By Syed Haider Raza Mehdi
The air is rife with speculation and wild rumours. Mainstream and Social Media is abuzz with countless conspiracy theories.
1. Zardari has cut a deal with the Army.
My take. Nothing of the sort. It’s a very deliberate and calculated act of extremely clever disinformation being spread by the AZ man himself.
In closed door meetings he drops hints and names, impishly winks, gives knowing half smiles, leaves sentences hanging, loud conspirational whispers during telephone calls implying that a “certain person” or somebody from “The Institution” is on the other side.
He deliberately and consciously creates a sense of high confidentiality in small and large groups, swearing all to secrecy about what they overheard or what he told them, knowing fully well that it’ll travel far and wide, quicker than a hot knife through butter.
So, sadly for the Jayalas, no deals have been made, or under consideration or will be, with Mr. AZ dealmaker, despite Malik Riaz’s best efforts! Kaira saheb to especially take note!
2. The Army is not supporting the Supreme Court.
My take. True. The Army has no business “supporting” the Supreme Court other than what’s it’s constitutionally mandated to do so.
The Supreme Court is strong enough and capable enough to do what it seems right under the law and the Constitution. And that is to mete out justice to all and sundry, especially the high and mighty.
If it ever needs support from any State institution, Army or any other, it will ask for it and will receive it under Article 190.
So chapter closed on this one. This despite the desperate shrieking “Rok Sako tho Rok Lo” siren, hilariously mimicked by Naeem Bokhari! And that other shrieker, her father, desperately trying to save himself, his ill gotten wealth and his politics.
But one rumour currently doing the rounds, now more fact than rumour as substantiated from several sources, both inside and outside the government, is the drafting of two key constitutional amendments impacting the Army and the Superior Judiciary!
These are planned to be presented and passed by the PMLN government, after getting a majority in the forthcoming Senate elections and prior to dissolution of the assemblies before the next general elections.
The first is about the appointment of Judges and their retirement age and amendments to Constitution Articles 175A and 179.
Article 175A currently reads.
*Appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court, High Courts and the Federal Shariat Court.−*
*(1) There shall be a Judicial Commission of Pakistan, hereinafter in this Article referred to as the Commission, for appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts and the Federal Shariat Court, as hereinafter provided*
*(2) For appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court, the Commission shall consist of—*
*Chief Justice of Pakistan; Chairman Four most senior Judges of the Supreme Court;*
*A former Chief Justice or a former Judge or Member the Supreme Court of Pakistan to be nominated by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, in consultation with the four member Judges, for a term of two years;*
*Federal Minister for Law and Justice; Attorney-General for Pakistan;*
*And a Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court nominated by the Pakistan Bar Council for a term of two years.*
*3) Notwithstanding anything contained in clause (1) or clause (2), the President shall appoint the most senior Judge of the Supreme Court as the Chief Justice of Pakistan.*
The amendment proposes to reconstitute the Judicial commission and take away its power to appoint judges in the manner they do so now.
The new Judicial Commission will comprise the Chief Justice, Minister of Law, other law officers of the government plus parliamentarians, comprising government and opposition members, proportionally based on their assembly strength.
Under the planned amendment, the incumbent Chief Justice will only have authority to recommend a roster of names and the Judicial Commission, by majority vote, will approve names before forwarding to the President for appointment.
The proposed amendment will also do away with the seniority rule, whereby currently the senior most judge is automatically elevated to become Chief Justice. In future the Judicial Commission, again by majority vote, will chose any person from amongst the Judges, they deem fit to become the Chief Justice.
In summary, the ruling party, in this case rhe PMLN, will have total power to appoint judges.
But the second change is what will completely change the current makeup of the Supreme Court during the incumbency of the current government!
This amendment to article 179 aims to reduce the retirement ages of the Judges and the Chief Justice from 65 to 60.
*Constitutional Article 179 reads*
*A Judge of the Supreme Court shall hold office until he attains the age of sixty five years, unless he sooner resigns or is removed from office in accordance with the Constitution*
While one cannot fault these amendments in principle in a democratic order where the ruling party, if it has the numbers, choses to make such changes.
But what is seriously questionable, are the very evil and nefarious designs, behind such moves and attempts to amend these clauses, and even more importantly, why now!
Hypothetically were this amendment to pass, by say early March, the Supreme Court would be immediately wiped clean of the following Judges who will automatically retire being over 60 years of age.
1. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
2. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.
3. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan.
4. Justice Gulzar Ahmed.
5. Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed.
And perhaps a few more!
Then the new Judicial Commission will appoint a Chief Justice of its choice and fill the vacancies with Nawaz toadies.
What a really neat Constitutional Coup!
Imagine the horrors and the terrible consequences of such a nightmarish scenario, for Pakistan, for the rule of Law and for our Superior Judiciary!
It took the Supreme Court nearly 60 odd years to free itself from being the Executives handmaiden and mistress. Over the last 10 years it has become an independent institution, diligently working to wipe the scars on its honour and mete out evenhanded justice. Granted they’re not perfect, but a far cry from the “Doctrine of Necessity” types. Pakistan cannot allow this wholescale destruction of our Superior Judiciary into becoming Patwaris once again, simply to save Nawaz and his family and cronies from getting their just desserts.
The second “Shubkhoon” ia planned on the office of the Army Chief and other two Chiefs of the Air Force and the Navy by taking away their authority to promote officers to two and three star ranks, make key command and staff appointments and limit their authority of command over their respective institutions.
Here’s the plan being cooked in The Devil’s Workshop”
1. The three Armed forces Chiefs will no longer be members of the National Security Committe. They will be represented by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Currently Gen. Zubair Hayat.
2. Promotions to all two star and three star ranks, Maj. Gen, Lt. Gen, Air Vice Marshal, Air Marshal, Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, will be vested in the National Security Committee of which CJSC will be but one member! And by majority vote.
3. All Principal Staff Officer and Corps Commander and similar Air Force and Naval appointments will be made by the National Security Committee.
4. DG ISI will be appointed by the National Security Committee.
5. ISI and ISPR will report directly to CJSC.
6. The Corps Commander Conferences and similar conferences in the Air Force and Navy, will be presided over by the CJSC and Minister of Defence.
So there you have it folks.
A complete destruction of the only two institutions that have survived the savagery of the Sharifs and Zardari. And the only two that stand between there loot, plunder, pillage and anarchy and a great Pakistan!
As I had written sometimes ago, Nawaz is willing to destroy any institution in Pakistan, perhaps even the country, and go to any lengths to save himself, his wealth, his family, his politics and his party. And in that order of priority!
Pakistan is the least of his concerns!
In his attempt to destroy the Judiciary and the Army, , he has the support of our estranged ally, as was Zardari in his misfired Memogate attempt via that vile oil merchant, “Mir” Hussain Haqqani! Maybe Haqqani is writing another memo!
Lest we forget our estranged ally has major “assets” within our government and also our Armed Forces!
Many a Quisling will make themselves available!
Honourable Justice Saqib Nisar and Gen. Bajwa! Gentlemen, you both have been duly forewarned! As has the Nation!
– Haider Mehdi