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Supreme Court: Nawaz Sharif Can Return to Pakistan

Posted on August 23, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

In yet another historic decision, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has decided that former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, exiled by Gen. Musharaf, can return to Pakistan. According to The News:

The Supreme Court of Pakistan in a landmark verdict on constitutional petitions of Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Thursday announced that Sharif Brothers are Pakistanis and can return home and participate in the national politics. The seven-member larger bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, in a brief judgment said that under Article-15 of the constitution, the petitioners are citizens of Pakistan and therefore their petition is hearable. According to the Supreme Court’s decision, under Article 3 of the constitution no citizen of the country can be kept outside the country and cannot be stopped from his or her return to home.

The document presented by the government on previous day has no constitutional position. Senior lawyer Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim appeared before the court in the case on behalf of Sharif Brothers. Attorney-General Malik Qayyum, Ahmed Raza Kasuri and Ibrahim Satti were the counsels of the federation. Reacting on the decision, Hamza Shahbaz, son of Nawaz Sharif, talking with Geo News said that the Supreme Court’s decision is the victory of Nawaz Sharif’s eight-year stand. During these eight years, Sharif Brothers have spent very hard time. He said that this decision is not the victory of any individual but of Pakistan.
The Pakistan Muslim League (N) has welcomed the verdict announced by the larger bench of the Supreme Court. Leader of party Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that a delegation of his party would soon go to London to determine the procedure of the Sharif Brothers’ returning home. Immediate after the decision, people seemed very enthusiast outside the Supreme Court and thousands of PML (N) workers chanted slogans.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has, once again, rendered a decision that has not just created a buzz but effectively changed the entire political landscape of Pakistan. The big news here is the potential return of Nawaz Sharif but the continuing big news is that the institutional reincarnation of the Supreme Court of Pakistan which has become which has effectively become what it was meant to be. The final arbiter of constitutional sheninigans by political forces.

This means that unless extraordinary measures are taken by the government, we could be set for a real political showdown in the next elections. What this does to PML(Q) – or for that matter to PML (N) as well as other parties – is to be seen. But heads will already be spinning about which karwatt this oont will eventually settle.

It is also interesting that while all the deal-talk went on between Benazir Bhutto and Pervaiz Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif’s political capital might actually have been expanding. Even if he had stuck to principal just because he could not do otherwise, there are many who have actually found his stand to be ‘principled’ and it is likely that between that and this decision, his political capital has in fact increased… at least in the short term. What remains to be seen is whether he and his party will be able to politically capitalize on this; and how.

128 comments posted

Comment Pages: « 1613 12 11 10 9 [8] 7 6 5 4 31 » Show All

  1. Babar says:
    August 24th, 2007 3:53 am

    @ Adonis, I agree fully that courts decision is absolutely right as fundamental rights can be claimed at any time even if you have given them up. And ultimately it has to be ballot to decide the political matters. But I would diagree with your comparison. In this case NS himself got something in return so you cant say that he was robbed forcefuly of his rights. But still that agreement had no constitutional basis, so his rights are intact.

  2. Adonis says:
    August 24th, 2007 3:32 am

    People of Pakistan do not have short memory. In fact they are capable of seeing things in their true perspective. With an independent judiciary and vibrant media, it will be difficult for anybody to be an autocrat.

    The best way forward is to let the people decide.

  3. PatExpat says:
    August 24th, 2007 3:15 am

    True NS in his days tried to gag media and push around judiciary. But I believe we have come a long way since then. Even if NS is brought to power through free and fair vote, I believe he will find that he is not ruling as docile a Pakistan that he, BB or Musharraf expect.

  4. Babar says:
    August 24th, 2007 3:07 am

    The three acounts which the Sharif is nowadays sheding tears about that is free judicary, free press and constituion were all screwed by him to the unprecedented extent. He attacked the Supreme court, picked up and tortured editors of national level newspapers ( not your ordinary journalists like musharaf has occasionaly done) and tried to abolish the constitution altogether by his 15th amendment. Oh the hilarity of his statements nowadays. But people have a short memory :)

  5. Adonis says:
    August 24th, 2007 3:03 am

    The courts are the upholder of the constitution and they have decided accordingly. The constitution says that no Pakistani citizen can be denied entry in the country and this is a fundamental right. The attorney general argued that sharifs had agreed to remain out of the country and had thus waived this fundamental right. This argument would mean that if a robber holds you on gun point and you give him your money asking him to spare your life, then you lose any claim on that money.

    Of course it was twisted logic and the court very rightly observed that fundamental rights cannot be waived.

    There are differing views about how good or bad nawaz sharif is for Pakistan. But whatever one’s personal view is, ultimately it is the people of Pakistan who’ll judge him in elections.

