Editor's Choice

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Featured Post
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Let us build Pakistan" has moved.
30 November 2009

All archives and posts have been transferred to the new location, which is: http://criticalppp.com

We encourage you to visit our new site. Please don't leave your comments here because this site is obsolete. You may also like to update your RSS feeds or Google Friend Connect (Follow the Blog) to the new location. Thank you.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, 14 March 2009

14 March 2009: Three more Shias killed in D.I. Khan

Shia Couple Martyred in Terrorism
SFP News: March 14, 2009

D.I.Khan : the official of Antiterrorist Court Mohammad Sharif and His wife Tehsin Bibi martyred on 14 March 2009 when they were on Motorbike at 8:00 AM morning. Mohammad Sharif was an employee of Antiterrorist Court and his wife was a teacher. In Dera Ismail Khan and surroundings Shia Muslims are continuously victims of terrorism and now kidnapping has also started there.

Shia couple shot dead in DI Khan

PESHAWAR: A Shia couple was shot dead on Saturday while passing on a motorbike through a restive town in northwest Pakistan, police said, calling it a sectarian murder. Muhammad Sharif, a low-ranking anti-terrorist court official in Dera Ismail Khan, and his wife died when unidentified gunmen, also on a motorbike, passed by and sprayed them with bullets, a senior police official said. “It was a targeted killing,” local police official Ehsanullah Khan said. Khan said the couple lived in a small Shia community close to South Waziristan. The two gunmen escaped after the shooting, the official said. afp

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\03\15\story_15-3-2009_pg7_8

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=167218

Fahim Abbas aged 25 killed in D.I.Khan
March 11, 2009: SFP News

D.I.Kha: Hawaldar Faheem Abbas aged 25 years was killed when Taliban terrorists attacked him, on 11 March around 7 am.Notably the same person had got hold of a suicide bomber from Masjid Lato Faqeer on 12 December 2008.

SOS from Pakistan - Save Pakistani Shias Petition

4 comments:

Aamir Mughal said...

On Shia Killings in Pakistan

During Zia-ul Haq’s rule, General Pervez Musharraf, then a Brigadier, was assigned the task of suppressing the Shia revolt against the Sunni-dominated administration in the Gilgit region. Musharraf used Pathan tribesmen from NWFP and Afghanistan along with his troops to silence the Shias. In the wake of this operation, hundreds of Shias were butchered and displaced from Gilgit. The operations were widely reported in the Herald, a monthly magazine of the daily Dawn in its April and May 1990 issues. It is also said that the Wahabi Pakhtuns who raided Gilgit under Musharraf’s command were led by none other than Osama bin Laden.According to a Herald report of May 1990, “In May 1988, low-intensity political rivalry and sectarian tension ignited into full-scale carnage as thousands of armed tribesmen from outside Gilgit district invaded Gilgit along the Karakoram Highway. Nobody stopped them. They destroyed crops and houses, lynched and burnt people to death in the villages around Gilgit town. The number of dead and injured was put in the hundreds. But numbers alone tell nothing of the savagery of the invading hordes and the chilling impact it has left on these peaceful valleys. Read the details [1]

Another point against General Musharraf being a liberal is that most of his political support over the last eight years has come from pro-Islamist conservatives. For those that might have forgotten, the one vote that allowed the pro-Musharraf coalition to win a majority in the National Assembly came from the late Maulana Azam Tariq, leader of the sectarian Sipah-e-Sahaba. Read the details [2]

Musharraf has plainly given the religious groups more free rein in the campaign than he has allowed the two big parties that were his main rivals. In Jhang city, in Punjab province, Maulana Azam Tariq, leader of an outlawed extremist group called Sipah-e-Sahaba, which has been linked to numerous sectarian killings, is being allowed to run as an independent—despite election laws that disqualify any candidate who has criminal charges pending, or even those who did not earn a college degree. Read the details [3]

And while the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi stand officially disbanded, their most militant son and leader, Maulana Azam Tariq, an accused in several cases of sectarian killing, contested elections from jail - albeit as an independent candidate - won his seat, and was released on bail shortly thereafter. The fine line between an outright violation of the law and its insidious subversion by those who appoint themselves its custodians has been blurred so often in Pakistan's chequered political history, that is has now become par for the course. The irony is when the architects of that subversion or violation are those who frame the laws themselves. Read the details [4]

