'Tough' decisions needed to protect democracy: SC
17 October, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that difficult decisions needed to be taken to protect democracy and the constitution.
During the hearing of the petition of Air Marshal (r) Asghar Khan about the alleged distribution of money among politicians by the Inter-Services Intelligence in the 90s, the chief justice declared no IJI (Islami Jamhoori Itehad) would be formed again and only that would be done which the constitution permitted. The CJP said though the court had been hearing the case for over a year but it has become important with the admission of the impleading parties. The court summoned former officer of Military Intelligence Brigadier Hamid Saeed in the case for today (Wednesday).
"The offices of the president, army chief and ISI chief are very important, and the president is most important office-bearer and he/she has to take care, but unluckily president was involved in some activities and we are waiting for Aiwan-e-Saddar's reply in this regard. If the reply was in negative then we may summon Ijlal Haider Zaidi," the chief justice remarked. Justice Iftikhar remarked that recently three retired generals, involved in the NLC case, were reinstated by the army to be proceeded against. "This sends the good message that the wrongdoers are subject to law, even after their retirement," the chief justice remarked. He said that they always made efforts to save the constitution and the democratic system.
Resuming his arguments in the case, counsel for the applicant, Salman Akram Raja, demanded the Supreme Court to direct both the Election Commission of Pakistan and the government not only to inquire into but also to take action against those who had manipulated 1990 general election. The three-member bench of the court hearing the case asked him to refer the law in this regard.
Raja argued that whoever interferes or influences the outcome of the election could be punished under the Representation of the Peoples Act 1976 and the section 177-C of the Pakistan Penal Code. He said that interference in the electorates' rights amounts to subversion of the constitution. He said in the Rental Power Projects judgement the court had declared that the wrong done in the past cannot be ignored and the people responsible for the wrongdoings need to be prosecuted. He said that there was serious allegations in the case that money was arranged so that a group could perform better in the election against the Pakistan People's Party. The IJI, which won a majority in the 1988 election, had it reduced to 47 in less than two years, he noted.
Raja said those individuals who have committed wrong should be brought to justice, no matter how high the post they hold. He said two weeks ago the Turkish government took action against 300 people, including army generals, who participated in 1980 and 1997 operations in that country. Meanwhile, Akram Sheikh, counsel for Mirza Aslam Beg, argued that Naseerullah Babar was the linchpin of the controversy that surfaced in 1997. He requested the court that he should be given the 12-page statement of Babar. "How can I argue unless the copy of Naseerullah Babar's statement is not given to me," he pleaded.
But the court turned down his request. The court had sealed Babar's statement, as it contains some sensitive information. The counsel said that his client was implicated in the case through a planned conspiracy, and argued that he only provided logistical support with the consent of other military officials. Meanwhile, Roedad Khan, former interior secretary, in his application stated that he never distributed funds and was not a member of any cell. He also stated that he never met Mizra Aslam Beg, except once as the secretary interior. Hearing of the case will continue today.