Your letters: Root cause of instability in Pakistan
Paper Edition | Page: 8
The present crisis of political instability in Pakistan has been triggered by actions of Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Chaudhry whom I respect very much for his rare courage of standing up against Musharraf.
The National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), promulgated (rightly or wrongly) by then sitting president Musharraf and not objected to by then CJP Justice Dogar can be revoked only by his successor President Zardari.
CJP has no locus standi in this case! In fact, the action by him seems in itself unconstitutional. The Pakistani government and journalists need to examine the legality of the ruling by Justice Chaudhry in calling the NRO unconstitutional.
The NRO was promulgated to give an amnesty to self-exiled politicians, who were charged but as yet not convicted of various crimes of money laundering, so that they could return to Pakistan and participate in the 2008 general elections.
The NRO succeeded in achieving the said objective because the leaders of various parties in self-proclaimed exile returned and participated in the election.
Many of them won handsomely and formed the current government, though the late Benazir sacrificed her life for it! To describe the said NRO as unconstitutional now is like stabbing them in their backs. In the absence of the NRO, these leaders wouldn’t have participated in the elections and today Musharraf would have been president.
My views were strengthened by a reference I came across in the Express Tribune of Pakistan which quotes Article 248 of Chapter 4 of Pakistani. Its subclause 2 says: No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the president or a governor in any court during his term of office.
As a regular reader of Pakistani newspapers, CJP’s actions seem highhanded to me. As an Indian who sincerely hopes for a friendlier relationship with Pakistan, I hope they are highlighted by journalists in the Pakistani media. I hope my response which appeared in “The News” triggers further discussion.
It is not important that Gilani has been disqualified. What is important is whether his disqualification is constitutional? I am not a constitutional pundit, either of the Indian constitution or Pakistani constitution. But my common sense makes me wonder as to how a CJP can dismiss the NRO promulgated by the then president.
Ordinances promulgated by presidents should be withdrawn only by their successors and not the Chief Justice. This is how I feel. I hope the Pakistani media persuades CJP to understand this background and use restraint in his seemingly high-handed actions.
K B Kale
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