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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bhuttos's Reference: Right or Wrong?

April 04, will always remain a dark day in the history of our beleaguered nation. The unprecedented day when a democratically elected Prime Minister was hung in the wee hours of the morning at Rawalpindi Jail. When the clemency requests of many heads of states around the globe were rejected. His family members were harassed and he was given perhaps the most undue treatment in his jail cell. Never in the history of any nation, one can find such a biased execution of justice carried against an elected Prime Minister. By any stretch of any imagination, a person could not be executed on circumstantial and questionable evidence.

As controversial Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto may be, his worst critics agreed on one thing about him, he was a genius. Only a genius of his stature, could uplift the spirits of a defeated nation. Only a man with his wit, could charm the worst rivals at Simla and negotiate the return of thousands of sons of our soil. It was ZAB who made the Green Passport, once only meant for privileged class, available to a common man. Only his sheer brilliance could gather the entire Muslim Ummah under one platform and bring Pakistan at the forefront of this world.

Zia had underestimated the power of Bhutto. He thought by hanging Bhutto, he could silence the voice of masses and dissent. By jailing thousands and awarding lashes to many as an exemplary punishment, he was not able to kill the spirit of their revered leader. Come to think of it, ZAB refined the meaning of politics in Pakistan. From there on it has always been either Bhutto or anti Bhutto. People who align themselves with Bhutto, want this country to be modern, progressive and democratic. The anti Bhutto clan bands together and finds everything in the world to steer Pakistan away from that direction. This is the reason why the spirit of Bhutto lives on, even after 32 long years. Because Bhutto is not a name, it is a sensation. The sensations never die, they penetrate and permeate in the souls and live forever.

At this juncture, where PPP led government is struggling to maintain its rather loosening grip, the invoking of Article 186 of the Constitution, by the President, should not come as a surprise.

The Zardari led PPP government was hesitant in reinstating the deposed Chief Justice. The PML-N swept the accolades for its much touted "Long March", which led to the midnight executive order of the reinstatement of the Superior Judiciary. From there on, there has been an unspoken tug of war between the "Independent Judiciary" and the Executive.

The judiciary has often stepped into the arena of legislature and the executive in the name of public interest. The tussle between the "newly independent judiciary" and the Government is no secret. It more or less seems like the two institutions are often seeking the one up man ship. High emotions on both ends seem to take center stage. The elements who really want these institutions pitted against one another, truly enjoy this. Because in the end, in most cases its the "law that prevails." Law is synonymous with the Judiciary.

Giving this adage a new dimension, PPP's recent move towards introduction of a reference in the Supreme Court to supposedly make a historical wrong finally right, deserves special attention. 3 years into the government and a good 32 years late into the saga of ZAB, of course it raises all kinds of eye brows. Keeping a veil on a more recent murder and the suspects of Benazir Bhutto, PPP has decided to take a new route.

As widely known, and rightfully termed "judicial murder" of ZAB, can only be linked to the whims of an iconic dictator, General Muhammed Zia Ul Haq. It does not need a brain of some 007 to figure out, that the judiciary was subservient to the uniformed President. The verdict was an expected outcome based on the directions of the GHQ. The same judiciary that stamped the unconstitutional coup of Zia as "doctrine of necessity."

The list of historical wrongs in our nation is way too long. It starts even prior to the day of our independence and it perhaps takes a pause at Bhatti's brutal murder. The key word here is "pause." Sadly it will continue without a closure to many gross and abhorrent wrongs.

In the midst of all this, the revival of ZAB 's closed, critiqued and buried case will not bring any feathers to the cap of the President or his hawkish Law Minister. The proponents of this move give the glaring precedent set by Mian Nawaz Sharif's acquittal from his case of alleged hijacking of PIA flight carrying the infamous General Musharraf. The critics of that acquittal term it as a payback by the current "independent judiciary" for the not so "long of a march" by PML-N, which enabled the restoration of our independent judiciary.

No matter which way you dice or slice the situation, it pretty much leads to a course of collision. A course of collision, which may not be pleasant for the Government. The opponents of the Government, some hidden and some visible are sitting on the sidelines, watching this new seemingly volatile situation unfold. These are people who can hardly wait till 2013. As always, the patience is running thin for most of them. The need of the hour, is to avoid any new wrongs, which may lead us to the rather darker avenues.

ZAB's ultimate mission was not to get a certificate from the "independent Judiciary." His dream was to create a modern, progressive and self sufficient Pakistan. It is high time that his vision is adopted by his party in letter and spirit.

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