Politicians misbehaving… again!

Posted on July 18, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Politics
27 Comments
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Adil Najam

Disgraceful behavior by Pakistani politicians is not restricted to our Federal Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights Chaudhry Mohammad Wasi Zafar… see the earlier ATP post accounting his ‘encounters’ with lawlessness.

It turns out that a certain Mr. Abid Ali Umang, MNA from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has similarly confused ideas about what the ‘priviliges’ of being a politician should be. This is how Dawn (16 July, 2006) describes the events under the headline ‘MNA carrying gun creates scene at airport’:

Unruly scenes were witnessed at the Islamabad airport’s VIP Rawal Lounge on Friday night when a parliamentarian belonging to the ruling coalition insisted on carrying a firearm aboard and hurled threats at the Airport Security Force (ASF) official on duty. Sources said Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MNA Abid Ali Umang along with his colleague MNA Mohammad Pervez Qureshi arrived at the Rawal Lounge to take a PIA flight (PK-319) to Karachi. The two legislators were allowed to enter the lounge without a security check after they identified themselves as MNAs. However, when the ASF official on duty inquired about the contents of a bag carried by Mr Umang, the latter replied: “There is a pistol in the bag.� The ASI told the lawmaker that carrying firearms was strictly prohibited, therefore, he could not proceed.

This infuriated the MNA and he entered into a fiery dialogue with the ASF official. Later, the ‘protestingà€™ MNA was also joined by his colleague. As tension mounted, the ASF chief security officer rushed to the scene at around 10:30pm and settled the issue through talks. The security chief also tender an apology to the minister and transferred the ASF official to some other section of the airport. The sources also quoted the MNA as saying that he would move a privilege motion in the National Assembly if the ASI concerned was not dismissed from service.

Meanwhile, the MNAs never made it aboard the Karachi-bound flight as they were not holding confirmed tickets.

I am certainly glad that they did not board the plane with the gun. I do think that a privilege motion (or some sort of a motion) should be moved in the Assembly on this incident. But it should be against the two MNAs and to commend the ASI.

Please, don’t anyone tell me that this proves that we are not ready for real democracy. No. This does not mean that at all. It only means that we have to start electing a better set of people and it means that we still have people like the ASI in this case who are willing to stand up for law and justice; even if the Minister in-charge of that portfolio is not.

My thanks to Talha Masood (blog: My cosmos…) for altering me to this news through a post in Metroblog Islamabad.

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27 responses to “Politicians misbehaving… again!”

  1. amajd says:

    12th May Anniversary, new challenges
    By: Amjad Malik

    April was a month to celebrate the birthday of our national poet Sir Allama Mohammad Iqbal who with his visionary poetry tried to wake our long slept nation as well as ummah and declared our youth

  2. a malik says:

    Innocent until proven guilty
    By Amjad Malik

    In last 36 years only one judge has been tested through Supreme Judicial Council Mr. Justice Shaukat Ali and that was in 70’s since then though judiciary had been more or less a spectator in all major constitutional struggles and could not play a due role either due to ‘law of necessity’ invented by Justice Munir or PCO’s introduced by military hierarchy. One thing is sure that in the past most of the judges caved in soon they saw an army man standing outside or inside their house telling them that they are fired unless resign otherwise and thus no struggle for judicial independence could take place from inside the judiciary until the day of 9th March 2007. Bars and Bench act like a glove in hand and they can only struggle for rule of law if the victim itself stands for supremacy of constitution.

    Its rule of natural justice that a person accused of any allegation is innocent until proven guilty. Chief Justice is made subject to negative frenzy & media trial which is seeming one sided. On 20 March BBC published the whole of the government dossier which was leaked to them contrary to a gagging order by the tribunal hearing the reference against the Chief Justice. Wide circulation of the letter of film star cum lawyer all around and Govt Ministers without restrictions holding press conference(s) and issuing statements and highest office holders attending special live interviews about chief Justice’s personal life which is now sub judice for Chief Justice also give rise to serious questions of fair hearing of the reference and throw doubts about the true motive of the Government behind this reference.

    Its rare in British justice system in last 400 years of this ever occurring, even Government of Blair since 1990’s which took controversial and split decisions like Iraq war has been challenged on various fronts by Law Lords whether it is the issue of ‘detaining foreign nationals’ or putting foreign national who cant be deported and pose threat to state under virtual house arrest under ‘controlled orders’. UK Ministers have been crying out helplessly but no executive had the guts to challenge the authority of the highest judicious office, let alone mal handling. Even matters involving national security does not allow challenging the authority of high judicial office.

    All the happenings in Pakistan give a picture of Pakistani government as being intolerant and weary of free press and rule of law and can not stand even positive criticism. Nation is right in feeling that if all this is not stopped at the earliest stages it will not end here as we have witnessed some horrific developments since 9 March despite there being only one precedent so far in the case of President of Pakistan v Shaukat Ali PLD 1971 585 which is prior to the formulation of the Constitution of Pakistan1973. People need answers to serious questions which has arisen from this crisis and Apex court has the key to those answers because of the sensitivity involved around the office of sitting Chief Judge.

    If today Lord Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhary is removed unconstitutionally, what guarantees lie ahead that any future Chief Justice if challenges the govt over their inefficiencies, abuse of power, corrupt practices or intends to hear any controversial case against the Govt may not be removed arbitrarily and detained by announcing and filing merely a plain reference before the judicial tribunal (SJC) challenging his personal conduct and is not humiliated publicly as was the case with the current chief Justice whose protocol was withdrawn, liberty was snatched, coat was torn, national flag was taken off his residence and his cars were fork lifted and shown on TV live to give a strong message of ‘might is right’ to the nation. It does not end here he was later mal handled and was made subject to worst media trial at the hands of 68 Ministers of the current Govt. on top of that he is gagged by a tribunal order and cant even answer those allegations. In any event judges speak through their judgments as they are not political leaders and current chief has many judgments for public. In these circumstances can he get a fair trial is any body’s guess but to me not at all.

    We must learn an other lesson or at least attempt to learn one, and nation is right in demanding future guarantees as It’s a dangerous tendency to disrespect the office of the sitting CJ who is a guardian of justice and messiah for all those who are victims at the hands of unbridled police and law enforcement agencies who does not read law, and notice their duties and follow orders from top without looking into their legality and only Supreme Court itself from its own internal mechanism can address and challenge it and may save this institution by due consultation, wisdom, patience and bring the state out of this constitutional crisis.

    Rule of law has its own price and at this moment Pakistan needs a ruler who can make rule of law a distinctive feature of his governance and eradicate all the evils in civil society and ensure justice at the door step of a common man. All this is happening because tracheotomy and balance of power is non existent and all the power is in one man’s hand. Only fair, faster and firmer justice and free elections can ensure that civil normalcy returns as soon as possible in Pakistan. Pakistani people can live in poverty a little longer but living in an unjust society’ where their own chief justice begs for justice and rule of law is unthinkable. It’s a dangerous tendency to try to tame the important pillar of state and intimidating the office of Chief justice and there is still time as the Ginny is not totally out of bottle yet to save the nation from this uncalled for judicial crisis by restoring & reinstating The Chief Justice honourably. Its not me alone, the whole world is demanding reinstatement with apology.

    Amjad Malik is a life member of Supreme Court Bar Association and & a Solicitor-Advocate of the Supreme Court (England) and Chair of Association of Pakistani Lawyers (UK).

    21 March 2007

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