What does the Chief Justice want?

to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. — Captain Ahab’s last words from Moby Dick.

The Swiss Prosecutor-General said that Zardari can’t be prosecuted in Switzerland because Switzerland is a signatory to a 2004 UN General Assembly convention on the immunity of heads of state. Here is the link to the Swiss government page that discusses this.

According to the Federal Supreme Court, immunity is weakened in the following two cases:

When a state expressly waives the immunity of its head of state, the head of state cannot invoke immunity.
When a head of state leaves office, immunity no longer holds.

According to the Swiss Prosecutor-General, Pakistan would have to revoke the president’s immunity which would require a constitutional amendment of article 248 in order for the Swiss courts to proceed with the prosecution of Zardari.

So what exactly is the Chief Justice’s plan today when he asked the NAB to send another letter to the Swiss authorities?. How does he plan to overturn the President’s constitutional immunity? And if he doesn’t, why is he threatening to re-open the Swiss cases when the Swiss Prosecutor-General has clearly stated that this is not possible? I think we need to seriously consider the possibility that the Chief Justice is mentally unsound.

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7 responses to “What does the Chief Justice want?

  1. Yasir Qadeer

    Democracy is essential for a prosperous future for all of us. Although accountability is good but we must not take it to a level where it becomes a bone stuck in the throat. All things evolve slowly and with time. We must take the accountability issue step by step.

  2. stuka

    Nawaz Sharif has not realized anything from his arrest and imprisonment, his exile, his humiliating return when he was pushed and shoved into a plane and refused entry to his own country. I have always considered the PML N to be democrats – maybe it was the Lahore declaration, the pragmatic business friendly policies, the investment in infrastructure in Punjab that influenced my perception. However, the most important aspect of governing is moderation and Nawaz Sharif showed none in this situation.

    Coming to the Judge issue, the only reason the CJ is on his high hose is because he perceives the Army to be backing him. Now that Zardari has shown enough latitude in terms of the constitutional amendments, they should not kow tow to the judiciary with regard to Immunity. The CJ’s claim that he will decide about immunity is the clearest indicator of intent vis a vis the elected government. It is not Zardari but the PPP as a party that needs to play hardball now.

  3. IZ

    The Chief Justice has claimed that the President has not applied for immunity. Therefore the case will be prosecuted until such time that the President applies for immunity at which point the SC will decide whether or not he actually does have immunity or not.

    He’s not mentally unsound, just pumped up on ego and backing by the establishment. In the Punjab, amongst his baradari he is lauded as a crusader for justice.

    Its obvious that the CJ and his backers are not going to go along with the PPP’s efforts at reconciliation. One option the PPP has is trying Musharaf for treason, which means also trying those who abetted him. According to the constitution the CJ is liable to get the death penalty for aiding Musharraf to come to power. I doubt they’ll go that route though.

  4. Rabia

    IZ,
    In a way it’s good – no one can argue that he isn’t political anymore. On the other hand, it’s also possibly too late to prevent him from destroying the government.

  5. STUKA

    “In a way it’s good – no one can argue that he isn’t political anymore.”

    The coverage on The News is blatantly anti-Zardari with no reference to the political slant of the CJ. In fact there are idiotic examples from India which actually contradict their own stand but have been burnished to make the Judiciary seem more powerful in India than it is.

  6. Rabia

    yeah, apologists for the Pakistan SC’s activism love to cite examples from India!

    btw I agree with you that PPP has to fight back but I can’t quite figure out how it can do this without causing a massive shitstorm that it’s unlikely to weather. I think Asma Jahangir was right today when she said that the judiciary is self-destructing. I dunno if Zardari’s current approach of just waiting and watching as the SC discredits itself is not the best one. Just the other day apparently the CJ made this whole whiny speech about how every channel you turn on has someone criticizing the SC. So clearly it’s a fine balance for PPP.

  7. Stuka

    Zardari should sit tight till Kayani retires. Btw, with the constitutional amendments passed who would have the power to extend Kayani’s tenure.

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