"UNQUOTE"

References and Notes:

1 - The Problem of Kashmir and the Problem in Kashmir: Divergence Demands Convergence Strategic Analysis/Jan-Mar 2005 [1]

http://www.idsa.in/publications/strategic-analysis/2005/jan/Ashutosh%20Mishra.pdf

2 - VIEW: End of a liberal alliance? —Syed Mansoor Hussain [2]

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C11%5C19%5Cstory_19-11-2007_pg3_2

We might just be seeing the evolution of a new political consensus based not on some loosy-goosy idea like enlightened moderation (Rest In Peace) but on a true liberal-democratic desire for representative democracy

Ever since the Lal Masjid action, an imagined divide between ‘moderate-liberals’ and the ‘true believers’ has become a topic of discussion. The presumption is that there exists in Pakistan a distinct group of people that are more beholden to religious values than others. This group is felt to be in opposition to those that are presumably less religiously inclined and support General Musharraf. And, that under General Musharraf’s guidance and US prodding, a new liberal alliance is coming into place.

Before going further it is important to establish the fact that General Musharraf is definitely not a political liberal or even a moderate. He is an autocrat, albeit benign in comparison to others and has, over the years, demonstrated little if any partiality towards either participatory democracy or the supremacy of constitutional norms. As for his personal lifestyle choices, even those not approved by the keepers of the faith, they are his business and his alone.

Another point against General Musharraf being a liberal is that most of his political support over the last eight years has come from pro-Islamist conservatives. For those that might have forgotten, the one vote that allowed the pro-Musharraf coalition to win a majority in the National Assembly came from the late Maulana Azam Tariq, leader of the sectarian Sipah-e-Sahaba.

PMLQ, the party that supports him, is definitely not a moderate or liberal political party. At best it is an alliance of conservative centrist and pro-Islamist politicians. Its natural allies are the Islamists in the MMA as was demonstrated during the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution that validated General Musharraf’s presidency.

The party does, however, include some politicians that are not pro-Islamist but can at best be called opportunists in search of power. Even now the PMLQ is much more likely to make a deal with elements within the Islamist MMA rather than allowing General Musharraf to make any arrangement with the PPP. And, anybody who thinks that General Musharraf wants to make any deal with the PPP because he shares a similar political ideology must have spent too much time in the sun.

The state of emergency imposed by General Musharraf earlier this month has laid to rest, once and for all, any doubts anybody might have had about his liberal democratic credentials. It has also made it clear that General Musharraf wants to continue as ruler of Pakistan for the foreseeable future, preferably with his compliant comrades in the PMLQ. As such, he will definitely want them returned to parliament in the upcoming general election.

As things stand, it seems that Pakistan will most likely move straight on from the state of emergency to a controlled democracy. Elections, if they are held in January will be controlled even more than they were five years ago to produce this time around an outright majority for the PMLQ in the centre as well as the Punjab.

The much-touted deal between General Musharraf and the Mohtrama is already dead and gone. Does this mean that the possibility of any liberal consensus is now doomed for ever? Probably not. However what has changed is that this liberal democratic consensus, if it does develop, will come without General Musharraf, as it should. Already, the centre-left and centre-right political forces are being pushed closer to each other, the common ground being the basic liberal-democratic desire for representative democracy.

Interestingly, differences based upon religious ideology between different political parties are receding to the background. The religiously conservative Nawaz League is busy trying to find common ground with the relatively secular Bhutto-led PPP. The recent roughing up of the PTI chief Imran Khan by IJT goons at Punjab University might also force him to reconsider his Islamist political points of view. So, we might just be seeing the evolution of a new political consensus based not on some loosy-goosy idea like enlightened moderation (Rest In Peace) but on a true liberal-democratic desire for representative democracy.

