Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shame on You Talat Hussain!!

Syed Talat Hussain 'was' an esteemed columnist, television host and journalist of Pakistan, until today when he targeted someone for following their own harmless cultural norms. In his column in the Urdu daily Express News, he targets the famous Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie in his shameful effort to target the current civilian government of Pakistan. The article reproduced below gives an insight in to the way of thinking that is standard of Pakistan's new found pseudo intellectuals. The article is titled 'Jolie ka thhapparh' or 'Jolie's slap' referring to her criticism of inconvenience and lack of empathy in maintaining the security protocols of politicians while they visit the flood affectees.

The article instead of taking the valid approach taken by many bloggers, whereby they portray Jolie as an objective outsider, who has more sympathy than those who hold positions of power chooses to takes a shocking alternative route. He chooses to portray Angelina Jolie as a characterless, good-for-nothing and sham actress, who had her acting career propelled by the casting couch in the wake of her lack of appeal and her publicly confessed bi-sexual orientation. He further declares her adoption of kids as a cover up for her past life and concludes the article by pointing out that even such a lowly person had more sense than our politicians.

For those who cannot comprehend Urdu, a summarized translation follows each paragraph.

The opening paragraph introduces Angelina Jolie as a Hollywood actress, hints at her scandalous life and comments on her ever present contempt for social norms. She had (sexually) matured early (read slut), however, being ugly was a complete failure in the acting world.

She took to political-marriages to advance her career, fully utilizing each opportunity that came her way. Her thirst for success was devoid of any limitations so much so that she has contravened every value that forms the basis of a society's morality. The highlight of her continuous social experimenting is her self-professed stint at sapphism.

To blackout her 'past' Angelina Jolie has taken to adopting an 'assortment' of kids. This was publicized by her PR managers so effectively that despite want of ethics in general and Eastern values in particular she was made the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. If you doubt my stance open up the Constitution of Pakistan and turn to Article 62 and 63 which dictates the need for people to be good character, to not violate Islamic values, avoid sinfulness, be sagacious etc. Our notion is based on the principle that be they Muslims or Non-Muslims, people with lack of (good) qualities as Angelina Jolie should remain disgraced at all times. Had she been in Pakistan she would have been (rightfully) stoned to death multiple times.

But even a movie star, drenched in westernism had the decency to realize that inconveniencing flood affected people with protocol is inhumane. She recounts in her UN report that in such dire times the house of the Prime Minister had a lavish feast followed by a private in-flight by the PM's family. The report is a slap in the face (of Pakistani leadership). For what reason?! This Hollywood actress would be feeling more honored than her Honorable hosts.

After reading the article apart from the fact that I fail to see the purpose of the same, I am appalled at the writer's way of thinking. His obsession to impose Eastern values on Ms Jolie is beyond me and so is his persistence in alleging that she continually contravenes Western values, known only to Mr Talat Hussain himself. He does not find Ms Jolie attractive (for that I can only pity you Sir), makes an evil vicious witch out of her for being an actress and having scandals probably every person in Hollywood has.

He also has problems with her adoption of kids and more than anything her being selected as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador. He is so spiteful of the superstar's appointment (due to her having no feathers in her cap bar some acting), that he did not even bother to look up the purpose of such appointments, which is to 'use their talent and fame' to advocate the cause of refugees.

One can understand Mr Hussain's compassion for Islamic values but the same values dictate him to refrain from thrusting them on non-Muslims let alone giving fatwas against them for not obeying the Islamic code. However, what is not understandable is the disappearance of this compassion when Taliban are going on a rampage bombing mosques, men and boys go missing in Balochistan and barbershops are forcefully shut down in the tribal areas and when the Lal Masjid's moulvis issue threats of suicide bombings and kidnap police personnel.

