Humayun Gauhar | 12 AUGUST, 2015
Allah And Awam, Not America And Army
Meanwhile in Pakistan
“Whoopee,” said Maverick. “The Supreme Court has finally spoken the truth. By realistically accepting military courts it has implicitly acknowledged that the judiciary is so hopeless that it cannot fully dispense justice.”
“Yes,” I said. “It has also acknowledged that the vacuum left by it must be filled by military courts if we are to seriously fight armed and economic terrorism and criminality that have reduced Pakistan to a lawless jungle.”
“That some 3 million cases are pending in the entire judiciary and some 20,000 in the Supreme Court is testimony enough. So what’s new?” asked Maverick the Monkey, Commander-in-Chief of the Monkey Brigade of E-7. Maverick was sitting on Atiqa Odho’s sofa on my terrace. Has he taken a fancy to her or the sofa? I think it’s the sofa. But will I always wonder whether it was the lady or her alleged bottles that the decrepit dirty old chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took a fancy to. I have a fairly good idea who, not what.
Maverick and I had been in London for three weeks, during which he went to Mexico to attend a wedding where he met my friend Tuku and his beautiful wife Nergis. Now we’re back and loving every moment of it not only because there’s no place like home but also because there’s never a dull moment. Our political and judicial clowns just won’t let us stop laughing. Ribs are in danger of cracking. No wonder that orthopedics are doing such a roaring business, second only to obstetricians because of our record birthrate.
“Well, Maverick,” I said, “Whilst our eyes have been on Greece a great deal has been happening in Pakistan and elsewhere.”
Maverick grinned: “It reinforces what you keep saying like a broken record, that global change is rapidly upon us leaving many a state by the wayside. Maps have started changing, as witness ISIS carving out large chunks out of Iraq and Syria to form what it calls an ‘Islamic State’ – the perfect model of an anti-Islam state actually, like Pakistan is a perfect model of what an Islamic state ought not to be. Now Turkey has also jumped into the fray. It’s difficult to predict what all this will lead to, where and how the new global status quo will settle and what destruction it will work meantime.”
“Yes,” said I. “Everything has become Oh so predictable. We knew that the Judicial Commission couldn’t deliver when it was headed by a Chief Justice who was a Supreme Court judge when the grave allegations of corruption against his predecessor’s son were put into the coffin. He didn’t protest or squeak, wasn’t even embarrassed. So let’s open the coffin before it is buried and Father Iftikhar Chaudhry reads the last rites by the graveside. He’s started a new political party, would you believe? It’s for future protection. What will he do when “crowns are flung high and thrones upturned”? Call upon the Supreme Court to take suo moto notice against the Almighty and throw his designs out, like it did the reference against him before it could reach the Supreme Judicial Council? Wasn’t that a violation of the Constitution?”
“Wow! You really don’t hold your punches, do you Humayun?” said Maverick. “It will get you in trouble one day my boy, mark my words. Today’s people don’t like the truth. But yes. Everyone expected the Judicial Commission to stand by the rigged elections except Imran Khan and his geniuses,” said Maverick. “How can you first accuse someone and then ask him to sit in judgment over himself and expect justice – be a judge in his own cause? How could they not legitimize the rigged elections for if they hadn’t the system that benefits the ruling classes may crumble. We have eyes and ears and, thankfully, functioning brains. We don’t need a gaggle of judges to tell us that elections were rigged. We saw it. At least you and I haven’t abdicated our thought processes to judges and mullahs, Maverick, or to western political constructs that don’t work here. They are even degrading there. Hail to the man-eating system while it eats more men, women and children. Let the people remain uneducated and starve lest they get to know their God-given rights. Abu Jahl’s spirit lives on.”
“Now who’s an angry monkey?” I asked. “But what’s new? We already knew that. What for God’s sake is ‘largely’ not rigged as the Judicial Commission said? A court has to be precise in its judgments: there are no ifs and buts, no approximately, no averages, no such thing as ‘largely’. In over 35 percent of the polling stations there was no vital Form-15. Is the Judicial Commission saying that 35 percent electoral rigging is fine? Is 35 percent corruption fine too, my ‘lords’? How about 35 percent adultery? Can a woman be 35 percent pregnant? Is it okay for a man to be 35 percent drunk for he is ‘largely’ sober? And you want us to respect these judges who once were pedestrian, briefless lawyers and became judges to keep their kitchens going? Not if we are real Muslims, not on your lives. We also know that the legitimacy of many judges is questionable given that they were re-appointed by an ‘Executive Order’ even though there is no such provision in the law as far as I know.
One famous judge who reached the giddiest of heights is alleged to hold a fake law degree. Many are alleged to be dual nationals even though the law doesn’t permit such people to hold high government offices. If true, we have plummeted the depths and are scraping the bottom of the sea of ignominy and infamy. But does anyone care? It will occur to them in the last fleeting moments of national death when one’s life is said to fleet by. I must write an article again on life after death and the latest scientific findings, not spiritual feelings that scientists defensively and derisively scoff at.”