If this situation indeed comes to pass then we will have General Musharraf to thank for it. By shaking off his democratic mantle, he has made the choice clear for the people of Pakistan. However, the two ringers in this scenario are the US and the Mohtrama. It is obvious that the US would prefer to see the PPP and the General come to some arrangement about sharing power. Increasingly it seems that the US will have to make a choice between these two since power sharing is not in the General’s cookbook.

Considering the US imperatives, the choice will inevitably have to be the General over the Mohtrama if some sort of arrangement between these two is not possible. As far as the Mohtrama is concerned, she will eventually come to a similar conclusion. The question for her then is whether or not she really wants to become a part of an opposition coalition that has a one-point agenda — free, open and fair elections and the prerequisites thereof including a free media and an independent judiciary.

If General Musharraf does not end the emergency, give up his army position, provide a truly impartial interim government and an independent election commission then Bhutto along with others might have to embark upon a public campaign to force his hand. If the Mohtrama wishes to remain politically relevant then she must also resist US pressure to continue some sort of an arrangement with General Musharraf.

If however General Musharraf does indeed allow the free and fair elections that he keeps promising, the people of Pakistan will most likely come out in force to support this new liberal-democratic alliance. Indeed, if the people of Pakistan actually prefer General Musharraf over others, as he thinks they do, then all the more reason for him to have a truly free and fair election to prove that he was right all along.

Syed Mansoor Hussain has practised and taught medicine in the US. He can be reached at smhmbbs70@yahoo.com

3 - General's Election By TIM MCGIRK / KHANA-KHEL With reporting by Syed Talat Hussain/Islamabad Dated Monday, Oct. 07, 2002 [3]

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,501021014-361788,00.html

You'd think there'd be plenty of campaign issues to discuss in Pakistan these days�especially in a general election that is supposed to restore democracy after three years of one-man rule. But at a rally not far from the Afghan border, in a village at the bottom of a ravine where there are more goats than party faithful, there is only one issue that counts: America the Awful. A speaker rises from beneath a broad tree and shouts, "Americans are killing our Muslim brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. And soon, they will come to Pakistan!"

The voice bellows not from some bearded firebrand but from Sumbal, a five-year-old girl in a bubble-gum-pink smock. After her speech, delivered with a child's pure-spun rage, Sumbal encounters TIME's correspondent, an American citizen. Trembling, she hides behind her teacher's legs and tries to bury her face in the baggy folds of his salwar kameez. This is her worst nightmare: after memorizing her diatribe against blood-thirsty Americans, one of them has come stalking up the ravines after her.

President Pervez Musharraf is holding polls on Oct. 10 to fulfill his promise to return Pakistan to the democratic path. But it is a brand of democracy that suits the General better than anyone else. He rewrote election rules to disqualify former Prime Ministers Mohammed Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, and threatened to toss them in jail if they returned from abroad, which badly undermined both Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League and Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). And once the polls are over, the elected government will work under a constitution amended by Musharraf, which gives expanded powers both to him and a new military-heavy National Security Council. Musharraf insists he is merely trying to prevent corruption and bad governance; critics say he has no intention of letting elected civilians run Pakistan. Faced with such criticism, Musharraf appears eager to divert public attention away from the election�hence, last Friday, Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable missile, and India performed a parallel missile test hours afterwards.

The President must have known his tinkering would take some of the oomph out of an election campaign, which in Pakistan is usually as thunderous, and joyfully welcomed, as the yearly monsoon. But Musharraf prefers it dull, and that is how it is: the Pakistan Muslim League and the PPP combined normally get more than 50% of the popular vote, but now their camps are apathetic, producing one of the dullest campaigns in memory. What Musharraf did not expect was the force that has filled the vacuum: an alliance of six hard-line religious parties that calls itself the Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA). The MMA is volubly anti- American, as Sumbal, the five-year-old anti-Yankee rabble-rouser, demonstrates. More worrisome for Musharraf: it has also become a focus for popular discontent against him for his actions since Sept. 11, especially his crackdown on insurgents going to fight jihad in Kashmir, and what is perceived to be his pro-America pandering.

