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NAB Must Arrest and Prosecute Justice Qayyum and ex-Chief Justice Aziz

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    NAB Must Arrest and Prosecute Justice Qayyum and ex-Chief Justice Aziz


    NAB Must Arrest and Prosecute Qayyum, Rashid, Khalid and Saif,

    WASHINGTON, DC, USA, 21 April 2001 (FPN): Following are four editorials of 4 Pakistani newspapers about Lahore High Court Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum and Lahore High Court former Chief Justice Rashid Aziz Khan, the two ugly black sheep of Pakistan's judiciary.

    If you want to listen to the audio tapes, which have exposed the judicial corruption of these two fake judges and the official
    corruption of PML (Nawaz Sharif gang) Law Minister Khalid Anwar and Accountability Minister Senator Saif ur Rahman Khan and
    others, then visit the Information Times website today and click on the "Death of Justice in Pakistan" Web link.

    In its up coming editorial, the Information Times has demanded that Pakistan's anti-corruption National Accountability Bureau
    (NAB) must arrest and prosecute Malik Qayyum and Rashid Khan, the two anti-justice judicial clerks who have committed several
    major crimes and raped the due process of law as well as the Lahore High Court.

    The Information Times has also urged NAB to nab and try Khalid Anwar and Saif Khan for obstruction of justice, for corrupting
    and bribing the two so-called Lahore High Court justices and for committing other serious crimes against Pakistan's judiciary,
    which has miserably failed to free itself from the terrible stranglehold of the executive rulers/dictators.

    At the same time, in its editorial, which will be published soon, the Information Times has agreed with the Pakistan Supreme
    Court that a new fair and just trial of Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari and their corrupt gang members should be held in
    Pakistan very soon, which must be conducted by a full bench of honest, credible and real high court judges of integrity.--[Free
    Press Network (FPN) - USA].

    Pakistan Observer - Editorial - Friday, April 20, 2001

    Justice Qayyum Should Resign

    In its detailed judgement on the appeals of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari against their convictions by Ehtesab Bench in the
    SGS corruption case, the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the trial was not fair and the judge who presided over the
    Bench was biased.

    The detailed judgement was released to the Press in Islamabad on Wednesday. The 7-member Supreme Court Bench, presided over by
    Justice Bashir Jehangiri, pronounced that the trial of the appellants stands vitiated. The apex court, therefore, set aside
    their convictions by the Ehtesab Bench and ordered retrial of the case by the court of competent jurisdiction. A short order
    in respect of the decision was announced on April 6 last.

    The apex court's decision has, beyond any doubt, established that Justice Qayyum had acquired personal interest in the case
    by deriving an out of the way favour of securing diplomatic passport for him and his wife in violation of the rules.
    Besides, Malik Pervez, real brother of Justice Qayyum was elected unopposed from the seat vacated by Nawaz Sharif, whose
    political rivalry with Ms Benazir Bhutto is a mater of common knowledge.

    Since a judge having pecuniary or proprietary interests or any other personal interest in the subject matter of a case before him cannot hear the case, Justice Qayyum's decision to conduct hearing of the SGS corruption case was not desirable morally and ethically.

    The apex court has also noted that Justice Qayyum had exerted influence on the second member of the Ehtesab Bench S Najmul
    Hasan Kazmi, who being an unconfirmed judge of the LHC was sweating for confirmation. Justice Kazmi was consequently appointed permanent judge on May 13, 1999, a month after the Ehtesab Bench's judgement against the appellants.

    It is, therefore, proven that the Ehtesab Bench had not
    conducted the trial in a fair manner and was biased to punish
    the appellants. In this scenario, judicial propriety demands
    that Justice Qayyum should tender his resignation as judge of
    the Lahore High Court in the interest of judiciary's honour and
    dignity. The Supreme Court's decision is undoubtedly an
    unambiguous proof of the judiciary's independence in the

    It is certainly a matter of satisfaction that those, who till
    yesterday attributed the country's courts to kangroo courts, are
    now conceding the judiciary's independence.

