Ansar Abbasi For the Prosecution: Part II

Jun 8th, 2010 | By | Category: The News

Ansar Abbasi cannot seem to stop play acting as a Supreme Court Advocate. One can imagine him walking around his house in a black robe and wig taking suo moto notice of kabobs. Today, though, he has taken up his mighty pen to duel with Kamal Azfar, who is a real Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court.

Actually, the Court is very well staffed with Advocates who can argue for the government also and argue against the government’s positions also. It does not need Mr Ansar Abbasi to make any case before it. After reading his column today, it is rather obvious why this is the case.

Abbasi tries to find some contradiction in the statements of Kamal Azfar and the Asif Ali Zardari. What he finds, though, is only proof that he should leave the law to real lawyers and go back to doing his own job which is journalism.

Ansar Abbasi’s claim is that by saying that the Swiss case “was closed on merit after the Swiss prosecutor general examined and analysed the evidence on record,” Kamal Azfar has contradicted the president. First, let’s look at Kamal’s statement.

A Reuters article from 26 August 2008 backs up Kamal Azfar’s statement:

Swiss judicial authorities said on Tuesday they had closed a money-laundering case against Pakistani presidential candidate Asif Ali Zardari and released $60 million frozen in Swiss accounts over the past decade.

Daniel Zappelli, Geneva’s chief prosecutor, said that he had no evidence to bring Zardari, 55, the widower of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, to trial.

Ansar Abbasi says that Kamal Azfar’s statement is contradicted by previous statements by Asif Ali Zardari. For these, he points to a February 2008 petition filed before the Sindh High Court.

Contrary to Kamal Azfar’s claim, Asif Ali Zardari’s February 2008 petition filed before the SHC had stated that after the issuance of the NRO, the government of Pakistan continued to pursue the corruption cases against him both in Switzerland and in Britain.

Abbasi’s problem, here, seems to be one of reading comprehension. The petition filed before the SHC does not refer to open cases in Switzerland, but to the insistence of elements in Pakistan to continue pursuing cases that had been closed by the Swiss.

This appears to be the same problem with the current insistence by some that the government open cases in Switzerland again, despite the fact that the Swiss continue to insist that they will not open them.

Therefore, the contradiction is not between Kamal Azfar and Asif Ali Zardari, but between Ansar Abbasi and the reality of the legal situation being debated.

The other question that seems to be asked at least once a week is why Ansar Abbasi’s opinions are published as news and not opinions, which they most certainly are. Whether the government is correct in its arguments is a decision for the courts and the parliament.

This is important for more reasons that basic journalistic ethics, though. In complex legal cases like the one discussed in this column, the people look to media for some explanation of the facts. By reading about what each side presents, each person can form his or her own opinion on the matter. By confusing the difference between fact and opinion, Ansar Abbasi runs the serious risk of having an improper influence on the outcome of a legal question that goes far beyond any person’s personal feelings about the president.

Certainly everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter, but please let’s leave the legal debate to the Advocates before the court. Ansar Abbasi should be doing his job of reporting, not trying to do someone elses job as Advocate. And The News should publish opinions clearly labeled as such so that readers are not misled into thinking that Ansar Abbasi’s opinions are actual facts.

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  1. PPP’s Central Information Secretary and Member National Assembly, Fauzia Wahab had sent a notice to Ansar Abbasi on May 15, 2010 seeking an apology from him for slanderous comments made against her in a live television broadcast on Dunya News dated 10th May, 2010. The program was Dunya Today with Dr. Moeid Pirzada as host and Roedad Khan as the third guest.

    With no apology forthcoming, Ansar Abbasi had even responded on the same channel that he gets many notices but nobody ever files a suit against him(see video here He had said this on May 17. The next few days were quite torturous for Fauzia Wahab as Ansar Abbasi got her statement twisted on the matter of Constitution and Hazrat Umar RA after which a campaign was run against her for apparent blasphemous utterances.

    Well, Fauzia Wahab did decide to go to the court and filed a suit against Ansar Abbasi in the Sindh High Court. The case was listened on ex-parte basis and a stay has been granted against Ansar Abbasi that he can now not give any statement or write against Fauzia Wahab.

  2. Ansar Abbasi is a person who supported Musharraf’s Coup in 1999 when Ansar was in Daily Dawn. We were tricked in the past and thought that this gentleman was for Judiciary and against Musharraf. I am confused whether Ansar Abbasi belongs to Jamaat Islami or hizbul Tehreer group??? Point is, he was against Musharraf regime, because ostensibly he (Mush) was dismantling the religious radical structures. I am sure if Musharraf would have been of the ilk of Zia (meaning by religious), Mr Abbasi would never have supported the coat-tie clad lawyers. His current problem is exactly the same, he is against the PPP govt. only for latter’s stance against religious bigots. You know…After all Jumat signatures are not something you can do away with.

  3. A get-CJ Iftikhar operation on the cards? Wednesday, June 16, 2010 Kaira rejects any move, political leaders show lack of knowledge By Ansar Abbasi

    ISLAMABAD: The Presidency has launched a covert operation to target Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry with clear signs that the massive government funds being doled out to lawyers and the highly dubious appointment of an ordinary lawyer as federal law secretary are part of this larger agenda, it is learnt.

    Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, however, categorically denied this and termed it baseless and speculative, insisting that publication of such a story without concrete proofs would lead to confusion and misunderstandings.

    Sources confided to The News that the Presidency is desperate to effectively target the chief justice and possibly remove him for which the groundwork has already started and things are expected to mature after the Supreme Court hands down its decision on the 18th Amendment.