The article takes the thanklessness and paranoia that permeate certain sections of our society to a whole new level. Saner voices should prevail if the society is to prosper, therefore it is imperative to condemn Mr Talat Hussain's slanderous article against a person who came to help the people of Pakistan in their time of need. Thank you Angelina Jolie and walk away Talat Hussain with your head hung in shame.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Foot in Mouth Award 2010: Justice Ad-hoc Khalil ul Rehman Ramday

The Foot in Mouth award is awarded each year by the Plain English Campaign for a baffling comment in English language by a prominent figure. The comment can be inappropriate for being queer in grammar or content or both. The English proverb after which the award is named, 'foot in the mouth', simply means a distasteful or foul oration. The proverb I believe is self explanatory. It further goes without saying that if similar award was to be given in Pakistan, despite tough competition from Chief Justice Lahore High Court Khwaja Sharif, the outright winner would be Justice Khalil ul Rehman Ramday. While all of his golden quotes can fill volumes, some select few and their apparent fallacy or foolishness have been reproduced here to impress his exemplary personality upon the readers.

Not few days ago,
Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said in his remarks, " the courts had been left with no task but to pocket insults." October 2010
So sir, you do finally realise your public standing? Had you paid a bit more attention to serving the people of Pakistan than focusing on lynching their elected representatives day and night, you would be receiving some accolades, but since you are not doing so, enjoying your well deserved share of insults.

He also observed,
“CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was held by hair and dragged, but we did not take any action. Whenever such an incident takes place, a strategy is adopted with wisdom. We did not take revenge on anyone for what happened with us after March 9, 2007,” October 2010
Are you suggesting that in following the course of law you did me or the people of Pakistan a favor? The fact that why the Chief Justice of Pakistan did not get a FIR registered is another matter.

Another member of the bench, Justice Ramday said that wherever judges try to raise their heads, they are immediately showered with hammers. September 28, 2010.
When did they raise their heads? Can you quote one incident other than 9th March? Also, may I suggest that you refrain from basking in CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry's glory, using it to put yourself on a pedestal.

Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said: “We judges cannot sit as silent onlookers if someone is committing suicide before us.” 30 September, 2010
What?! Didn't you guys do exactly that during the eight year Mush rule? Yes, before your sudden awakening! When all the banks, flour, sugar and rice mills, stocks in power plants, PTCL, KESC and many other institutions had been given away in shady privatisation deals and stock market had crashed twice.

These two quotes both part of the 18th amendment case proceedings, in response to different arguments pertaining to the amendment with respect to appointment of judges.
Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday remarked that the judiciary was separated and detached from the executive, but now the latter’s role was being enhanced while in the UK, the executive’s role was minimised in appointments.

“Judge is appointed by the Senate in US. But here in Pakistan ground realities will have to be looked into,” Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday remarked.

So sir, do you think people of Pakistan are stupid? We are not ignorant fools, heads-I-win, tails-you-lose is not going work. Be ethical and pick a side.

Justice Ramday cited in a judgment that Article 248 came up for interpretation in Ch Zahur Ilahi’s case (PLD 1975 SC 383), which stated the scope and the operational area of the said provision as “...the immunity provisions must, in accordance with the accepted principles of interpretation, be construed strictly and unless persons claiming the immunity comes strictly within the terms of the provisions granting the immunity, the immunity cannot be extended. The immunity is in the nature of an exception to the general rule that no one is above the law.”

The matter was further explained thus: “Hence, since neither the Constitution nor any law can possibly authorise him to commit a criminal act or do anything which is contrary to law, the immunity cannot extend to illegal or unconstitutional acts.”
Okay, so the immunity extends only when you convict people for actions permissible under law, got it!

On the formation of a judicial commission Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday said, during a hearing

‘Thank God that our ministers and bureaucrats are honest and angels. The sheer fault lies only with the judges; hence, they must be set right.’
No sir they aren't but the bureaucracy is not (directly) governed by the Constitution, hence their appointment was not covered in the eighteenth amendment. Seems you missed out on some crucial lessons at law school. As for the ministers, why do you question their eligibility, did you yourself not say in Court that it was up to nation to decide to whom they wanted to see as judge or otherwise. So why do you not honour their decision when it is not in your favour.

