Politicians misbehaving… again!

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

27 responses to “Politicians misbehaving… again!”

  1. a malik says:

    Yet an other blow on the weaker judiciary of Pakistan
    By Amjad Malik

    Yet an other black day in the short history of Pakistan. Last full decade of Army Chief cum President General Mushraf is full of black days, and it has happened so many times that we feel reluctant to call it a black day.

    On 12 October Army came to Capture capital in defiance of Prime Ministerial orders and that was considered a black day, Chief Justice Siddiqui was made to go home and Judges took oath under PCO, again that was called a black day and now again Chief Justice was in some what similar style and circumstances was confined and reduced to a normal man, now critics call it again a black day. I differ as it is under statement, we must reconsider as we can not have 3 black days in 10 years. So lets call it a ‘Chief Day’ one chief tells the other as to who is real chief, the other chief tried to be chief and real chief confined him to a chief he really is in a chiefly manner.

    In the west the news was taken that an Army Chief called the Chief Justice in his army camp, asked him to leave honourably or face the wrath and upon his refusal confined & reduced him till the evening against his will and shuffled the whole Supreme Court and put a reference against Chief Justice in the Supreme Judicial Council who will hear dozen of allegations full of metal against their peer on 13 March 2007. That’s the way the current government is used to changing ‘thanidars’ and the same way they have decided to change the Chief Justice

    Irony is that his fellow judges rather than enquiring the well being of their Chief and ordering for his production and availability in Supreme Court so that proper consultation could take place as to resolving the President’s reference to (SJD) Supreme Judicial Council via full court reference and judicial interpretation of Article 209, instead they went ahead and took oaths as was desired by an other Chief and people saw them congratulating each other on this victory. We see that when its time of Judicial unity you can always find judges who would come forward and act against their own peer, army does not do that when time comes, and they always boost of this quality.

    Now we must look at reasons as to why chief has to go. I spoke to a few friends who were saying since x-mas that chief is going then came Arsalan (his son’s) issue, letters started circling here and there and a story in popular channel in Pakistan on bribery in judiciary and last nail in coffin a letter purported to be from Naeem Bhukhari which was highly circulated as I myself received it from USA. These were the chain of events that gave rise to intelligent bye slanders that ‘cookie is cooking’ and cat was out of the bag on 9th March. Why it happened is very crucial. I think Chief was acting as a real chief. He gave a very popular judgement in public against steel mill sell off, he was hearing cases of missing people which was against the desires of intelligence top brass, he gave access to truly affected people like Sonia Naz & Mukhtaran Maee against the wishes of Police though he may have gone little bit far in doing so. And he was about to decide very few important constitutional matters in next 6 months and looking at his track may be ‘they’ were not truly satisfied whether he will given them in levy. I think they panicked.

    I personally am in favour of judicial activism when government of the day fails to deliver truly the relief people deserves, unconstitutional means follow when constitution fails to address the real issues now I feel our favourite general is entering into that regime and next 6 months are very crucial for him. The way Chief Justice was aggravated by attacks on his personal life for last 12 weeks, similarly I feel he himself is taking aggravated decisions and critic says he has shot on his own foot by sacking the Chief Justice.

    I myself am a witness of the fruit of pro active judicial work when Chief Justice last year upon my request asked IG Punjab to register a case of murdered women in Gujrat upon the request of his elderly parents over 70 years of age living in UK. The girl was brutally bruised and killed and later was buried without her parents present by her husband. Even after Chief’s intervention FIR was registered good 6 months after her death. Though they still did not get trial or complete justice but this gives the reader an idea of state of play. We can not punish him for the good he intended to do in the country.
    How this change procedurally has been carried out is a mockery pf justice. Even chief justice deserves justice and due process of law, he is not above law. Article 209 is very clear. Chief is always chief. He can not be tamed, confused, reduced and confined. He could not have been called to army camp and humiliated by asking to resign. Filing reference was President’s prerogative and after filing that Reference CJ should have been allowed to attend SC and decide as to the fair conduct & hearing of that reference and peers would independently decide on it. They had already done so in the past at the time of unprecedented clash of views when Honourable Sajjad Ali Shah was Chief and they jointly decided to ask him to step down for the sake of unity in judiciary. They would have done it this time too and nation becomes strong only with these passages given the opportunity.

