double double toil and trouble


“A mother can give birth to a child but could not kill the child. If she does so, she will be punished” – Abdul Hafeez Pirzada

Well, as I was cleaning the house yesterday, Meray Mutabiq was on the TV. I got so annoyed at Qazi Anwar’s rantings that I turned the show off. Clearly this was a mistake as it turns out today, the show was useful as a laundry list of the various crises that are going to be created in the following days. The way it works is that each guest throws a few possible issues of contention into the pot and over the next few days one or more of them will stick. So here goes:

1. Abdul Hafeez Peerzada brought up the issue of the party head having too much power (i.e. the new version of the anti-defection law makes the party head able to disqualify members of parliament for certain votes against party line). This should be a very useful one because it will show that Zardari has not really given up his powers over the parliament. Expect it to be all over the op-eds shortly.

2. He also brought up the issue of the judiciary’s independence. His example from 1973 is actually really interesting – apparently back then there was a proposal that the Senate standing committee should have the power to remove the judges (currently the ability to remove judges on misconduct rests with the Supreme Judicial Council which consists of the Chief Justice and other senior judges of the Court. Since there is no impeachment procedure via parliament, it’s very unlikely that the judges of the SJC would vote to remove another SC judge except in cases like the PCO judges case where there were two gangs of rival judges). Anyway, at the time this proposal was floated, Chief Justice Hamood Ur Rehman told him that 3 Justices had tendered their resignation on this issue as they were not amenable to the Senate having the authority to impeach them. It’s an interesting example because it shows the pressure exerted by the judiciary on constitution-making then and now.

3. He brought up a basic structure argument, saying that the 18th amendment had altered the basic structure of the 1973 constitution which was not “allowed”. In keeping with the gruesome tone of the show, his exact quote was ““A mother can give birth to a child but could not kill the child. If she does so, she will be punished”

4. Weird sister Imran Khan also brought up the issue of – what else – Benazir Bhutto’s will. He demanded that the public see the actual letter

5. Really really weird sister Qazi Anwar was quoted as saying “Qazi Anwar said that the will was written on October 16, 2007. But it did not show where it was written and neither it was known that from where it had come. He said it was a fraud. Qazi Anwar said it seemed it was not the writing of Benazir Bhutto.”

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