Posts Tagged ‘ Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani ’

Pakistani Prime Minister Due in Court For Contempt Hearing

As Reported by CNN

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan is due to appear Monday before the country’s Supreme Court, which plans to charge him with contempt in relation to a long-running struggle over old corruption cases.

Gilani is locked in a standoff with the Supreme Court justices, who are demanding that he ask the Swiss authorities to revive corruption charges from the previous decade against President Asif Ali Zardari and others.

Gilani has refused the court’s demands and could be jailed for six months if the justices find him in contempt. The court on Friday rejected an appeal by Gilani’s lawyers against the summons to face the contempt charge.

The lawyers have argued that the prime minister has not followed the court’s order because Zardari enjoys immunity in Pakistan and abroad as a president in office.

Gilani said in an interview over the weekend with the satellite news network Al Jazeera that he had an “extremely capable” lawyer and didn’t believe the court would jail him on the contempt charges.

If found guilty of contempt, the prime minister could be forced from office. But his lawyers have said he would keep his position unless electoral officials disqualified him.

Gilani served more than five years in prison between 2001 and 2006 on corruption charges brought by the previous military regime of Gen. Pervez Musharraf — counts he said were also politically motivated.

The corruption cases that the Supreme Court now wants reopened stem from money-laundering charges against Zardari and his late wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A Swiss court convicted them in absentia in 2003 of laundering millions of dollars.

After Musharraf granted a controversial amnesty in 2007 to Zardari, Bhutto, and thousands of other politicians and bureaucrats, Pakistan asked the Swiss authorities to drop the case. In 2009, the Pakistani Supreme Court ruled the amnesty was unconstitutional and called on the government to take steps to have the cases reopened.

The government has not done so, and the court apparently lost patience. Since Gilani is the head of the government, the court justices view him as responsible.

Advertisements

Pakistani Judges Press Premier to Defy President

By Salman Masood and Ismail Khan for The New York Times

The political and legal crisis in Pakistan took a new turn on Tuesday when the Supreme Court threatened to dismiss Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for failing to comply with court orders to reopen corruption cases against his political boss: President Asif Ali Zardari.

The latest pressure from the court compounds the problems of the governing Pakistan Peoples Party, already facing a political crisis over a controversial memo that sought United States support in thwarting a feared military coup.

Adding to the government’s troubles is a steep increase in terrorist attacks. Another attack occurred early Tuesday, a truck bombing that the authorities said killed more than 25 people, including women and children, in northwestern Pakistan. A senior government official said the bombing appeared to be in retaliation for the recent killing of a militant leader.

Since December 2009, when the Supreme Court struck down an amnesty that nullified corruption charges against thousands of politicians, the court has insisted that the government reopen corruption cases against Mr. Zardari.

But the government has resisted court orders, and Mr. Zardari said last week that, “come what may,” officials from his party would not reopen the graft cases filed against him and his wife, Benazir Bhutto, in Switzerland. Ms. Bhutto was assassinated in 2007.

On Tuesday, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, ruled that the government was guilty of “willful disobedience” and said that Mr. Gilani was “dishonest” for failing to carry out the earlier court orders.

The judges laid out six options — including initiating contempt of court charges, dismissing the prime minister, forming a judicial commission and taking action against the president for violating his constitutional oath — and ordered the attorney general to explain the government’s position in court on Monday.

A three-member judicial commission that is investigating the controversial memo is scheduled to resume its hearing the same day. Apart from having an acrimonious relationship with the judiciary, the government has an uneasy relationship with the country’s top generals.

Mr. Zardari, who spent 11 years in prison on unproved corruption charges, says the corruption cases against him and Ms. Bhutto that date to the 1990s were politically motivated.

In an interview last week with GEO TV, a news network, Mr. Zardari said reopening those cases would be tantamount to “a trial of the grave” of his wife.

