Due process of justice for 9 May rioters | By Rizwan Ghani


Due process of justice for 9 May rioters

IN Pakistan the process to try 9 May rioters has started under Army Act. According to the PM based on nature of offences, the cases will be tried in appropriate courts including anti-terror courts. Defence Minister has informed that cases will be tried in existing courts working for last 50 years, no new setups are being made for political victimization or undermining fundamental rights. The system allows three appeals including civil courts. The best approach to avoid another Black Day is to uphold rule of law with speed, transparency, due process of justice and protecting whistleblowers. Information matters not the source.

Imran has involved US Congress members to get a statement from Biden in his favour. Biden is also facing allegations of corruption. Sen Ted Cruz called the US President Mr Ten percent for allegations involving kickbacks in Ukraine and China (Forbes). Pakistan should make public NAB corruption case of £190M Al-Qadir Trust in West which led to 9 May riots. It is like 6 Jan in which Trump supporters attacked Capitol Hill to keep Trump in power and stop Biden from taking over. West’s support for Imran will backfire on corruption, power race and 9 May.

Pakistan should also expose mega corruption and money laundering scandals of PTI government. High cost of living, unemployment and poor public services. West’s mega corruption and money laundering should be shown to public. At least a quarter of Tory MPs have second jobs earning over £4M a year (9 Nov 2021, the Guardian). US Chief Justice’s wife made over $10M as legal consultant (the Forbes). West and UN failto control money laundering (US $2T, 20 Sept 2020 the Guardian & the EU $4.5T, 19 May 2020 Politico). Biden has failed on Trump. The delay has eroded rule of law and democracy which is already downgraded since 2018.

Imran has tweeted Aitzaz’s speech and showed a five-minute video in his address. It appears as legal defence of PTI for shifting the blame on the government. Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted two days ago that FBI confirmed undercover officers, confident informants and its assets were present at the US Capitol on 6 January. The UK did it in G20 demonstrations to identify individuals who may be involved in the organization of criminal activity and to give real time intelligence/evidence on the protesters’ activity (19 Jan 2011, the Guardian).

It was clear in November 2020 that an attack was planned on Capitol Hill on 6 Jan 2021. On 9 November 2020, FBI sent 6 Jan warning e-mail (9 July 2021, the Politico). America’s plan of not confronting the 6 Jan mob was successful. Biden took over power, no spillover protests and any further loss of life. Rioters have been brought to book (Jan 6 insurrection 2 years later: How many arrested and what price Trump may still pay, 5 Jan 2023, the Forbes). It appears Pakistan followed American plan on 9 May successfully.

Giuliani lawyers’ mafia and Trump’s legal tactics are being used in Pakistan also which merits befitting accountability. Four lawyers who gave Trump erroneous advice to overturn 2020 election results face law. House panel has released January 6 insurrection report and referred the lawyers for possible prosecution to the justice department (Lawyers who enabled Trump in election plot face heightened risk of charges (11 Jan 2023, the Guardian).

Like Imran (CoD), Trump was ‘an out of box’ solution to drain two-party corruption swamp in Capitol. Trump also dragged judiciary in politics and his appointed Judge gave him unprecedented break in Mar-a-Lago case (How Judge Cannon broke with conservatives in Trump documents case, 20 Sept 2022). Gen Milley made a speech on 12 November 2020 telling America that military was with the Constitution and liberty of people not any individual. It was military establishment goodbye to Trump and a warning to forget 6 Jan or face consequences. Imran could end up like Trump.

Pakistani Armed forces need protection from political onslaught. It is no coincidence that three successive PMs had standoff with army chiefs. Pakistan can learn from West to replace ‘one page’ policy of my way or highway with professional relations to end attacks against defence forces permanently. America is using United States Court of Appeals for the defence forces for it since 1775. The Court is an independent tribunal established under the Constitution. The Court regularly interprets federal statues, executive orders and departmental regulations and determines the applicability of constitutional provisions to members of armed forces. Through its decisions, the Court has significant impact on the state of discipline in the armed forces, military readiness and the rights of service members and plays indispensable role in military justice system. The US Supreme Court could review only limited cases under the agreed terms. With an act of Congress in 1951, Ministry of Defence formalized Articles of War making the Court final authority and made it consistent with American Bar Associations standards in 1989.

—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.

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