Government Pressures Judiciary
NAB’s Sudden Interest in PIA Corruption Meant to Blackmail Justice Ramday, Who Heads the Bench Dealing With the Chief Justice Issue
By Ayesha Jameel
New Pakistan: Issue No 39, June 8, 2007
Keeping up the sad tradition of blackmailing and browbeating judges of superior courts into deciding matters in its favor, the military-intelligence establishment has initiated proceedings aimed at pressuring Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, the Supreme Court Judge hearing the crucial constitutional petition relating to the Chief Justice controversy.
The National Accountability Bureau has moved a reference against several executives of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) involved in the leasing and purchase of used aircraft from Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airlines several years ago. The Chairman of PIA at the time was Chaudhry Ahmed Saeed, a close friend of General Pervez Musharraf, whose many shenanigans remained unnoticed by the authorities despite wide publicity. Even now Mr. Ahmed Saeed has not been named in the NAB reference. Saeed’s daughter is married to Justice Ramday’s son and the purpose of the reference is to scare Saeed into securing Justice Ramday’s “cooperation.
The legal wizards of the military establishment are often assisted by spooks who find ways of keeping the judges under pressure. The current imbroglio, which started with attempts to force the Chief Justice into resigning, was also the outcome of the Intelligence Agencies producing “evidence” of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s “nepotism” on behalf of his son. In that case, Justice Chaudhry fought back and refused to be blackmailed.
The Pakistani covert services are hoping that Justice Ramday would be different. The potential of a reference against Ahmed Saeed will ensure that Mr. Saeed keeps reminding Justice Ramday of the importance of the judge’s support for Saeed’s friend, General Musharraf.
Justice Ramday’s daughter-in-law, too, can be expected to influence her father-in-law of which way the bread is buttered. Most likely, there will be several dramatic scenes at the Ramday family home until the resolution of the constitutional issues that have arisen from the Chief Justice’s botched removal from office.
Although Mr. Saeed has been accused of non-transparent deals while at the head of PIA, the reference relating to the Cathay Pacific plane lease-purchase is the first occasion that NAB has looked into any of the allegations. The timing of the NAB reference and the family dynamic between Justice Ramday and Chaudhry Ahmed Saeed proves, once again, that accountability in Pakistan is only an excuse to pursue political agendas on behalf of the military-intelligence establishment.