Monday, August 25, 2014

Imran Khan apologies to Ex-CJP Chaudhry.

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, on Monday apologised to former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for use of ‘inappropriate’ words against him, a private news channel reported.

Khan, in his response to ex-CJ’s defamation notice, said that the entire nation respects the CJ for standing up to a dictator and appreciates his services.
He further said that his words’ selection was ‘wrong’ and ‘inappropriate’ and he was speaking under emotions of ‘disappointment’ over election rigging.

“It was unintentional, ” he added, hoping that the former CJ forgives him.

In July, the former CJ sent a defamation notice worth Rs20 billion to Khan under section 8 of the Defamation Ordinance, 2002.
“I claim from you in damages a token sum of Rs15 billion only and another Rs5 billion only as damages for mental agonies, torture, harassment, humiliation, etc, caused to me as well as my family,” stated the CJ in the notice.

He said that the PTI chief’s speeches and press conferences were calculated with “the underlying mischief of harassing me and my family members and you have succeeded in damaging my reputation and image.”
He added that would withdraw his claim if the PTI chief tendered an unconditional apology or agreed to pay Rs20 billion within a period of 14 days.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Fakhruddin denies poll rigging, pressure by ex-Chief Justice.

ISLAMABAD: Dispelling the impression of large-scale rigging in the 2013 elections, former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim has said that the political leadership of the country should not let democracy derailed and made it clear that there was no pressure from former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) with regard to the elections 2013.

Asking Fakhru Bhai to ‘break his silence,’ was never easy, particularly in a situation when a leading opposition party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has termed the election 2013 most fraudulent, demanding resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and fresh elections under the new Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

While most of the conversation remained ‘off the record,’ he allowed this scribe to use some of it ‘on record,’ particularly when asked about his ‘regrets’ during his term, and ‘proposals’ to improve the electoral process.

His three regrets include (1) Army should have been given a more supportive role, (2) Elections should have been held in phases, and (3) Serving judges should have been appointed as Chairman Election Tribunal making it necessary for them to give the verdicts within 120 days. Fakhru Bhai advised the political leadership to show patience and not to let democracy ‘derailed.’

For the new ECP and electoral reforms, he suggested (1) No serving bureaucrat should be in the ECP (2) Voting should be made compulsory (3) ECP members should not be from the judiciary but should have an experience of dealing with administration with good reputation (4) Elections should be held in phases like in India, considering the resources and manpower (5) ECP’s bureaucratic structure should also be revamped. Fakhruddin G Ebrahim had told the then leader of the opposition Ch Nisar Ali Khan, who approached him to accept the job that he would quit as the CEC after the elections despite having a five-year term in the office.

A retired judge, who already draws Rs600,000 as pension could have been getting an additional Rs600,000 as the CEC, till the expiry of his term, meaning Rs1,200,000 a month. But, Fakhru Bhai stepped down as per his commitment.

Since the resignation of Fakhru Bhai, the government and the opposition have been unable to agree on a single candidate for the Chief Election Commissioner. Within a year, they were supposed to agree on four other ECP members as the incumbent ECP members’ tenure would expire in a year. The ECP perhaps also needs a new secretary as the present one is already on extension. Perhaps, the people from the civil society with administrative background should also be considered as ECP members.

The way forward is a complete overhauling of the ECP, making it stronger and more independent. Fakhruddin G Ebrahim was appointed as the CEC when Ch Nisar Ali Khan approached him and requested him to accept the job because he was the only among the three candidates who enjoyed the confidence of all the major political parties.

He did not accept his plea that holding such a huge task was not his ‘cup of tea’, particularly at this age. He was 84 at that time. Nisar insisted there was a consensus on his name and even Imran Khan had full confidence in him.

Khan, who once offered Fakhru Bhai to contest the elections as his party candidate, had also met him after he accepted the job for two, three times and also spoke to him after the polls.When he first met former army chief General (retd) Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, he found him a nice man and till this day had good relations with him. He asked the general if he could post one officer at each polling station but the ex-army chief regretted, saying that it was not possible. The army did help in maintaining law and order.

Fakhru Bhai was perhaps looking for a more supportive role of the army for the smooth process during polling, particularly during the counting.“I asked the army chief for one officer at each polling station, but he said it’s not possible for him,” he said.

