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Voices of Pakistan: Why do Pakistanis Have Such Mixed Opinions About America? – by Sobia Ali

Voices of Pakistan: Why do Pakistanis Have Such Mixed Opinions About America? – by Sobia Ali


I belong to the minority of people who actually know the correct pronunciation of “Abbottabad,” unlike President Obama, or Jon Stewart because I grew up there. While I have always taken interest in socio-political issues in Pakistan, this time it was a little surreal.

Walk into an average household in Pakistan in the late afternoon and its not unusual to find middle aged men gathered over tea and biscuits discussing politics with a healthy dose of lambasting America. Its also not uncommon to find them charmed by the likes of Angelina Jolie or the prospects of sending their children for higher education to America.

Why do Pakistanis have such mixed opinions about America? On the one hand, they love American pop culture, jeans, and Hollywood. On the other, the percentage of people that view the United States as favorable is lower in Pakistan than in Egypt, Lebanon, or in the Palestinian territories.

So it’s no wonder that the Western world struggles to understand Pakistanis. I sometimes wonder if we Pakistanis even understand ourselves. In this section, we will use the powerful combination of citizen journalism and social media to explore these questions, and others.

As a member of the HuffPost Tech Team, I approached the editorial side after the event in Abbottabad. I felt there was a strong need to explore the diversity of viewpoints among Pakistanis to make sense of the complex and vulnerable relationship between Americans and Pakistanis. I felt that an honest and open social dialogue was crucial.

We have been gathering opinions from Pakistanis on a range of issues via Skype, email, and personal interviews on the streets. This series, Voices of Pakistan, will pull together their responses to our questions, as well as commentaries from a diverse group of writers and bloggers.

The first thing to know about Pakistanis is that they are not a monolithic group, and questions like, “What do Pakistanis think?” will never have a single right answer.

Like any country with hundreds of millions of people, Pakistan is heterogeneous, varied, and complex, comprising multiple ethnicities, languages, and cultures. While the Islamic religion unites the majority of Pakistanis, it also divides them at the sectarian level, often violently.

There are too many people suffering in Pakistan because of extremism, illiteracy, and poverty. I worry about the country I grew up in. I would like to see a shift in the focus of the media from the stereotypes to the more positive aspects of Pakistanis that can be tapped and utilized as a tool to drive social change. We have developed this forum as a place where Pakistanis can be heard speaking for themselves. Resolution will come, but not without a diagnosis.

Below are some of the preliminary responses we have gathered to our questions:

The first question we asked Pakistanis was “What would you like America and the rest of the world to know about Pakistan that you feel they don’t right now?”

Azhar Ali, 65, retired professor believes that the US should have attempted to understand the dynamics of the Pakistani nation and its people instead of focusing on the Pakistan military.

“Ignoring the aspirations of throbbing nation of 180 million people for so long has wounded the Pakistani nation psyche irreparably and the military is no more all powerful due to self inflicted serious wounds.“

Arsalan believes that its the paradoxical nature of the nation that makes it hard to understand.

“Not all of us want to kill you or rob you but a few of us might. We’re a land of paradoxes in so many ways that its almost farcical, a land of rebels and conformists, philanthropists and con artists, murderers and poets.“

Unknown-8Many others who responded were concerned by Western media’s portrayal of Pakistan.

“I think Americans think that we are all stereotypes,” said Syed Harris Hassan, 22, a university student in Islamabad. “They think that all the people in Pakistan are extremists, intolerant, unaccepting and support terrorism.“

Hassan, like others, said that the majority of Pakistanis aren’t extremists and “we hate terrorists just like everyone else does.”

And some wanted the world to know that Pakistan has bigger problems than terrorists

“The people of Pakistan suffer hugely from illiteracy corruption violence and poverty. Most people do back breaking work all day just to put food on the table for their families.“ said Rabia Sultan, a 30-year-old cardiologist from Karachi who currently lives in New York.

We also heard responses like “Americans have done enough” and “Stay out of our country.”