“Stick to the point, Humayun,” Maverick scolded me. “For the incompetent to admit that they are incompetent is a good start, like only when alcoholics genuinely admit that they have alcoholism can the doctors start curing them,” said Maverick.
“I agree. It also implies that our laws are dated and wanting, laws that often force incompetence on the judiciary, like giving bail to terrorists for lack of ‘proof’. Or letting corruption cases fester because an absconding accused does not appear for hearings. Give the accused three chances and then let him be represented by his counsel, hear the case in absentia and give your verdict. It is not ‘rough and ready’ justice, its real justice. That is why people love Taliban courts because they get decisions quickly and without cost. This is what we are up against in the battle for hearts and minds while our judiciary clowns around.”
Maverick pondered and finally nodded in agreement. “But,” he said, “I can’t understand why the Supreme Court said that a constitutional amendment cannot be challenged because the Constitution is ‘supreme’. These bozos forget that in an Islamic Republic only God is Supreme in Heaven and on Earth. It is incumbent to challenge an amendment that flies against the spirit of the Constitution, the intent of God and its authors and, if it is so found, it must be thrown out. Parliamentarians are not gods-on-earth. Most times they are stupid and ill intentioned trying only to score brownie points and do down opponents. Once elected, what passes for their minds are occupied with petty personal matters: to get reelected, to gather power and make as much illegal money as they can to first cover their election expenses and then more, get appointed in the Executive in some capacity and increase their power for more pelf, ego boosting, establish dynasties and have a lot left over to buy real estate here, there and everywhere.
When we know that the son of a movie theatre owner who used to sell tickets on the black market or the sons of an ironsmith have become so rich that it defies logic because it is beyond the springboard that their businesses provided them and they cannot explain how they did it except misusing the power of their offices, do we need judges to tell us that they are corrupt? This was the thinking in the French Revolution, a clone of which might just come our way. In this sense the unelected women parliamentarians who get nominated to our assemblies on seats for sycophants are lucky: they don’t have to gather money though there is no gainsaying that they don’t; all they have to do is increase their sycophancy and pretend that they are educated and competent. The welfare of the people or Pakistan’s good is nowhere on their radar. If Pakistan is to survive and not be sacrificed at the altar of these cannibals begotten by our man-eating Constitution, it must be drastically changed before it is changed by a guillotine. It is this Constitution that also begets our political, economic, judicial, education systems that in turn beget and nurture our politicians and has ruined organs of government like the once very competent bureaucracy. In today’s world bureaucrats have to be specialists in relevant fields and their appointments and promotions be based on merit rather than on seniority alone. So too the military, but sorry to say they are not as incompetent as the civilian rulers, their minions and toadies.”
“By the way, Maverick” I said, “armed with the Judicial Commission’s comical report sanctifying the last elections, Nawaz Sharif has scored brownie points that could start another tamasha if Imran Khan plays his cards right for once. Nawaz Sharif got his stooges Fazlur Rahman of the JUI-F and the MQM’s Altaf Hussain who is on the back foot after his treacherous speech, to move resolutions in the National Assembly to de-seat Imran’s party members. The moment they did Nawaz started playing statesman, something that he cannot convincingly do because it is not in his DNA, requesting both to withdraw their resolutions so that he looks like a peacemaker, sham democracy continues and Imran becomes a proper creature of this anti-democracy system that he has virtually become anyway but for his intent, which is most important. Finally, after hectoring, abusing and haranguing Imran in the Assembly, they dutifully withdrew their resolutions as ordered. Now Nawaz smells like the rose that Nehru used to wear in his buttonhole. But he should be careful: just when he feels all-powerful because he has defeated all opponents he does something amazingly silly invites political suicide.”
“If Imran Khan’s political sense has not deserted him entirely,” said Maverick, “he should call Nawaz Sharif’s bluff and resign from all assemblies and do exactly what Nawaz Sharif was trying to avoid: force such huge bye-elections that they will become mini national and provincial elections. Else Imran will increase the huge ranks of traditional anti-people and therefore anti-God politicians. No point in blaming Justice Wajihuddin or Jahangir Tarin. Its Imran’s fault entirely because the buck stops at his doorstep.”
“Imran has yet to realize,” I said, “that there is one set of two ‘As’, and another set of two ‘As’: one set is Allah and the Awam (people); the second is America and the Army. He depended on the second set to take his dharna to success, but they discarded him after they had achieved their objective: to win back political space from the executive. Had he depended on Allah and the Awam, he would have won.”
Maverick couldn’t take it any longer and jumped off and away. I could see Maverick trembling with rage leaving me crunching my teeth in anger. Pakistan is my country, Maverick’s country, our country, not some corrupt politicians or judicially challenged judges who cannot even see the 14 murders of innocents by the State’s police in Lahore last year – forsooth and double forsooth. May an avalanche of curses descend on all their houses.