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Lack of content

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

Written by Ruchika Talwar |
March 24, 2012 12:27:55 am

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

Lack of content

Pakistan’s prime minister,Yousuf Raza Gilani,and Supreme Court are still on a collision course. The Express Tribune reported on March 23: “In the contempt case initiated by the Supreme Court against Yousuf Raza Gilani,the prime minister’s legal representative Aitzaz Ahsan has come up with several reasons for why the case should be dismissed. For one,argues Aitzaz,the president’s immunity under the constitution is iron-clad and so the prime minister cannot ask Swiss authorities to open cases against him. Then there is the fact that under the law,it is the law minister who has to advise the prime minister to write the letter to the Swiss and since he has not done so there is little that the prime minister can do in such a situation.”

The argument became more impassioned when Ahsan argued that the bench of the Supreme Court which initiated contempt proceedings against Gilani should not be the one hearing the case because of a possible conflict of interest. One of the judges on the bench refuted any such legal binding.

On March 20,The Express Tribune reported that Gilani claimed he had not been given a free trial. Invoking Article 248 of Pakistan’s Constitution,Gilani insisted again that as the country’s president,Asif Zardari enjoyed immunity just as constitutional the world over. He stressed that it would be “a humiliation of the constitution and the state’s sovereignty to present the president in front of a foreign magistrate.” However,once Zardari’s presidential tenure ends,he said,the court is free to proceed against him.

Troubled Balochistan

A petition was filed by the Balochistan High Court bar on the issue of missing persons and target killings in the province. The federal government has tried to placate the restive state with sops,but problems continue. The Express Tribune on March 21 reported: The apex court came up with a solution based on local tribal traditions. A three-member bench — headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry — advised the government to convene a grand Baloch jirga to restore order in the volatile province. Chief Justice Chaudhry said that the chieftains of all tribes in the province… should go into a huddle to find a peaceful solution to the problem. While dismissing the performance of government officials,the court reposed trust in the Baloch themselves. ‘The Baloch people are more loyal to the country than anyone,” Justice Chaudhry observed’.”

Pakistan’s day

March 23 marks the day Pakistan became a republic in 1956. On Thursday,when Pakistan won the Asia Cup cricket tournament in Bangladesh,the victory was emblazoned across newspapers as cricket’s gift to the nation. Dawn reported on March 23: “Pakistan proved again on Thursday night a view held by many experts that it performs better under pressure. The theatre was the Asia Cup final and the rivals were Bangladesh… Revellers across the country described it as a Pakistan Day gift from the national team.” Daily Times reported the cup came home after a long wait of 12 years.

Former PM Nawaz Sharif frequently makes gracious remarks about India,and the frequency has gone up since he his sidelining in Pakistan political arena. His latest act was reported by The News on March 23 during Pakistan Day celebrations in Lahore: “PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif said the dictatorships have divided [the Pakistani nation into many sections and India is progressing because democracy is nurtured there… ‘Today we are facing [an energy crisis but in our days Pakistan was able to export electricity to India…’ ”

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