Posts Tagged ‘Iftikhar Chaudhry’

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The Dark Side of Iftikhar Chaudhry

January 16, 2014

(Written by Afaq)

On 12th December 2013, Iftikhar Chaudhry marked the end of his eventful years as a chief justice of Pakistan.

Charles de Gaulle said, “The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.” Hence, people took the charge, perform their responsibilities and leave. Then this is up to the history to judge their role and legacy.

CJ Exposed IVFormer chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, otherwise considered as a man of courage and vision by many, will sadly be remembered as a media conscious man who escaped from the charges of nepotism and misconduct by taking refuge in highly politicized lawyers’ movement and the one, who believed more in personal vendetta than emerging as an impartial custodian of justice.

If politicians are not doing well, they can be rejected in the elections or summoned in the court. If military coup is undesirable, the military ruler can be trialled. What about the chief justice of the country? Is he above the law? No, he doesn’t. Is he not accountable to anyone? Yes, he is. There is Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the charges against the judges, as clearly mentioned in the Article 209 of the constitution. On 09th March, 2007, the then President filed a reference to the SJC against Iftikhar Chaudhry on the advice of the then Prime Minister. While he didn’t resign, he also didn’t face the inquiry. He took the cover of the media and politicized lawyers’ movement and made the SJC irrelevant.

A file photo dated, 30 June 2005 releaseIt is claimed that he stood against a military ruler and refused to resign – something that made him a hero overnight. But ironically, he himself remained the one who legitimated the same ruler.

Let’s correct the record. Nawaz Sharif’s era was corrupt and ineffective “one man rule” and his overthrown on 12thOctober, 1999 was justified. This is what the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled on 13th May, 2000. His Excellency Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of the judges of that 12-member court and favored the military coup.

Not only this, he was one of the nine judges of the bench that validated the Proclamation of Emergency dated 14th October, 1999 and PCO-I as well as the referendum.

He marked his presence in the 5-member bench that validated the legal framework order issued by Musharraf.

He was also the part of 5-member bench that gave judgment in the favour of Musharraf’s uniform and the seventeenth amendment.

Iftikhar Chaudhry was the chief justice at the time when the Supreme Court allowed Musharraf to re-elect in uniform in 2007.

If the constitution of Pakistan was violated on 12th October, 1999 and if that’s the act of treason, then Iftikhar Chaudhry should also be trialed for high treason under the Article 6 (clause 2) of the constitution.

His legacy doesn’t end here.

While he over exercised his authority to take suo-moto notices under the Article 184 (3), he was more concerned about setting market price of samosa and sugar, the possessions of Atiqa Odho and issuing a contempt of court notice to PTI chief. However, the Hazara killing, the persecution of minorities, the suicide bombers, sectarian militant organisations, misuse of blasphemy laws and the atrocities of terrorism – all went unchecked.

CJ Exposed IPakistan has lost almost 50,000 lives in terrorist attacks, but the judiciary failed to prosecute the terrorists. They kept getting acquittal from the courts and kept continuing their anti-state activities. This free service rewarded him appreciation from the miscreants.

During his term, lawyers turned into black coat hooligans. For instance, the assassin of governor Punjab wasshowered by roses in the premises of the court. The ATC judge who gave verdict against him got harassed by the lawyers.

Lawyers were not always violent during his term; they enjoyed the lighter side of life as well. Lahore High Court bar witnessed the dance performance on Sheila ki jawani and the lawyers partied.

This all went unnoticed.

CJ Exposed IIIOn the other hand, he turned a blind eye to the corruption of his son. Even though he took suo moto notice,Supreme Court reversed its position at least three times and finally disposed of the case calling it a personal matter between Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz.

Iftikhar Chaudhry ruled against the security protocols of the former ministers while himself enjoying the unit of 40-50 security personnel. He asked for police escort and a bullet proof vehicle for security soon after his retirement citing that he was under threat.

He questioned the loyalty of overseas Pakistanis, while keeping mum over the judges with dual nationalities.

