Mujhe Kyon Nikala - By: Munir M Hasan, PhD

This phrase from the “Godfather” has become very famous in recent times. People are taking pleasure out of it and they are also using this phrase on many other occasions. The popularity of this phrase is soon likely to give it the status of a proverb in Urdu literature.

While saying so, the “Godfather” means to say that his case before the Apex Court was that of Panama Papers and of corruption charges, whereas he has been punished and disqualified on “Aqama” matter. He further says that his corruption has not been proved in the court and so, he has the right to ask this question. Some writers and the commentators have replied to it by saying that hiding “Aqama” is also a matter of dishonesty and it is the right case for his disqualification.

It is to be kept in mind that disqualification under Article 62 of the Constitution of Pakistan is not a punishment. This only shows that the candidate who was contesting the election was not qualified to contest it. In this disqualification, the candidate is neither sent to jail, nor his property is confiscated which is usually done in punishment. For such a ruling the decision of the Supreme Court was not required. Even a Returning Officer of a constituency is qualified to give this decision. As the case of the “Godfather” was already before the Supreme Court on Panama Papers case, on the discovery of another serious and undeniable matter of “Aqama”, the Supreme Court preferred to disqualify him on “Aqama” rather than punishing him under the corruption charges which could lead to send him to jail and confiscate his property. Why this course of action has been chosen by the honourable Court, it is a matter to be understood. To my knowledge, no commentator has so far given his views to explain why “Godfather” has not been punished under the corruption charges in spite of volumes of the solid evidences of his corruption, and he has only been disqualified under Article 62.

During the hearing of the review petition, one of the remarks of the honourable judges has attracted my attention. When the counsel of the accused was trying to discuss the same matter which was already discussed during the regular hearing, one of the honourable judges advised him not to open the case again. Not only that it could not be allowed under the review petition where only the matters relating to law are discussed, but also he said that if the matter is reopened, you (the accused) will be in great trouble (or the words to that effect). These remarks tell the whole story.

My assessment is that, after reading the JIT report and looking at the evidences available there, the honourable judges were convinced that it was a fit case for the award of punishment. However, being the decision of the Supreme Court no further appeal was possible. So they avoided the award of punishment and only disqualified him under a case in which there was no hardship for the accused. The case will now be heard by a trial court. Whatever the decision of this court may be, the petitioner or the accused, against whom this decision will be given, they will go in appeal in the superior courts and ultimately the case once again will be before the Supreme Court. By that time the due procedures of law would have been exhausted and the strong evidences available in the records of the Supreme Court, even if neglected by the lower courts, will be re-considered and the “Godfather” and his family will not be able to escape from the punishment.

“Art is long and time is fleeing”. The inside and outside invisible dominant forces are highly active. Whether the strategy of the Supreme Court to punish the “Dons of Mafias” will be successful and whether the criminals will ever be punished in Pakistan, I am very much doubtful.

Posted on Sep 29, 17 | 12:56 am