In the past, Pakistani religious parties seldom grabbed more than five percent of the vote. The country's intelligentsia likes to claim this is because, once all the hollering dies down and ballots are cast, Pakistanis are moderate, secular folk. In fact, most Pakistanis are poor, unschooled people who traditionally vote as their feudal squires command�or suffer their wrath. With the two big parties in retreat, the hard-line religious coalition is leading a whole lot of voters to the booths. Polls indicate that the MMA could win 30 to 50 of the 270 National Assembly seats. (Another 70 seats are reserved for women and minorities, a Musharraf innovation.) That is nowhere near a majority. But in a splintered Parliament, it could be enough to give the clerics a few berths in a future coalition government. From there, the clerics could snipe and demand radical Islamic changes in schools and social programs.

Hatred is a powerful motivator. Until the clerics made common cause against America, the six hard-line party leaders were rivals. They stormed each other's mosques and split hairs over ideological disputes dating back to Islam's early days. Their differences were stark: some worship at the tombs of local Sufi saints; others dismiss that practice as blasphemy. Most of the parties want their women veiled from head to toe, although more liberal groups argue that it ought to be the woman's choice. The personalities of the parties' leaders have also clashed. Qazi Hussain Ahmed from the Jamaat-e-Islami is a cultured, well-traveled cleric who speaks with the measured finality of a judge passing a grim sentence. Several of his new brethren, in contrast, are unquestionably flamboyant. Maulana Fazlur Rehman wears robes of golden thread and was dubbed "Maulana Diesel" after allegations were made�though never proven�that he was involved in a fuel scam. Maulana Samiul Haq earned the nickname "Sandwich Sammy" after being photographed (presumably by Pakistani intelligence officers) in an inventive position with several bedmates. "We have our differences, some of them centuries-old," concedes Ahmed, "But we have enough in common."

The MMA's stronghold lies in the tribal band along the Afghan border. Its Baluch and Pashtun supporters are ethnically and ideologically tied to the former Taliban rulers in Afghanistan, thus their anti-Americanism. The region is where Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officers believe many al-Qaeda fighters, possibly even Osama bin Laden, may be holed up. Guns are in plentiful supply. Basha Kamal from Khana-Khel village, in the hills behind the turquoise Indus River, slaps his hip and says: "Of course I carry an automatic pistol. That doesn't mean I'm a terrorist." He adds, "But I refuse to bow to the Americans. This is our land."

The clerics have a long litany of gripes against the Americans and Musharraf, whom they dismiss as "an American agent" and "a puppet." They resent him for allowing the U.S. to use Pakistani military bases in Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier province as staging posts in its Afghan campaign. It angers them that agents of the fbi wiretap Pakistani telephones and organize raids on suspected al-Qaeda hideouts. The Islamic hard-liners even fret that cameras at the Karachi airport are feeding images into CIA computers. What riles them most is that Musharraf has buckled to U.S. pressure and scaled down Pakistan's covert support of Muslim militants fighting in Indian-held Kashmir. "This is against our sovereignty," says the MMA's Ahmed.

Musharraf has plainly given the religious groups more free rein in the campaign than he has allowed the two big parties that were his main rivals. In Jhang city, in Punjab province, Maulana Azam Tariq, leader of an outlawed extremist group called Sipah-e-Sahaba, which has been linked to numerous sectarian killings, is being allowed to run as an independent�despite election laws that disqualify any candidate who has criminal charges pending, or even those who did not earn a college degree. "It makes no sense that Benazir can't run in the election," says one Islamabad-based diplomat, "and this nasty guy can." Musharraf may have underestimated the power of nastiness, the depth of the Islamic conservatives' popular support, and the intensity of their hostility towards him. That anger also extends to his American allies, especially where it counts the most: in al-Qaeda country.

4 - For The 'General' Good By Sairah Irshad Khan [4]

http://www.newsline.com.pk/newsJan2003/cover1jan2003.htm

All the pieces of the Mush doctrine - promoted with almost as much Goebbellian zeal as the Bush doctrine - have fallen into place.

The general is secure in his labyrinth, his five year tenure as President 'validated' by a referendum tailored to ensure positive results. Dissidents have been deftly manoeuvred into the political wilderness or coopted by the establishment. And 'democracy' has been restored.

But for the people of Pakistan, the new year is marked not by celebration but a deafening silence. In a political history littered with broken promises and shattered aspirations, it is business as usual.