He dismissed the elected prime minister showing lack of restraint.

He kept interfering in the affairs of state, and focused less on improving the judiciary – his prime responsibility. The corrupt practices of judges and violent activism of lawyers grew by leaps and bounds. More than 1.5 million cases are still pending in the courts and there is no hope for the speedy justice.

This brief article couldn’t sum up his entire term. In retrospect, he had a golden opportunity and absolute authority to fix the bugs within the judicial system and turning it into a viable institution, but his vindictive behavior made things worse. He had public and media support behind him, he could do this, but alas, he didn’t.

Source: Ibtidah

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The Nonsense of the Musharraf Treason Trial: Article 6, Discrimination and a Biased & Compromised Judiciary

November 23, 2013

Usman Sheikh – (APML-UK)

The below is a summary of the main issues the way I have understood them. For non-experts, it can be difficult to understand the legal issues and arguments. Barrister Farogh Naseem, on Rana Mubashir’s programme, has explained the legal issues in layman’s terms on a few occasions. The notes below are based on his lucid presentation along with material which I have gathered from other sources.

The purpose here is merely to relate the main points in a simple manner and, hopefully, demonstrate the ridiculous nature of this treason charge against Pervez Musharraf.

Readers are welcome to notify me of any possible errors.

1. Unethical Conduct of the Supreme Court

From the outset, we need to bear in mind four points:

i. Barely a month after Pervez Musharraf’s arrival in Pakistan, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, issued a challenge, daring people to step forward and bring up charges against Pervez Musharraf.

Can you imagine the Chief Justice of a country behaving in this manner? Iftikhar Chaudhry has been overly politicised and compromised for years and he views Musharraf as his arch enemy. Chaudhry wants his revenge.

ii. For a long time the Chief Justice has been demanding the Federal Government to bring forth treason charges against Pervez Musharraf. When the government politely declined – such as for instance the Caretaker Government – the Supreme Court could not take no for an answer and maintained an argumentative behaviour with the Caretaker Government, insisting the latter bring forth treason charges against Pervez Musharraf, thereby allowing the ever so eager Supreme Court to proceed with the matter.

This is very interesting given the fact that in Pakistani law, the Supreme Court has absolutely no right to request – let alone demand – the Federal Government to bring forth charges against any individual or group. The Supreme Court cannot request, demand, pressurise and incite the Government to bring to its attention any case. Thus, by constantly pressurising the Federal Government to proceed with the treason charges against Musharraf, the Supreme Court is violating the law of the land and exposing its utterly biased attitude.

iii. Now that the Sharif Government, upon the repeated unlawful insistence and pressure of the Supreme Court, has decided to go ahead with the treason charges, Iftikhar Chaudhry has handpicked three judges to oversee this case. These judges, like Iftikhar Chaudhry, are also known to be openly hostile towards Pervez Musharraf and having close relations with the Sharif and Chaudhry families. Iftikhar Chaudhry is known to have been immensely favourable to these judges in the past.

iv. It seems that the FIA was not even given the chance to complete its investigation. While the FIA was just in the very initial/preliminary stages of investigation where not a single witness had been questioned, the Interior Ministry suddenly, out of the blue, ordered them to submit their report on the treason charge. In rush, a rag tag report was hurriedly put together and submitted to the Supreme Court.

2. The Case

The case of treason against Pervez Musharraf follows this logic:

In November 2007, Pervez Musharraf imposed temporary Emergency Rule in Pakistan. As a result, some sections of the Pakistani Constitution were temporarily suspended, or held in abeyance. This is said to be treason against the State because Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan states that holding the Constitution in abeyance is an act of treason.

3. Three Quick Responses

A. Article 232 of the Pakistani Constitution permits the President to impose Emergency Rule under certain situations. As long as the President is satisfied that a situation or a state of affairs exists which warrants Emergency rule, the latter can be imposed.

“Article 232 (1)

If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists in which the security of Pakistan, or any part thereof, is threatened by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond the power of a Provincial Government to control, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency.

