Musharraf : the Chomsky of Pakistan

English linguists should be thankful to Pakistani version of Noam Chomsky aka General (Retd.) Parvez Musharraf; who now is well known for inventing & introducing exceptionally envisaged & well crafted terms in the English vocabulary. Terms such as ‘Enlightened Modernization’, ‘Supreme National Interest’, ‘dysfunctional’ et al.

Yesterday, I went thru the following coloumn of outspoken Ardeshir Cowasjee.

Mismanaged and dysfunctional

PONDER: Naeem Bokhari’s credentials are widely known. Who, or what, inspired him to write as he did in his letter addressed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan? And how and why did he ensure that it was immediately widely circulated? It was dated February 16 and by the 17th was plastered all over cyber space.

One must agree with what many have written (including a most pertinent editorial in a Lahore weekly) that the now suspended and rendered ‘non-functional’ Chief Justice of Pakistan has for long been infringing on the jurisdiction of the establishment in such matters as the Steel Mill, the New Murree scheme (or rather scam), the conduct of the police, the desecration of parks and other open spaces in various cities of the country. Perhaps his worst crime was to infringe on the jurisdiction of our agencies which have assumed the prerogative to ‘pick up’ and magically to make citizens of this country who were not towing the official line to ‘disappear.’.

President General Pervez Musharraf is a military dictator, but so far he has not proven himself to be endowed in any manner with fascistic tendencies. This being so, one must ask who was it that attempted to prove himself more loyal than the Fuehrer by engineering that the offices of Geo Television, Jang, and The News be invaded by lowly members of the Punjab police on the afternoon of March 16? Was the intention to pander to Musharraf’s undeclared wishes, or was it to make the concerned group better known worldwide? If the latter, that has been achieved. If the former, it has done probably irredeemable damage.

But what we must do is to thank the electronic media and acknowledge that without it, and the freedom it has been accorded, millions of us would not be aware of what is what and what is actually happening in our dysfunctional land.

Ponder again : Who was it who masterminded the ‘suspension’ of the Chief Justice of Pakistan before the presidential reference against him was heard? Which bright spark was it who has added to the local legal lexicon the phrase ‘non-functional’ in this particular context? Those who may attribute this to my friend and lawyer, Jadoogar of Jeddah Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, are as wrong as wrong can be. The Jadoogar, while the preparation of the reference was underway, was actually in Jeddah overseeing the revision of the OIC charter.

To anyone conversant with the legal skills with which he is endowed it is evident that he was not consulted in the matter. Had he been, things would not have come to such a sorry pass. As astutely and correctly noted by a fellow columnist in a Lahore-based newspaper writing on the mess that has been made by inefficient, if not downright stupid, advice. “Another disturbing aspect is how blindingly clear it is that the deft hand of Sharifuddin Pirzada is absent. Never before has a military ruler attempted to fiddle with the judiciary without Pirzada masterminding the operation. He is a lawyer of both tremendous ability and vast experience . . . . [he] also always ensured that a legal footing, no matter how tenuous, was provided, which is not the case here.”

And again : Which hamfisted nincompoop ordered that the Chief Justice of Pakistan be kept under virtual house arrest and incommunicado from even the lawyers who are defending him? Which dysfunctional functionary ordered that the Chief Justice (regardless of what he should or should not have done) be waylaid when he set out for the Supreme Court and the reference hearing on March 13, and thus ensured that a photograph of his being manhandled – grasped by the hair on his head – by members of the police force be printed on the front page of one of our press publications?

And worse, which ‘information’ genius advised the general to call into his camp office on March 9 the press and the electronic media? We and the world could well have done without shots of a military general sitting with the Chief Justice of his country.

We need to know the answers if we are to come anywhere near understanding the whys and wherefores of the ridicule to which this nation is being held because one man has been misadvised, has not calmly thought out the issue, and has acted in undue haste.There are those who maintain that the politicians have made capital out of this misadventure. Why should they not? The army is marching on its stomach. How long can our greedy politicians remain hungry?

Now, it is up to the general to try and retrieve the situation. An editorial in The Times (London) gives due praise to Musharraf “for his resolute opposition to fanaticism” and “for his efforts to modernise Pakistan, not least by improving the appalling legal status of women . . . .”. It points out “a signal error of judgment on his part” which has resulted in an uproar – his suspension of “the outspoken Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry” on allegations of abuse of authority “whose substance has yet to be made public.”

It ends : “It is useless for the government to deny any political motive. Its action is almost universally seen as an attempt to tame the judiciary before elections this year under rules that are expected to come under legal challenge. President Musharraf must calm this storm . . . . Good Generals know when to retreat.”

Yes, they do, but then it is far more difficult to make the retreat than to advance. Few would have ‘gloriously’ retreated as Musharraf so wisely did on the day after 9/11.

This is a short column. Disgust and dismay prevents me from writing more. All we can do is murmur to ourselves “Let Good triumph over Evil.”

Courtesy : Daily Dawn

— Here is the mentioned coloumn of Times UK —

Judicial Error

Ever since taking power in 1999, President Musharraf has insisted that his goal is “real democracy” for Pakistan, which has been notoriously ill-served by its grasping and irresponsible political elites. All generals say similar things, but in the light of Pakistan’s history and social fractures it is hard to dispute the need to fashion civil and constitutional safeguards robust enough to guard against the return of a travesty of democracy, indelibly stained by feudalism, incompetence and corruption.

President Musharraf deserves praise not only for his resolute opposition to fanaticism, but for his efforts to modernise Pakistan, not least by improving the appalling legal status of women. But he has shown little enthusiasm for returning his country, as promised, to democratically elected government. The distrust that his reluctance to step down has engendered has abruptly assumed the dimensions of a constitutional crisis, thanks to a signal error of judgment on his part. Acting on allegations of abuse of authority whose substance has yet to be made public, he has suspended the outspoken Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikar Mohammed Chaudhry.

The result is uproar. The judge, who refuses to resign, was kept under virtual house arrest until yesterday, when he appeared before the Supreme Judicial Council and issued a blistering attack on the President, accusing him of violating the Constitution as well as his personal liberty. Across the country, lawyers in business suits have turned out en masse to protest, and have been filmed being beaten by police with bamboo batons before the gates of law courts. Judges are refusing to sit, and barristers will not plead cases. Pakistan is literally without the rule of law.

The Government stands accused on all sides of trampling on the independence of the judiciary, a particularly sensitive issue in Pakistan, where just judges have often been the only bulwark against dictatorship and civilian misrule alike. Mr Chaudhry is respected both as a reformer who has dramatically cut the backlog of cases pending before the Supreme Court and as a champion of human rights who has energetically taken up cases of terrorism suspects who have “disappeared” in police or intelligence custody.

It is useless for the Government to deny any political motive. Its action is almost universally seen as an attempt to tame the judiciary before elections this year under rules that are expected to come under legal challenge.

President Musharraf must calm this storm. He must wait for the Supreme Judicial Council’s verdict, but he can then use his discretion. Unless the case against Mr Chaudhry is far more damning than anything said by the Government has yet suggested, he should be reinstated. Good generals know when to retreat.

Source: Times Online 


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