High-profile outlaws

A constitutional democracy must have rule of law

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is unique as it has failed to implement the rule of law despite being a constitutional democracy since 14 August 1973. General Parvez Musharraf, the former President and COAS was tried and convicted under Article 6 of the Constitution yet he managed to escape. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the three-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, was facing a jail sentence yet he managed to leave the country on medical grounds. Altaf Hussain, the founder of the MQM, was provided a free passage despite serious charges of murder and extortion against him.

On the other hand, the journalist Imran Riaz Khan has been denied justice by the high-handedness of the civil administration, clearly indicating that all is not well in the land of the pure. The common law is based on the foundations of ‘justice for all ‘, but it seems everyone is not equal in the eyes of the law of the land.

‘Azadi’, yes, we need to rise for it, but the same mistakes should not be repeated. The system of governance has to be dismantled for which ‘technocrats must replace bureaucrats. Relief to the public will only be possible once the executive abuse has been contained. For rule of law to be effective, defence of the constitution has to be impregnable.

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A constitution is a sacred document which must command respect for it to be effective. It is an agreement between the rulers and the ruled which has to be followed to ensure fundamental human rights. Ever since its creation, Pakistan has faced a constitutional crisis. Perhaps it’s the only country in the world that had to enact four constitutions (1956, 1962, 1972, 1973). Thank God the 1973 consensual document has survived despite suspensions and unholy amendments by the usurpers and their coattail followers. There are around 20 clauses in the Constitution covering human rights, yet not one of them has been provided or discussed on the floor of the House, clearly indicating their lack of priority together with an anti-people mindset.

After  ‘Law’ comes ‘Accountability’. In the absence of both no system can function. Today the republic has been rendered dysfunctional. Service to the people seems to be on no one’s agenda. Even constitutional infringements go unpunished.

Personally, in my opinion the trial of General Musharraf under Article 6 will go down in history as a commendable highlight of the political innings of one of the most corrupt politicians of the country but there are lessons to be learnt in his escape. Firstly, the individuals who prepared the ‘Emergency Declaration’ in the Law Ministry and then the PM on whose advice the President acted, should also have been included, but they were not, indicating personal vendetta against the General.

In the words of Imran Khan the traitors like Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq have to be punished to stop this intrigue against the people. If every institution of the state operates under the ambit of law as determined by the Constitution, adventurism by a few can be made impossible.

Constitutional boundaries are crossed by the connivance of the state organs, namely the Bureaucracy and Judiciary. They are all party to the infringement that has repeatedly taken place in the republic and continues till today. Rights of the people have been trampled with impunity with no punishment of the perpetrators. At least the Justice Yaqoob Ali Khan doctrine should have been followed which says; ” Punish after they have been disarmed “.

Nawaz Sharif, like Altaf Hussain, now operates from the freedom of London. While Nawaz continues to pull the levers of his party from abroad, Altaf Hussain has been denied this privilege for the time being. However, the arrival of Babar Ghauri has raised a lot of eyebrows and so has the intended return of Ishaq Dar.

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Platelets of MNS were totally out of control while in Lahore. Hourly updates were presented on the electronic media. It seemed that his time was over but the moment he stepped onto the Royal Qatar aircraft all his ailments were gone. The safe haven in London has ensured perfect behavior of the faulty ‘Lahore Platelets’. He now resides in the comfort of his expensive London flats with his two sons.

The bothersome chants of ‘Chor’ by the expatriates residing in the city are muffled by double-pane windows. To counter the public outburst the paid goons of the party are sent to chant slogans outside the house of Jamima’s 80-year-old mother, the former mother-in-law of IK, which shows the mindset of the escapees of law.

Currently Imran Riaz Khan is being dragged from pillar to post or court to court to teach him a lesson. It has proven to be a mockery of the judicial system which is required to ensure personal freedom. Only free nations are governed by their constitutions, slaves have no rights, they are treated as beneficiaries of the state, not their customers to be served. The colonial system that we inherited was based on public hatred which has continued unabated.

While the colonialists were forced to leave, their system and left-overs remained to usurp our freedom. Executive abuse is the order of the day. The judicial system is choked. The elected representatives have their own agendas. The common man is left at the mercy of the sharks that keep pushing them out of the arena.

‘Azadi’, yes, we need to rise for it, but the same mistakes should not be repeated. The system of governance has to be dismantled for which ‘technocrats must replace bureaucrats. Relief to the public will only be possible once the executive abuse has been contained. For rule of law to be effective, defense of the constitution has to be impregnable.

Usually, such terms are used by ISPR  ( Inter Services Press Relations ), it is time that there should be a ‘Constitution Defence Force’ to stand up and fight for our constitutional rights which are being trampled every day. In the meantime all outlaws should be captured and returned to face the law of the land. Pakistan and its constitution must come first. To move forward, a new road map is needed to facilitate growth. The consensual document has to be followed in letter and spirit. No one should be allowed to escape.

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Dr Farid A Malik
Dr Farid A Malikhttps://www.pakistantoday.com.pk
The writer is ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be contacted at: [email protected].


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