Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Chief Justice Finally Speaks…

After a wait of nearly three months we have at last received - through an affidavit submitted to the full bench of the Supreme Court - the Chief Justice of Pakistan’s account of what took place on that fateful day of 9 March 2007, along with a list of the characters involved.

For my readers I have prepared a readable (I hope) synopsis of the document submitted in the Supreme Court. For those interested in reading the complete affidavit, here is the link in the Daily Times


In his affidavit, the Chief Justice of Pakistan said he arrived about 11:30 a.m. at the military headquarters in Rawalpindi for a meeting with the General Musharraf. The General (accompanied with his Military Secretary and ADC) met the CJ wearing military fatigues. Soon after a number of TV cameramen and photographers entered the room and proceeded to take photos and video footage of the small gathering.

After the media men left the General promptly informed the CJ that he had received a complaint against him by a judge from the Peshawar High Court. The CJ responded by saying these allegations against him were baseless.

Then as the New York Times reports:
"General Musharraf then told Mr. Chaudhry that there were a few more complaints and directed his staff to summon Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, who came into the room.

The most important military and intelligence chiefs in the country also entered the room:

Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani, the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence;

Maj. Gen. Nadeem Ijaz, the director general of Military Intelligence and a close relative of General Musharraf;

Aijaz Shah, a retired brigadier who is director general of the Intelligence Bureau;

and Hamid Javed, a retired lieutenant general who is the president’s chief of staff."

With the exception of Shaukat Aziz and the two retired military officers ( Lt. General Hamid Javed and Brigadier Aijaz Shah) everyone facing the CJ was dressed in military uniforms.

Musharraf then proceeded to read out allegations against the CJ from ‘small pieces of paper with notes on them’ which he held in his hand. All these allegations were unoriginal, as they had been acquired from the now infamous (and supposedly agency-initiated) letter written by Naeem Bukhari.

All these charges were vehemently denied by the CJ as baseless and defamatory.

Musharraf now began to insist that the CJ resign, saying that if he did, he would “accommodate him”, but if he refused then a reference would be filed against him.

When the CJ ‘resolutely’ refused to resign, Musharraf stood up angrily and marched out of the room along with his staff and Shaukat Aziz, leaving the three intelligence chiefs behind to show the CJ the so-called evidence that had been ‘gathered against him.’

According to the affidavit all this drama has so far taken only 30 minutes.

So around 12 pm the story from the affidavit continues…


Incredibly other than accusing the CJ - during his period as a judge of Balochistan High Court - of securing a seat for his son in Bolan Medical College, the all-powerful Intelligence Agency troika could come up with nothing else. Nevertheless the two leading Pakistani symbols of coercive clout – DG ISI and DG MI – insisted that the CJ resign immediately.

Faced with a determined refusal, these worthy officials then began a game of cat and mouse. While making it clear that the CJ could not leave the room, they would leave him alone for a while under the scrutiny of a close circuit camera before returning to badger him once again. Every time the CJ attempted to leave he would be confronted by ‘an officer’ who would ask him to wait. Needless to add, the CJ’s request to meet with his protocol officer was denied, as was his demand to have his car brought to the front porch in preparation for his departure.

According to the affidavit the CJ was kept at the Army camp ‘absolutely against his will’ till past 5pm, when the head of MI, told him that he could finally go home.

“This is a bad day — now you are taking a separate way,” said the MI chief, according to the affidavit. Further, the CJ was now informed by the MI chief that he was no longer able to function as a justice of the Supreme Court or as chief justice of Pakistan.

When the CJ went out to his car, he discovered that the flag and emblem had been removed and his escort was missing. Furthermore he was now told that Justice Javed Iqbal had taken oath as acting chief justice and it had already been shown on TV. His driver also then informed him that he had been instructed not to take the CJ to the Supreme Court but instead directly drive him to his residence.

As the rest of the story is too well known, I’ll stop here.

Having read the complete text of the affidavit, all your Blogger can say is that never before in the history of Pakistan has there been a public disclosure of such unbridled arrogance of uniformed power.

Whatever claims Musharraf may make about his 'dismissal' of the Chief Justice, he did not even remotely act in accordance with the Constitution. Instead he acted as a military dictator, as is his wont, by directing his army subordinates to carry out his wishes. Unluckily for him, the Chief Justice possessed the courage to resist them.


Anonymous said...

not directly related to the CJ story but still very important in my eyes is a piece in by Dr Waqar Kazmi. He says that the Army as an institution is distancing itself from Musharraf which may influence the course of absolutely everything in Pakistan today. Here is the piece for the some behind-the-scenes dettails and analysis on this..