  6. Khan Sahab says:
    August 24th, 2007 2:54 am

    If the Rule of Law wins out, then I’m all for it. Ideally, the brothers Sharif return, lady Bhutto returns, and they all see their day in a free and impartial court that is capable of delivering justice. I am yet another reader who questions whether other alternatives to the usual suspects exist, and if so, who the hell are they. Imran Khan is one name I’m excited about, his biggest virtue being his independent wealth which one hopes gives him some immunity from the vices of greed and corruption so rampant in the country. Politics in Pakistan being what they are, his chances are unfortunately slim. I’m also still withholding judgement on Pres. Musharaf, if his actions towards the Supreme Court are any indication, he has a smart head on him and in comparison to other military dictator types, he’s been pretty good for the country.

  7. Babar says:
    August 24th, 2007 2:52 am

    Nawaz Sharif’s attempt to completely abolish the constitution altogether in favour of his “shahi farmans”, at the same time abolishing authority of any court in Pakistan. Pay special attention to underlined text while the clause 2(5) is a masterpeice.

    It was passed with two third majority in national assembly while in senate Nawaz did not have two third majority but he threatened the senators in every possible way using his ally mullahs samiul haq , abdus satar niazi, sajid mir and others who issued fatwas declaring the senators out of pale of islam and calling for their death. Nawaz Sharif himsef went around the country comaigning against the senators. He was just waiting for the usual rounds of senate elections to give him enough votes in the senate, or at least in a joint session.( the votes were ofcourse gauranteed because of his another landmark 14th amandement). So this was no political bull , but a real deal to enforce religious fascism and gain absolute power.

    Following is the text of the Fifteenth Amendment presented in Parliament on Friday, August 28, 1998.


    A Bill further to amend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:
    WHEREAS sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised through their chosen representatives within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust;
    AND WHEREAS the Objectives Resolution has been made a substantive part of the Constitution;

    AND WHEREAS Islam is the State religion of Pakistan and it is the obligation of the State to enable the Muslims of Pakistan, individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah;

    AND WHEREAS Islam enjoins the establishment of a social order based on Islamic values, of prescribing what is right and forbidding what is wrong (amr bil ma’roof wa nahi anil munkar);

    AND WHEREAS in order to achieve the aforesaid objective and goal, it is expedient further to amend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan;

    NOW, THEREFORE, it is hereby enacted as follows:-

    Short title and commencement
    This Act may be called the Constitution (Fifteenth Amendment) Act, 1998.
    It shall come into force at once.

    Addition of new Article 2B in the Constitution
    In the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, hereinafter referred to as the said Constitution, after Article 2A, the following new Article shall be inserted, namely:-
    Supremacy of the Quran and Sunnah
    The Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) shall be the supreme law of Pakistan.
    Explanation:- In the application of this clause to the personal law of any Muslim sect, the expression “Quran and Sunnah” shall mean the Quran and Sunnah as interpreted by that sect.
    The Federal Government shall be under an obligation to take steps to enforce the Shariah, to establish salat, to administer zakat, to promote amr bil ma’roof and nahi anil munkar (to prescribe what is right and to forbid what is wrong), to eradicate corruption at all levels and to provide substantial socio-economic justice, in accordance with the principles of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
    The Federal Government may issue directives for the implementation of the provisions set out in clauses (1) and (2) and may take the necessary action against any state functionary for non-compliance of the said directives.
    Nothing contained in this Article shall affect the personal law, religious freedom, traditions or customs of non-Muslims and their status as citizens.
    The provisions of this Article shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, any law or judgement of any Court”.

    Amendment of Article 239 of the Constitution:-
    In the Constitution, in Article 239, after clause (3) the following new clauses shall be inserted, namely:-

    Notwithstanding anything contained in clauses (1) to (3), a Bill to amend the Constitution providing for the removal of any impediment in the enforcement of any matter relating to Shariah and the implementation of the Injunctions of Islam may originate in either House and shall, if it is passed by a majority of the members voting in the House in which it originated, be transmitted to the other House; and if the Bill is passed without amendment by the majority of the members voting in the other House also, it shall be presented to the President for assent.
    If a Bill transmitted to a House under clause (3A) is rejected or is not passed within ninety days of its receipt or is passed with amendment it shall be considered in a joint sitting.
    If the Bill is passed by a majority of the members voting in the joint sitting, with or without amendment, it shall be presented to the President for assent.
    The President shall assent to the Bill presented to him under clause (3A) or clause (3C) within seven days of the presentation of the Bill”.

  8. Viqar Minai says:
    August 24th, 2007 1:38 am

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