    The News International - Editorial - Saturday, April 21, 2001

    After the Judgement

    Although few had seen the Ehtesab trial of Ms Benazir Bhutto and
    her spouse as free or fair, the depths to which the dispensers
    of justice could fall has come as a great shock to the nation.
    So palpable and pervasive was the presence of bias in the trial
    proceedings and the final judgement of the Ehtesab Bench that
    the Supreme Court did not feel the need to examine the legal
    nitty-gritty of the case in ordering a retrial. That is the main
    reason why the Supreme Court judgement, even though it is not an
    acquittal and the accused still need to answer the charges, has
    come as a big boost to the PPP chairperson.

    The apex court's detailed judgement is indeed an eye-opener on
    how justice and accountability had fallen victim to petty
    personal ambitions and political victimisation proving, in the
    end, to be counter-productive. The ignominious, though well
    deserved, fate that has befallen the ill motivated Ehtesab
    charade of the PML (N) regime will cast a long and lasting
    shadow not only on national politics but also the process of
    accountability. The latter will no longer be seen in the overly
    simplistic perspective that it was. Complex corruption trials,
    for one thing, cannot be concluded in the matter of weeks as the
    defunct Ehtesab Act had envisaged. The whole case against the
    PPP leader, as the Supreme Court noted, reeked of unseemly
    haste. Thus, there being no such thing as "speedy justice" and
    no substitute for the due process of law, the unrealistic
    timeframe for accountability trials stipulated in the current
    NAB ordinance needs to be rethought as it is, in any case,
    seldom if ever adhered to.

    While it remains to be seen when the retrial of the PPP leader
    begins, the matter of immediate national interest is the fate of
    the judges found guilty by the Supreme Court of bias and
    pre-judgement and of facilitating the infamy. Even in a half-way
    civilised country, these gentlemen would have resigned long ago.
    That not having happened so far, news reports suggest a thinking
    in the government of moving the Supreme Judicial Council for
    their ouster. The apex court judgement having left no doubt
    about their culpability, the sooner this is done, and the sordid
    chapter brought to a close, the better it would be for restoring
    a modicum of trust in the badly bruised judicial process.

    DAWN - Editorial - Saturday, April 21, 2001

    A Mistrial Undone

    As was obvious, the Supreme Court's detailed judgement on the
    SGS case delivered on Wednesday serves to reinforce and
    elucidate its earlier views contained in the short order
    announced on April 6. Their Lordships are "convinced" that the
    trial was not fair on account of the bias shown by Mr Justice
    Qayyum, who had hurried up the trial process and the judgement
    to please Mr Nawaz Sharif. The element of bias, the Supreme
    Court verdict says, was "floating on the surface of the record."
    Seen in its totality, the fifty-five-page judgement constitutes
    a serious indictment of Justice Qayyum, and faults the Ehtesab
    Bench judge on several counts. The most damaging part of the
    judgement from Justice Qayyum's point of view is its assertion
    that he had "chased" the particular reference against Benazir
    Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari because he was keen that it be heard
    by a bench headed by himself. His aim was to "impose" himself on
    the case so that he could "take it to its end according to his
    preconceived notions." In the opinion of the SC judges, there is
    "undisputed" evidence that Justice Qayyum wanted the Nawaz
    government to give diplomatic passports to him and his wife, and
    that he had frozen the appellant's assets for getting favours
    from Benazir Bhutto's political adversaries. While "chasing" the
    case and applying for diplomatic passports, the SC judgement
    notes, Justice Qayyum had ignored the basic principle of law and
    justice that a judge having pecuniary or proprietary interests
    or any other personal interests in a given case could not sit in
    judgement on that plaint.