“What Americans don’t understand about Pakistan is getting their way always through powerful Pakistan military is not the best approach. Whenever they were in a spot the military helped them in working out a quick fix while the nation looked on disinterestedly. Ignoring the aspirations of throbbing nation of 180 million people for so long has wounded the Pakistani nation psyche irreparably and the military is no more all powerful due to self inflicted serious wounds. The strategy would have worked well for the Americans, had it been an insignificant state geopolitical in the deep of Africa. But underrating a vibrant nation of sixty percent youth had been a capital sin. Now the Americans are running between the threatening pillar of Pakistani nation and threatened Pakistan Military post to get their nuts out of the fire. Result is not difficult to imagine.”

Azhar Ali, 65, lives in Islamabad and is a retired professor.

“Not all of us want to kill you or rob you but a few of us might. We’re a land of paradoxes in so many ways that its almost farcical, a land of rebels and conformists, philanthropists and con artists, murderers and poets. Pakistan is the best and worst of humanity existing side by side ripping apart everything in the middle Most of us live in remote and disconnected villages and wouldn’t know Osama Bin Laden from Justin Bieber and are too hungry to care.

Time is not money in Pakistan its time, we have plenty of time but no money We all live in a state of permanent confusion, anarchy and fear, terrible things happen around us every day. Yet strangely enough we seem to bundle along and miraculously and almost stubbornly manage to retain some hope.”

Arsalan Khan, 24, lives in Karachi and is a University Student.

“I think Americans think that we are all stereotypes. They think that all the people in Pakistan are extremists, intolerant, unaccepting and support terrorism. I want to let them know that the general people in Pakistan live their lives as do people in United States. We love peace, we like freedom, we are terrified when there is a suicide blast, and we hate terrorists just like everyone else does. There is a particular group which believes in extremism and is intolerant towards other religions and cultures, but they are not in the majority.”

Syed Harris Hassan, 22, lives in Islamabad and is a University Student.

“The people of Pakistan suffer hugely from illiteracy corruption violence and poverty. Most people do back breaking work all day just to put food on the table for their families. They often live incredibly sad lives with great dignity. In spite of this religious fanaticism and mass violence in Pakistan did not find roots till the soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

I’d also like to remind people that a country that can barely feed its own people is the 5th largest army in the whole world . This is because for most of its existence Pakistan has been America’s military ally run by military dictators. If there hadn’t been this huge military collaboration then perhaps Pakistan would probably have a smaller military and better education and human rights today.”

Rabia Sultan, 30, was born in Karachi currently living in New York City, where she is a cardiologist in Brooklyn.

“Pakistanis have never voted for religious parties’ en masse at the most their vote bank is 4-6%, BUT 4-6% of 180 million are still a lot of people and when fraction of that segment turn up in streets to burn American flag, although it makes for good t.v, but it doesn’t really make the whole country nuts.

It’s a misnomer that Pakistan is an extremist country. It’s a country which has had the rule of one institution and one intuition only for the past 52 years. It has had facade of democratic governments but at NO POINT civilians made defense policy OR foreign policy or even economic policy. Whenever civilians have tried to take the reins, they have either been hanged, forced to exile or shot dead in broad-daylight.

Americans should also know that Pakistan doesn’t need to be an inherent beggar. It has enough agricultural growth, industrial infrastructure, natural resources and the human-material to stand on its own feet. Our tax to GDP ratio is at a meager 7%. Like the rest of the civilized world if its around 17-19%, it wont solve all our problems, but it will be a start. We currently don’t tax our biggest industry which is agriculture, if we start taxing just big farmers who are literally millionaires in American sense, PLUS we start taxing real estate (anything bigger than 1500 sq. yards), And bring the stock exchange earnings under tax bracket, we wont need IMF anymore. There is a corruption of at least a billion dollars every month at the top/governmental level. A big problem is economy and inflation which fans extremism. When people don’t have a job, no light at the end of the tunnel, brothers/sisters/parents blowing up in pieces either through a drone or by military gunship helicopter OR by a suicide bomber, world is a living hell, THEN paradise and 72 virgins sounds mighty fine. The rush is not to arrive in paradise; the rush is to check out from the hell that we have collectively created for them.