New Pakistan (

"For a democratic, prosperous Pakistan; at peace with its neighbors and itself"

Issues No 35-36, May 11-18, 2007

Army Starts Distancing Itself From Musharraf to Prevent Wider Resentment Against Uniform
“Popular Movement Against Army Chief Could Take anti-Army Turn,” Soldiers Warn Politicized Generals


By Dr Waqar Kazmi

The Pakistan army, worried that General Musharraf’s current troubles could lead to disaffection against the institution as a whole, has started distancing itself from its Chief who doubles currently as Pakistan’s president, informed sources tell

During a recent meeting between Musharraf and the armed forces chiefs, the Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Ahsan Saleem Hayat, showed no interest in the proceedings. When an official photographer was called in to take a picture of the event for public release, General Hayat struck a defiant pose, sitting with his feet up and with a cigarette in hand. The photography was later officially released to the media.

The Pakistani armed forces often give political signals through subtle means and a photograph in which the VCOAS is sitting in a posture that shows no deference to Musharraf could be a subtle sign of the army’s backing away from supporting Musharraf.

In 1988, then army chief General Aslam Beg had indicated lack of army support for the elected civilian government of Benazir Bhutto by showing up outside the General headquarters (GHQ) without a cap. As Pakistan army officers are not supposed to salute when they are not wearing a cap, Beg did not salute Bhutto and thereby signaled her rival, Nawaz Sharif, to keep piling on pressure against her.

In 1999, Musharraf hinted at lack of support for then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s initiative in restoring normal relations with India by not showing up to receive Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Lahore. The photograph of the reception line missing the army chief told civilian hardliners against India that the army still supported a hard line against Pakistan’s arch-rival.

This time, it is being speculated that General Hayat’s non-deferential posture in the photograph of the military chiefs’ meeting with Musharraf is meant to convey distance between the army and a highly unpopular Musharraf.

The Pakistan army has generally managed to argue that its interventions in politics are backed by popular sentiment. Whenever a military ruler becomes unpopular, as was the case with general Ayub Khan in 1968-69, General Yahya Khan in 1971 and general Ziaul Haq in 1988, the army protects its institutional interest by indicating that the top man no longer enjoys its confidence.

In another sign that the army is backing away from close identification with Musharraf, the military’s spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad has not been doubling as spokesman for Musharraf since the beginning of the Chief Justice crisis. Since Musharraf’s 1999 military coup, the army spokesman has also been the spokesman of the president but now that Musharraf has entered politically treacherous waters, Musharraf is being defended by Information Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani and not General Arshad.

Several Pakistani journalists known for their close institutional ties to the Pakistan army have been in the forefront of criticizing Musharraf lately, which has also given rise to speculation about the army being less than fully behind Musharraf.

libertarian said...

Onlooker: be careful what you wish for. In the haste to see Musharraf's back there seems to be no plan for what follows. The future does not take care of itself and a large vacuum must be filled. Iraq is a cautionary tale. It may not survive as a single sovereign state once the Americans leave. Likewise, the Pakistani Army has lashed the state together through brute force if necessary. A sudden handover to a truly civilian-dominated government runs the real risk of balkanizing the state. The USSR experienced it in their glasnost/perestroika haze. This is the nightmare scenario for the whole region.

Anonymous said...

Today the NBC News has an interesting take on the CJ's dismissal. It's no wonder the ISI, MI and IB chiefs took Musharraf's instructions to heart:

"A well-placed intelligence source who was privy to the lead-up to Chaudhry’s dismissal said that the removal of the chief justice came "because he had annoyed those who matter in the intelligence ranks and among the police."

The same source, who requested anonymity, added that Chaudhry "had passed down judgments and questioned the authority of the intelligence agencies in the cases of missing persons."

Hundreds of people have disappeared in Pakistan, many of them picked up by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agents and kept in secret detention centers, critics charge. These same people say the government has exploited the current anti-terrorism climate to get rid of those who they deem to be enemies of the state.

As chief justice, Chaudhry had started investigations and called the government’s actions a "violation of fundamental human rights."

"When I was arrested and taken into a torture cell," said one recently released prisoner who spoke on the condition of anonymity, "intelligence guys were saying that this chief justice couldn’t rule against them. The moment he does, he will be out of his job."

But it was not just the anger of Pakistan’s spies that cost Chaudhry his job, observers say. Many believe that Musharraf saw the former chief justice as someone who would challenge his plans to run for re-election later this year."

Anonymous said...

