Friday 31 July 2009

Musharraf's Mediterranean Cruise: next stop Adiala Jail or Attock

Adiala Jail in the city of Rawalpindi Pakistan is more of a Belmarsh with a sprinkle of Guantanamo bay for political prisoners under military dictators. Though ex General Musharraf preferred the Attock Jail when he incarcerated Nawaz Sharif after throwing him out of office. He would have preferred the same treatment for the superior judiciary that he threw out of office on 3 November 2007 if the civil society supported by an independent media (he can take credit for them being independent) had not erupted in protest all across the country. I wonder which one would he choose for himself - wishful thinking I know.

How the world has changed - the same judiciary returned to office due to people power has today declared his actions on that fateful day and other decisions taken as a consequence of that as unconstitutional. I am not there to see the jubilation on the streets but my heart is there dancing with my fellow Lahoris.

Judicial activism that began under Chief Justice Iftikhar is now steadying into much needed judicial restraint with the courage and foresight to take the decisions like today. Judiciary in Pakistan is trying hard to wash away the sins of its past. Cynics are saying that this is being done in the absence of any dictatorship - but remember this judiciary stood up to a tyrant.

Any sane person in Pakistan would have immediately sensed that this is also the beginning of an essential political and constitutional quagmire. In its deliberations over the last few days the Apex court has given clear message with regards to differentiation of responsibilities between the parliament, judiciary and other constitutional institutions.

Parliament, the other institution that has had the dubious honour of being the rubber stamp for dictators still has to deliver its end of the bargain - but I don't expect this to happen until those who directly benefited from the actions of 03 November are a part of it. Beauty of democracy is that given time and allowed to take its course it can filter out filth fast.

For now lets send a message to the captain of Mediterranean Cruise taking Musharraf on a joyride that the next stop might be a port near Adiala Jail - can't help being wishful today.

Three cheers to People's Chief Justice.

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