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Monday, February 23, 2015

Chief Justice of Pakistan (retd.) Rana Bhagwandas passed away in Karachi today (Monday), According to sources, the former acting Chief Justice was suffering from heart ailment. He left us at the age of 73. He was admitted to a private hospital in a critical condition where he passed away early morning as a result of cardiac arrest. His final rituals will be offered today at 4:00 pm

Bhagwandas remained as the acting CJP during the 2007 judicial crisis and also briefly when Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry went on foreign tours in 2005 and 2006. He became the first Hindu and the second non-Muslim to serve as chief of the highest court in Pakistan. Bhagwandas also worked as the Chairman of Federal Public Service Commission of Pakistan.

Chief Justice Rana Bhagwandas was born on 20 December 1942 into a Hindu Sindhi Rajput family. He was born in Naseerabad, Larkana District of Sindh. He studied law and received a Masters degree in Islamic studies. He joined the bar in 1965. He joined judicial system in 1967. Justice Rana Bhagwandas was promoted to the Sindh High Court in 1994 and Superior judiciary in the year of 1999.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Justice (retd.) Nasim Hassan Shah passed away on Tuesday evening in Lahore after protracted illness. He was 86 years old. He had been suffering from multiple illness since long.
His funeral prayers will be offered on Wednesday morning at 9AM, Location: 58-D 1, Sir Syed Road Gulberg 3, Lahore. CJP (r) Nasim Shah remained Chief Justice of Pakistan from April 17, 1993 to April 14, 1994. He also served as the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The former CJP Nasim Shah was part of the bench which had sentenced the former prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to death, This decision made him notorious in Pakistan. He had also invalidated the presidential ordinance under which the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was removed in 1993.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed grief over the demise of Dr. Nasim Hassan Shah. He has mentioned that Justice (r) Shah rendered praise-worthy services for the judicial system of Pakistan.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman, Imran Khan Tuesday said he would take on former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in the court of law.

Talking to media persons prior to his departure for Peshawar from Bani Gala, Imran Khan said in light mood that Rs20 billion is a quite a big amount and, if needed, he would take some assistance in this regard from Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

He said till now he acted upon whatever the government had asked him and he was still allowing government time to constitute the judicial commission tasked to conduct a probe into the alleged rigging of elections 2013.

“The government had better form the judicial commission soon or else we will shut down the whole country,” Imran Khan warned.

He said the country would not have faced petrol crisis today, if his party’s sit-in had continued to go on.

Imran Khan said increasing the power tariff despite the unprecedented decline in international oil prices is nothing but a ‘Jagaa Tax’ (extortion).

Image Courtesy: Movement For Rule of Law

ISLAMABAD: Former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has filed a Rs20 billion defamation suit against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

The sessions Judge, Islamabad, sent a notice to the PTI chairman to submit his reply to the court on January 29.Imran Khan had accused Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of involvement in rigging in the general elections 2013.

The former CJ, in his petition filed through his lawyers Sheikh Ahsanuddin and Taufiq Asif in the court of Sessions Judge Nazir Ahmed Gujjana, stated that Imran Khan had alleged that the former chief justice was involved in rigging in the last general elections in which the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) emerged as the ruling party.

The former chief justice in the petition stated that the PTI chairman levelled baseless allegations against him, which had damaged his credibility. Now Khan should either ask for pardon or pay Rs20 billion as damages as the PTI chairman has not been able to prove his claims so far.

The judge issued a notice to Imran Khan to submit his reply to the court on January 29.Talking to media persons outside the court, lawyers of former chief justice said the PTI chairman had levelled baseless allegations against Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in his speeches and he had not proved any allegation yet.

“The former chief justice is ready to appear before a judicial commission,” the lawyers said.Sources in the PTI confirmed that the legal team of the party had also started preparations to submit a reply to the court from Imran Khan.

Agencies add: The petition was filed under Section 9 of the Defamation Ordinance 2002 through a group of lawyers, comprising Nayaab Hassan Gardezi, Toufique Asif, Sheikh Ahsan-ud-Din, Aamir Mughal, Razaullah Niazi and Raja Zahid.

The petitioner demanded Rs15 billion as damages from the PTI chief for defaming him at home and abroad by hurling baseless, mischievous and malicious allegations through his speeches.

He also accused the respondent of using slanderous and disparaging language in his interviews against him.The ex-CJP’s counsel also claimed Rs5 billion as damages for mental agony, torture, harassment, etc, caused to him and his family.

The amount recovered as damages shall be dedicated to an honourable cause for furtherance of a national institution and welfare of the downtrodden, the counsel added.Moreover, the erstwhile CJP pleaded the district and sessions judge to allow him to become a party in the proposed judicial commission (JC) demanded by the PTI chief to probe the alleged rigging in the last general elections.

“I make a categorical statement that PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s allegations of my involvement in rigging in general elections 2013 are not only false, baseless, yet defamatory, slanderous and are based on no evidence, therefore, action against Khan is called for under the law and if judicial commission is constituted, I be also allowed to become a party,” he added.

Iftikhar Chaudhry stated that as per his knowledge, so far no commission — in response to a letter by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights on August 3, 2014 addressed to the registrar of the Supreme Court to constitute a commission of enquiry under the Pakistan Commission of Enquiry Act, 1956 (Act No. VI of 1956) — had been constituted by the apex court.

If the commission was constituted, he be allowed to become a party so that he could prove that Imran Khan’s allegations of his involvement in rigging were false, baseless, defamatory and slanderous, and based on no evidence, he noted.

The ex-CJP maintained that in the proposal, which was available with the media about negotiations between the PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to resolve the controversy relating to rigging in the 2013 general elections, not a single term of reference was proposed to probe into the allegations against him (Iftikhar Chaudhry).


