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 RULE OF LAW

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MAJOR(R)KHALID NASR
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PostSubject: RULE OF LAW   Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:55 am

Monday, 12-03-07







Articles, Opinions and News
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Rule of Law
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Rule of Law


By


Inam Khuwaja


The enforcement of the law is at best lax and at worse none existent. I remember in the early fifties when I was a student one had to use a light on the cycle at night, the law was strictly enforced. Today cyclists go about with impunity without light and the motorists brazenly go through red lights and honk at people like me who wait for the light to turn green. Today the Chief Justice of Pakistan is seeking justice and the President/Chief of Army Staff is in need of security.



I under note what the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said on 25 March 1948 in his address to the civil service officers at Chittagong:-


“You have to do your duty as servants; you are not concerned with this or that Political Party; that is not your business. ------ You are civil servants. Whichever party gets the majority will form the Government and your duty is to serve that Government for the time being as servants not as politicians. -----I know you are saddled with the old legacy, old mentality, old psychology and it haunts our foot steps, but it is upto you now to act as true servants of the people even at the risk of any Minister or ministry trying to interfere with you in the discharge of your duties as civil servants. -------Wipe off that past reputation; you are not rulers. You do not belong to the ruling class; you belong to the servants. Make the people feel that you are their servants and friends, maintain the highest standard of honour, integrity, justice and fair-play. ------Now that freezing atmosphere must go; that impression of arrogance must go that impression that you are the rulers must go and you must do your best with all courtesy and kindness and try to understand the people”,



Later on April 14, 1948 while addressing the Civil Officers at Government House Peshawer the Quaid said:-


“The first thing that I want to tell you is this, that you should not be influenced by any political pressure, by any political party or individual politician. If you want to raise the prestige and greatness of Pakistan, you must not fall a victim to any pressure, but do your duty as servants to the people and the State, fearlessly and honestly. Service is the backbone of the State. Governments are formed, governments are defeated, Prime Ministers come and go, Ministers come and go, but you stay on, and, therefore, there is a great responsibility placed on your shoulders. You should have no hand in supporting this political party or that political party, this political leader or that political leader – this is not your business.”


How many civil servants have followed this? How many are today acting on these orders of the founder? One can safely say none, may be only a few. Even today they act most arrogantly as rulers. It is sad that the civilian officers were the first to either succumb to the political pressure or the temptation for personal gains by currying favour of the politicians.


When the armed forces were used for political purpose they did not take long to realise that they yielded the ultimate power as Chairman Mao had said; “All political power comes out of the barrel of the gun”. They too did not follow the edict of the founder who in his address to the officers of the Staff College Quetta on 14, June 1948 had said:-


“One thing more, I am persuaded to say this because during my talk with one or two very high ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the Oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Of course, an oath is only a matter of form; what is more important is the spirit and the heart. But it is an important form and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescribed oath to you.”



The Quaid read out the oath prescribed at that time and then said:-”As I have said just now, the spirit is what really matters. I should like you to study the Constitution which is in force in Pakistan at present and understand its true constitutional and legal implications when you say that you will be faithful to the Constitution of the Dominion”.


The Oath now prescribed for the Members of the Armed Forces as given in the Second Schedule (Article 244) of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan is as follows:-


“I ------------------, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which embodies the will of the people, that I will not engage myself in any political activities whatsoever and I will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the Pakistan Army (or Navy or Air Force) as required by and under the law.”
It may be noted that the Quaid went to the Staff College with a copy of the oath because he obviously wanted to stress upon the cream of the senior officers of the Pakistan Army the importance of adhering to the letter and the spirit of the oath. It is sad that the Armed Forces too not only repeatedly ignored the Quaid’ s explicit instructions but did not even abide by what they had sworn to in the presence of God. To go back on what one has sworn by God is not only immoral but is a grievous sin.



When in 1958 the armed forces took over, the civil servants almost without any exception extended full co-operation to the military dictator and one of them even became the Deputy Marshall Law Administrator!