    The Supreme Court verdict also refers to many other technical
    mistakes in the case like the difference between the short order
    and the final judgement (the latter having a reference to the
    necklace while the former not having it); the "abuse" of section
    342 CrPC with a view to reaching "a hasty conclusion," and "the
    mode and manner" in which Benazir Bhutto's statement was
    recorded. Justice Qayyum also influenced the opinion of the
    second member of the bench, Mr S. Najmul Hassan Kazmi, who was
    an unconfirmed judge of the Lahore High Court. One month after
    the delivery of the controversial judgement, he was appointed a
    permanent judge. Finally, the Supreme Court judgement notes the
    "glaring injustice" that was meted out to Asif Ali Zardari when
    Justice Qayyum refused to recall certain witnesses the counsel
    for the accused wanted to cross-examine. All this goes to show,
    the SC judgement says, that there was "a close liaison" between
    Justice Qayyum, Senator Saifur Rahman and Mr Nawaz Sharif.

    The unanimous Supreme Court judgement, authored by Mr Justice
    Bashir Jahangiri, gives no opinion on the authenticity or
    otherwise of the sensational tape-recordings revealed by The
    Sunday Times of London, because it says there is sufficient
    material evidence to establish Mr Qayyum's "bias, which vitiated
    the trial" of Benazir Bhutto and her husband. However, the
    judgement does quote some conversation between Mr Saifur Rahman
    and Justice Qayyum to reveal the extent of collaboration between
    the government and the court for the purpose of getting a guilty
    verdict. The Supreme Court judgement especially quotes those
    parts of the conversation where the two thought Mr Nawaz Sharif
    was angry because of the delay in delivering the judgement. But
    Justice Qayyum, after assuring Mr Saifur Rahman that a verdict
    would be announced soon, said "then both of us will go to him
    and seek (Mr Nawaz Sharif's) forgiveness." It is significant,
    thus, that the apex court has accorded authenticity to the tapes
    by quoting from some of them extensively in arriving at its own
    conclusion on the question of bias.

    The SC judgement is more than an individual's indictment.
    Whether Mr Qayyum resigns or chooses to stay on despite the
    chastisement by the Supreme Court is up to him. Obviously, if he
    were the type that would much rather quit than succumb to
    pressure or blandishment of any kind, he would not have
    committed the acts which the Supreme Court judgement holds him
    guilty of. What matters for the people of Pakistan and for
    history is the truth it reveals about the judiciary as well as
    the executive. In a sense, it is an indictment of the kind of
    politics we have in this country and shows the depths of
    aberrations to which governments and some judicial misfits and
    adventurers can descend in pursuit of questionable ends. In the
    case of the former, the aim often is to hound out political
    opponents, and, in the case of the latter, a willingness to
    compromise on the principles of law, justice and morality for
    the sake of personal gains.

    The case has been sent back for a retrial, which we hope will be
    fair and impartial. But the issue here is not just a political
    couple's future; the issue is one of principle, which is that
    anyone accused of a crime is entitled to a fair trial, and that
    is possible only when the government does not seek to pressure
    the courts, and the courts, in case of pressure or bribe, would
    stand their ground and remain unmoved on the course of justice.
    The place to corner and beat one's political opponents is not
    the court but the political arena, and there has been no greater
    tragedy for Pakistan than the fact that, in certain situations,
    both the executive and the judiciary forgot the basic principle
    of justice and fairness being an inviolable one.

    The Friday Times - Editorial - 16-22 February 2001

    Far Reaching Repercussions

    The Sunday Times of London has recently published a story that
    damns politicians and state institutions alike in Pakistan. The
    report suggests that an official of the Intelligence Bureau was
    ordered in 1998 by the head of the Accountability Bureau, Mr
    Saif ur Rehman, to tap the telephones of Justice Abdul Qayyum of
    the Lahore High Court (illegal order by politicians, illegal
    implementation by IB). The IB official later pocketed the tapes
    and decamped to London, eventually handing them over to the
    British newspaper.

