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Posts Tagged seek justice in 1996

Apathy towards Asghar Khan case


Apathy towards Asghar Khan case

Mujtaba Haider Zaidi

The Frontier Post

May 16, 2013



Veteran politician and former Pakistan Air Force Chief Air Marshal (R) Muhammad Asghar Khan had attempted to seek justice in 1996 from the court of law against the alleged riggings committed by his rival rightist political alliance IJI by engineering the results of 1990 general elections under the canopy of the establishment of Pakistan. 
Since the leftist alliance, under the title PDA and led by Benazir Bhutto, had high anticipations with regards to its success in the elections that had been held in the wake of the pre-mature dismissal of Benazir government in August 1990, the election results appeared to be far beyond their expectations. Though PDA had raised several questions about the transparency of the Elections 1990, the then Pakistan President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg refuted the possibility of any rigging in election results altogether. Nevertheless, the

history proved both Ghulam Ishaq and Aslam Beg completely responsible for their condemnable role in respect of crushing the hopes of the Pakistan subjects by making explicit alterations in the election results.
Though Air Marshal Asghar Khan had sought the judicial support for unveiling the tricks played by the Establishment of Pakistan “in the best interest of the country”, by changing the election results, yet he had to wait for sixteen long years in order to seek justice from the apex court. However, in the light of the sound evidences produced by the petitioner in support of his very claim, the three member bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan observed on October 19, 2012 that the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Army Chief Aslam Beg, ISI Chief Asad Durrani and their aides were responsible for facilitating the politicians of their choice i.e. Nawaz Sharif led IJI against Benazir Bhutto led PDA in the general elections held in 1990.
The rigging in the elections, aptly declared to be engineered and bogus one by the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, decided the fate of the entire nation for the future decades to come. It not only created an insurmountable gulf between the people of Pakistan and establishment, but also paved the way towards bringing another coup d’etat in October 12, 1999, warmly welcomed by the masses all over the country. Thus, the serious injustice exercised by the members of civil and military bureaucracy in 1990 against the whims and wishes of the people of Pakistan, was perhaps revenged by throwing the head of the government established in the aftermath of massive rigging, behind the bars, and then his long exile from the country ultimately.
On the one side, the Supreme Court takes notice of all the matters related to the public interest, and does not hesitate in taking sue motto actions against the irregularities observed by the parliamentarians, ministers and prime ministers even, belonging to one specific political party; and on the other side, the chief justice does not bother to decree an order with regards to trying the accused and offenders responsible for ruining the wishes of millions of Pakistanis at the court of law, and putting them behind the bars for the crimes they had committed while compiling the Elections 1990 results. Such a mysterious silence and absolute apathy observed by the chief justice not only create suspicion in the minds of the masses, but also the aggrieved political groups look justified in declaring the court as displaying partiality towards them. Moreover, the unnecessary delays made by the court in respect of getting its orders implemented in Asghar Khan case look increasing hatred between the communities belonging to divergent regions of the country.
The writer has also participated as a lawyer in the movement launched by the lawyers for the restoration of chief justice, who was made dysfunctional by the then President General Pervez Musharraf in the wake of the alleged allegations of exploiting his influence as the chief justice in respect of the appointment of his son Dr. Arslan Iftikhar Chaudhary against some prestigious position in the civil service. Like the majority of lawyers’ fraternity, I also stood against the method President Musharraf had applied in suspending the chief justice. Thus, the fraternity had demonstrated unity against an illegal action taken by the then President. However, silence of judiciary on several matters related to PML-N irregularities, including the Asghar Khan case, may drift the lawyers away from the bench responsible for neglecting the cases in which the PML-N (then IJI) leadership has been declared responsible for forming a government in the wake of alleged rigging exercised by the establishment.
The question appears here whether or not the court should have decided the legal status of the government formed after the rigged and engineered elections of 1990. If that government enjoyed the legal status even created in the aftermath of illegalities, how could any court apply a barricade on the way to rigging in the future elections? Eventually, anyone could repeat the same act of rigging and altering the election results “in the best interest of the country” in the wake of the courage the silence of apex court offers to the nation at large.

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