What spooked the justices? - Kamran Shafi - October 19, 2010

Source : www.dawn.com

SO much that a sitting of all the 17 honourable judges of the Supreme Court (SC) was called
at midnight on the basis of what is fast turning out to be just a rumour run by a private television station?

And despite a clear denial within the hour by the prime minister no less that any alleged de-notification of the superior judiciary’s resurrection after it was dismissed and incarcerated by the Commando was ever in his thoughts?

Whilst a virulently anti-government media house has termed the affair as being real, invoking the ‘there is no smoke without fire’ saying, where is the fire, please? Can we shattered and disillusioned and shaken people please be told? After all that the country went through during the lawyers’ movement which, incidentally, would never have succeeded without help from civil society and lay citizens, such shocks as the one administered to the nation on Thursday night are most agonising and painful.

But let us leave the alleged machinations of the government aside for a moment. What I should like to ask is why our honourable judges had such little faith in us the people of this tortured country, the real servants of a free and independent judiciary?

If we could stand up to a brutal army dictator who had deployed all of the Deep State’s goons to stop us from gathering and protesting against its dismissal on a daily basis: sometimes just eight or 10, would we not stand up to a civilian (and therefore weak, mark, for the ‘agencies’ are only at the beck and call of generals!) government? Would any government dare do such a thing in the presence of a conscientious and alive civil society?

So what spooked the honourable judges? Was there something out there that convinced them that there was a fire somewhere, and therefore the smoke? Indeed, one of the candidates for election as president of the SC bar association, Ahmad Owais, is openly saying that this was a move to bring back the disgraceful Dogar and his court.

Do I have to draw the attention of the justices to this statement and to request their lordships to immediately summon the man and ask him to prove his allegations? And then to proceed under Article 6 of the constitution against whoever in the government was planning this dastardly act?

The judiciary must get to the bottom of this whole matter, not allowing the journalist(s) concerned the privilege of not revealing his/their ‘source’ of the news that threw the whole country into turmoil and gave us Pakistanis an even worse name than we enjoy at present in the comity of nations.

What we need in the country at this most fraught of times is unity and cohesion: all of us must stand together to face the coming disaster in the shape and form of the new Great Game being assiduously planned by our Rommels and Guderians.

As an aside, from reports in the press, Mullah Abdus Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, still seems to be a leading member of the Taliban. May I once more ask that anyone who has not read his book My life with the Taliban (from which I quoted twice in this space over the past two months) do so now? It is illuminating to read what he thinks of us and our Deep State. And we want to be the arbiters of peace in Afghanistan?

I might add that the second of the two quotations from Mullah Zaeef came in for a lot of flak from the ghairat brigades, who not only traced my ancestry in several threatening emails to me.
There was also a letter questioning my patriotism. But what did I do, other than to quote verbatim what the mullah had written? In any case, patriotism and scoundrels go together as we well know.

And now for something uplifting. Early last week I sat in front of my TV watching the Chilean miners being pulled up one by one from their 700 metre underground vault, almost grave, where they waited to be rescued for 69 days, with tears in my eyes. The president of Chile and his wife, soon joined by the Bolivian president because there was one (just one!) Bolivian miner who was trapped too; the interior minister; the minister for mines; the minister for health were all there exulting with the families every time another miner was winched to the top.

While Chile asked for help from the US space agency Nasa in counselling the trapped miners — Nasa being well-versed in this because of the long stays in space by astronauts — most of the operation was indigenously planned and executed.

The capsule that brought the miners to the surface was designed and rigged up by the Chilean navy at one of its bases. Yet, and this we Pakistanis must note, there were no banners proclaiming that the Chilean navy was responsible for the successful rescue. Neither was the navy chief there, wearing his gongs and baubles. Just look where the world has got to, even developing Chile, and see where we are wallowing.

Endpiece: My Bella, a beautiful yellow Labrador, has just had four lovely puppies, their father the superlative Ch. Sudeo Game-on at Rachna. My telephone hasn’t stopped ringing, with people asking “Yaar, ek bacha mujhe bhi dena….”, immediately bringing to memory the words of my dear departed friend: great shikari; raconteur par excellence; and one of the most gracious and generous people it has been my good fortune to know, Col Farhatullah Khan.

“Yera, Kamran, why don’t people ask for a gai ka bacha or a bhains ka bacha; why do they only ask for puppies?” And then he answered the question himself: “Because cows and buffaloes cost money; and everyone expects a free puppy — which is then ignored, tied in the front lawn, unloved, a status symbol!” To anyone who wants one of mine — bring a buffalo (or a Friesian), take a puppy.


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