Even the judiciary did not stand firm but sided with the bureaucracy. However it goes to the credit of the Sindh High Court that they ruled against the dissolving of the Constituent Assembly by the Governor General Ghulam Muhammad who was a retired officer of the Indian Accounts and Audit Service. However the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Munir ruled against the judgment of the Sindh High Court. From there on the judiciary with some significant exceptions has been the handmaiden of who ever has been in power.


The politicians were actually the first to misuse their authority but they would have been powerless if the bureaucracy (the civil service and the police) had stood firm. This alliance of the elite (politicians, bureaucracy, Armed Forces and the business community) came into being after the 1953 Lahore Marshal Law and has been in effective power since then. This unholy alliance has exploited the common man, the weak, the poor and the women. They have systematically taken over the control of all the economic resources of the country and enforced policies not for the betterment of the people of Pakistan but for the continuation of their immoral lifestyle of indulgence


Dr Ishrat Hussain in his book ‘Pakistan the Economy of an Elitist State’ has provided all the facts and figure to support the elitist economic policies followed in Pakistan. This is an independent and unbiased indictment by a respected economist.


The economic policies of the present government have brought some stability in the foreign exchange reserves. This is attributed to the insecurity of US held bank balances and investments after 9/11 and their remittance from USA. There has also been progress in attracting foreign investment. Apart from these there is nothing of any economic significance for the common man. The inflation is rampant, the national assets have been sold for a pittance (the sale of the Steel Mill is a glaring example), the mafia of sugar mills is allowed to operate at will, the monopolistic price fixing by cement factories goes unchecked, the big brokers in the Karachi Stock Exchange are allowed to rob the common investors with impunity and thus goes the long list of economic mismanagement and plunder by a coterie of the rich and the noveau riche. In the past seven years almost all the economic policies have been designed to benefit the elite at the expense of the common man. A glaring example is that the Government’s policies are responsible for the phenomenal growth in the assembly, import and sale of cars. This policy caters for the requirements of only a very small effluent group. What are required are Mass Transit Systems for Karachi and Lahore, a well run public transport system for all the major cities and not more cars particularly luxury cars. The sale of two islands to build a luxury city is yet again another undeniable example of a project for the rich and so are the Creek City Project in DHA Karachi and the projects of DHA Islamabad and Lahore. What is required is housing for the poor and the lower middle class. A scheme similar to the Council Housing in UK is the crying need of the common man.


It is unfortunate that hardly any of the so called intellectual has raised his or her voice against this unholy alliance of exploitation. What is worse is that the even the socialists, the labour leaders, the so called ‘progressive writers’ and the economists are silent spectators to this relentless plunder. Hardly any voices are raised against the mega luxury projects which cater for the requirements of the rich. The projects like the proposed so called development of the beach from Manora to Paradise Point will cater for the very rich at the expense of the common man, the environment and the marine life.


Pakistan was supposed to be an Islamic welfare state and the Quaid on 25, January 1948 while addressing the Sindh Bar Association had said:-


“Islamic principles have no parallel. Today they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and its idealism has taught democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody”.


In the same speech he further said:-


“Islam is a code for every Muslim which regulates his life and his conduct in all aspects, social, political, economic, etc. It is based on the highest principles of honour, integrity, fairplay and justice for all”.


The Quaid strictly believed in the rule of law and the constitutional way. On 8, September 1920 Mr. Gandhi moved the resolution in the Extraordinary Session of the Indian National Congress at Calcutta to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement Mr. Jinnah vehemently opposed it. Nothing could swerve him from the constitutional path and when Mr. Gandhi asked him to contribute his share to the movement he bluntly said:-


“Mine is the right way --- the constitutional way is the right way”


It was on this issue that ultimately the Quaid resigned from the Congress in December 1920.




The present movement by the lawyers is totally in accordance with the wishes and the vision of the Quaid. It is time that every Pakistani must stand up to be counted in support of the enforcement of the Quaid’s Islamic principles --- “fairplay and justice for all”.






The Nation 3, June 2007

















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