Husain Haqqani:
“The disproportionate focus of the Pakistani state on military…. since Pakistan’s independence in 1947 has weakened the nation internally. Pakistan spends a greater proportion of its GDP on defense and still cannot match the conventional forces of India.. The country’s institutions – ranging from schools and universities to political parties and the judiciary – are in a state of general decline.

Much of the analysis on Pakistan in the West since 9/11 has focused on Musharraf’s ability to remain in power and keep up the juggling act between alliance with the US and controlling various domestic constituencies, including the Pakistani military and Islamist militants. Pakistan’s problems, however, run deeper. It is time the world set aside its immediate preoccupation with Musharraf’s future to examine the fundamental conditions of the Pakistani state.

Pakistan's focus on military muscle weakens social cohesion and makes the state increasingly ungovernable. It has become a dysfunctional state, a tinderbox that may not light up for years, but could also go up in flames in an instant”.

AAS said...

Wow! I am very surprised that all the commments posted today are so well thought out and presented. I have really nothing useful to add since i am in agreeement. :)

Onlooker and Libertarian...if you should ever decide to run for have my support. :)

Ahsan said...

i disagree libertarian. in iraq, and indeed the former soviet union, the presence of a strong man/authoritarian regime prevented the presence of a viable political opposition and civil society. pakistan does not face the same problem because it is a semi authoritarian state in which there exist at least six truly NATIONAL parties (ppp, pml-n, jui, ji, ppi, anp), another one which claims to be national but isnt, and yet still commands a large following (mqm), a large number of ngos and political activists (the marathon and mukhtaran mai crowd), and a fairly political savvy elite. in other words, i dont think there will be a vacuum if the army is forced from power (which, for the record, i dont think it will be. the most likely scenario i see developing is musharraf handing over, or being forced to hand over, to this ahsan saleem hayat fellow. the army's not going anywhere). in the unlikely event of the army retreating completely, i think pakistani society is fully poised to reclaim ownership of the state.

i would say that in view of the dangers of the balkanization of pakistan (a danger which exists with or without the presence of the military), the best solution is civilian control of a loose federacy. this means provinces teach provincial languages + one of english/urdu in school, a greater share of indigenous resources (ahem, balochistan) to the provinces, a greater role of provinicial assemblies at the national level etc etc.

Anonymous said...

Army as an institution is reaping the riches of plunder. Unfortunately feeding on its own civil society and instituions. It would be foolish to assume that Army would voluntarily giveup or distance from Musharraf. Just the Machiavellian spirit is too haughty to be ghosted out easily of the disgraced uniforms. I think Islamabad mullahs are used as Ace by Intelligence agencies to show the world that Pakistan has no future without Musharraf. Contrary it has no present with Musharraf.

Anonymous said...

Here is the full Husain Haqqani piece quoted above; (From

A nuclear-armed Pakistan may have the military capability worthy of an emerging global power, but its external power is belied by an increasingly precarious domestic situation. While the spread of anti-American and pro-Islamist sentiments in the past six years has empowered armed extremists and other non-state actors across the country, the educated middle class is increasingly disenchanted with the military rule. General Pervez Musharraf relies on the national army to suppress political protests, but the use of force has only fragmented society, adding to the army’s challenge of maintaining order in the country’s four ethnically diverse provinces. Almost half of the country has been turned into anarchic or inadequately governed space. Such conditions have opened the door to the small militant organizations and contributed to the growing ineffectiveness of state institutions. Husain Haqqani, a former senior Pakistani official and policy analyst and author, argues that the West must set aside its preoccupation with a Pakistan without Musharraf and instead examine the fundamental conditions of the Pakistani state: The focus on military power may give the appearance of control, but does little to ease internal tension and conflict. – YaleGlobal

Pakistan: Nuclear Power with Feet of Clay?

Pakistan’s focus on military muscle weakens social cohesion and makes the state increasingly ungovernable

Husain Haqqani
YaleGlobal, 22 May 2007

State power in retreat: Pakistani soldier runs away from the site of a suicide car bombing in Karachi

BOSTON: Backed by nuclear weapons and the seventh largest standing army in the world, Pakistan has the ability to project its power externally, but lacks the strength of an effective state at home.

The recently released video of the Taliban using a young boy, believed to be 12 years old, to behead a man amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” is only one of several troubling images emanating from Pakistan. Attacks by armed supporters of a pro-government militia on opposition activists in the port city of Karachi and frequent terrorist bombings revive fears about Pakistan’s future.

The country faces increasing demands from religious extremists, and doubts are growing among Pakistan’s Western allies about the military regime’s ability to handle these pressures.

