WASHINGTON: Former ambassador of Pakistan to the US, Hussain Haqqani, in brazen attack on the Supreme Court (SC), said the judiciary did not drag those in the dock who allowed Osama bin Laden to live undetected in the country; instead, it deemed it necessary to punish Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani over contempt charge.
In his article ‘How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester’ published in New York Times dated May 10, the former ambassador to the US raised several question unleashing the criticism of the apex court.
Haqqani writes, ‘… how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in (Abbottabad city of) Pakistan for years..’; the court instead of seeking answer to this question, preferred to penalize the Prime Minister “by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda — in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari.”
Lashing out at a judge who incorporated a poem by Lebanese-American author and poet Kahlil Gibran in the verdict, Haqqani noted, “That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.”
Brushing aside the involvement of Pakistan’s armed forces and the spy agencies or the government in allowing Bin Laden a safe haven in the country, the former envoy Haqqani asserted, “But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.”
Haqqani who is at the middle of a notorious case involving a memorandum allegedly written courting US succor against the Pakistan’s army on the prospect of any potential coup in the country, said the freedom of the media is crucial for the success of democracy.
However subjecting media to his censure, he added, “(Media) has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism.”
Commenting on the overall situation in Pakistan, he noted, “Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.”
Peeping inside the lawyers’ movement that at last saw Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry reinstated in his present office, Haqqani observed, “Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.”
He added, “This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.” SAMAA
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