    Feeling insecure from a fiercely independent judiciary because of their tainted past, President Asif Ali Zardari and a group of his advisers, including a few federal ministers, all of whom have their personal grudge against the judiciary, have chalked out this strategy to muster much-required support of political and legal fraternity to target the top judge. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is also said to be on-board.

    Sure to win the support of all its coalition partners, including the ANP, the MQM and the JUI-F, all of them not too happy with the independent judiciary because of its decisions affecting them and their leaders, the PPP is also confident to take the PML-N on-board.

    After reading and hearing the anti-judiciary sentiments of certain PML-N leaders, the sources said, the Presidency is desirous to see the apex court striking down any part of the 18th Amendment so that the PML-N’s support could also be won to target Justice Iftikhar-led superior judiciary.

    Presidency spokesman Farhatullah Babar was simply inaccessible as he neither attended this correspondent’s phone calls nor responded to the SMS message conveying the question on the issue.

    Information Minister Qamaruzzaman Kaira, however, when approached categorically denied this and asked how the PPP government, which gave its blood during the judicial movement and restored the judges through an executive order, could even think of targeting any of the judges.

    “Neither there is any such thinking nor it will happen,” he said, adding that the PPP, the government or the Presidency have nothing against any judge. The information minister said the government respects the judges and the courts and is obeying their orders and directions. He said there is no issue of President Asif Ali Zardari as the 18th Amendment was passed by parliament.

    PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal, however, emphatically said that his party, which has paid a heavy price for the restoration of the independent judiciary, would not let any attempt aimed at attacking it succeed.

    Denying that any of the PML-N leaders was approached even informally by the government for supporting the get-Justice Iftikhar operation, Ahsan Iqbal apprehended that the government was trying to deflect the NRO issue by preparing grounds for a bigger controversy, or a battle between the judiciary and parliament.

    He said the PML-N owns the 18th Amendment and defends it too but would give its response on the court decision only after it is be handed down and reviewed by the party. The sources, however, said some of the PML-N leaders have even assured the PPP men to stand with parliament in case of the striking down of any of the constitutional amendments. In such a situation, the government plans to move a resolution in parliament in favour of the 18th Amendment and against the apex court.

    Similar resolutions, the sources said, are expected to be moved and adopted in the provincial assemblies, including the Punjab, provided the PML-N gets on-board. The induction of Babar Awan’s junior as law secretary is also part of the impending get-Justice Iftikhar operation. The sources said Zardari’s confidants are also contemplating filing a formal reference before the Supreme Judicial Council against the chief justice.

    About the grounds of such a reference, nothing could be ascertained by this correspondent except that the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Qazi Anwar, revealed to The News something is said to have already been received by President Zardari against the chief justice.

    Qazi said he has recently hinted at a possible attack on the superior judiciary following the prime minister’s repeated statements that the judges were restored through his executive order, which could be withdrawn, and that the restoration was not the consequence of the long march.

    “These statements are not meaningless,” he said but resolved that the lawyers’ fraternity and the people of Pakistan would not let the government attack the independent judiciary.

    Only recently Dr Abdul Basit, the then counsel of the Federation representing in the 18th Amendment case, had talked of moving a reference against the chief justice. Basit, however, was removed from the panel because he had thrice changed his statements about the authority, who had directed him to object to the inclusion of the chief justice in the 17-member bench hearing the case.

    He initially named the president, then talked of Salman Farooqi and later said that the strategy was decided in the law minister’s office.

    Meanwhile, the sources said the Presidency also wants the PML-N to realise that with the kind of the judiciary that exists in Pakistan right now, no government could function freely. The PML-N, it is said, will also be made to realise that its leadership too has pending corruption cases in the superior judiciary, which might create problems for them too.

    The PPP is, however, confident of winning the support of its coalition partners. The MQM, which has not shown any sign of defiance against the judiciary, is expected to join the government’s move. Senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar, when approached told The News that no one from the government or Presidency has contacted his party for any such move against the chief justice.

    Sattar said if the government contacts the MQM in this respect in the future, the party would take the issue to its Rabita Committee and would take a decision accordingly keeping in view the overall situation. The MQM though never supported the NRO whether inside parliament or before the apex court, its annulment led to opening up of almost 8,000 criminal cases against the MQM leaders and workers. Of late, the Supreme Court had sought from the provincial authorities, including the Sindh government, an update about such cases.

    ANP spokesman Zahid Khan told The News that neither he was aware of any such development nor his party leadership was contacted by the government or the Presidency with such a proposal.

    Answering a question as to what would be the stance of the ANP if the government sought its support for such a move, he said he couldn’t respond to hypothetical questions.

    JUI-F spokesman Maulana Ajmad when contacted said he is not aware of any such move and is hearing it from The News for the first time. He, however, committed to get back to The News on the issue after talking to his party’s top leadership.

    Meanwhile, the government has also pinned high hopes on Asma Jehangir, who is contesting for the office of the president SC Bar Association. Though she is an independent candidate and highly respected, the government is supporting her with great hopes.


  5. Jang Group & Veracity of Transparency International & IRI Survey. Mob of Kamran Khan i.e. Mr. Ansar Abbasi, Mr Shaheen Sehbai, Mr. Irfan Siddiqui and Mohammad Malick are usually very fond of the reports of Transparency International and Survey of International Republican Institute (IRI) particularly when they carry “Corruption Reports on Pakistan. Quite funny isn’t it that the same group often raise hell against US Central Intelligence, Mossad and countless others and these very journalists “conveniently” forget that such surveys/reports could be a brainchild of the Organizations on the payrolls of the same US Central Intelligence Agency and Mossad. One of the Professional Colleague Mubashir Luqman openly said Transparency International an Israeli/CIA Agent:)

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