Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Lover Spurned?

In the history of Pakistan we have had many ‘aiders’ and abettors of military dictators, unhappily too numerous to mention. However there are some prominent ones worth mentioning, among these are leading notaries such as the late A.K. Brohi and Sharifuddin Pirzada. As many of us know, these two specialized in regularly providing ‘legal’ sustenance to usurping Generals and were singularly obliging in turning the 1973 Constitution into a mockery of rule of law and democracy.

Interestingly enough, one of Zia’s key deputies, General K.M. Arif mentions in his memoirs how these two small-minded intriguers repeatedly tried to undermine each other in an effort be seen as the one closest to Zia. We are told Brohi and Pirzada loathed each other.

Since then that Brohi has been summoned to the ultimate court – where he may possibly be answering for his legal misdeeds – but we have remained stuck with Pirzada and his infatuation with army dictators. He was among the first to be called by Musharraf for advice after the 12 October 1999 coup.

But recently things seemed to have changed.

According to a press report Musharraf did not consult Pirzada when he decided to act against the Chief Justice of Pakistan. And, ‘Pirzada felt left out in the cold in the major decision making process at the president’s level.’

No doubt feeling grieved at this slight Pirzada decided to let loose a few bombshells while giving an interview which appeared in this month’s Herald.

After announcing that he had ‘no hand’ in the reference filed against the Chief Justice and revealing that he had refused to represent the regime in this case before the Supreme Judicial Council, he made the following legal points:

A judge cannot be removed under the provisions of the Constitution. Till retirement age there is complete security, except if a judge is not able to perform his functions properly or if he is guilty of misconduct.

If a judge is accused of misconduct then it is only up to the Supreme Judicial Council to decide whether he should be removed or not.

International law recommends that that if a judge insists upon an open trial he should be given one.

Having damaged the regime’s position so comprehensively, it is not surprising that Musharraf is mightily miffed with the senior Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Law, Justice and Human Rights..

In the piece titled Rift between Musharraf, Pirzada widening, a Qatari newspaper says:

The filing of the reference…proved the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Now, a source added, Pirzada’s relations with Musharraf are on the rocks. The official said Pirzada, who used to flank the president in most of the important meetings, is no longer seen in such a conspicuous position.

He said at a time when Musharraf needed solid legal, constitutional and moral support from Pirzada, the latter has not only refused to oblige but continues to embarrass him in his own style.

Has old age made Sharifuddin Pirzada at last see some sense? Or, was his reaction simply that of a spurned egotist being ‘left out in the cold’?

You decide…

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