Article 32

Therefore, imposing Emergency Rule is not akin to “treason” as it is permitted by the Pakistani Constitution. One may disagree with the reasons for imposing the Emergency, yet imposing it is not “treason” or a “punishable crime” even if the underlying reasons are deemed to be weak.

Counter Response to the Above: Pervez Musharraf signed the text of the Proclamation of Emergency Rule as the Army Chief, not as the President. So whilst the President can impose Emergency Rule, the Army Chief cannot.

Rebuttal: Signing off a text with the title of Army Chief does not negate the fact that Pervez Musharraf was also the President of the State at that time. Pervez Musharraf’s powers and authority as the President did not temporarily vanish or take the back seat when he signed off a document as the Army Chief. His powers and authority as the President remained, irrespective of the specific title he used in a document.

B. In 2007, Article 6 of the Constitution did not state that holding the Constitution in abeyance or suspending it was an act of “treason.” This is the 2007 version of the text of Article 6:

“(1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”

In 2010, however, through the 18th Amendment, the above text was altered as follows (italics added):

Artcile 6 - comparison“(1)Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.”

In 2007, suspending or holding the Constitution in abeyance was not an act of high treason. In 2010, however, suspending and holding the Constitution in abeyance became an act of high treason.

It is legally and rationally ridiculous to retroject this backwards to try Pervez Musharraf – or anyone else for that matter – for having allegedly committed “high treason.”

C. Those who have presumed Pervez Musharraf to be guilty of high treason convey the impression as if Pervez Musharraf was working in isolation, in a vacuum, making decisions on his own, with no other individual present in the scene. This scenario is highly unrealistic. The text of the Proclamation of Emergency Rule itself mentions the “prime minister, governors of all four provinces and with the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice chief of army staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan army” who deliberated upon the situation and then requested the President – Pervez Musharraf – to impose Emergency Rule in Pakistan. However, as far as I can tell, no one has been questioned. To successfully implement the Emergency rule, individuals (Civil Servants etc), judges and departments at all levels were required to play their part. None of them have been questioned. In fact, the Law Minister of that time – Zaid Hamid Khan – who played a pivotal role in designing and implementing the Emergency Rule in 2007 is presently a senior member of Nawaz Sharif’s party and was once again appointed as the Law Minister, only to be made to resign shortly thereafter due to the embarrassment caused on account of his role as the Law Minister in 2007!

 4. Blatant Discrimination

Violation of Article 25 & 6: By having a go at Musharraf, the Supreme Court and the Sharif Government are violating Article 25 of the Constitution. Article 25 is the equality clause – it calls for a lack of discrimination. Likewise, Article 6 is also not being adhered to.

Article 25

Two forms of blatant discrimination are being carried out:

i. Singling out an individual

 Pervez Musharraf has been singled out as if he was operating in a vacuum. According to Article 6, aiders and abettors are to be charged and are to be treated equally:

Anyone directly/indirectly involved needs to be charged: Army officers, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, journalists etc.

  • Article 6 is not applicable upon a single individual. It talks about a joint enterprise.  Everyone involved in the conspiracy – be it directly or indirectly – is to be tried. There can be no picking and choosing

ii. Restricting the implementation of Article 6 to the November 2007 Emergency

The November 2007 imposition of temporary Emergency Rule is a comparatively very minor matter – compared to the actual Military (counter) coup of 1999.  The latter is the main issue, not the 2007 Emergency.

Were it not for the fact that a Military (counter) coup transpired in 1999, the minor matter of the November 2007 Emergency would not have taken place.

In light of the High Treason Act, the application of Article 6 cannot be limited to the 2007 Emergency. The 1999 Military (counter) coup needs to be considered. Even then, Article 6 cannot be restricted to the 1999 Military (counter) coup. The dark era of the Zia regime also needs to be considered, including all prior Military takeovers.

