Thursday, June 07, 2007

Allegations on Chief Justice - Unconvincing

Pakistan judge wanted parliament dissolved - spy chief
Thu Jun 7, 2007: Reuters India
By Kamran Haider

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's chief justice wanted President Pervez Musharraf to dissolve the national assembly and let him oversee the election months before he was suspended from office, the head of military intelligence said on Thursday.

The crisis over Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's suspension three months ago has resulted in the most serious challenge to General Musharraf's authority since he took power in a military coup eight years ago.

Chaudhry's suspension has sparked a countrywide campaign by lawyers and opposition parties for restoration of full democracy.

The timing is bad for Musharraf, as he has controversial plans to be re-elected by the sitting national and provincial assemblies later this year.

But according to Major-General Mian Nadeem Ijaz Ahmad, Director-General of Military Intelligence, Chaudhry had told him that Musharraf should call early elections.

"He was of the view that president should dissolve the assemblies, as they were becoming a nuisance and hold elections under the CJP (Chief Justice of Pakistan)," Ahmad said in an affidavit submitted with the Supreme Court.

"He wanted me to assure all concerned that he (CJP) will make things very smooth."

The spy chief said Chaudhry had sought a close relationship with the security agencies.

Political analysts, however, said Chaudhry had alienated the agencies by holding them to account for the disappearance of detainees after they were taken into custody.

Analysts believe Musharraf's main motive for ousting Chaudhry, however, stemmed from doubts that he would be supportive in the event of constitutional challenges to his re-election plans.

Under the constitution, Musharraf is supposed to give up his post as army chief by the end of this year.

The Supreme Court is seeking to decide whether a panel inquiry into the charges against Chaudhry should continue, or the case should be transferred to the court.

Chaudhry, who has emerged as a symbol of resistance to Musharraf, said the president and intelligence chiefs, including Ahmad, had insisted that he resign during a meeting on March 9, when he suspended.

Ahmad denied that Chaudhry was kept at Musharraf's army residence that day against his will. Ijaz Ahmed Shah, head of civilian Intelligence Bureau, in his affidavit said: "No one made any threat".

Although there have been leaks of the misconduct allegations against the chief justice, the government revealed on Thursday some of charges in a deposition by Musharraf's Chief of Staff, retired Lieutenant-General Hamid Javaid.

According to Javaid, these included fiddling expenses, harassing fellow judges and being biased in their appointments, and intimidating police and civil servants.

The government also alleged that cars purchased with government money were used by Chaudhry's family and that he obtained a plot of land in Karachi eight years ago that he was not entitled to.

Javaid's account portrayed Chaudhry as a publicity hungry judge, who insisted on full protocol and liked expensive cars.

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Anonymous said...

"Allegations on Chief Justice - Unconvincing"

why is that?

what do we know about the CJP anyway?

If he is so 'rule of law' type, why did he accept to serve as the CJP under a usurper in the first place?

Is an "affadavit" something like statement under oath? Because of contradictory statements under oath, one of them is clearly lying under oath - if I interpret the semantics of "affadavit" correctly.

I am not convinced that we know where the truth is or are even any closer to it - it may well be that we are caught in the Ezra Pound paradigm of truth: invent two lies and have the public kept busy debating which of them might be true.

I find this sudden enthusiasm for "rule of law" by the judiciary a bit disingenuous - like the proverbial cat going for hajj after devouring 900 mice!

How many people receive justice in any court of law in Pakistan - even irrespective of this issue? So what's this 'independence of judiciary' and 'rule of law' religion? In a system that is systemically cancerous, these are mere opportunist slogans.

Leave the General alone to continue with his job of dismantling Pakistan! He is doing better than any 'democratic' government can!

To avert it requires a revolution - not a mob!

A cynic's view.

Too chicken to provide a name!

Anonymous said...

Almost as if in response to the above comment, the Jang reported the following:

Who is telling the truth?

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: Who told the whole truth and who held it back? Who should be believed and who shouldn’t be? Ordinary mortals are in a fix.

It is well-nigh impossible for them to decipher as to what is true and what is untrue in the three affidavits filed by Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Javed, CoS to President Musharraf, Maj-Gen Nadeem Ijaz chief of Military Intelligence (MI), and Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah chief of Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the one earlier filed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry with the full court.

The three affidavits rebut what the fourth one contains. All signatories are highly responsible people, three senior serving or retired military officers, and the one, the chief justice of Pakistan. All of them may be faithful to their separate cause if the saying —’everything is fair in love and war’, is given credence.