    Government has no leg to stand on the issue of abuse of power and corruption when Steel Mill Judgement, land grabbing mafia, sugar and cement crisis, continuous stock exchange crash(es), Nabbed’ ministers and Bajaur and Dama Dola killings are shining like medals on its collar. No sacking took place then and no reference was filed. Government should have resigned in any event or could have been sacked after Steel Judgement. English cabinet would have if that have been a decision by English Court.

    Nexus of our judges with Generals have ruined the future of democracy in Pakistan. Nepotism, bribery, lawlessness, unmeritorious appointments and lack of respect of law in an unjust society has made life impossible for lay Pakistanis who are looking towards a ‘messiah’ for their salvation. In order to continue this trail of unlawful rule, judiciary has weakened further and Chief Justice has been made to go home the second time. Ordering oath under PCO hit the nail aright and judiciary lost its teeth as an institution long ago. Will Iftikhar Choudhary get a fair hearing when his peers do not speak up upon his confinement, when he is stripped off his freedom of speech and his lawful privileges, its any body’s guess though I hope he does.

    Now what will happen, I think even Chief Justice deserves a fair hearting, a due respect and proper treatment to have his legal team for consultation and advice and unless Council decides otherwise all the privileges he deserves in the remit of constitution. Media trial must end here, now Chief Justice is a victim of his own deeds good or bad and let the council decide on 13th the future course of business.

    I must mention here that whilst CJ had a chance, he could have decided some constitutional issues too whilst he was in power. Now regrets is an asset for his memory when he witnessed the Army chief retaining his uniform post 31 Dec 2004 he remained silent, when he rejected to entertain two offices bill, when his office entertains president’s reference against NWFP assembly’s passed bill but he refused to give relief against 17th amendment. Equality is a virtue of which our SC is envy of especially when army is out of barracks. We still pray that justice is done with the Chief Justice. I must mention here that sitting in London I could find only one gentleman out of the whole judicial class (Mr. Justice Wajeeh uddin Ahmed) who showed his guts and voiced the true feelings of lawyers all around and judicial class and demanded the fair treatment of the Chief Justice.

    I must end here saying that if his fellow peers decide in his favour then including Attorney General from lower to the top brass must be ready to resign as filing reference on unfounded charges and on the basis of some letter(s) is a serious business and may amount to contempt too for those who choose to ridicule the Chief in this unbefitting manner and especially for the Govt who have no track record of angels themselves. President must also be ready to digest more reference(s) against his own hand picked government if this reference succeeds as it opens a window to people to complain and demand sacking of his own hand picked Ministers amongst those are some real absconders and criminals who are looting the state of Pakistan on wholesale basis. Nation is demanding justice and it must be seen to be done. One time the same thing The Queen of England did to his Chief Justice and people took to street until that sacking was off, and later people got him elected and he was made a speaker of the assembly without opposition by all the houses of parliament. That’s the power of people where rule of law exist.

    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).

    Dated: 10 March 2007

  2. Eidee Man says:

    Mr. Abid Ali Umang, thank you for providing these comments. We’re glad that you took the time to respond. As for the MQM’s barbaric terrorism, thug and mafia culture, corruption and use of fear and intimidation tactics against honest government servants, and concering the illiterate, crass, violent and coward Altaf installed by the worst person in Pakistani history (Zia), what do you have to say?

    The event listed here is nothing, we, quite frankly, are much more concerned with murder.

  3. Mustafa says:

    I am a Pakistani professional living in USA for last 6 years and feel very strongly about my country, my nation and its future.

    I am really impressed by your gesture of reverting to this discussion. I never had this feeling about a politician from my own country. Although I am originally from Lahore but if I ever got to vote in Karachi, I will vote for you and I will campaign for you.


  4. Owais Mughal says:

    Where did you get the 16000 number? and why are we confining the question to Sindh only where as this problem may exist in the whole country.

  5. Usman says:

    Mr Abid Ali Umang,

    I dont want to indulge into any argument, as you people are decision makers and somehow decides the fate of 16 million people. how come 16000 people suicide last year in sindh? Who is responsible for the death of these people? I wonder how can you sleep knowing that thousands of people suicide bcoz of your decisions?

    Thousands of NGOs cant make the difference what a one politician’s decision can do. but frankly speaking, you people are just busy with your own agendas rather than working for peoples agenda.

    May God bless you with pain for people agenda.

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