Power, it is said, has been handed over to the 'peoples'' representatives. The question is, which people? Those who cast their vote for their party candidates only to find they had switched sides once elected, or those orchestrating the farce being played out as the return of parliamentary democracy?

At any rate, the complexion of some of those in the assemblies and those awarded positions elevating them to the rank of federal ministers, makes for a compelling picture. Federal interior minister, Faisal Saleh Hayat, awarded this portfolio shortly after he formed a forward bloc in the PPP, is a declared defaulter - by NAB spokesman Major Ali's reckoning, of a 24 crore, 10 lakh, 72 thousand rupee loan, taken from the Faisalabad branch of the National Bank of Pakistan for the Jewna Textile Mills he owns. Currently out on bail, Hayat's name reportedly still features on the Exit Control List - which falls under the purview of the very ministry he now heads.

Former PPP leader, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, charged in five cases of corruption, was acquitted in three and convicted for two. Also out on bail while his appeal in the latter is pending in the Peshawar High Court, Sherpao has secured the portfolio of federal minister for water and power.

A case is also pending against current federal minister for agriculture and livestock, Abdul Sattar Lalika, for the illegal awarding of fertiliser contracts.

Until the eve of his appointment as Sindh governor, Ishratul Ibad, a former convenor and "committee incharge" of the London branch of the MQM, was a declared absconder, wanted in eight criminal cases in four Karachi police stations, with a price of three million rupees on his head. The cases ranged from 'incitement of violence' to kidnapping for ransom and murder. The amendment of Article 63 of the constitution as framed in President Musharraf's Legal Framework Order (LFO) stipulates that an absconder is prohibited from contesting elections. Ineligibility for the assemblies is also a disqualification for governorship under article 101 (2).

Before former Sindh governor, Mohammed Mian Soomro, vacated his seat, he reviewed the cases against Ishratul Ibad and soon thereafter they were quashed.

Nelofar Bakhtiar, a cousin of President Musharraf's principal secretary, Tariq Aziz, convicted of contempt of court and currently on bail with an appeal pending in the Supreme Court, has been appointed advisor to the Prime Minister on 'women development and social welfare,' with the status of federal minister.

Interestingly, there was neither any impediment in Bakhtiar's contesting the elections - despite an order banning those convicted on charges of contempt of court from contesting (ruling out for example aspiring candidate Akhtar Rasool who is charged with the same offence) - nor in her assumption of the post of advisor, despite having lost her PML-Q seat. Meanwhile, losing candidates are not eligible to stand for Senate elections, courtesy a presidential ruling.

And a winning candidate from Balochistan, who allegedly featured high on the United States' list of drug barons, and reportedly also as a matter of concern in the recent talks held between Iranian President Khatami and local officials, has been awarded a high profile portfolio in the provincial assembly.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. While the Musharraf regime's béte noire - Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari and the Sharif clan - have effectively had their political wings clipped due to the continuing cases against them, the long list of those under investigation for assorted improprieties, or those in appeal against convictions who now sit in the assemblies, makes a mockery of President Musharraf's pledge to usher in a clean, wholesome government.

Even NAB chairman, Lt. General Munir Hafiez, does not attempt a whitewash. When questioned in a television interview about the integrity and efficacy of his organisation, given the exoneration of and induction into parliament of several individuals involved in NAB cases, the general responded that such queries should be addressed not to his bureau which only has the jurisdiction to investigate and frame references, but to those under whose jurisdiction prosecution falls.

Other questions also beg answers. Among them, why, almost immediately after the Jamali government was installed, was former provincial minister Faiq Ali Jamali, a relative of Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali, serving a 38-year sentence after conviction in eight cases of corruption, released on 'permanent parole,' without any explanation or enabling provision of the law?

Why was the mercy petition of Chaudhry Sharif, an FIA official serving time in jail after conviction on corruption charges (whose multi-million-rupee plea bargain appeal was reportedly rejected by NAB), accepted by the President under the advice of Prime Minister Jamali, resulting in his release from prison?

Why were the convictions by accountability courts of MMA members, Behram Achakzai and Hafiz Luni, quashed, along with those of other activists of certain select political parties?

