A living judgement

December 17, 2009 at 12:47 am (Pakistan, Politics) (, , , )

By Shireen Mazari

The Supreme Court decision to declare the NRO as null and void was an extraordinary judgement with in-built implementation provisions, especially with the ongoing judicial supervision of the cases revived again as a result of this unanimous judgement. The Supreme Court in effect gave a vote of no-confidence to the government and NAB legal teams, as well as highlighting the misuse of authority by former Attorney General Malik Qayoom. The Supreme Court decision has far reaching consequences with its order to restart the Swiss cases and seek the return of the nation’s looted wealth.

For the people of Pakistan this is a most remarkable salvation of justice and rule of law and ushers a new dawn of an independent and responsive higher judiciary. It is a sad reflection on the moral bankruptcy of the Presidency that it is sheltering behind the constitutional provision of immunity for the President. However, while the immunity provision is clear in case of criminal cases, it is not at all clear whether it also applies to civil cases. But the issue is not one of constitutional protection, The issue is how the state of Pakistan can be represented with national dignity by a person who has now lost all moral grounds to remain in the Presidency. It is an issue of credibility and moral stature which must define the office of the President. President Zardari, in the interest of the nation and the President’s office should voluntarily resign.
As for the ministers and other office holders who now stand accused once again on varied charges of corruption, murder and so on, their removal is a necessity. The Prime Minister needs to move immediately to remove all such persons from the Cabinet. At the end of the day how can any of the NRO accused carry on their functions effectively on behalf of the state and government, at home and abroad? They have lost all credibility.

Even at a technical level, since the Supreme Court judgement has declared that the NRO was contradictory to Article 632 of the Constitution, the eligibility of many parliamentarians can now be called into question. It may be that the President Zardari’s eligibility for the Presidency may also come under question. So disqualification is another factor that will now come into play.
All in all, for the nation this has been a great victory against corruption at all levels. If the leaders are prepared to save the nation further disgrace and instability they will leave their offices voluntarily, thereby redeeming themselves at one level at least in the eyes of their nation. Another indirect fallout is the restoration of power to Pakistan from the US, which had been a major player in pushing forward the NRO. This should be a lesson for the Americans who need to realize that the Pakistani nation and its judiciary cannot fall in line with its illegal plans forcibly hoisted on the nation. It is in this sense that we are finally moving towards democracy in the real sense and all Pakistanis can hold their heads up high thanks to its judiciary.


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