Sunday, January 18, 2015

The refusal of judges to hear cases against terrorists has paved the way for establishment of military courts, said Senate Opposition Leader and Pakistan Peoples’ Party senior leader Aitzaz Ahsan while talking to journalist after offering Fateha on the demise of father of PPP district President Zaki Chaudhry on Saturday.

The PPP leader said that if the courts assure disposal of cases relating to terrorism within six weeks, he would personally go to the prime minister and request him to send the cases to anti-terrorist courts (ATC) instead of military courts.

He pointed out that five judges refused to hear the case of murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer against Mumtaz Qadri. He said this attitude of the judges forced the government to establish military courts.

He said that after supporting the 21st constitution amendment in the All Parties Conference, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Sirajul Haq should not have expressed their reservations. He said the two leaders not only supported the National Action Plan but also led the prayers for its success. After such a support, reservations are regrettable.

He said PPP supported the military courts as a bitter pill but said these courts would not be as powerful as in the past and hear only those cases that would be referred to the by the Federal government. He made it clear that no case would send to the military courts against any student, seminary or political party not involved in terrorist activity.

The Senate opposition leader said out of eight thousand cases before the ATCs, five hundred await executions after decisions on appeals. Appeals against rest of the cases are still under hearing.

Ahsan further said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairmen Imran Khan ended his sit-in in haste and that removed pressure from the government.

Regarding rigging in the elections, the PPP leader said there should be no doubt that there was wide spread electoral fraud. He said his wife Bushra Aitzaz contested from NA-124 and during recounting 107 bags were such where the stamps were defaced while 33 bags contained waste papers instead of votes. He said when the bags of NA-124 will be re-opened, cats would come out of them instead of tigers. He said he would release a whitepaper on rigging in NA-124 at a press conference in Lahore on Monday.

He conceded that the Sindh government has failed to control the drought situation in Thar where hundreds of innocent children have died. He said this should not have happened and the Sindh government should have acted rapidly.


Friday, January 16, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is tabling its draft cyber security bill in the National Assembly (NA) today (Friday) to ensure quick implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism but the draft bill still misses several key areas like online blasphemy, cyber stalking, ‘spamming’ and ‘spoofing’ which are considered serious offences in some other countries.

“The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2014” is being presented in the parliament one year after its formulation by the Ministry of Information Technology in consultation with other stakeholders. According to a spokesman of the ministry, the prime minister has been requested to bypass the cabinet to send the law directly to the NA.

The draft law has 51 sections and it explicitly covers cyber terrorism and proposes rigorous punishments for disruption of public services or online coercion, threat and intimidation. Section 7 of the draft law deals with cyber terrorism, which proposes 14 years’ imprisonment and Rs50 million fine on offences related to terrorism.

“Whoever commits or threatens to commit any of the offences under subsections (1), (3) and (5) of section 5 and sub sections (1), (3), (5) and (7) of section 6 where- (a) the use or threat is designed to coerce, intimidate, overawe or create a sense of fear, panic or insecurity in the Government or the public or a section of the public or community or sect or in society; or (b) the use or threat is made for the purpose or motive of advancing a cause whether political, religious, sectarian or ethnic, with the intention of: (i) interfering with, disrupting or damaging a public utility service or a communications system used by the public at large; (ii) severe interference with, seriously disrupting or seriously damaging a designated payment system which interconnects with multiple financial institutions; (iii) severe interference with, seriously disrupting or seriously damaging a mass transportation or mass traffic system; (iv) severe interference with, seriously disrupting or seriously damaging a critical infrastructure that is used to serve a public function for the public at large; (v) severe interference with, seriously disrupting or seriously damaging critical infrastructure in use by the armed forces, civil armed forces, security forces or law enforcement agencies; (vi) causes injury through the acts mentioned in clauses (i), (iii), (iv) and (v); or (vii) enabling any of the things mentioned in sub-clauses (i) to (vi) to be done, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to fourteen years or with fine which may extend to fifty million rupees or with both,” states the draft bill.

The draft law calls for establishment of a “Cyber Authority” for implementation of the law. The bill also calls for protection of intermediaries and service providers and experts believed to be paving the way for restoration of video-sharing website Youtube as the management of website had demanded the legal protection for opening its server in Pakistan.

However, the draft fails to address several issues like cyber stalking, ‘spamming’ and ‘spoofing’. Legal experts believe amendments should be made in the proposed law to prevent misuse of social media to ridicule and defame the respected religious and social personalities.

It is pertinent to mention that filthy and baseless campaigns are launched on a daily basis by the social media users against those who do not suit them, including the Prophet (PBUH), Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam and other credible persons.

Abusive and ridiculous fake pictures of credible persons drawn by manipulating graphic design software is disseminated by the unscrupulous social media users. These people also make poisonous propaganda against Pakistan, other religions and spread untrue allegations of moral and financial corruption against those who do not fit in their frame of mind. It is shocking that the draft law does not propose any punishment for such perpetrators of immorality.

The draft law also ignores the ground realities and values of Pakistani society while ignoring the clauses on blasphemy and defamation. The bill, formulated by MOIT in consultation with the Law Ministry, includes a provision on the protection of women but does not propose any punishment for persons involved in spreading blasphemous material or religiously offensive content on the internet.

When contacted by The News, a spokesman of the Ministry of Information Technology Sagheer Ahmad said amendments can be made in the draft bill by the parliamentarians to include clauses like cyber stalking and spoofing.

“We have prepared the draft law in consultation with the legal experts, FIA, and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) but this law is just a beginning. More legislation is coming to cover all the areas dealing with cyberspace,” he said.

He said the input of parliamentarians and members of the standing committees will be taken to improve the law before its approval by the parliament. He said the cases related to blasphemy are already covered under penal code.