In Pakistan today, justice is clearly not blind - and laws are made to be broken.

Section 3 (4) of the Political Parties Order 2002 states, "A political party shall not… promote sectarian, regional or provincial hatred or animosity; or bear a name as a militant group or section…"

Promulgated by the 'chief executive' on June 28, 2002, with the Election Commission Order, 2002 and the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002, these presidential diktats seen in conjunction with one another unequivocally enforce the official position on the status of certain political groups with specific ideological charters. Viewed in alignment with two other presidential decrees (promulgated in January 2002), which disbanded the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the Sipah-e-Mohammadi, the Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, the Tehrik-e-Fiqah-e-Jafria and the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, and placed 'under observation' the Sunni Tehrik, there is no ambiguity about the eligibility or otherwise to contest elections of members of the banned outfits or parties that fall under the category of "sectarian" and "regional" organisations, or those that promote "provincial hatred."

Election 2002. Without any ado, the Election Commission (EC) accepted the nomination papers of 69 Sunni Tehrik candidates, 22 for the National Assembly and 47 for the provincial assemblies. Likewise, the Pakistan Shia Political Party and the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, both of whom fielded candidates under their respective party banners.

And while the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi stand officially disbanded, their most militant son and leader, Maulana Azam Tariq, an accused in several cases of sectarian killing, contested elections from jail - albeit as an independent candidate - won his seat, and was released on bail shortly thereafter.

The fine line between an outright violation of the law and its insidious subversion by those who appoint themselves its custodians has been blurred so often in Pakistan's chequered political history, that is has now become par for the course. The irony is when the architects of that subversion or violation are those who frame the laws themselves.

The graduation criterion for aspiring electoral candidates set by the Musharraf government, is a significant case in point.

The merits or demerits of the condition aside (and that remains a moot point), the validity of degrees submitted to and accepted by the election commission demands close examination.

Previously, only those degrees from educational institutions (including a handful of madrassas) granted a charter by the government to award certification and recognised by the University Grants Commission, were considered valid.

The October elections opened the floodgates. Overnight, there was a proliferation of degree-awarding madrassas and hitherto unknown 'American' and 'Canadian' 'universities' conferring eligibility for candidature in the elections upon scores of 'graduates.'

Take the degree (now being challenged in court by the MMA) of federal minister Abdul Sattar Lalika. The conferring authority: the Karachi-based 'Canadian School of Management.' Inquiries about this institution so far yield a blank.

The degrees of Sindh assembly MPAs, Saleem Jan Mazari and Syed Ali Bakhsh alias Papoo Shah, from the 'International University of America, London campus,' also bear scrutiny. No information is available for this institution.

Interestingly, in 2001, when Shah was aspiring to contest the local bodies elections, the board of secondary education informed the EC that his matriculation certificate was bogus, on account of which his nomination papers were rejected.

And there are no records of government charters ostensibly awarded to scores of madrassas whose degrees left the electoral field wide open for dozens of candidates of assorted political groups, of whom the MMA and the PML-Q were prime beneficiaries. Meanwhile, chartered accountants with five to seven years of training were disqualified as candidates, their degrees considered unacceptable by the EC.

The selectivity demonstrated in the matter of academic qualifications - clearly to allow certain individuals into the election loop - was also applied to keep people out.

In the instance of the filing of nomination papers for example, laws relating to the election procedure were repeatedly changed even after the event, with the visible intent of eliminating Benazir Bhutto and the Sharifs from the race. Initially the law provided for a candidate's seconder or proposer filing his/her nomination papers if the candidate was not physically present.

However, the President promulgated a new law stipulating that only candidates themselves could file their papers, effectively scotching the two exiled former premiers' chances of contesting, even in by-elections.

Similarly, while an earlier Presidential order ruled that anyone who had served two terms in office was not eligible for prime ministership or the post of chief minister, the law was amended to allow Zafarullah Jamali - who has served has both, interim prime minister and chief minister - to assume the PM's mantle.