His other regret was that his plea for holding the elections in phases like in India was not accepted by his fellow colleagues.“Yes, I believe elections should have and should be held in phases because of the limited resources and manpower. However, my colleagues did not agree with me.”

However, he did not agree with critics that former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry put any pressure on him during the elections, except when he asked for voting verification in Karachi, without realising the limited resources and manpower available to the ECP.

It was not possible to verify several million voters and to go house-to-house in Karachi. Even the then corps commander, Karachi refused to do so on the ground that it would not be possible to assign one army personnel with each ECP team to go house-to-house. The maximum he agreed on deployment of troops in the area for security.

He also believed that voting should be made compulsory in the new electoral reforms. Everyone who qualifies and reaches the voting age must cast his/her vote. Elections decide the destiny of a nation and every person must participate in the elections.

He was of the view that for complete independent ECP, it should be better to avoid appointing serving bureaucrats or giving them extension. Perhaps, good administrators are required not necessarily people from the judiciary as members.

He faced a lot of criticism during and after the elections, but not many people knew about his integrity as he had the history of resigning on principles.As a Supreme Court judge, who could have become the Chief Justice of Pakistan, he refused oath under General Ziaul Haq’s Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) in 1981.

He was the only governor in the history of Pakistan, who had refused to dissolve the Sindh Assembly in 1990 when former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan dissolved the National Assembly and all the provincial assemblies on August 6, 1990. Thus, he was removed and late Mahmood A Haroon was appointed governor and the assembly was dissolved after the office timing. But, during his brief tenure he constituted the Citizen-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) to bridge the gap between the police and common citizens.

When former prime minister Benazir Bhutto appointed him as the Attorney General for Pakistan, he resigned because he was not consulted on a legal matter and the case was given to Sharifuddin Pirzada without his consent.

“I am too old. At the age of 85, it would not have been possible for me to continue,” he said. Though he dispelled the impression of large-scale rigging in the elections and about the pressure on him from any quarter including the former chief justice, he said had the elections were held in phases like in India, it would have been much better.He was all praise for the Indian Election Commission and was surprised when told by the chief election commissioner of India that they never got a single petition against the elections.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

PEMRA fails to implement SC orders to restore Geo.

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has ordered the cable operators to restore Geo News on its previous position after midnight.
The media watchdog also directed the cable operators that the channel be restored on its previous position as per the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. PEMRA’s Director Legal Zahid Malik said that Geo Entertainment license has been suspended for airing disputed content in its morning show Utho Jago Pakistan.
The PEMRA also banned the morning show, its host Shaista Lodhi and entire team of the program from conducting show on any other channel.
The PEMRA further said that the Geo license will remain under observation and the channel is directed to strictly follow the watchdog’s laws.
Pemra has forwarded the notification of restoration of Geo News to all its regional offices with strict direction that the country’s cable operators should obey the order of the Supreme Court according to which the position of Geo News on cable TV network should be the same as was in the second week of April, 2014.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Legal experts’ remarks on removal of Musharraf name from ECL.

Musharraf is cutting Pakistan's Flag Cake.
KARACHI: The Supreme Court of Pakistan could extend the suspension of Sindh High Court orders for 15 more days in which the Sindh High Court ordered lifting travel ban on former military dictator Pervez Musharraf, legal experts said on Thursday.

The SHC while directing the government to lift travel ban on Musharraf further ruled that implementation of its order—removal of accused name from the Exit Control List (ECL)--- be suspended for 15-days so that the government may file appeal before the apex court.

“It seems the ball is now in the court of Supreme Court as it has to make a final decision,” says Justice (retd) Wajihuddin, former judge of the top court.

Eminent lawyer SM Zafar said that the Musharraf’s path to travel abroad will be clear if the government didn’t move the apex court against SHC decision.

Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood said that although the reasons that were stated to put Musharraf on ECL were not substantial, the issue is now once again in the government’s hand.

Another law expert Babar Sattar said that the government will have to make a legal and political decision to resolve the imminent issue.


Musharraf ready to go, SHC orders removal of his name from ECL.

