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Old Sunday, February 14, 2010
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Exclamation Biggest gamble lost even before the game started BY ANSAR ABBASI

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani have played their biggest gamble on Saturday which could not only seal their fate but is also expected to lead to the issuance of contempt notices and even a possible registration of high treason cases against the ruling duo.

To the disappointment of Zardari and Gilani, the judges of the superior judiciary have taken a united stand to outsmart any government effort to apply the “divide and rule” formula in the judiciary. Yet to their bad luck, government’s attack on judiciary has enraged the PML-N top leader Nawaz Sharif, who sounded quite furious on the issue.

Anything is possible now and according to a PML-N source a key leader of the party would Sunday pop up the suggestion of moving an impeachment motion against the president for his latest unconstitutional action before the party meeting on Sunday at Murree.

“What more could be done than violating the Constitution to hit a state institution,” the source wondered.

Honourable Justice Saqib Nisar, who has been notified by the government as acting Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court, when approached categorically told The News, “I would follow the orders of my Chief Justice (Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry)”.

Sources close to the Chief Justice LHC Justice Khawaja Sharif have also confirmed to this correspondent that he would not join the Supreme Court as judge unless it is done by the government on the recommendation of Chief Justice of Pakistan. Justice Saqib Nisar has been showered with praises from all sides for refusing to dance to the tunes of the rulers.

The sources said that judges of the superior judiciary in all the four provinces and particularly in Punjab Lahore High Court, which is the immediate target of executive’s conspiracy, have resolved to stay united and remain at the beck and call of the chief justice of Pakistan. The government did not find any Dogar in the present superior judiciary to repeat what the then dictator had done on Nov 3, 2007.

Constitutional and legal experts generally agree that the president, who could have differed with the recommendations of the chief justice, had violated the Constitution by unilaterally rejecting the CJP’s recommendations and notifying the judges’ appointment just contrary to what was proposed by the top judge of the country.

It was in the same context that the Registrar Supreme Court had recently told The News that any government order for the appointment of judges in disregard to the recommendations of the chief justice of Pakistan would be an act of subversion. As defined by the Article 260 of the Constitution, the chief justice of Pakistan’s consultation with regard to the appointment in the superior judiciary is binding on the president/executive.

Contempt of the court proceedings is the minimum pay back, which is being discussed by the legal and constitutional experts, for the adventurous president and his dummy prime minister.

Within few hours of the issuance of the government orders, the Supreme Court suspended the notifications the same evening. To the bad luck of the Pakistan People’s Party, except Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani all those who sat in the Presidency on Saturday to surprise the nation with a new shock, all the four have their personal grudge against the present judiciary.

President Asif Ali Zardari was fond of Dogar court and never wanted to restore the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. To Zardari’s back luck all his three legal eagles, whom he depends on, have no standing on constitutional matters. Farooq H Naek, Babar Awan and Latif Khosa are known lawyers on criminal side. They also have the commonality like their top boss that they were fond of the post-Nov 3 PCO judges and great supporters of Dogar court. All these were opposed to the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

Farooq Naek was the author of the much condemned “Naek formula” by which he has been struggling to convince those judges, who had refused to take oath under PCO under Musharraf, to accept re-appointment through a fresh oath from the condemned Dogar. Latif Khosa and Babar Awan too were the known close friends of the Dogar court. These two have personal grudge against the present judiciary and particularly against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

On the incumbent CJP’s initiative, Khosa was removed from the office of Attorney General of Pakistan after the CJP had received a complaint that Mr Khosa had allegedly received Rs3 million from a client to get a favourable decision from Dogar court. Babar Awan too faced high embarrassment after one of the Haris Steel directors told the Supreme Court that Awan had taken Rs35 million as bribe from them to get a decision from Dogar court in their favour.

Amongst the political parties, the opposition sounds furious, and all importantly Nawaz Sharif while taking to this correspondent on Saturday evening sounds to be returning to his real mode of an opposition leader. His Sunday’s press conference is expected to issue a stern warning to government.

What is, however, nothing less than a ridiculing factor for the coalition partners of the PPP, none of them have been consulted by the prime minister or the president to make the shocking appointments in the judiciary. The coming few weeks would be too tough for the already beleaguered Presidency and the prime minister for committing the latest what a source called “failed suicide attempt”.
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