Article 6 cannot be restricted to a regime/time period. If Musharraf is to be tried, then not only are you required to try all aiders and abettors involved in the 1999 counter coup, but you are also required to try every individual alive who aided, abetted and supported the worst dictatorship in Pakistan’s history – the Zia regime – including all Military regimes in the past.  If Musharraf was wrong, then Zia was wrong. Zia cannot be “right” while Musharraf is “wrong.” Being selective – giving a clean sheet to one regime while targeting another – is a violation of Articles 6 and 25 of the Pakistani Constitution

According to the High Treason Act, from 1958 onwards, every military coup is to be considered and all involved – directly and indirectly – are to be tried and punished.

Thus, by singling out Pervez Musharraf and by restricting the proceedings to the comparatively very minor matter of the imposition of temporary Emergency Rule in November 2007, the Supreme Court and the Sharif Government are violating both Articles 6 & 25 of the Constitution and are also ignoring the High Treason Act, which permits the trial of everyone involved in a coup – whether directly or indirectly – from 1958 onwards.

Either all are tried or none are tried. Either all regimes are considered or none are considered. There must be across the board justice to ensure fairness and transparency. Picking and choosing should not be allowed

Counter Response #1: the Parliament validated the 1999 Army coup. Therefore, one has no choice but to be restricted to the comparatively minor 2007 temporary Emergency Rule.

Rebuttal: The 18th Amendment has made null and avoid the 17th Amendment. This means that the 1999 Military (counter) coup is open to investigation and no longer enjoys protection. Therefore, if we are to abide by the requirements of Articles 25 & 6 of the Pakistani Constitution and apply the High Treason Act, we are to charge each and every individual involved directly and indirectly in the 1999 Army coup and, moreover, all previous Army coups, including the coup carried out by the late Zia ul Haq. We are to try all individuals who worked, whether directly and indirectly, to maintain/strengthen the setup which came about after all Military coups. If we, however, decide to limit things to 2007 and merely single out Pervez Musharraf, we then blatantly violate the Pakistani Constitution.

Counter Response #2: Only a few individuals involved in the previous Military takeovers and regimes are presently alive. Therefore, there is really no point in dragging them to the court.

Rebuttal: It does not matter. Even if one individual is alive who aided, abetted and supported a Military takeover and regime, then he/she is to be brought before the law. Moreover, many who supported the late Gen. Zia ul Haq and played a critical role in supporting, maintaining and furthering his cruel military regime are still alive: for example, people such as Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry Nisar, Shahbaz Sharif and many others. They are to be brought before the court and made to pay for their crime of violating the Pakistani Constitution.

A Probable Reason for Ignoring the 1999 Military (counter) Coup: Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of the judges who:

1. Legitimized the Military’s takeover of the Government using the “doctrine of necessity” argument

2. Was among the first judges to take an oath on the PCO in January 2000.

3. In April 13 2005, in the “Judgment on 17th Amendment and President’s Uniform Case,” Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of 5 Supreme Court judges who dismissed all petitions challenging President Musharraf’s constitutional amendments. In a wide ranging judgment, they declared that the Legal Framework Order (LFO) instituted by General Musharraf after his suspension of the constitution, the 17th amendment which gave this constitutional backing, and the two offices bill which allowed Pervez Musharraf to retain his military uniform whilst being President, were all legal.

His falling out with former President Musharraf occurred only in 2007, when a reference against Iftikhar Chaudhry was legitimately forwarded to the Supreme Judicial Council for investigation.

Therefore, it seems that the 1999 Military (counter) Coup is being ignored because investigating it would mean that a large bulk of the judges – Iftikhar Chaudhry included – and almost all politicians will then be in deep trouble given the fact that they so openly supported, defended, legitimised and strengthened the 1999 Military coup and the subsequent setup for years.

Bottom Line: Army Officers, Politicians, Judges, Bureaucrats, Journalists all need to be tried and punished if they played any part – directly or indirectly – in supporting, maintaining, defending, strengthening and legitimising a Military takeover/regime.