At a different date he further remarked,
The judiciary had rendered sacrifices, judges faced detention and hunger along with their children and had to let go numerous competent brother judges by way of the July 31 verdict (for taking oath under the PCO) only to save the democratic system. But, he said, the hands of the same judiciary were being tied.
Honourable sir, you with your fellow lordships suffered four months of detention in your house with your families. This was done at the hands of a dictator whom you strengthened and served unconditionally for eight years. For such support you deserve a minimum of life imprisonment. Moreover, while you walked hand in hand with the dictator, hundreds of politicians and political workers were tortured until they changed loyalties.

Should your logic be accepted why don't you give the political leadership of the country a free pass they have earned as per your logic? Each one of them has sacrificed more than the entire judiciary put together.

But above all his quote for which he truly deserves an award is his outright admission in the Court, ten days before the 3rd November emergency, while Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan was pleading the case of Justice Retired Wajihuddin.

“I am not ashamed if I had taken the oath under the PCO,” Justice Ramday observed. “We have made our country, its institutions and the Constitution a matter of laughing stock in the world.” He said that whatever ‘burble and verbal jugglery’ might be behind the changes made since 1977 in the Constitution, the country had been ruled under the Constitution.“But we sit here and waste days and weeks trying to understand (interpreting things).”
Sir, this was at the peak of the historic lawyers movement. You had the audacity to not only defend your oath under the PCO but also question why should you be ashamed. One is forced to wonder that had you been offered an oath by Musharraf again, would you have stood by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry?

While, his lack of shame on committing treason deserves recognition, it is for his persistent shamelessness two years on that we award him Foot in Mouth.

Justice Ramday recalled that, "all the validations accorded by the judiciary were temporary in nature, but asked why the one who committed treason by abrogating the Constitution and the institution (parliament) which indemnified such actions had not been touched, but the judiciary was being singled out unnecessarily."

“All the subsequent abrogation and martial laws were not only accepted by the people but also given permanency by political leaders,” the judge regretted.

He said the 8th Amendment was one such example when the 1985 parliament indemnified all extra-constitutional actions taken by Gen Ziaul Haq.

“Why did the parliamentarians not stand up by refusing to validate Ziaul Haq’s martial law if the judiciary had given a wrong decision in the Nusrat Bhutto case?” Justice Ramday asked. He also cited the Zafar Ali Shah case in which the judiciary had given three years’ time to Gen Pervez Musharraf to hold elections.

Mr Ramday in his desperation has forgotten that the eighth amendment ratification by the sham parliament was challenged by Benazir Bhutto in Courts as it was un-Constitutional for being even the house so elected was unicameral in nature. He has also forgotten the non-partisan elections of Zia, the low voter turnout and the suppression of people by the dictator. Both the eighth amendment and the seventeenth amendments were carried out by parliaments which were a result of heavily rigged elections, yet you would go to any length to deny any blame on your part.

For all the above comments and your lack of shame in putting such thoughts into words, you deserve Pakistan's first Foot in Mouth Award. Congratulations!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

LHC Justice: Bail for Sohail Zia Butt, conviction for Rehman Malik!

The honourable judges of the Lahore High Court continue to leave no stone unturned in disgracing the institution of judiciary in Pakistan. On 11th October 2010 the court granted bail to the PML-N leader Sohail Zia Butt and suspended his three year sentence given in absentia.

The verdict is in line with every verdict given in Pakistan and worldwide. Verdicts pronounced in absentia are procedurally rescinded and sentences suspended pending appeals and retrials, the verdict follows all precedents except one.

Not six months ago, due to the ‘increasingly deteriorating situation in the country’ the LHC took a novel step by upholding the conviction of interior minister Rehman Malik. His bail was terminated and an arrest warrant issued. This was done by the independent judiciary in the name of setting an example, certainly it wanted to set examples it had no intention of following.

