and the activities of land mafia.
In US the solution is this,when ever any piece of land/house/shop etcetc is bought or sold it can't be done without an attorney on each side who checks "Ownership title".This is done by making sure on whose name is property registered with the area muncipality.SO every time a sale of property is done it has to be registered immediately in muncipality through the lawyers.The responsiblity of the records is with city municipality and then on the two lawyers who if don't do right work will loose license to practice law.So such a law is needed to be made and with it also a clear law that police should come to carry out the orders of eviction of illegal occupants.The time between lititgation and kicking out of illegal occupants should not take more than two months.
If city muncipality which somewhat controls both police and has record office can't do good work deserves to be sued.Such a change will bring a great blessing as will bring peace to many.
Other most important area of work is that people should start suing illegal impostions on top postions by military's retired personells.
e.g In Islamabad position of DG Health is given to retired army woman doctor,a major General.The senior doctors in department of health should sue the department and raise question in court that on what basis can her appointment be justified.This is only one example.Similarly the senior professors,teachers should sue department of education and raise question why a certain retd.Gen or Brig or What ever, is appointed on top position when equally or more competent people are available.These retired army people take salary from new job and benefits while making excellent pension benefits from military.
People need to be told to sue the local city municipailty if they become victim of certain burglary,theft or murder or any crime.It is the responsibility of the city muncipality to pay for damages in millions this will force city authorities to force for a better law and order situation.Such suits will give publicity which will encourage more to do same.
Your article other wise is good and balanced.

Dr.M.Jawaid Khan MD, United Kingdom - 10 September, 2007

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