Well, it is finally all out in the open.
Musharraf has announced, through a one of his minions, that he will remove his uniform only if he is ‘re-elected’ as President. And, if for some reason or another he fails to get ‘re-elected’ he will then insist on continuing to hold his office as the all-powerful army chief.
His message to the advocates of democracy in Pakistan is quite simple: ‘Heads I win, tails you lose’.
As we all await the Supreme Court judgement on Musharraf’s legitimacy as a presidential candidate, your Blogger has come across a lot of despondency among those who claim to know the current workings of the Supreme Court. According to these people the apex court’s decision will go against the public’s aspirations of judicial independence.
In your Blogger’s humble opinion (he is an LLB by education and has done his bar) the law on this issue is fairly clear-cut. However, in Pakistan, history constantly reminds us that our Supreme Court’s constitutional decisions can be quite nebulous at the best of times.
So now all I can do is cross my fingers and hope that all that I have been recently hearing proves to be totally wrong.
Having said that, it would only be fair to share with my readers the following item that appeared in today’sThe News . According to this report some judges of the nine-member bench deciding the case have already become victims of the government’s ruthless intimidatory tactics.
Is govt trying to influence SC judges?
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The government is allegedly trying to influence the nine-member Supreme Court bench, hearing the petitions challenging the dual offices held by the President, through behind-the-scene intimidation of some of the honourable judges and their families.
However, Attorney General Justice (retd) Malik Qayum has denied that any pressure is being exerted on the judges of the Supreme Court. "Somebody might have some sort of misunderstanding," Qayyum said, adding the executive's pressure on the judiciary was a thing of the past.
A family member of one of the judges, claimed to have been facing extreme pressure, shared with this correspondent the tale of the alleged unending pressure that the family is facing to make the honourable judge, who is a member of the nine-member bench, fall into line with the government.
"You can never think of what they are doing to us," the family member of the honourable senior judge of the Supreme Court said, adding that the situation had gone to an extent that the government was sending officials even to the judges to persuade them to support the government in these petitions.
According to another member of the same family, the messenger who brought the government's message seemed to be over-enthusiastic, showing that he was more loyal than the king.
Close relatives of the judges are being approached and told that in case the decision of the Supreme Court does not meet the government's expectations, the country might see another martial law. According to the source, they are also being warned that it is hard to fight with the government and there are precedents of un-ceremonial removal of judges.
Both the honourable judge and his family, the source claimed, were undeterred and clearly told the messenger that they would not commit anything and would only uphold the merit and the rule of law no matter what price they had to pay.
During one of his contacts, according to the family member of the honourable judge, the messenger had also referred to the murder case of additional registrar of the Supreme Court Hammad Raza. "You cannot believe what they are doing to us," the member said, adding that the messenger had also claimed to have developed contacts with some other honourable members of the bench.
The messenger's name, designation, and contact number have also been shared with The News but these details are not being published to protect the source. The messenger was also said to be contemptuous while making some predictions.
Disturbed with these contacts, a member of the concerned judge’s family also contacted a senior government authority but got a disappointing response.Meanwhile, the Attorney General denied that the government was engaged in any such activity. "Let me assure you that there is no such thing," he said, adding that had there been any such thing, then all the recent decisions would not have gone against the government.
He admitted that the judges were pressurized in the past but that was not the case anymore. He said most of the judges of the Supreme Court were personally known to him though he did not meet them. This is only to ensure that no one should have doubt of any sort, he said.
In the post-March 9 scenario and during the hearing of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry's petition by the 13-member court, there were reports of government agencies trying to influence the judges to "seek accommodation" for the government. However, no such tactic worked as proved by the landmark Supreme Court decision of July 20.