Posts Tagged ‘ Supreme Court ’

Pakistan PM Prefers Jail to Writing to Swiss

As Reported by Agence France-Presse

Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Thursday he would rather go to jail than obey a court order and ask Switzerland to re-open graft cases against the president.

Gilani’s remarks revive speculation that he would rather risk losing his job than capitulate in a two-year showdown with the judiciary that culminated last month with him being charged with contempt by the Supreme Court.

He has always insisted that President Asif Ali Zardari is immune from prosecution as president and says the cases against him are politically motivated.

“If I write a letter it will be a violation of the constitution, which is treason and which carries the death sentence,” Gilani told PhD students in central Punjab province, with a few in the audience shouting “do not write, do not write”.

“If I don’t write, I will be convicted for contempt, the punishment for which is six months’ imprisonment,” Gilani said. “It’s better to face six months’ imprisonment than face the death sentence.”

Pakistan’s top court last week ordered Gilani to ask Switzerland to reopen corruption cases against Zardari by March 21.

It was the first time the court asked Gilani personally to write to the Swiss. It previously addressed repeated demands to the government since revoking in 2009 an amnesty freezing legal proceedings against key politicians.

Zardari and his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, were suspected of using Swiss accounts to launder about $12 million in alleged bribes paid by companies seeking customs inspection contracts in the 1990s.

Playing to the gallery, Gilani asked the students in Bahawalpur district whether he should write the letter, to which the audience shouted: “No, no.”

“Ok, we will send your message to the court and tell them that they should charge parliament with contempt of court because parliament has given immunity to the president. All heads of state all over the world have this immunity.”

Zardari is so tainted by corruption allegations that he is nicknamed “Mr 10 Percent”. He has already spent 11 years in jail in Pakistan on charges ranging from corruption to murder although he has never been convicted.

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Imran Khan Moves Supreme Court Against Drone Attacks

As reported on Despardes.com

Cricketing legend-turned politician Imran Khan has filed a lawsuit in Pakistan’s apex court asking it to declare drone attacks as war crimes.

According to published reports, the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief on Wednesday filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking it to declare drone attacks as attacks on the sovereignty and defence of Pakistan and a war crime.

The petition, filed by Imran Khan’s lawyer Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, argues that the provisions of logistics and facilities to any foreign country or alliance for mass destruction through drone strikes inside the territory of Pakistan resulting into killings of Pakistani citizen is illegal, unwarranted, unconstitutional, in violation the United Nations Charter, universal declaration of human rights, international law as well as the international humanitarian law, a war crime and an attack on the sovereignty, solidarity, integrity and defence of Pakistan.

Imran Khan’s petition was filed today after a Lahore court Lahore cort ruled against drone strikes and called on the government to take appropriate measures to halt strikes by unmanned drones in Pakistan if they aren’t approved by Islamabad.

Federal authorities should take measures to stop drone attacks in Pakistan if they are carried out without formal approval, the court said on Wednesday. The court was responding to a petition that said drone strikes were a violation of national sovereignty.

Drone attacks have increased under the authority of U.S. President Barack Obama, notably inside Pakistan. The CIA, a civilian entity, said it is acting according to the code of law in carrying out the strikes.

Pakistan’s government publicly objects to the attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty. But it is widely thought there is a tacit agreement between the U.S. intelligence agency, the CIA, and Islamabad to allow such strikes, reported Voice of America on its website today.(http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/asia/Suspected-US-Missile-Strike-Kills-10-in-Pakistan-97396999.html)

Two missiles believed fired Tuesday by an unmanned drone struck a village in the tribal regions of Pakistan, killing militants including Hamza al-Jufi, an Egyptian allied with al-Qaida.

Former President Musharraf of Pakistan Charged with Illegal Detention of Judges

Islamabad, Pakistan- Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ruled Tuesday that former President Pervez Musharraf acted illegally in detaining and dismissal of judges in 2007 during Pakistan’s political crisis and now faced arrest if he returns from exile.

Musharraf, who now lives in London, could face up to three years in prison if he is convicted. This charge against him is the latest setback and although he could post bail if arrested, many analysts doubt that he would come back to face the charges.  The Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, one of the 60 judges sacked by Musharraf during the national state of emergency, concluded that Musharraf violated the constitution when he dismissed the judges and now is charged with violating the constitution.

Musharraf’s actions at the time were widely seen as an attempt by him from preventing the Supreme Court from declaring him ineligible to holding the posts of president and head of the army at the same time.  He ordered the detention of 60 judges including Chief Justice Chaudhry at their homes, a move that is now seen as being illegal by the courts and the Islamabad police.“He is formally charged now,” said Hakim Khan, a police official in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. “If he comes to Pakistan, he can be arrested.”

Experts are further stating that this ruling also opens the door for Musharraf to be charged with possible treason, a crime that is punishable with a death penalty. The Supreme Court has left it up to the Pakistani parliament to decide whether to pursue the charge against Musharraf.

The two main political parties in power in Pakistan are split on whether to pursue a charge of treason against Musharraf.  The party of President Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has not shown much interest in pursuing a treason case against the former president. The opposition party of the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Muslim League-N party (PML-N) wants to have charges of treason brought against Musharraf.

Musharraf’s harsh dictatorial rule along with his actions against the lawyers and judges in 2007 led to a grass roots movement of lawyers that became crucial in forcing Musharraf to give up his role as the army chief and then eventually drove him out of office as the president also leading to elections won by the widow of Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari.

Musharraf was wrong in dismissing the judiciary and in curtailing many institutions of Pakistan that seemed to be a danger to his rule. He had come to power in a bloodless coup that was supported by many people of Pakistan as he went up against a corrupt and ineffective administration of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He did make some positive changes in the country including backing the US war on terror after September 11 attacks and stepping up and bringing pressure on the Taliban in the country which to that point Pakistan had supported in neighboring Afghanistan.  However, he undoubtedly made the biggest mistake of all when he took on the judicial branch of the government and decided to dismiss anyone who disagreed with him or seemed to be a threat to his power.  Now it seems that this ruling will prevent him from coming to Pakistan as he at the very least faces three years for breaking the constitution and possibly the death penalty if charges of treason are brought against him.

Reporting by Manzer Munir for http://www.PakistanisforPeace.com

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