  • Corrupt and biased Judges such as Iftikhar Chaudhry, who legitimised the Army’s rightful counter coup of 1999, are to step down and justice should be served upon them with full force
  • The current two times failed Prime Minister should immediately resign – along with all of his colleagues who aided and abetted the dictator Zia. They must then be brought before the law for violating the Pakistani Constitution multiple times

5. Conclusion

Pervez Musharraf has served Pakistan for over 40 years in the Pakistan Army. He has fought for Pakistan in wars, risking his life on numerous occasions, and has led the elite SSG Commando Unit of Pakistan. Later, he served Pakistan as the Chief of Army Staff, as the Chief Executive and, thereafter, as the President. He boldly represented Pakistan, aggressively fought for the case of Pakistan and continued to patriotically defend Pakistan in the international arena even after retiring from the Army and stepping down from the seat of Presidency.

Can we not see how patriotically Pervez Musharraf has defended Pakistan when in India and when facing off Indian journalists on the Kargil issue? Have we not seen how Pervez Musharraf has defended the Pakistan Army and the ISI in multiple gatherings in the Western world and during interviews on CNN, BBC and a host of other channels? Are we really blind to the incontrovertible fact that there is not a single Pakistani leader besides Pervez Musharraf who has so vigorously defended Pakistan?

What happens to the morale of the Pakistan Army when its highly patriotic former Chief is labelled a “traitor?” Were Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Zia ul Haq traitors? Zia ul Haq – responsible for the harshest dictatorship in the history of Pakistan – was loyally supported and aided by the likes of Nawaz Sharif who maintained the former’s dictatorial regime. Is nothing to be done regarding this?

It is shameful, to say the least, when a genuinely patriotic Pakistani such as Musharraf is accused of being a “traitor.”

It is even more shameful if the Pakistani nation remains silent and allows this travesty to pass by without a challenge.

PM

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Musharraf better than many politicians

September 30, 2010

“Column from Dallas” by Saeed Qureshi

One quality that distinguishes Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf over other luminaries in politics is that while others usually take cover under the lame excuses and try to justify their misdeeds, he has the candidness to confess and acknowledge his wrong decisions. For instance, he has said many a time that his decision to first suspend and then sack the chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was essentially erratic. Also, he confessed publically too that the impostion of the state of emergency way back in November 2007 was not only unconstitutional but also politically incorrect. It should be noted that it was a 12-member Supreme Court panel that on May 12, 2000 unanimously validated the October 1999 coup and granted Musharraf executive and legislative authority for 3 years from the coup date.

Again, in January 2004 Musharraf won a vote of confidence in the Electoral College of Pakistan, consisting of both houses of Parliament and the four provincial assemblies by receiving 658 out of 1170 votes. As such his governance and remaining in office was legally and constitutionally justified. Pervez Musharraf is coming to Dallas on October 15 to launch the local chapter of his political party, “All Pakistan Muslim League”. Here in Dallas he will meet various important people besides the media. He will also address a select gathering of his well-wishers, and party members. The announcement contained in a flyer says “Dinner with former President Pervez Musharraf at 6:30 PM on October 15, 2010 Hotel Intercontinental addison, tex.” An additional line further elaborates the purpose of Musharraf’s visit to Dallas, which is “Dinner, speech, and Question & Answer session.”

Barring a few controversial decisions, Pervez Musharraf has been successful in bringing about certain far-reaching reforms in Pakistan. Notwithstanding the urge to remain in power which human beings have in abundance because they are not angels, Musharraf’s era was relatively known as economically strong. His role in liberating media from the official strangleholds and empowering the women folks cannot be denied even by worst of his detractors.

Now as part of rooting out extremism and curbing separatist and fissiparous tendencies of regional leader like Akbar Bugti, he had to take certain unpalatable and tough decisions. In normal circumstances these decisions could have been appreciated but their positive side was eclipsed because of the extremely hostile propaganda whipped by his antagonist political parties and domineering clergy and fire-spitting religious circles. Musharraf received the displeasure of the religious lobbies because of his 180-degree tilt and support for the American war in Afghanistan. Otherwise, these are the same religious elements that were part of the group that voted for him to keep both the offices of the COAS and the president of Pakistan.

