The soft coup | Pakistan Today

The soft coup

Too big for their robes?
The Supreme Court has shown a novel way to remove the Prime Minister in a parliamentary democracy hitherto not recognised by the textbooks on political science. One was made to understand that a PM could only be removed if he lost the support of the majority in the NA and was voted out of power. Gilani who had the rare distinction of receiving the vote of confidence of the entire house still claims 172 supporters in a house of 342 has however been sent home after being declared ineligible for being a member of parliament.
No bloodshed, no restrictions on media, no arrests and still the government removed. This can, therefore, be rightly called a sot coup. The Supreme Court has done with one stroke of pen what the entire opposition supported by a section of the highly partisan media had failed to achieve over the last more than four years.
Despite the sanctity accorded to them, neither the laws nor the verdicts delivered by courts are always right. The laws can be outmoded, bad or outright unjust. There is also the category referred to as the black laws. Laws of the type keep society backward and cause enough human suffering. It is the duty of every conscious citizen to protest against bad laws. One is, however, to obey them as long as they exist on the statue book. Defiance of laws creates chaos and stands in the way of peaceful change.
Judges in the past have been accused of both aiding miscarriage of justice and error of judgment. Like many earlier court decisions, the present one too has been criticised, among others by legal luminaries. However, even if one differs with a verdict, one has to accept it to maintain order in society.
Few beside the PPP jiyalas would disagree that the government was mired in scams, showed supreme unconcern for the people’s suffering and had set up new records in bad governance. But like the bad laws, the bad government too has to be changed in accordance with the book to avoid unhappy social consequences. The best way to get rid of a politician accused of corruption or gross misuse of authority is through elections. Public rejection constitutes the worst form of censure. In cases, it can cause the political demise of a leader. Removal through courts on the contrary could turn an otherwise lawbreaker into a hero.
Courts are at their best while interpreting the laws. Politics is not their cup of tea. Judgments that cause political havoc can lead to unintended consequences. The present decision has already polarized society. In Punjab there were scenes of jubilation, in Sindh widespread protests.
The decision will have far reaching consequences for relations between the judiciary and the executive and parliament. Currently, the opposition parties are congratulating the Supreme Court over the action against Gilani. This is, however, not to last long. The day one of these parties comes to power, alone or in alliance with coalition partners, it will start planning to secure itself against any move of the sort by the apex court. This is bound to lead to attempts at reducing the apex court’s powers. Be it the PML(N) or PTI, their leaders are not known for extraordinary tolerance. Any move by the court considered by a leader with a big mandate as interference in his domain is likely to be strongly resisted. The Supreme Court has thus unknowingly initiated a process where the apex court would be on one side and the executive and parliament on the other.
The Supreme Court would have done well to avoid confronting the prime minister over his failure to write the letter to the Swiss authorities. The court has declined to take notice of a number of failings on the part of major institutions. The undetected presence of OBL in Pakistan for nearly five years underlined a colossal failure on the part of the security agencies rife with grave consequences for the country’s security. The failure by the defence establishment to stop the incursion of the US special troops in Abbottabad was equally so. Similarly the apex court chose to ignore for years the application by Air Marshal Asghar Khan. Why couldn’t it treat the NAB case and the memo case similarly?
The apex court has a plethora of cases which needs its attention. Certain cases are chosen, certain others are out on the backburner. The question that is going to be increasingly asked is regarding the court’s criteria for making the choice

The writer is a former academic and a political analyst.



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15 Comments

  1. Shahid said:

    Not a fair comment. The writer commits the same mistake for which he blames the SC. The write-up lacks balance, and over-states the case of SC over-stepping its jurisdiction. He offers one-sided advice to SC to avoid confrontation with elected PM. Does being elected means doing whatever one likes? We need to strike a balance between democracy and rule of law. But sadly the most here are interested in taking sides.

    • Spi-der-man said:

      People like you who are in opposition and are in minority wants to see the Government (who are in majority) cornered by the Judiciary in wake of giving wrong and political judgements. Cheap-Justice and Law-of-Lawyers must be stop to insult the mandate of people of this country who have elected this Government with power of their vote (no judge can take this right away) come what may.