Mr. Zardari also claims immunity as president, but the judiciary, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, has resisted that claim and has aggressively pursued cases against Mr. Zardari’s party, leading many government officials to speculate that the judiciary was being used by the country’s powerful military to dismiss the government before the March elections for the Senate, in which the Pakistan Peoples Party is expected to win a majority.

Political analysts said the fate of Mr. Gilani, the prime minister, was in peril.

Mr. Zardari called a meeting of his party officials and coalition partners on Tuesday evening to chart strategy, and he was expected to get a statement of support from his allies.

“The situation is fast moving towards a head-on confrontation,” said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political and military analyst based in Lahore. “It depends on what options are exercised by the Supreme Court.”

According to the Pakistani Constitution, a prime minister can be removed only by the Parliament, and the Supreme Court can disqualify the prime minister only indirectly, Mr. Rizvi said.

“If the court disqualifies the prime minister and the prime minister continues to enjoy the support of the Parliament, then the stage is set for a very dangerous confrontation,” he said.

The legal standoff is forcing the government to defer issues of greater importance, like rescuing a failing economy and fighting Taliban insurgents, as it focuses on its political survival, Mr. Rizvi said.

“The court, the military and the executive are trying to assert themselves,” he said. “It has become a free-for-all.”

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the bombing on Tuesday, but it appeared to have been carried out by Tehrik-i-Taliban, an umbrella organization of Pakistani militant groups, against the Zakhakhel tribe, which has formed a militia in support of the government, said Mutahir Zeb, administrator for the Khyber tribal region.

Mr. Zeb said the Tehrik-i-Taliban sought to avenge the killing of Qari Kamran, a local Taliban commander, by security forces last week in an area occupied by the Zakhakhel.

Mr. Zeb said a pickup truck exploded in the middle of a bus terminal used by the Zakhakhel in the town of Jamrud.

The bomb destroyed several vehicles, damaged a nearby gasoline pump and shattered windows in the area. In addition to those killed, 27 people were reported wounded in the bombing and were taken to hospitals in Peshawar.

“I was on duty at the nearby checkpoint when I heard a big bang,” said Mir Gul, a security guard. “I rushed toward the spot and saw bodies lying around while the injured cried for help. It was devastating. There was blood everywhere.”

Pakistanis for Peace Editor’s Note-
The Pakistani people deserve better than this. The only solution to EVERYTHING that ails Pakistan is a true and long lasting peace with India. The sooner this dream becomes a reality, the sooner grim news of extremism and its grip on Pakistan will go away~

China launches communications satellite for Pakistan

As Reported by The South Asian News Agency

The year 2011 marks 60 years of diplomatic relationship between China and Pakistan. This all-weather relationship has largely withstood ‘the test of time’.

Both states recognize the relevance of their cooperation in areas like security, trade and culture. All these years China has mostly followed the ‘friend of Pakistan policy’. From the Indian perspective the focus of their cooperation, which has mostly revolved around security issues, has been a source of anxiety. Apart from the question of direct military aid, India must also take note of China’s assistance to Pakistan in the field of science and technology as well since it has long-term strategic implications. China launched Pakistan’s first communications satellite (PAKSAT-1R) on August 12, 2011 on a Long March-3B carrier rocket. This event demonstrates the deepening in technological cooperation between these two states. For China this was also an event to display the capabilities of its rapidly growing commercial satellite industry.

Over the years Pakistan has largely demonstrated a copycat syndrome (with reference to India) as far as programmes of strategic importance are concerned. Pakistan’s technological and industrial base is not well-established in comparison with India. Therefore, to match India, Pakistan has relied on foreign (overt or covert) help. In certain cases Pakistan also developed underground networks to ‘manage’ hardware/technology. However, Pakistan’s investments in space technologies have been minimal. This is somewhat surprising particularly, because it has a reasonably well-developed missile programme which, in fact, could have helped at least partially to build up an indigenous space programme.

Pakistan’s lack of interest in space technology could be due to three reasons. Firstly, the Pakistani focus on long-term investments in technology has predominantly been military specific over the years. The use of technology for social, educational and scientific needs was not the prime focus. Secondly, Pakistan appears to have failed to anticipate the long-term strategic importance of space technologies. What is more surprising is the failure to understand the importance of space technologies particularly, in the background of the country’s nuclear ambitions. Thirdly, because of superfluous investments in military hardware, Pakistan was unable to make investments in space technology. Also, the state appears to have failed to realise the future commercial relevance of a space programme.

Against this backdrop the launch of the made in China PAKSAT-1R with 30 transponders for the purposes of communications services marks a new beginning. This satellite would take care of broadband Internet, telecom and broadcasting services. It is expected to cover South Asia, Europe, West Asia and eastern Africa and is also likely to help in weather monitoring. Being a communication satellite its dual-use nature could offer strategic defence applications as well. Pakistan has been collaborating with China in the space arena since the 1990s. Its first satellite Badr-1 was launched by China on July 16, 1990 (on a Long March 2E rocket). However, during the span of the last two decades, Pakistan’s space programme has not made any significant progress baring two more satellite launches with outside help. Pakistan’s space agency called Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) was established in 1961 as a committee. It was upgraded into a Commission in 1981. But it has failed to make any significant progress.

The August 2011 launch of a communication satellite opens a new chapter in Pakistan’s space history. Today, Pakistan has no launch vehicle of its own to launch satellites of any type. It has a long way to go in developing expertise in this arena as well as in satellite manufacture though the very first satellite was developed indigenously. Pakistan also needs to invest in the development of Spaceport and ground stations. All this will take time and its dependence on China is expected to increase in coming years.

Since their border settlement pact of March 3, 1963 the relationship between these two neighbours of India has been steadily growing. In the field of space there was a pause for almost two decades particularly, in the high-end projects like satellite launches. However, during these years a certain degree of collaboration was underway for personnel training and infrastructure development. Pakistan’s inadequacy in the space field offers China an opportunity to take their strategic partnership to a higher plane and also simultaneously maintain its own commercial interests.

For the last couple of years China has been using space technology to further its geopolitical as well as commercial interests. Now, Pakistan offers it an opportunity to use space engagement for strategic purposes as well. China has begun to help states like Nigeria and Venezuela with their satellite programmes. Also, recently China signed a deal with Bolivia for building and launching a satellite. In comparison with the western space agencies, China offers better commercial deals. Also, China has earned a prestige for its space programme with various successful space launches. Naturally, various developing states in the world are looking towards China.

China’s space programme is surging ahead at a much faster rate than India’s. Pakistan’s space programme is likely to remain in infancy for some more time to come. However, nuclear Pakistan is likely to pursue its space agenda (with China’s help) with more vigour in the future. On the military front, it is bound to benefit from various Chinese programmes like the navigational programme (COMPASS constellation). India needs to look at these developments seriously. Till date Pakistan’s space capabilities were probably not factored into India’s strategic planning, but that must change

Pakistan Observes Kashmir Solidarity Day Today

As Reported on Sify News, India

Pakistan is observing the Kashmir Solidarity Day on Saturday (today) to renew its pledge to provide full moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people.

“We would not rest unless the people of Kashmir get their right to self-determination and win freedom from the Indian domination. We regard the Quaid-i-Azam’s dictum as our ideal wherein he said, “Kashmir is our jugular vein”. The day is not far when the Kashmiris would determine their own future,” The Nation quoted Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, as saying in his message on the occasion.

The government and the people of Pakistan join their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in observing the Kashmir Solidarity Day, said Gilani, adding that the whole nation stands united in seeking a just and peaceful solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the Kashmiris as enshrined in relevant UN resolutions.

It will be a public holiday throughout Pakistan today, and special programmes will be broadcasted on television in this regard.

Apart from mass rallies, symposia, conventions meetings and speech declamations, a unique ceremony will be held at all six bridges linking Pakistan and PoK, where Pakistani and Kashmiri people will form a human chain.

It may be mentioned here that the day is observed every year in Pakistan, in continuation of the first call given by the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1975.

Advertisements