Paradoxically, Pakistan has turned out to be a hot destination for investors from the Gulf, encouraged by business friendly government policies and annual GDP growth rates of 7 percent over the last four years. Pakistan’s privatization program is considered a regional success. Government economists cite increasing mobile phone use and expanding sales of motorcycles and cars as signs of progress.

Pakistan’s elite now drive around in Porsches, more of which have sold in the city of Lahore alone than the car’s manufacturer had envisaged for the entire country. The pace of construction for new country clubs, golf clubs and luxury hotels also reflects growing prosperity of a select few.

That this strife-ridden country with a booming economy seems precariously balanced between chaos and growth should not, however, be a source of comfort. Given widespread anti-Americanism and signs of rising support for Islamist sentiment in the military, Washington cannot count on the military to keep the balance. If Pakistan falls from its shaky perch, the consequences for the region and the US could be dire.

Pakistan is viewed as a critical Western ally in the global war against terrorism. Relations with arch-rival India have improved markedly since four years ago, when the armies of the two nuclear-armed neighbors stood eyeball-to-eyeball. Pakistan reveals multiple realities, and the temptation to let optimism prevail is great. But, in essence,

Pakistan has become a dysfunctional state, a tinderbox that may not light up for years, but could also go up in flames in an instant.

At least 1,471 people were reported killed in terrorist incidents in Pakistan during 2006, up from 648 terrorism-related fatalities during the preceding year. Of these, 608 were civilians, 325 security personnel and 538 accused terrorists. The rising fatalities of security forces indicate the growing strength of armed non-state actors, especially extremists.

An army, largely recruited from one of the country’s four ethnically diverse provinces, has traditionally maintained order in Pakistan. The military’s ability to keep a lid on dissent has diminished with the emergence of well-armed militias, both Islamist and secular, in various parts of Pakistan.

Vast parts of Balochistan, the sparsely populated southwestern province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, are virtually ungoverned. A secular, tribal insurgency in Balochistan has been overshadowed by the resurgence of the Taliban in the province’s north.

The brutal beheading involving the 12-year old took place in Balochistan and involved the ethnic Pashtun Taliban punishing an ethnic Baloch for allegedly spying on behalf of the Americans and their allies. The Taliban also control the generally uncontrolled tribal areas in the Northwest Frontier province (NWFP) and gradually expand their influence into the adjoining non-tribal settled districts.

Balochistan accounts for 42 percent of Pakistan’s territory, and the Pashtun tribal areas represent 3 percent of the land area. Even if one ignores the rising violence and lawlessness in urban Pakistan, almost half the country now constitutes an anarchistic or inadequately governed space.

In addition to problems in Balochistan and NWFP, at least 200 people have died in sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni militant groups across the country during the last year.

General Pervez Musharraf, who came to power in a coup d’état in October 1999 and remains a clear favorite of the Bush administration, has made no effort to encourage democratic institutions. Musharraf’s decision to marginalize Pakistan’s secular political parties to avoid sharing power has strengthened radical Islamist groups.

Lately, Pakistani civil society has stirred in reaction to the domination of the country’s life by the military and assorted Islamist militants. For the past two months, lawyers in suits join activists from opposition political parties in demonstrations protesting the removal from office of the country’s chief justice.

Amid widespread disorder and the emboldening of insurgents and terrorist groups, Pakistan successfully tested the latest version of its long-range nuclear-capable missile, in February. The Hatf VI (Shaheen II) ballistic missile, launched from an undisclosed location, is said to have a range of 2,000 kilometers and has the capability to hit major cities in India, according to Pakistan’s military.

In the process of building extensive military capabilities, Pakistan’s successive rulers have stood by as essential internal attributes of statehood degrade. A major attribute of a state is its ability to maintain monopoly, or at least the preponderance, of public coercion.

The proliferation of insurgents, militias and Mafiosi reflect the state’s weakness in this key area. There are too many non-state actors in Pakistan –ranging from religious vigilantes to criminals – who possess coercive power in varying degrees. In some instances the threat of non-state coercion in the form of suicide bombings weakens the state machinery’s ability to confront challenges to its authority.

Since its emergence from the partition of British India in 1947, Pakistan has defined itself as an Islamic ideological state. The country’s praetorian military has held the reins of power for most of the country’s existence and seen itself as the final arbiter of Pakistan’s national direction.

The emphasis on ideology has empowered Pakistan’s Islamist minority. The overwhelming influence of the army has accentuated militarism at the expense of civilian institutions. Many Pakistanis view the US as the army’s principal benefactor and by extension partly responsible for weakening civil institutions. The three periods of significant flow of US aid to Pakistan have all coincided with military rule in Pakistan.