But here is the silver lining. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, majority of
Pakistanis (read punjabis) have come to this conclusion that there is no way forward for
Pakistan but civilian supremacy/democracy.”

Ahmer, 36, grew up in Karachi is now living in Pennsylvania and works as a Tech Consultant.


Source: HuffPost World

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Pakistan has to be prepared for a possible Influenza Epidemic, which is currently sweeping the United States. Pakistan needs to check travelers arriving from US, Pakistan Immigration  see if they have fever or cough, or symptoms of flu. In an advanced nation like the United States, there are critical shortages of Flu vaccine. Nations, like Pakistan are totally unprepared. Flu can take the form of pandemic and spread globally and kill millions of people. Pakistan must take defensive measures and get vulnerable people, specifically, the very young and very old vaccinated against flu virus. Health professional, who visit our site, please alert Pakistan Health Authorities about the Clear and Present Danger of an Influenza Pandemic.590x174_01091720_2013-flu

Safe Travel and the 2012-2013 Flu Season

Safe travel and the 2012-2013 Flu Season


There are over 1,500 microbes that are known sources of disease among the human population, and influenza is one of the most virulent among them.

Two of the more critical hallmarks that define the influenza virus are:

  1. Constantly evolving – the non-human, highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, or bird flu, is just one example of an influenza virus with pandemic potential. It’s a non-human virus, which means there is little to no immunity against it among people. Even though human infections are rare, if the virus were to evolve in a way that it could infect humans, and experts believe it’s capable of such evolution, it could result in a global pandemic.
  1. Easily transmitted – the flu is a highly contagious disease that is very easily transmitted from person to person (from as far as 6 feet away). While the first step to prevention is getting vaccinated, everyday precautions are also important.

Under ‘normal’ circumstances, the impact of influenza is relatively benign because the populations have developed a level of immunity to the virus. And yet, it is estimated that between 1 and 1.5 million people each year die of influenza or its related complications. As a result, influenza pandemics are considered to be one of the most serious threats to the welfare of the global population.

What is a flu pandemic?

pandemic is an epidemic of infection disease that spreads through human populations across a large area (sometimes worldwide). Over the last 300 years, there have been 10 major influenza pandemics. The Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, where 30% of the world’s population fell ill and between 50 and 100 million people died, is considered the most severe.

One important factor in the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic was the advances in modern transportation, which in the beginning of the 20th century offered a global advantage to the flu virus. The Spanish Flu virus was very quickly spread around the world by infected crew members and passengers on ships and trains.

How travelers contribute to the spread of flu

Recently, the outbreak of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) in 2002-2003, the Bird Flu in 2008, and the Swine Flu in 2009 served to demonstrate the quick-spreading power of the influenza virus through the convenience and ubiquity of global air travel.

Travel can be a big contributor to the global spread of the flu for a number of reasons:

  1. Travers are typically crowded together in tight spaces like airport lounges, trains, and buses
  2. The virus can remain ‘live’ on surfaces such as door handles, tray tables, and seats for up to two hours
  3. Those who are already infected may not experience symptoms for up to two days – so a traveler can be contagious long before they feel ill and isolate themselves
  4. Once symptoms develop, there is often a ‘denial phase’ in which the infected individual will continue their travel, particularly if they are returning home

An infected individual at the ‘acceptance phase’ of the illness, is more likely to cancel outbound travel, but nearly all travelers will do the utmost, even breaking quarantine, to return home when they are sick.

The global transportation system is a major gateway that allows the virus to spread far faster at the global level than the regional level. Experts believe that the next influenza pandemic could be very severe and the widespread illness and absenteeism could cause cascading disruptions to our social and economic systems.

Important steps to prevent flu transmission

It’s important to understand that the flu is a global disease, so wherever you go this flu season protecting yourself and others is critical to staying healthy.

1. The first and number one prevention step is to get vaccinated.

During your trip, the following preventative steps are simply good health measures to take care of yourself and keep others well too:

  1. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water (or an alcohol-based solution if soap and water are unavailable)
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as this is how germs spread easily
  4. Avoid close contact with others who are sick
  5. Travel only when you feel well and have no symptoms of illness
  6. Limit contact with others if you are sick

People at highest risk for serious flu complications
It’s important to recognize that not everyone gets the vaccine and some people are at a greater risk of having serious complications. Those include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially kids younger than 2 years old
  • Adults age 65 or older
  • Pregnant women
  • People with medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus), and others

Above all, the people at the highest risk for developing serious complications due to the flu are the ones also highly encouraged to get vaccinated.

