Khosa’s exit: Who’s next in line?
December 09, 2011
Tariq Khosa’s refusal to head the one-man commission on memo scandal shows that he wants to keep himself at an arm’s length from the so-called rivalry of the judiciary and the executive.
Khosa, who served as director general FIA, secretary ANF and Balochistan IGP, is a brother of SC judge Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Punjab Chief Secretary Nasir Khosa. The day the commission was constituted PPP leader Babar Awan questioned his integrity claiming that his family had close relations with the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his party. Expressing distrust over the nomination of Khosa, Babar asserted, in a press conference, that the PPP didn’t expect any justice from a person like Tariq Khosa. “Everyone knows that one brother of Mr Khosa is a sitting SC judge and he is a relative to Justice Nasim Hassan Shah, former chief justice of Pakistan who had ‘endorsed the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” Babar said.
The Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosa also criticized the formation of commission saying that they will only act upon the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security that had been tasked by the PPP-led government with probing the memo issue. Governor Khosa stressed his party ‘does not believe’ in the ruling on the formation of the commission and, therefore, there was no need for it to issue a reply to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Registrar Office has reportedly received Tariq Khosa’s excuse for not investigating the memo scandal. Hearing the petitions of PML N seeking probe into the memo scandal on Dec 1, the Supreme Court observed: “It is significant to note that the issue of confidential memo was highlighted after 21st November, 2011.
Meanwhile, the then Ambassador of Pakistan to the US Husain Haaqni was summoned back in Islamabad who tendered his resignation as per undisputed reports aired on the electronic media. It may not be out of context to observe here that as per media reports the ISI had also collected SMS messages exchanged between the former ambassador of Pakistan and Mansoor Ijaz, extracts of which have been incorporated in the petitions”.
The order also incorporated the stance of Attorney General who during the hearing said: “I am not against the probe, but as the matter is pending with the Parliamentary Committee on National Security we should wait for the result of its proceedings. In our opinion, both the forums are not against probe into the matter and subject to constitutionality of the committee, the proceeding can be taken up simultaneously”.
The legal experts are of the view that the Supreme Court hurriedly took up the petitions against memo. Raising objections to the Supreme Court’s (SC) proceedings in the memo scandal case, Pakistan Bar Council’s (PBC) Central Free Legal Aid Committee (CFLAC) has said that Parliament is the only competent forum to take decisions with regard to political affairs. In a meeting held under the chairmanship of Muhammad Ramzan Chaudhry on Friday, PBC CFLAC expressed its concern over memo case hearing and passed a resolution that decisions on matters of political nature by the SC in favour of one party might not be in the vital national interest rather it would tarnish the image of parliament and also the concept of the independence of judiciary.
The committee also observed that the memo scandal case, which does not offend any fundamental right, should have not been brought to the SC at the cost of the valuable time of general litigant public whose cases running in thousands were pending adjudication. The members also recalled that the above-cited views were also supported by two judgments of the SC (PLD 2009 SC 75 and PLD 1958 SC 397) whereby it was laid down by the apex court that when a matter is sub judice before the parliamentary committee in accordance with and covered by the rules of business concerned, the courts should stay their hands off ungrudgingly.
Former president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Asma Jahangir, who has recently decided to defend former ambassador Husain Haqqani in the memo case, criticized the judiciary for its dual standards. She criticized the superior judiciary for not touching the army and said in fact it was not Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) but the military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani who was running the “real government.”
Addressing lawyers at the ceremony of her reception hosted by Islamabad High Court Bar Association here on Friday, she said the judiciary was not absolutely independent. “It is independent for the political government as it can pass any adverse orders against it but it can’t pass a judgment against the “real government.” She explained that the judiciary can take up petitions against a political government because they believe that political government cannot cause any harm to them, but they don’t think so that the real government is also harmless as such.
“If I file a petition with the supreme court under the title “Asma Jahangir vs the Government of Pakistan” my petition would likely be admitted but if the title of my petition is “Asma Jahangir vs the real government” then they would certainly raise some objections and it would not likely to be treated like other routine litigations.” She said the judiciary was media-driven because most of its decisions were being made to attract the attention of media. She criticized the close relationship of the media and the judiciary and said in other countries the judiciary keeps itself at some distance from the media but in Pakistan the media portrayed every gesture of the judges as they were Rock Hudson.
The judiciary can only implement its decisions when it would eliminate the sentiments of discrimination from all its decision and it is the only way to create moral authority, she added. During the hearing of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), review petition, Babar Awan had pointed out that several other cases including a petition of Asghar Khan was pending with the Supreme Court but the chief justice replied that he did not know the complications of the case.
Appearing as counsel in the federation’s review plea over a decision about the NRO, Awan said the Supreme Court should also take up a pending plea of Air Marshal retired Asghar Khan for the Mehran Bank scandal. “You should not intervene to regulate the court as you are not the chief justice,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry told the counsel.