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has ordered the removal of former president Pervez Musharraf’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL), Express News reported on Thursday.
However, the two-member bench of the SHC has suspended this order for around two weeks giving the federal government time to appeal against the decision before the Supreme Court.
The order will be enforced in 15 days in case the government fails to make an appeal by then.
Musharraf’s lawyer Farogh Naseem said that a memorandum, which placed Musharraf’s name on the ECL, will be struck down after 15 days. He added that “if the federal government does not have a vengeful objective, they can withdraw the memorandum before this period is up.”
Speaking to media in Karachi, Naseem said that “right to travel is a fundamental right,” adding that Musharraf does not want to live as a convict.
On May 29, the SHC had reserved its verdict on Musharraf’s petition for striking his name off the ECL.
Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt had said that there is apprehension that once the petitioner is allowed to leave the country, he would never return to face the high-treason trial.
The former president’s lawyer Farogh Nasim had challenged the move, calling it ‘patently presumptuous’.
Appeal rejected
Earlier in the day, a court in Islamabad dismissed Musharraf’s appeal for exemption from appearing in the Abdul Rashid Ghazi murder case, Express News reported.
The former president has been ordered to appear before the court on July 1.
Musharraf also faces treason charges for subverting and circumventing the Constitution by imposing emergency on November 3, 2007. The federal government had placed his name on the ECL, stating he might try to abscond.
APML lauds SHC decision
The All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) has welcomed the order of SHC to remove the name of Musharraf from the ECL after 15 days, terming it “a long overdue decision in the interests of justice.”
In a statement following the verdict of the two-member bench of the SHC, Chaudry Sarfraz Anjum Kahlon, political advisor to the former president said, “the decision confirms that there is no legal merit in Nawaz Sharif’s politically vindictive objective to deny Musharraf the fundamental right to travel freely, and exposes Nawaz Sharif’s actions as unlawful.”
Kahlon added that the verdict “was a blow to Nawaz Sharif who is on a path of executing personal revenge against Musharraf, and any attempt by the federal government to block the order will expose the federal government as having no respect for the rule of law.”
Kahlon also said that “Musharraf’s decision to voluntarily return to Pakistan to face the courts without a deal in place is unprecedented in the history of Pakistan, and he should be awarded due recognition for respecting the judicial process.”
“Musharraf is determined to get his name cleared from all the political motivated allegations pressed against him and is in strong spirits,” he added.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk takes oath as acting CJP.

Islamabad: Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk took oath as Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan today.
Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja administered oath to Justice Nasir ul Mulk who is senior most judge of the Supreme Court after the chief Justice, Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.
Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk will act as Acting Chief Justice of Pakistan during the absence of CJP who is proceeding to Saudi Arabia for performing Umrah.
Registrar of the Supreme Court, Syed Tahir Shahbaz, conducted the proceedings of the oath taking ceremony also attended by officers and staff of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chief Justice Tassadaq Jillani to retire next month.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani will retire on July, 5 at the age of 65 years after serving more than ten years as judge and Chief Justice of the apex court.
Justice Nasir ul Mulk, the senior most judge will be the new Chief Justice of Pakistan.
He belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and also remained Chief Justice of the Peshawar High Court before his elevation as judge of the Supreme Court.
According to bio-data available on the official website of the Supreme Court, Justice Jillani was born on July 6, 1949.
He did Masters in Political Science from Forman Christian College, Lahore and LLB from the University of Punjab, Lahore. He completed a course in Constitutional Law from the University of London at the Institute of Advance Legal Studies.
He started practice at the district courts Multan in 1974 and in 1976 he was elected as general secretary of the District Bar Association, Multan.
He was elected Member Punjab Bar Council in 1978 and appointed Assistant Advocate General Punjab in July 1979. He was enrolled Advocate of the Supreme Court in 1983 and was appointed Additional Advocate General Punjab in 1993.
He took oath as a judge of the Lahore High Court on August, 7, 1994 and was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on July 31, 2004 where he served till the imposition of the state of emergency on November 3, 2007.
As he refused to take a fresh oath, he was made dysfunctional.
He took oath again as judge of the Supreme Court in year 2008. He has participated and represented in a number of international meetings, conferences seminars and dialogues.