During days at the law college in the late 1970s, a teacher, who was a practising lawyer, once said to his pupils that only the words “I ____________son of______________ do solemnly state on oath as under” appearing in the beginning of affidavits are true, but nothing could be said with certainty about the remaining parts of the depositions contained in them, which are always debatable.

This was indeed a damning comment. It is not known how far this assertion applies to present affidavits. One of them noted, “by distorting the facts and relying mostly on conjecture, a very misleading picture has been portrayed (by Justice Chaudhry), which is far from the truth.”

Rare statements on the oath filed by the two chief spymasters and the CoS are in reaction to Justice Chaudhry’s affidavit. The present three statements contain several revealing claims.

They and Justice Chaudhry’s affidavit reflect the elaborate role of the intelligence agencies even in matters concerning judges. The chief justice himself comprehensively involved intelligence officials and used to have excellent relations and rapport with their heads.

The official affidavits are full of umpteen rebuttals of “inaccuracies” contained in Chief Justice Chaudhry’s statement. They claim that it was his request that MI, IB and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chiefs be called in his meeting with Musharraf.

A perusal of the three affidavits shows that these were drafted with a lot of care and hard work. Most enlarged affidavit is the one filed by CoS Lt-Gen (retd) Hamid Javed, which was supported by a number of sworn statements of bureaucrats and private citizens and documents. It took care of each and every claim of Justice Chaudhry.

A mega disclosure is that the chief justice, during one of his several meetings with the MI chief, “was of the view that the president should dissolve the assemblies as they were becoming a nuisance and hold elections under the chief justice. He wanted me to assure all concerned that he (CJP) will make things smooth.”

Another revelation is that Justice Chaudhry “was comfortable with the officer in charge of the Islamabad detachment of MI and insisted that it was necessary for us to remain in regular touch with the officer in charge of MI in Lahore. He used to task him on a regular basis to provide information on judges in the Punjab so he could build a database for his own reference. He also desired that all the detachment in charges in the four provincial capitals must remain in touch with him so that he can have complete information about all the judges.”

It was admitted in the affidavits that intelligence agencies conducted, on Justice Chaudhry’s insistence, discreet, probe into the adverse media campaign against him. It was claimed that he wanted to primarily discuss with Musharraf on March 9 a reference against him filed by Peshawar High Court judge Justice Jehanzeb Rahim.

Maj Gen Nadeem Ijaz claimed that it was incorrect that the chief justice remained at the president’s camp office against his will. He denied that the statement attributed to him by Justice Chaudhry in his affidavit that now their paths are different was also incorrect, as “I never said any such thing.”

The IB chief refuted Justice Chaudhry’s assertion that the chief justice, as claimed by the latter, had stated to the president that “I strongly believe in God Who will help me.”

In just two years between October 2004 and October 2006, Justice Chaudhry had eight formal calls on Musharraf, twice as judge of the apex court, at his desire at the Army House and Camp Office, according to Hamid Javed’s affidavit. His detailed statement refuted all claims, major and minor, of the chief justice.

For example, it claimed that Justice Chaudhry had one-on-one meeting with Musharraf, with only the military secretary present. “The ADC was not present in this meeting as stated in the CJP’s affidavit. There is only one photographer and one TV cameraman stationed at the Camp Office to cover the routine calls/meetings. It is incorrect that a number of TV cameramen and photographers were ushered in as stated in the CJP’s affidavit.”

At another point, the COS wrote that when Justice Chaudhry did not accept most of the other points in the reference as mentioned by the president to him, Musharraf told him that the details could be discussed in the presence of the intelligence heads, who had also been asked by the chief justice to find out the details.

The affidavit accused Justice Chaudhry of illegal allotment of a plot in Karachi, unauthorised reimbursement of petrol, irregular TA claims, harassment of judges, personal bias in appointment of judges, misuse of authority, intimidation of civil servants, interference in administration, self projection, penchant for expensive cars, high visibility on media etc.

It claimed that the chief justice was not held incommunicado at the Camp Office and against his will. Another disclosure made by the COS’ affidavit was that from March 9 to March 13 (when Justice Chaudhry faced the maximum restrictions at his official residence), more than 350 calls were made or received from and on the mobile phone of the chief justice’s son. The landline was also in use and in addition to the local calls, which are not recorded in the exchange, and a number of outstation and mobile phone calls were made, it stated.

An affidavit, a written declaration made under oath before a notary public or other authorised officer, is always considered valid in a court of law. However, if the other litigant also files a similar sworn statement contradicting his rival’s, the court can call the deponents and lawyers of the two sides can cross-examine them.