Facts about Travel Insurance and the Flu

As flu season approaches, travelers often ask us whether their travel insurance protects them in case of the flu.

With your travel insurance plan, the illness must be disabling enough to make a reasonable person cancel their trip – and that illness must be verified by a medical doctor who must say you are too ill to travel.

If you cannot be examined by a medical doctor before you cancel your trip, some travel insurance plans allow you a 72-hour window to accomplish the examination, but the result must still be the same: the physician must certify that you are too ill to travel.

As proof of the loss, you will be expected to show the physician’s report, so be sure to get a couple of copies.



590x174_01091720_2013-fluFlu widespread in 47 of 50 United States, but eases off in some areas

The flu is rapidly spreading across the nation, widespread in all but three states: California, Mississippi and Hawaii. But there’s a tiny bit of good news — it’s backing off a bit. It may have already peaked in some parts, like the Southern states.



<br />
	Dr Meeta Khan, wears a face mask as she examines a respiratory patient at the Rush University Hospital emergency department, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Chicago. Flu season in the U.S. has hit early and, in some places, hard. But whether this will be considered a bad season by the time it has run its course in the spring remains to be seen. <br />


Dr. Meeta Khan of Chicago tends to a respiratory patient at the Rush University Hospital emergency department on Thursday.

NEW YORK — Flu is now widespread in all but three states as the nation grapples with an earlier-than-normal season. But there was one bit of good news Friday: The number of hard-hit areas declined.

The flu season in the U.S. got under way a month early, in December, driven by a strain that tends to make people sicker. That led to worries that it might be a bad season, following one of the mildest flu seasons in recent memory.

The latest numbers do show that the flu surpassed an “epidemic” threshold last week. That is based on deaths from pneumonia and influenza in 122 U.S. cities. However, it’s not unusual — the epidemic level varies at different times of the year, and it was breached earlier this flu season, in October and November.




And there’s a hint that the flu season may already have peaked in some spots, like in the South. Still, officials there and elsewhere are bracing for more sickness.

In Ohio, administrators at Miami University are anxious that a bug that hit employees will spread to students when they return to the Oxford campus next week.

“Everybody’s been sick. It’s miserable,” said Ritter Hoy, a spokeswoman for the 17,000-student school.

Despite the early start, health officials say it’s not too late to get a flu shot. The vaccine is considered a good — though not perfect — protection against getting really sick from the flu.

Flu was widespread in 47 states last week, up from 41 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. The only states without widespread flu were California, Mississippi and Hawaii.

The number of hard-hit states fell to 24 from 29, where larger numbers of people were treated for flu-like illness. Now off that list: Florida, Arkansas and South Carolina in the South, the first region hit this flu season.

Recent flu reports included holiday weeks when some doctor’s offices were closed, so it will probably take a couple more weeks to get a better picture, CDC officials said Friday. Experts say so far say the season looks moderate.

“Only time will tell how moderate or severe this flu season will be,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said Friday in a teleconference with reporters.

The government doesn’t keep a running tally of adult deaths from the flu, but estimates that it kills about 24,000 people in an average year. Nationally, 20 children have died from the flu this season.

Flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone 6 months or older. Since the swine flu epidemic in 2009, vaccination rates have increased in the U.S., but more than half of Americans haven’t gotten this year’s vaccine.

Nearly 130 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed this year, and at least 112 million have been used. Vaccine is still available, but supplies may have run low in some locations, officials said.

To find a shot, “you may have to call a couple places,” said Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, who tracks the flu in Iowa.

In midtown Manhattan, Hyrmete Sciuto got a flu shot Friday at a drugstore. She skipped it in recent years, but news reports about the flu this week worried her.

During her commute from Edgewater, N.J., by ferry and bus, “I have people coughing in my face,” she said. “I didn’t want to risk it this year.”