    If true, the conversations between Justice Qayyum and Saif ur
    Rehman, Khalid Anwar (then law minister), Mrs Abdul Qayyum and
    others are fascinating because they reveal the political
    bankruptcy of the system and those who are elected or nominated
    to make it work. The tapes suggest that Justice Qayyum was
    bullied by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his minions
    into convicting former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her
    spouse Asif Zardari for corruption in 1998. This means that -
    irrespective of the evidence laid against the two accused - the
    trial wasn't conducted entirely in a free or fair manner as
    required by law. Ms Bhutto shrieked as much during and after the
    trial but critics, including TFT, dismissed her allegations
    against Justice Qayyum as inconceivable.

    Hence when the review petition comes up for hearing before the
    Supreme Court on February 26, the court will be hard put to
    choose between acquitting the couple or ordering a fresh trial.
    If it clings to a third option - upholding the verdict - it
    risks being tarred by the same brush. The role played by each of
    the actors merits comment. Nawaz Sharif ordered Saif ur Rehman
    to bug the judge and Mr Rehman had no qualms in barking
    compliance to the head of the IB who did likewise to his
    subordinate staff. Everyone acted illegally down the chain of
    command. Mr Rehman, in particular, stands out like a sore thumb.
    He is earlier known to have boasted that the "judges were in his
    pocket". Apparently, Mr Sharif also leaned on the then chief
    justice of the Lahore High Court, Justice Rashid Aziz, to advise
    Justice Qayyum to do the needful or else. The Supreme Judicial
    Council needs to take a careful look at this allegation.

    The law minister, Khalid Anwar, acted in a deplorable manner.
    What is wrong with asking a judge to hurry up, he asks. Nothing,
    if this is done in open court and in a transparent fashion. But
    it is immoral it if it is done amidst dire threats b*****shed by
    officials at the Prime Minister's behest. Mr. Anwar also claims
    that his government never authorised the IB to wire-tap the
    judges. Nonsense, says former chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah, who
    reports that when a bug was discovered on his phone, Mr Anwar
    advised him not to make an issue of it. We might also recall
    that this is the same gent who, as President Farooq Leghari's
    council in 1996-97 in the Bhutto dismissal case before the
    Supreme Court, cited phone tapping of judges by the Bhutto
    regime as a major justification for her government's ouster.
    Finally, there is the judge in the dock. By all accounts, a most
    competent and learned man, indeed one on whom undue reliance has
    been thrust by politicians and judges alike in politically
    sensitive or legally complex cases. But the tapes have
    compromised his position. He could try and ride out the vicious
    gossip or he could call it a day and quietly fade away. If he
    chooses the first route, the law would require him to face the
    Supreme Judicial Council and explain his situation.

    One last matter. The timing of the revelations - just before the
    Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Benazir Bhutto's review
    petition - and the dubious role of the IB Deputy Director (how
    has he suddenly acquired a conscience?) is thought to cast
    doubts about the veracity of the tapes and the allegations
    flowing from them. Not so. The tapes are authentic enough. If
    they weren't, every one of the alleged culprits would have
    tripped over the others to sue the Sunday Times for millions of
    pounds in criminal defamation and the judges involved would have
    hauled up everyone in sight for gross contempt of court. Nor
    should it matter whether the spook in question received a hefty
    cheque or a promise of some lucrative posting in the future for
    allowing his conscience to get the better of him. The fact is
    that Ms Bhutto has cunningly exploited the counter-evidence at
    her disposal for maximum effect like a true politician who may
    be down but refuses to be out. This case could have far-reaching
    repercussions. It might give Ms Bhutto a new lease of life. It
    might stiffen the resolve of lawyers and politicians to agitate
    for democratic revival and accountability. And it might embolden
    the judiciary to redeem itself by standing up a little bit to
    the government.

    According to above Supreme Court judgement, Asif Zardari should be released immediately and arrest warrant against BB should be withdrawn. Supreme Court punished Nawaz Sharif; present rulers allowed him Scott free. He took 23 bags of male-ghanimat. A billion rupees of jewelry and millions in foreign currency were discovered in his mother's house with white ants eating all the loot hid in a bag. The bias against Asif Zardari and BB is ridiculous.