Given the seeming whimsicality of the regime in promulgating ordinances and issuing orders and notifications, only to withdraw or amend them soon thereafter, it is not surprising that the Musharraf government has the distinction of having issued more orders than any other in Pakistan's history - 127 ordinances alone, for example, in just the past 11 months.

With sweeping changes introduced through the endless orders, a natural corollary is the confused state of the country's constitution. While the 1973 constitution was revived by General Musharraf on November 15 (with some provisions relating to the provincial assemblies and the Senate remaining suspended), the document, if inclusive of the amendments of the past three years, bears little resemblance to the original.

The Supreme Court had allowed President Musharraf to amend the Constitution as a measure dictated by state necessity after the promulgation of the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) of 1999, but these amendments were subject to specific conditionalities. Among these was the stipulation that the amendments would not impinge on the independence of the judiciary or affect the federal parliamentary system of government.

While state-sponsored constitutional experts could undoubtedly present a vibrant argument to support the establishment's contention that the amendments do not violate the spirit of the '73 constitution and are not contrary to the Supreme Court ruling, the creation of the National Security Council, the revival of certain salient features of article 58-2B, and the power conferred on the President to make all vital appointments in the armed forces, unarguably militates against such a defence.

According to the law of the land, all ordinances, orders, notifications etc. promulgated and issued by the Musharraf government under the emergency declared on October 9, 1999 are now subject to validation by Parliament. There is a unanimity of opinion among the lawyers community and all the political parties that the Legal Framework Order (LFO, promulgated by President Musharraf on August 2002, which seeks to validate all the ordinances and amendments, can only be made part of the constitution if approved by a two-third majority in both houses of Parliament.

This notwithstanding, on November 16, one day after he announced the revival of the '73 constitution, President Musharraf declared that the LFO was now part of the constitution. (The latest edition of the '73 constitution published by the ministry of law echoes this contention since it has unilaterally incorporated the provisions of the LFO in this document).

Furthermore, the same day (November 16), President Musharraf promulgated yet another ordinance - the Anti-Terrorism (amendment) Ordinance, amending the Terrorism Act, 1997.

The draconian nature of this ordinance apart (which arguably militates against the human rights guaranteed and protected by the '73 constitution), the very act of promulgating the ordinance is in violation of article 89 of the 1973 constitution which had been restored a day earlier. Article 89 empowers the President to promulgate ordinances - except when Parliament is in session. November 16 marked the commencement of the first session of Parliament. Interestingly, with the revival of the constitution, the PCO of 1999 automatically ceases to be operative. Yet, the anti-Terrorism (amendment) Ordinance of November 16 does not even refer to the 1973 constitution.

It reads "in pursuance of the proclamation of Emergency on the fourteenth day of October 1999, and the Provisional Constitutional Order No. 1 of 1999, read with the Provisional Constitutional (Amendment) Order No. 9 of 1999 and in exercise of all powers enabling him in that behalf, the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to make and promulgate the Ordinance."

Says lawyer and former Senator Iqbal Haider, "Now there are two constitutions, the PCO and the 1973 constitution, and we are operating under both. Even General Zia-ul-Haq presented his Revival of Constitution Order (RCO) to the elected National Assembly and Senate, which debated it for five months and approved it only after correcting and amending it."

NAKED US SUPPORT TO A MILITARY DICTATOR IN PAKISTAN:

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the judicial dispute is "something that we believe the Pakistanis themselves are going to have to sort out."

U.S. backs Pakistan judicial reform and mum on judges

By Paul Eckert, Asia Correspondence Reuters Thursday, February 28, 2008; 4:00 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/28/AR2008022802731.html

During his Senate hearing on Thursday, Mr. Negroponte said, “I think we would, as a general proposition, urge that the moderate political forces work together, and of course President Musharraf is still the president of his country, and we look forward to continuing to work well with him as well.”

U.S. Embrace of Musharraf Irks Pakistanis By DAVID ROHDE Published: February 29, 2008

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/world/asia/29pstan.html?ex=1204952400&en=58664dfa943e52b5&ei=5070&emc=eta1

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/world/asia/29pstan.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5070&en=58664dfa943e52b5&ex=1204952400&emc=eta1

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The U.S. has a puzzle to crack in Pakistan.