The vaccine is no guarantee, though, that you won’t get sick. On Friday, CDC officials said a recent study of more than 1,100 people has concluded the current flu vaccine is 62 percent effective. That means the average vaccinated person is 62 percent less likely to get a case of flu that sends them to the doctor, compared to people who don’t get the vaccine. That’s in line with other years.

The vaccine is reformulated annually, and this year’s is a good match to the viruses going around.

The flu’s early arrival coincided with spikes in flu-like illnesses caused by other bugs, including a new norovirus that causes vomiting and diarrhea, or what is commonly known as “stomach flu.” Those illnesses likely are part of the heavy traffic in hospital and clinic waiting rooms, CDC officials said.

Europeans also are suffering an early flu season, though a milder strain predominates there. China, Japan, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Algeria and the Republic of Congo have also reported increasing flu.

Flu usually peaks in midwinter. Symptoms can include fever, cough, runny nose, head and body aches and fatigue. Some people also suffer vomiting and diarrhea, and some develop pneumonia or other severe complications.

Most people with flu have a mild illness. But people with severe symptoms should see a doctor. They may be given antiviral drugs or other medications to ease symptoms.

Some shortages have been reported for children’s liquid Tamiflu, a prescription medicine used to treat flu. But health officials say adult Tamiflu pills are available, and pharmacists can convert those to doses for children.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/flu-spreads-u-s-eases-areas-article-1.1238794#ixzz2HpFePDs7

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Dear Pakistan Think Tank Patrons

You make our World a better Place,

In today’s rocky times,

“Dear,” means, “We care about you,”

We care that the Good Lord God Almighty made you, the Best of His Creation, because without you, we would not have a shining light, to guide us through the travails of life,

and when it seems that life’s challenges are getting you down, we give you our symbol of hope to borrow

for a bright and cheerful tomorrow

Malala Yousufzai- Our Candle in the Wind

Happy Holidays!


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BE WARNED : Copycat Thieves Plagiarize Pakistan Think Tank on Net (Twitter)

A Disclaimer


Pakistan is a nation of mostly honest people, but there is a small fringe which lies, cheat, steals, bribes, and plagiarizes. Several copycat websites are floating around on the net.
We have no association with them and are not responsible for their opinions.
We have been around since the inception of internet based websites.  
These thieves did not have the intellectual honesty or courtesy to ask our permission to use our name. 
But as Charles Caleb Colton said: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Website Editor:
UQAAB, The Pakistan Think Tank Organization

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The Sterling Record of Pakistan Supreme Court in a Nation Racked by Feudal Corruption

Of the three branches of Pakistan government, the Pakistan Supreme court has a sterling record. the Executive has been hijacked by an unelected usurper and internationally known crook, Asif Zardari. He is suspected of many crimes including the assassination of of his estranged wife Benazir Bhutto (“Bhutto’s son, husband to lead party”. CBS News. 31 December 2007(!). Archived from the original on 3 February 2011. Retrieved 19 March 2011(2).
Hall, Camilla (8 January 2008). “Bhutto’s son says Pakistan may fragment without vote (Update2)”. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 19 March 2011.. Zardari is grooming another playboy to “mooch off,” the poor people of Pakistan, namely his son Bilawal Zardari, a never do well awkward and unfit playboy. Pakistan is mired on one hand by an absolutely corrupt and feudal legislature, a military run by a general. who even after reaching the age of retirement, got his term extended for another three years, thus, walking over the chance of promotion of several brilliant military officers to this premier post. Pakistan is run as a fiefdom and a feudal state by a group of families with names like Khar, Gilani,Zardari, Mengals, Raisanis, Bizenjos, Marri, Bughti, Syeds, Khakwani, Kiyani,Rajas (barbers or nais in local terminology),Gujjars, Jats, and a host of minor power elites. They have a chokehold on Pakistan’s economy. their front men are the Muslim merchant class of Karachi led by Memons, Bohris, Khojas, and the Agakhanis, and Gujrati, Bihari, and Bengali expatriates. Karachi itself is remotely governed by a killer mafia led by a British Mafia Don and a killer of over 30,000 people named Altaf Hussain. His specialty is to put a live human being in a gunny sack and sewing the sack-up, then having his goons of MQM pouncing on the person with iron rods and and bamboo poles, until, the cries of excruciating pain stop coming from the victim. Then the victim is dumped in a garbage disposal pit in any one of the hundreds of localities in Karachi. The hypocrisy of this act is borne out by the fact, that the British government, Amnesty International, the US government, the EU Member States, Russia, and China, and the International media all know about this heinous practice and NO ONE to date has raised a voice against it.  Even, India which claims to be the largest democrcy, tacitly supports Altaf Hussain and his gang of murderers. India wines and dines Altaf Hussain, when he visited that nation. The Arab countries  are silent about these ongoing atrocities in Karachi at the hands of MQM. Zardari has formed a coalition with MQM and uses MQM to do his dirty work. It is quite possible that his wife was knocked off by MQM stalwarts, “Jiyalas,” since, no one has been caught for this public murder. Zardari’s dirty work is done by a notorious killer and crook named Rehman Malik, who was rewarded the Ministry of Interior, after Benazir’s “mysterious,” assassination.
The only functioning and fair institution in Pakistan is led by a brilliant and fair-minded Baloch, Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court, Honorable. Iftikhar Chaudhry.
An Excerpt from The Pakistan Supreme Website is shown below:http://www.supremecourt.gov.pk/web/page.asp?id=113