    • Niccon said:

      Let us what happens when your favorite leaders come to power and how would they view the courts interfering in their sphere. Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif do not have as high tolerance level as YRG or Zardari. They will storm the courts if they did the same thing again.

    • Jpy said:

      Supreme court has no power to sack a PM in a democracy. Only Parliament has. PM does not require the confidence of the Chief Justice to rule the state he only require the confidence of the parliamentarians who are the genuine representatives of the people

  2. Kashi said:

    A good analysis of events. The question of court's criteria for making the choice of cases is really strange. There is some motive in the mind of CJ behind this selection.

  3. SL DUA said:

    Supreme court, Army, Difa e-Pakistan Council (a conglomerate of 40 Jihadi groups) and Imran Khan are working togather with a motive to somehow force the elections and make Imran Khan the PM. A bad omen for democracy.

    • ishrat salim said:

      There do not seem to be dearth of conspiracy theories in Pakistan…..,unless you guys wants that " democracy " means a person elected shud be immune from all wrong actions & law is for only the weak…come answer it ! the same rule will apply when guys like Jilani & supporters of the wrong people will face Allah swt….if there was an iota of any biasness by the CJ, the world jurists committee wud not hv recognised his works & awarded him to rcv the coveted international award……or was that too an " conspiracy " ? against the govt & " democracy ".

      • SL DUA said:

        I am not an expert of constitutional law but there are some commonsense and logical questions.
        1- Why was Mr Gilani allowed to continue for such a long time, timings of 'contempt of court' decision is in question.
        2- Court can pronounce Mr. Gilani guilty but can not disqualify him and remove him, It is constitutional prerogative of Parliament. A person can remain PM till the Parliament have confidence in him. Court has overstepped its jurisdiction and tersspassed into domain of Parliament.
        3- Pakistan's constitution confers impunity to the President during his tanure as President. If it is so, then, how can PM be punished for not taking action to initiate an enquiry or a case against him?
        4- For how many days will the next PM continue to function? As PM, Raja Ashraf may also meet the same fate on the same grounds. Does that mean that every PM will remain PM for 2-3 months till the court disqualifies him.
        I do not know whether there is a conspiracy but definitely, court is working in unison with other institutions/agencies against democracy. This is quite visible in media, on political and army fronts.

      • Niccon said:

        Let us see what happens when your favorite leaders come to power and how would they view the courts interfering in their sphere. Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif do not have as high tolerance level as YRG or Zardari. They will storm the courts if they did the same thing again.

      • Jpy said:

        It was awarded before this latest action. And more over it is awarded not for his meddiling in politics but for other human rights cases. So get the things straight

  4. impartial said:

    good analysis impartialy supreme court has become puppet in hands of opposition and some media men ,in old time in pakistan opposition do conspiracy through millitry like sheish rasheed who is in these days barking against democracy because military govt sout him for his adjustment as ministership in may it was decided to remove gillany govt because his some action was ant establishment like memo commission mehran base attack commission and his statment like a state in the state in fact in Pakistan agencies are more more more and more strong in pakistan there is nothing against ??????????????? martial law

  5. impartial said:

    there was nothing wrong it is example you disallow my opinion to diplay here band karo yeh drama comments wala nonsense

  6. Shahid said:

    Dual PCO Iftikhar is morally and financially corrupt. He is pursuing vendetta against popularly elected government. Stooges like Nawaz & Imran are behind him because they cannot beat the government through constitutional means. Gilani was convicted in the morning by seven judges of SC and in the evening PPP won Multan by-election in what was considered to be a PML-N stronghold. When Dual PCO Iftikhar sacked Gilani, in the evening PPP candidate won by-election securing more than 43,000 votes. The opponent got 700 votes. These two incidents prove beyond any doubt that Dual PCO Iftikhar and people of Pakistan are not on the same page. What a shame???

  7. Mohammed said:

    I bet the Ministry of Information and Malik Riaz are looking after you. What did you get ?A house or trips abroad.

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