Nadeem Paracha: Waltz with the NRO

Dec 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Uncategorized

Regular readers know that we are big fans of Nadeem Paracha. He represents what is good about journalism — being critical, but fair; being intelligent, but accessible; putting solid analysis before fantasy; and most of all, his willingness to take his fellow media personalities to task when they are ridiculous.

This week, of course, he takes aim at the response to the NRO verdict and the ‘hyperventilating’ that came from every famous TV anchor:

The Supreme Court’s verdict on the NRO was certainly an unprecedented event. 

However, the night the verdict was announced, every famous TV anchor was jumping and hyperventilating; some almost foamed at the mouth as if struck by a strange, sudden bout of happiness. 
What is this, I thought? Have we won Kashmir? Have we triumphed in the war against the Taliban? Or have we finally eradicated poverty, illiteracy and hatred from Pakistan? 

I mean, I have never seen these anchors sound so excited. Not even during Musharraf’s resignation, and when the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry was reinstated. Indeed, the like TV anchors were grinning (and rightly so) during these two episodes, but I wondered, exactly why such a show of overwhelming exhilaration over this particular event?

But, then, of course, I thought. What better reason and time than now to put peddle to the metal against the electronic media’s favourite punching bags: Asif Ali Zardari and Altaf Hussain. Never mind what ever happened to the pending case that Asghar Khan had submitted in the courts against the ISI’s blatant misdoings while constructing a superficial front against the PPP in the rickety shape of the IJI. Just stick to Zardari. Because the individual in Pakistan is always bigger (and more venerable) than the whole. Easy to understand, castigated and got rid of. 

As more and more former judges continued to burst the anchors’ euphoric bubbles that day by suggesting calm, and saying that the matters of the court were just too technical and complex to rush to any glorious conclusions, the anchors eventually went all upright. The ‘technical talk’ in this respect that the anchors were already somewhat struggling with, suddenly turned moralistic. After all, peachiness becomes the refuge of the politically biased, or of men unconvincingly trying to communicate an air of objectivity.

Within hours of the verdict when the former judges failed to say what the anchors were hoping them to, the word ‘akhlaq’ (morality) cropped up. In a brazen display of utter subjectivity, many of such anchors did not hesitate to float the idea that the president and those ministers whose names were on the NRO beneficiary list, should resign on ‘moral grounds.’ 

First of all, these anchors can easily find themselves in glasshouses when it comes to matters like aqhlaq. We have all seen how much of this aqhlaq is present in their talk shows on which folks have been known to start sounding like right-wing anarchists who are willing to mutilate and sacrifice the presidency, democracy and parliament at the altar of unsubstantiated accusations and assorted reactionary claptrap. 

Secondly, such anchors were openly lamenting the constitutional clause that protects the president from facing the courts, and I am sure many of their equally disappointed viewers must also be lamenting the fact that there was no manly military dictator at the helm who could flick aside the constitution, like Ziaul Haq, who is on record as saying: ‘What is a constitution? Nothing but just a piece of paper.’

Innocent until proven guilty. What’s so complicated about that? And couple this with the obvious political nature of the many ‘corruption’ and ‘criminal’ cases against the PPP and MQM leaders, let the honourable courts decide who is guilty or not.

Who are we to point fingers? Who are we to cast the first stone? And all this rap about akhlaq; for heaven’s sake, forget about the high and the mighty, how many of us educated, middle-class folks can call ourselves spotless? Take a small example: How many of us are willing to show any decency to, say, a lowly paid traffic cop? How many of us do not have that instinctive thought of bribing our way out of a traffic violation, or out of any other crime (petty or otherwise)? 

This most certainly is not a defence of corrupt politicians. It is a plea to look at the system. A system that each one of us — from the so-called feudal and upper-middle classes all the way to the middle-class — benefit from. We bribe, break the law, lie, cheat, all in the name of survival, and then when guilt strikes, we select our favourite punching bags in the shape of elected politicians and bash them, all the while remaining quiet for years when ruled by an unconstitutional military dictator; or even when men who blow themselves up in public live and plot in our neighbourhoods. There is little or no hue and cry then. 

On the other end, sometimes this guilt leaves us suddenly rediscovering God and religion. Then it’s back to going on a rampage of punching venerable scapegoats, this time in the name of faith. Thus, I believe, in this country it is hypocrisy that is the major cause of corruption. So stop thinking that it’s democracy that is to be blamed. 

Remember East Pakistan? No uniformed strong man or a mard-i-momin can save a country as diverse as ours. Stop getting lost in the middle-class fantasies of powerful men and glorious conquests. Vote, and then wait to vote out whom you do not like. Stop falling prey to fascist escapades dressed as patriotism, uprightness and worst of all, akhlaq.

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  1. NRO: Nawaz Sharif, Judiciary & Charter of Democracy.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/01/nro-nawaz-sharif-judiciary-charter-of.html

    Mr. Nawaz Sharif is quite fond of the Charter of Democracy, Independent Judiciary, Implementation of the Charter of Democracy and above all Accountability. Lets read what History has to say about Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s tall Claims. Read the history after reading Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s statement in The News/Daily Jang.

    If I were president, I would have faced courts, says Nawaz PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif on Friday said the government must accept the court verdicts for the sake of solidarity and integrity of the country.
    He said President Asif Zardari had disappointed him by not implementing the Charter of Democracy. About the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), he said it was a gift from a dictator and it only benefited the big fish.