The disproportionate focus of the Pakistani state on ideology, military capability and external alliances since Pakistan’s independence in 1947 has weakened the nation internally. Pakistan spends a greater proportion of its GDP on defense and still cannot match the conventional forces of India, which outspends Pakistan 3 to 1 while allocating a smaller percentage of its burgeoning GDP to military spending. The country’s institutions – ranging from schools and universities to political parties and the judiciary – are in a state of general decline.

Much of the analysis on Pakistan in the West since 9/11 has focused on Musharraf’s ability to remain in power and keep up the juggling act between alliance with the US and controlling various domestic constituencies, including the Pakistani military and Islamist militants. Pakistan’s problems, however, run deeper. It is time the world set aside its immediate preoccupation with Musharraf’s future to examine the fundamental conditions of the Pakistani state.

Husain Haqqani is director of Boston University’s Center for International Relations and co-chair of the Hudson Institute’s Project on Islam and Democracy. He is the author of the Carnegie Endowment book “Pakistan Between Mosque and Military.”

© 2007 Yale Center for the Study of Globalization

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ahsan. Your comments make a lot of sense to me. The excuse that everything will fall apart without a strong army presence is a totally flawed one and one promoted by none other than the pakistan army.
Also, your recipe for the loose federation is one that if implemented a long time ago would have alleviated the bitter ethnic and provincial disputes that have become part and parcel of our country/ JEEVAY PAKISTAN

Anonymous said...

And it would be naive to throw slur at Musharraf only. Pak Army as institution is responsible for Musharraf misdeeds. Honorable officers will remove their badges if they see injustice rather then fall in line. I think the Gentleman Officers os the yesteryears could only be found now in black and white pictures. Seems like that now they teach how to crush civilians and civil rights under Big Boats in Staff College. Power without justice is cowardice of highest degree.

It would be better if Pakistan is ruled by the Central Command then our own Army who has no respect for rule of law.

libertarian said...

aas: appreciate the support. No public election for yours truly any time soon though - was appointed Dad-for-life and that constituency is hard-enough to please :-)

ahsan: you make a valid point about the political parties. What's missing - IMHO - is the focus on strong institutions. Political representation will only go so far. As one commentator put it, "It's hard for mature institutions to develop when they are clubbed in their infancy by the military". The bottomline (for me): the institutions, in their present state, are ill-equipped to handle the current challenges facing the state.

Your thesis on a loose federacy as the only way to succeed is most interesting. That's half-way while maintaining national integrity. The 1973 constitution has it, but it's been mutilated beyond recognition - and never actually practiced. It would be a giant feat if that could be pulled off - a model of statecraft.

Anonymous said...


When Libertarian laments about the indiscernible alternative out there to Gen Mush (Read: Military) it may be understandable perception – given the ground realities. What is inaccurately presumed however is this hallucination about the “bearded” mad mullahs are coming – the mad mullahs are coming! That’s the game Mush, Inc. plays with Uncle Sam to continue the status quo and their gravy train.

Defenders of the status quo inaccurately presume that non-elites (and those civilian leaders not installed by the military) are not capable of “reclaiming the ownership of the State”. Such noninterventionist believe that are problems can be solved within the present system of military-rule or military-remote-control-rule. It is not that change is impossible; it is that they don’t believe things can change. All over the world forces for change are being unleashed. With time and struggle, Pakistan will see the possibilities of a truly democratic and humane society, insha’Allah !

Anonymous said...

Me think it is not that change is impossible, it is these “vested interest” that oppose change for what the change entails, which they fear may put a stop to what you call their “gravy train”. Otherwise, the civil society is growing vibrant, able and ready.

Anonymous said...

Public opinion has started shifting against the Chief Justice after three affidavits were filed by government officials:

Most, people I talked to recently said that he is as bad or worse than the current leadership.

The majority opinion was that there are issues in the government affidavits but with all the proof provided almost everyone has concluded that the Chief Justice had lied in his affidavit.

People have lost faith in the revolution that the media and political parties were promising.

I think we should be more careful declaring people as heroes.

Anonymous said...


You said:
"Most, people I talked to recently said that he is as bad or worse than the current leadership.

The majority opinion was that there are issues in the government affidavits but with all the proof provided almost everyone has concluded that the Chief Justice had lied in his affidavit.

People have lost faith in the revolution that the media and political parties were promising."

I'm afraid you are living in cloud cuckoo-land, my friend.

The CJ is respected only for the fact in 60 years he was the 1st judge to tell a military bully, NO!

The issue is beyond him now. The people want the army out of politics and back to the job that they are paid by Pakistanis to do - and that is defend our borders.

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