By Kamran Shafi
August 2, 2012
I must start by a short comment on Feisal H Naqvi’s excellent, but heart-rending piece “The consequences of hate” .I agree absolutely with him that the direct result of engendering hate in society by those in authority had to be the brutishness towards people of a different faith that we are seeing all across the Land of the Pure today.
I might also say that there are people still, who would ask inane questions like “Well we’ve been told what is wrong with Pakistan; but no one gives any solutions”. If someone reads me half-carefully, I prescribe the solution every other week in my articles.
Let me repeat myself: The strategic geniuses who run this country’s foreign and defence policies should immediately desist from striking attitudes; they should not try to box above their weight; they should foreswear the use of terrorists as ‘assets’ in an unlikely conflict with India or Afghanistan and therefore stop mollycoddling the murderers; and, last but not least, sincerely cooperate with regional countries, yes including India and Afghanistan, in uprooting terrorism from this part of the word. For the umpteenth time let me remind them that their handiwork has, in addition to visiting great miseries on Pakistanis, completely alienated this hapless and helpless country from the rest of the world.
And now for a most unpleasant matter. I wish that this increasingly messy Arsalan Iftikhar case would never have happened: it has diverted the attention of important people from matters that are of critical import to this country, specially at this time when the American/NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan looms so very menacingly and Pakistan is about to be enveloped in the Mother of all Crises as the geniuses stumble about trying to wrest ‘victory’ in Kabul.
Pakistan will soon get the real drift of things as the Taliban, all 57 varieties of them, turn more of their kind attentions towards this poor country, helped by their managers and handlers who live in the dark recesses of the very deep and very large bosom of our Deep State. We will experience a huge upheaval sooner than we think.
It will take all of the sagacity and all of the attention of our political leaders; our judiciary; and those sensible elements within our high Army command who might have by then understood the immensity of the problem we are faced with, to tackle it effectively. A main player in all of this is the Chief Justice of Pakistan himself. Most specially when he has bravely questioned the brutal disappear/kill and dump policies of the Deep State.
It goes without saying that the twists and turns the Arsalan case is taking are becoming a bigger and a more embarrassing tamasha by the day. One day notices to appear before NAB are not received; the next, people raise objections to the make-up of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT); the third, allegations are made that the Registrar of the SC is firing off emails to the merchandisers/hostelries where Arsalan is alleged to have spent other people’s money, and on the fourth day, the SC officially denies these reports.
This is doing no one any good: not to the majesty of the SC; not to the gentlemen who sit on its benches; not to the good Chief Justice himself, and more than anything else not to the already-battered and bleeding image of the country. Indeed, people are actually alleging that the ball has been kicked into the tall grass by the Supreme Court in the hope that the whole sordid business will soon be forgotten. As My Lords would appreciate, that is not about to happen given the unfortunate stand-off between the judiciary and the government.
It is of utmost import, therefore, to short-circuit this whole investigation business immediately to bring it to a quick conclusion. I have suggested it before peripherally, but let me say it in detail here. Let the Supreme Court immediately set up a judicial commission made up of the same three Chief Justices who looked into ‘Mammogate’. The Commission should be mandated to travel to London or Monte Carlo or Marbella or wherever young Mr Chaudhry is alleged to have done what he did, to get to the bottom of it all in double quick time. And if, as Arsalan says, he is not guilty of any wrong-doing, to declare him innocent asap.
This should not be a problem at all for the jurists I suggest because we know how quickly they came up with detailed findings; despite delving into affairs not remotely connected with the allegations of that upstanding member of US high society, Mansoor Ijaz. Such as determining how much Ambassador Husain Haqqani had spent out of the secret funds allocated to him to run the most important Pakistani embassy in the world! Indeed, with a Commission made up of the three chief justices, even the registrar of the Supreme Court will not refuse to go before it. (Well, hopefully).
I write the above as someone who has always stood for an independent, fair, impartial, and even-handed judiciary. More than that, may I repeat myself, as one who stood on the roads for months on end along with my family for the attainment of this objective during which we got harassed by goons belonging to the government in which the brand-new champion of the judiciary Sheikh Rashid ‘Tulli’ was a minister; and during which we got tear-gassed and beaten-up.
By the way, here is ‘Tulli’ being contemptuous about the CJ himself. The SC might note that this must be the nth time that I have given proof of the man’s contempt with no notice being taken. Surely contempt is not only a political tool to be used on one’s perceived nemeses?
Yes, My Lords, please make haste and immediately set up the Commission to sit in the Islamabad High Court to get us out of the sorry mess we are in. You have the power. After all, you have so recently kicked out a Prime Minister; with another counting his days.
P.S. A colossal mistake to post a retired Lt.-Gen. as defence secretary yet again. Much like shooting oneself in the groin with a 155 MM howitzer.
Kamran Shafi is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto