Hudood Ordinance and Blasphemy Laws

I will try to keep it short. When it comes to these laws, the perception we get is that there are two extremes only. On the one side we have the liberals, who want these laws to be repealed. On the other side, we have conservatives or rather they should be called extremists which usually consist of mullahs from the mosques who rally the mob and usually try to impose their own brand of justice swiftly either by killing the accused themselves or by pressuring the police/court to pass the required verdict.

I am what you call a right wing ‘conservative’ however I do not subscribe to the view of the right wing ‘extremists’. Moreover, I also disagree with the liberal view point that the laws should be repealed.

My contention is that if the laws ‘Hudood’ or ‘Blasphemy’ are prescribed in Islamic Jurisprudence (all the schools agree on it) then they should be implemented, even if they are harsh.

The problem only comes in our judicial process. Just because our judicial process is weak, we should not be trying to repeal the laws. With the amount of looting, raping and then vigilante justice that is going on in Karachi, I believe we should dismantle police and judiciary in Karachi. No the right way should be to work towards improving the system.

Taking Zina cases in Hudood Ordinance. It requires four witnesses. The question that should be asked to the witnesses how did they end up viewing the said act, what is their character, are they related to accuser etc. Such simple questions and probing by the defense can easily throw the prosecution’s case out but the process is never followed through.

Blasphemy law case in Hyderabad where a doctor is being tried in the media and on the street for throwing a business card of medical sales rep in trash bin whose name happened to be Muhammad. From a common sense perspective, the the case does not have any footing and should be thrown out and the people (especially the mullah) who is rallying the people should be thrown in jail and tried in anti-terrorism court for inciting violence. A few such iron handed treatment to mullahs and see how they become a ‘bheegi billi’.

From Express Tribune

As a sitting judge of the Lahore High Court [Justice (retd) Nazir Akhtar], he used to tell people at social gatherings that they should kill the blasphemer instead of invoking the law against him.

If we have such people sitting in the judiciary, the solution is not to repeal the law. Rather throw him out of court and bar him from practicing law ever again. These are the people who give bad name to what passes for justice in this country.

After General Kyani

Quite a number of people forwarded me an article by Shaheen Sehbai from The News. I have some respect for Sehbai as he single handedly tried to mount opposition/resistance to Musharraf though from abroad through his South Asia Tribune when everyone else had accepted Musharraf  (this was before the judiciary crisis provided the opposition a common platform to oust him).

However, yesterday’s op-ed piece reminds me that his journalistic standards are as loose as the rest of the industry. I suggest you read the whole article yourself. I am here just copying bits and pieces of it.

The minister has stated on record that Army Chief General Kayani will not be given an extension and he has not sought one, which means Zardari, through his proxy prime minister, will appoint an army general of his choice as the next COAS and Pakistan will become a safe haven for him and the corrupt and the dishonest mostly found in PPP power corridors these days

Why should it matter who is appointed from the Generals. If the Army and Kyani has deemed the person fit enough to be promoted as a General so far, I am sure they must find him capable enough to hold his own. If not, then one should not have any trust in Army to judge their own kind.

But another honourable way for the PM would be not just to resign but to dissolve the National Assembly and let the people elect new leaders, thus finding a constitutional way out of his personal dilemma. He may be accused of stabbing his party in the back but his party colleagues would be more to blame because they are the silent spectators to the rape now going on with Benazir Bhutto’s party and her principles

I want to smoke what this guy is smoking. The diatribe out of some newbie columnist would have been OK but from someone who has remained an editor of newspaper, it seems like the pen is his but the words are being fed to him probably by the army.

The basic issue is whether the Pakistan Army will allow a political leader who has a tainted past, who has a tainted present and whose future is evident from what he is doing, to dictate the terms of reference of how this country will be run and by whom, including the future of the army which has the highest stakes in the country.

Is this guy on a high? Does anything happen in this country without the army knowing? During Musharraf’s tenor when BB was murdered and all evidence was wiped out by washing it down, does anyone has a doubt that it could have happened without a go ahead from Army?

Who brought Zardari to Presidency? Wasn’t it Musharraf who engineered the NRO? Didn’t the army know that Zardari would become the president as a result and like any human try to prolong his stay at the top and fight tooth and nail with anyone trying to bring him down from his throne? If Army didn’t think this, then Army as an institution is more naive than a common man in this country.

If Kyani ever needed anyone to forward his cause for an extension or even transfer to Chairman Joint Chief of Staffs Committee (CJCSC) he knows who to hire i.e., Shaheen Sehbai

His role in the NRO, his soft guard-of-honour to General Musharraf after convincing him that he should leave the country, his decision to keep the army and ISI away from interfering in the 2008 polls, his decisive call to restore the Supreme Court judges on March 15, his intervention to stop the Kerry-Lugar fiasco, his quiet meetings with Choudhry Nisar Ali, Shahbaz Sharif and Aitzaz Ahsan to ward off potentially destructive confrontational scenarios, his focus on the war on terror and his successes, his blunt ‘no’ on several occasions to the Americans, and many other yet unknown interventions, only prove that he has the interest of the country at heart and his decisions have not been motivated by personal interest.

From the establishment parties I have always seen calling the Army to intervene and impose martial law but when the press especially the group which cries itself hoarse over democracy prints something like the following para, something is definitely now right (with the media group, that is):

If General Kayani, who went out of his way to ensure that the judges were restored at the last minute and the Long March of Nawaz Sharif was called off, now allows Mr Zardari to demolish the same Supreme Court, just because the corruption-tainted President cannot defend the billions of dollars he made illegally, it would be such a disservice to the country that all the good that the General may have done in his entire career may not be able to wash it

And the icing on the cake

What General Kayani can do, before bowing out honourably, is to ensure, like he did playing a subtle behind-the-scene role several times, that no crony of the president is appointed as the next COAS and a transparent procedure is adopted to make that appointment so that the new COAS is not obliged to any person and takes decisions only in the national interests. If Kayani thinks anyone is conspiring behind his back, he can take action now as COAS and stop this conspiracy.

This country has gone to dogs because no one respects their boundaries..politicians meddling with the judiciary, bureaucracy getting involved in politics and the army getting involved in everything (behind-the-scenes or bluntly).

Even if Zardari wants to appoint his crony as a General, I say let him do it. He is within his rights and secondly he is appointing from Generals from the Army and not some PPP politician. If Zardari thinks by making a COAS he is making his position secure, I think he has forgotten the lesson of what happened to his father in law who appointed his crony (apparently) as COAS.

Musharraf (Army) is a genius?

In recent times, a lot of terms have acquired cliched status because of overuse and “existential” is one of them. Thankfully no one has labeled the tiff between judiciary and presidency in Pakistan at present as “existential” crisis and we are grateful for that.

Nawaz Sharif has finally decided to jump in and make a bold statement against Zardari. It had been very quiet on right-of-centre-wing-front for a while. I was wondering for sometime that why is NS so quiet. Why has he not  been taking advantage of Zardari/Government for their stupidity and idiocy? Though the idea had been making ripples in my mind but like a tsunami, the realization hit me today. I realized that (even for purely selfish reason) NS does not want to rock the boat of democracy. He wants the democratic process to continue for five years. If Zardari continues like this, definitely PPP will have a defeat in next elections as they have nothing to show for their time in government.

Stopping the process midway through street protests and calling for mid term elections would bode less well for all politicians (as well as the country) whether in government, opposition or outside. However, to allow the government with the likes of compulsive liars like Rehman Malik and Kaira would also be a big mistake as there may not be much of the country left to rule when the time of next election arrives. So the right thing would be to protest against Zardari and his decisions. However, that would derail the democratic setup and serve as invitation to Army to intervene.

Hence, NS is in tight spot i.e., damned if he does and damned if he does not. This is without even considering what is good for the country before someone considers me a PML(N) sympathizer.

Hindsight is 20-20. It should have been obvious to me when NRO was passed by Musharraf. May be I was deluded that when Zardari said “Pakistan Khappay”, he really meant it. Zardari has only gotten humiliation from this country and all his wealth is abroad_ he has no stake in Pakistan. Why would he be good for Pakistan. If one reads the facebook status updates, the youtube videos, the jokes and verses in the name of Faraz that keep circulating, Zardari is the most hated personality in Pakistan amongst the middle and elite classes. By passing the NRO and taking Zardari (most hated and apparently most corrupt personality in the country( though no cases stand against him but it does not mean that people perceive him as honest)) to the presidency, Musharraf has ensured that democracy does not succeed in Pakistan. If Zardari is what you get for asking for democracy, the current generation till it lives will be never again ask for democracy.

Ayub said, “Democracy does not suit the genius of Pakistanis”, pretty soon we will hear all the educated lot requesting to be ruled by a army because we the educated lot consider ourselves “bloody civilians” not realizing that it has always been Army (and recently Musharraf) that have placed this country on the path of destruction.

Today, I appreciate the genius of Musharraf/Army. After making us lose East Pakistan due to Army/Bureaucracy shenanigans, lets see what we end up losing this time.