PMs and Judiciary
Ashraf played as good cop by praising judiciary whereas Gilani acted as bad cop by saying that article 248 of the constitution needed no interpretation by anybody, and what he did was according to the constitution. Presidentís immunity is not automatic. It has to be pleaded. Under Article 5, president is first a citizen then an office holder. Under the law, every citizen of Pakistan is also answerable to the rule of law. There is no provision in the Constitution and international law that protects corruption, delays justice or blocks justice. Zardari would have strengthened rule of law by resigning and facing the law. Obama had to tender an apology to police sergeant in black professor case. The use of 3rd class, 1st class and peon shows the hierarchical and feudal mindset of PPP. The US Congress has rejected the US Attorney General Eric Holder plea that Obama has executive privilege in secret case involving death of US citizen with an American weapon by holding him in contempt (US House votes contempt citation for attorney general, June 30, WSWS).
Gilani went on to say that had he not obeyed courtís orders, people would not have accepted its orders in future. The judges have said on record that courts know how to implement their orders. History is witness that under PPP government an unprecedented number of high ranking civil and police officials have failed to abide by the court orders and continue to do so. Going by the media reports, in many cases the officials challenged the courts at the behest of rulers. The cases in point are last minute postings, leaves or sent abroad. In fact, rulersí public vows of respect for judiciary and rule of law do not match their actions.
Judiciaryís oversight of politicians is must. Madeline Albright, former US Secretary of State, has admitted that Iraq war was a mistake. Had US judiciary ensured that Congress exercised its powers to stop Bush, it would have saved millions of lives lost in illegal Iraq war waged on false pretext of WMD. Tony Blair is being criticized for refusing to take advice from British attorney general on legality of Iraq war. Millions of British opposed Iraq war but British law lords failed to tell the parliament to uphold its democratic responsibility and stop a PM from undermining countryís future against the democratic wishes of British voters.
Attorney generals must be accountable to judiciary. Blair was a lawyer. He refused to seek legal advice from the AG to avoid legal accountability of state, parliament and the international legal system. British public like rest of the world want trail of Blair, Bush and their teams for Iraq war crimes. Britain and world could have been saved from illegal Iraq War if Britainís attorney general had upheld his constitutional allegiance to public, state and democracy instead of an individual.
Judiciary cannot be silent in a social welfare state. Pakistanís judiciary has protected people, constitution and country whereas America has used it to protect Obamaís illegal policies. People are held without trials by American authorities and US military courts are working in front of the judiciary. Obama government is carrying out drone attacks, rendition flights and operating ghost centers holding missing persons. Holder is defending Obamaís extra-judicial killing and illegal prosecutions of whistleblowers. The US judiciary has failed to stop drone attacks despite objections by Jimmy Carter. The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary executions has sued the U.S. Government on use of drones, killings and assassinations (UN questions legality of US drone attacks, June 20, Pravda). US judiciary has upheld controversial law allowing stop and search and Obama healthcare forcing taxpayers to buy health insurance instead of getting free healthcare. Judiciary has a role in policymaking.
Our judiciary has the power of judicial review due to written constitution. Under its powers, the judiciary can review and cancel government legislation that is held to have been passed illegally and is in violation of basic spirit and content of the constitution. Judiciary is superior stakeholder in trichotomy of power and it is obliged to keep a check on ruler, lawmakers and the establishment as part of its powers under Ďchecks and balancesí. Britain has no written constitution but still a judge has considered judicial review of work capability assessment on request of two people on grounds that the program discriminates against mentally ill people (June 29, the Guardian).
Pakistanís judiciary has a role in protecting nation. The 90 percent of Pakistanis are opposing Americaís fake terror war in Afghanistan for the last 11 years but our parliament, government and PMs have failed to uphold their democratic aspirations. It would have saved Pakistan 40,000 innocent lives, $100bn tax money and millions of people from unemployment. Under the watchful eyes of judiciary, all other stakeholders should help end corruption, impunity, NATO supplies, foreign networks, and establish broad based relations with the West. Zardari should resign to strengthen democracy, judiciary and end corruption in the country.