The Bush administration wants to ensure military pressure is kept up on militants in the lawless tribal areas, but U.S. support for President Pervez Musharraf risks deepening anti-American sentiment among a public already fuming over Islamabad's role in the war on terror.

US Support for Musharraf Causes Anger By JASON STRAZIUSO The Associated Press Friday, February 29, 2008; 6:12 AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022900700.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/29/AR2008022900700_2.html

Aamir Mughal said...

General Musharraf, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Brigadier [R] Usman Khalid & Deobandi Taliban.

http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/02/general-musharraf-colonel-muammar.html

Aamir Mughal said...

Shia Killings in Pakistan:

Throughout the 90s Shias and Sunnis [IN PAKISTAN] were never even safe in their Mosques and that too during offerring their prayers and even if that wasn't enough during the Month of Ramazan in 1994 and 1995 people virtually offerred Prayers under the protection of Police Guards in this so-called Fort of Islam. Read about the State backed Sectarian Frenzy of 80s and 90s in Pakistan.

Excerpts from a book:

Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America’s War on Terror By Hassan Abbas published by An East Gate Book. M.E. Sharpe Armonk, New York, London England.

“The Khomeini revolution in Iran already bolstered the confidence of the Shias, and they were not about to take Sunni dictates in religious matters lying down. Hard-liners among Sunni, for their part, felt that such dictation was their right, and those on the extreme right of the Sunni spectrum simply cut the Gordian knot by taking a position that, correct or not, Pakistan had a Sunni majority and as such it should be declared a Sunni Muslim state in which Shia should be treated as a minority. Since achievement of this holy goal would likely to take some time, some of them decided that the interregnum ought not to be wasted. Thus in 1985 they formed Anjuman Sipah-e-Sahaba (ASS) – an organization piously dedicated to ridding the country of the nettlesome presence of the Shias by eliminating them physically. Later, when they realized what the organization’s acronym meant in English, they changed the name to Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP).”

“The zealous emissaries of the Iranian Revolutionary Regime started financing their organization Tehreek-e-Nifza- e-Fiqah-e- Jafaria (TNFJ – Movement for the Implementation of Jafaria Religious Law) and providing scholarships for Pakistani student to study in Iranian religious seminaries. For the Zia regime though, the problematic issue was Shia activism leading to a strong reaction to his attempts to impose Hanafi Islam (a branch of Sunni sect). For this he winked to the hard-liners among the Sunni religious groups in order to establish a front to squeeze the Shias. It was in this context that Jhangvi was selected by the intelligence community to do the needful. It is also believed that the JUI recommendation played the decisive part in this choice. The adherents of the Deobandi School were worried about Shia activism for religious reasons anyhow. State patronage came as an additional incentive. Consequently, in a well-designed effort, Shia assertiveness was projected as their disloyalty to Pakistan and its Islamic Ideology.”

“In a few months, Saudi funds started pouring in, making the project feasible. For Saudi Arabia, the Iranian revolution was quite scary, for its ideals conflicted with that of a Wahabi monarchy. More so, with an approximately 10% Shia population, Saudi Arabia was concerned about the expansion of Shia activism in any Muslim country. Hence, it was more than willing to curb such trends in Pakistan by making a financial investment to bolster its Wahabi Agenda. According to Vali Raza Nasr, a leading expert on the sectarian groups of Pakistan, the flow of these funds was primarily routed through the Pakistan Military and the ISI. It is not known whether American support for this scheme was readily available, but the Zia regime knew well that the United States would be glad to acquiesce, given the rising US – Iran hostility. However, some analyst believe that CIA funds were involved in the venture.”

THE STATE OF SECTARIANISM IN PAKISTAN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS:

The State of Sectarianism in Pakistan Asia Report Nº95 18 April 2005

http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=3374&l=1

Abdul said...

@Amir. Thanks for providing this very useful information. I have also provided a link to your blog in my blog roll.

Post a Comment

1. You are very welcome to comment, more so if you do not agree with the opinion expressed through this post.

2. If you wish to hide your identity, post with a pseudonym but don't select the 'anonymous' option.

3. Copying the text of your comment may save you the trouble of re-writing if there is an error in posting.