Profile: Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry

Iftikhar ChaudhryMr Chaudhry has a reputation for charting an independent course

The controversial career of Pakistani Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in some respects mirrors that of two of the country’s leading politicians.

Like President Aif Ali Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif – imprisoned and self-exiled respectively in the course of their careers – Mr Chaudhry made a dramatic return to his position as the country’s top judicial job in 2009 after being unceremoniously sacked two years years earlier.

Pakistan’s top lawyer has form when it comes to opposing the sitting government.

He was one of several judges sacked by President Musharraf after they questioned his right to remain in office. He was reinstated following a long series of street marches in which tens of thousands of people – including many fellow lawyers – rallied around him in a movement that ultimately led to the ousting of Mr Musharraf.

For a time after his reappointment Mr Chaudhry enjoyed a strong populist image, seen as a champion of the rule of law and praised as the only judge in history to have stood up to a military ruler and won.

But in June 2012 he was put in the embarrassing position of having to exclude himself from the bench hearing allegations of corruption made by a business tycoon against his son, Arsalan.

The chief justice initiated the case as a response to accusations that Arsalan had accepted millions of dollars in bribes. Both he and his son deny any wrong-doing.

Lawyers protesting in support of Mr Chaudhry in 2077Lawyers came out in support of Mr Chaudhry after his dismissal in 2007

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says that in-fighting between Pakistan’s various institutions of state has destabilised the country’s nascent democratic set-up and further tainted its largely mistrusted legal system.

Yet despite the squabbling and allegations of partisanship, Chief Justice Chaudhry is still considered by many to be the symbol of justice, rule of law and democracy.

His role at the centre of Pakistan’s complicated power structure is a far cry from his earlier background.

Iftikhar Chaudhry was born to a lower middle class family in the western city of Quetta in 1948. He studied law at the local university and started a legal practice in Quetta in 1974.

He tried his hand in many fields of the law – civil, criminal, tax, revenue and, later, constitutional – and qualified for legal practice at the Supreme Court in 1985.

In 1989, the Balochistan provincial government appointed him as its advocate general, and the next year he became a judge of the Balochistan High Court.

He became the chief justice of Balochistan in April 1999 and was elevated to the Supreme Court of Pakistan in February 2000. On June 30 2005 he was appointed the chief justice of Pakistan.

Working overtimeDuring this period, Justice Chaudhry did not betray any signs of breaking with the past traditions in order to chart an independent course for himself.

Pakistan's Supreme CourtThe Supreme court is at the centre of a battle between Pakistani institutions of state

He sat on four pivotal Supreme Court benches between 2000 and 2005 that validated the military takeover by Gen Musharraf, his referendum, his legal framework order (LFO) and the 17th constitutional amendment that gave the president additional powers and allowed him to continue as the army chief.