The fact that the conviction of Rehman Malik was done in absentia was ignored. The bench observed in its order while dismissing the minister’s appeals that, “after conviction, if a person is not taken into custody or not admitted to bail, such a person is deemed to be fugitive of law and would not be entitled to any relief.” It was in this scenario that President Zardari was forced to pardon Mr Rehman Malik, him being denied a fair trial in broad daylight.

The news published in Dawn News:

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday released PML-N leader Sohail Zia Butt on bail. The court also suspended the three-year-long prison sentence given to him by an accountability court.

The Accountability Court in Lahore had sentenced former MPA of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz to prison.

He had been arrested by the National Accountability Bureau on September 1 over his alleged involvement in a National Industrial Cooperative Corporation scam.

The PML-N had termed the arrest of Butt, who is Nawaz Sharif’s brother-in-law, as “politically motivated and illegal”.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

President’s Immunity!!

THE endless discussion about the Supreme Court’s authority to interpret the constitutional clauses pertaining to presidential immunity is mind-boggling. Interpretation is required where ambiguity exists.

However, the concept of presidential immunity which we have adopted from English law by virtue of article 248 of the Constitution of 1973 is unambiguous and clear.

Attempts by certain analysts and experts to limit its application to acts done in capacity of the president are also shocking.

The presidential immunity, which is the reflection of sovereign immunity granted to heads of state has always extended to all acts as long as the person remains in office.

The French courts do not take action against Sarkozy for acts like his alleged involvement in the submarine scandal, allegedly done while he was not the president and the Sudanese president is not arrested anywhere around the world despite an International Criminal Court warrant due to his sovereign immunity, for violations he did while in office, as long as he is the president.

President Zardari is the lawfully elected president and is as such immune from any legal action.

While the general public would love the dramatics of conviction of a sitting president, such pleasure at the cost of virtual suspension of an article in the Constitution is a heavy price.

The repeated swearing of allegiances by various socio-political figures to the government or the Supreme Court is self evident of the travesty of the situation since there is only one side in this supposed battle, the Constitution.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Taliban: Victorious

Tomorrow on eleventh of September 2010, when Eid-ul-Fitr coincides with the 9/11 anniversary it will be decided whether America surrenders to Taliban. The way I see it, it is simple.

Taliban is an ideology, they believe in enforcement of their religious beliefs on others and usurping human rights. It does not matter if Afghanistan or Somalia where Taliban hold considerable power stand or fall. The troops can stay as long as Western powers can afford to but if the West gets infected with the same virus there will be little point in continuing the war.

In 2001, the Taliban announced their plans to destroy the landmark Buddha statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. The decision caused outrage among the global community. United Arab Emirates and Pakistan two of the three countries that recognized the Taliban regime requested that they are willing host the statues. But Taliban leader, Mullah Umar's stance was clear, that destruction of idols is the law and law must be implemented at all costs (the shariah law as interpreted by Taliban).

Today, history is on the verge of repeating it self. A pastor in Florida has announced a Quran burning event, though he is said to have called off and then reinstated the event the reaction of the West is not much different. Freedom of speech is the law, law must be implemented. At best we can use an anti pollution law to make them stop, but they can still go to the neighboring state where the law is lax.

In 2001, the international efforts went in vain, the Buddhas statues were desecrated and destroyed and the matter faded into oblivion. And while there is whole lot of tantrum about the event in Western press the only reason the pastor is being pressured into changing his plans is the fear of backlash globally and the director threat it may pose to US soldiers in Afghanistan.

The fact that it is an act of religious intolerance and similar to that done by the Taliban is not really what forces the leaders of Western world to deplore the act. The Taliban has indeed truly emerged victorious.

That said, a word to my fellow Muslim and especially Pakistani Muslims. You were over joyed at the Taliban's destruction of the statues and the saner voices though scarce had to lay low. So kindly, stop saying that you respect other peoples religion when clearly your history (and mine) is to the contrary.

Two wrongs do not make a right, and when the pastor commits the horrific act he shall join the ranks of Taliban but in the end its their country just like Taliban was yours. So record your protest peacefully and shut up! Come what may, violence is not justifiable.