    As per the Charter of Democracy:

    “QUOTE”

    LONDON, May 15: The following is the text of the Charter of Democracy signed by former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif here on Sunday: Calling upon the people of Pakistan to join hands to save our motherland from the clutches of military dictatorship and to defend their fundamental, social, political and economic rights and for a democratic, federal, modern and progressive Pakistan as dreamt by the Founder of the nation; have adopted the following, “Charter of Democracy”;

    3. (a) The recommendations for appointment of judges to superior judiciary shall be formulated through a commission, which shall comprise of the following: i. The chairman shall be a chief justice, who has never previously taken oath under the PCO.

    ii. The members of the commission shall be the chief justices of the provincial high courts who have not taken oath under the PCO, failing which the senior most judge of that high court who has not taken oath shall be the member

    4. A Federal Constitutional Court will be set up to resolve constitutional issues, giving equal representation to each of the federating units, whose members may be judges or persons qualified to be judges of the Supreme Court, constituted for a six-year period. The Supreme and High Courts will hear regular civil and criminal cases. The appointment of judges shall be made in the same manner as for judges of higher judiciary.

    27. There shall be an independent, autonomous, and impartial election commission. The prime minister shall in consultation with leader of opposition forward up to three names for each position of chief election commissioner, members of election commission, and secretary to joint parliamentary committee, constituted on the same pattern as for appointment of judges in superior judiciary, through transparent public hearing process. In case of no consensus, both prime minister and leader of opposition shall forward separate lists to the joint parliamentary committee for consideration. Provincial election commissioner shall be appointed on the same pattern by committees of respective provincial assemblies.

    On PCO Judiciary I will just quote Daily Newspapers. One of the wonders of Internet is this that the History can no more be kept hidden.
    According to a notification, the president has appointed Justice Rashid Aziz, Chief Justice, Lahore High Court; Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, Chief Justice Sindh High Court; Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Chief Justice, Balochistan High Court; Qazi Farooq, former chief justice of Peshawar High Court; and Justice Rana Bhagwan Das, judge, Sindh High Court, judges of the Supreme Court. After the elevation of Justice Rashid Aziz Khan to the SC, Justice Mohammad Allah Nawaz has been appointed Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. Justice Deedar Hussain Shah has been appointed Chief Justice of Sindh High Court and Justice Javed Iqbal Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court. After these appointments, the number of SC judges has risen to 12, leaving five posts vacant.

    ISLAMABAD, May 7: President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday appointed Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court, as the next chief justice. He will assume the office on June 30 after retirement of the incumbent Chief Justice, Justice Nazim Hussain Siddiqui, on June 29. “The notification has ended speculations of appointment of a junior judge as chief justice in violation of the seniority principle settled under the 1996 Judges case,” commented a senior Supreme Court lawyer on condition of anonymity. Justice Chaudhry will reach the superannuation age of 65 years in 2012, which will make him one of the longest serving chief justices in the judicial history of Pakistan. He will serve as chief justice for over seven years. Earlier Justice A. R. Cornelius and Justice Mohammad Haleem served as chief justice for eight years from 1960 to 68 and 1981 to 89, respectively. Justice Chaudhry was elevated as a judge of the apex court on February 4, 2000. He has performed as acting chief justice from January 17 to 29, 2005. He holds the degree of LLB and started practice as an advocate in 1974. Later he was enrolled as an advocate of high court in 1976 and as an advocate of Supreme Court in 1985. In 1989, Justice Chaudhry was appointed as advocate-general of Balochistan and elevated to the post of additional judge in the Balochistan High Court in 1990. He also served as banking judge, judge of Special Court for Speedy Trials and Customs Appellate Courts as well as company judge. He served as the chief justice of the Balochistan High Court from April 22, 1999 to February 4, 2000. He was elected the president of the High Court Bar Association, Quetta, and twice a member of the Bar Council. He was appointed as the chairman of the Balochistan Local Council Election Authority in 1992 and for a second term in 1998. Justice Chaudhry also worked as the chairman of the Provincial Review Board for Balochistan and was appointed twice as the chairman of the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Balochistan. Presently he is functioning as the chairman of the Enrolment Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Buildings Committee.

    MR. NAWAZ SHARIF AND ACCOUNTABILITY

    A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threat over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious manner the other day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, is picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the Sharif family. Hussain Haqqani is picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center in connection with charges vaguely to do with money embezzlement while he held government office. The residence of Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of Herald monthly and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26,1998.

    BBC DOCUMENTARY ON NAWAZ SHARIF CORRUPTION:

    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiNLCtw2Vkg&feature=related

    MR. NAWAZ SHARIF & PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE (N) ATTACKS SUPREME COURT OF PAKISTAN.

    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part 1

    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF2oj2B4pTg

    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part 2

    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m01npQowwc&feature=related

    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part 3

    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5eFHohRC2g&feature=related

    Nawaz Sharif attack on Supreme Court, A rear footage Part4

    URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTBHoYk0gqY&feature=related

    REST IS HISTORY: NRO: Nawaz Sharif, Judiciary & Charter of Democracy. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/01/nro-nawaz-sharif-judiciary-charter-of.html

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