Although Justice Chaudhry voted with the majority on each bench, he did not head any of them.

However, after becoming the country’s youngest chief justice, he became eager to secure the independence of the Supreme Court and showed a lot of energy in working overtime to clear the backlog of cases.

He established a separate human rights cell at the court for cases involving so-called honour crimes.

He also took on the government and the military, forcing the intelligence agencies to admit they held dozens of people in secret custody.

Getting the administrative and policing system to deliver in such cases often necessitated harsh handling of officials in the court.

He grew increasingly unpopular with those officials, but became the darling of human rights groups whose activists came out in large numbers to support him when he was suspended by President Musharraf.

Observers believe that two factors played a decisive role in elevating him from the realm of the ordinary to that of a hero.

First was the TV image of the judge defiantly resisting reprimands for alleged misconduct by President Musharraf, who at that time was becoming an increasingly unpopular military ruler.

The second was his courage in refusing to step down as a result of this pressure.

The dominant theme of the proceedings – then as now – was of a judge at the centre of a hard-fought and often bitter power struggle between Pakistan’s institutions of state.

 courtesy: BBC
The Supreme Court of Pakistan is the highest appellate court of the country and court of last resort. It is the final arbiter of the law and the Constitution. Its orders/decisions are binding on all other courts in the country. All executive and judicial authorities are bound to act in aid of the Supreme Court. The Constitution contains elaborate provisions on the composition, jurisdiction, powers and functions of the Court. The qualifications for and mode of appointment of judges, the age of retirement, the grounds and procedure for removal and the terms and conditions of service of judges are elaborately prescribed. The Constitution provides for the independence of judiciary and its separation from the executive. The Constitution assigns the Supreme Court a unique responsibility of maintaining harmony and balance between the three pillars of the State, namely, the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. As guardian of the Constitution, the Court is required to preserve, protect and defend this basic document.The Supreme Court exercises original, appellate and review jurisdiction. It possesses exclusive original jurisdiction for the settlement of intergovernmental disputes between Federal and Provincial Government(s) or Provincial Governments inter se. Under this jurisdiction, the Court pronounces declaratory judgments. The Supreme Court can also exercise original jurisdiction, with respect to the enforcement of fundamental rights, if the case involves an issue of public importance. The Court also exercises advisory jurisdiction, whereunder the President may obtain its opinion on a question of law. Under its appellate jurisdiction, the Court entertains appeals against orders and decisions of High Courts and other special courts/tribunals.

The Supreme Court was created under the Constitution of 1956. It succeeded the Federal Court, set up in 1948, which was successor to the Federal Court of India, established in 1937. Since its creation in 1956, the Supreme Court has retained its name and jurisdiction through the successive legal instruments including the Constitution of 1973.

The Constitution of 1956 provided that the Supreme Court shall sit in Karachi and at such other place as the Chief Justice of Pakistan, with the approval of the President may decide. The Court was housed initially at Karachi but later on shifted to Lahore and housed in the High Court building. The 1973 Constitution provided for the permanent seat of the Court at Islamabad. The non-availability of funds however prevented the construction of the building. The Court shifted in 1974 from Lahore to Rawalpindi and was housed in an improvised building called East Pakistan House. In 1989, funds were allocated for the new building at Islamabad and construction started in 1990. The work was completed and on 31st December 1993, the Court shifted to its new premises in Islamabad.

The present building is a majestic addition on the Constitution Avenue in the Federal Capital. Its white marbled façade depicts the strength of the institution to uphold the principles of rule of law and constitutionalism in the country. The openbook front elevation reflects a unique synthesis of Islamic and Japanese architectural tradition emphasizing the importance of education, transparency and equality before law as avowed objectives of the judicial organ of the State of Pakistan. The Court also has branch registries at each of the four provincial headquarters. Cases are filed at principal seat and/or branch registries. Benches of the Court rotate between the principal seat and branch registries to dispose of cases. With wide/broad jurisdiction of the Court, it is a great relief to the litigant parties to have easy and convenient access to justice, closer to home town.



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