If Pervez Musharraf were to make a plausible case for his return to Pakistan and take part in politics under the banner of his newly founded political party, “All Pakistan Muslim League”, his following achievements would stand in good stead for him. (1) He established 47 universities including the Virtual University, under the supervision of Higher Education Commission. (2) During his presidency, the poverty level came down from 34% to 24% while the living standards of the people improved considerably. (3) In early 2007, Mushrraf according to a survey was more popular than Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. (4) It was during his time that “Women’s Protection Bill”, was made a law in December 2006. The bill placed the rape laws under the penal code and removed the untenable condition of producing four male witnesses by the female victim to prove adultery. (5) His government increased reserved seats for women in both national and provincial assemblies. In the National Assembly, these were increased from 20 to 60. In provincial assemblies, 128 seats were reserved for women. This situation gave greater effective participation of women in elections and decision-making. (6) He abolished the separate electorate for the religious minorities and put curbs on extremist and sectarian groups. (7) According to Transparency International, Pakistan had improved its ratings during Musharraf’s presidency, from being the 11th most corrupt country down to 41st, a significant image improvement.

In the backdrop of a hostile atmosphere in certain circles against him, former president will have to contend with formidable challenges both to his life and political career. It should also be seen how much public support he receives and which political parties would be ready to forge alliances with his party. He will have to go through an adjudication process, which can be prolonged. It is not possible to foretell if the courts would give him a temporary reprieve to indulge in practical politics or not. The prime minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani sarcastically remarked the other day that Musharraf would be welcomed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. This is a very ominous statement. The Law minister known for his caustic sarcasm and pungent repartee said that those who want dictatorship were either in graveyard or in England alluding to former president Zia and president Musharraf, both army generals by profession. But politics being a game of wits, scoring points, making alliances and shifting positions, no one can conclusively figure out whether Musharraf would be stuck in the roadblocks or move forward towards his political goalpost.

—The writer is a Dallas-based freelance journalist.

Source: Pak Observer

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Musharraf farmhouse: the architect responds

April 21, 2009

By HAMMAD HUSSAIN

Islamabad – A lot has been written in the forign and local press lately about Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad. Journalists have (mis)reported and commented on the plot, the house design, cost, size and any aspect of the house that would make news. There has been a debate whether he will be able to live in his farmhouse or not.

As the architect of this farmhouse, I would like to clarify some facts:

The farmhouse has a very modest and functional design with minimalist and simple finishes. It is anything but ostentatious or palatial. It is made in accordance with the bye-laws of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Last year there was a controversy about the Chak Shahzad farms, including Gen Musharraf’s plot. After Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was reinstated on 20th July, he took suo moto notice of the ‘violations’ of law, claiming that the farms were ‘allotted’ to the present owners for growing vegetables and were not meant for residential use. He sought to cancel all the 499 plots in Chak Shahzad.

None of these charges was correct and this move by Justice Chaudhry seemed nothing more than an attempt to settle personal scores with Gen Musharraf. The reality is that these plots had originally been allotted as compensation to those locals who were evicted from their properties in the 1970s and 80s when CDA was in the process of developing sectors in Islamabad. Most of these allottees eventually sold these farms at prevailing market rates. Later, CDA legalized construction of residences in Chak Shahzad.

Gen Musharraf bought his plot at market price and it was officially transferred in his name by CDA, which also stamped and approved the drawings for construction of the house according to their bye-laws. Reports by some journalists that he was allotted the plot “at a throwaway price” and that the construction is illegal are false and malicious.

There is nothing controversial about Gen Musharraf’s plot or the house. It has just been blown out of proportion by sensational reporters.

(taken from http://nailainayat.blogspot.com with zillions of thanks)

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Lawyers’ Movement-The other side of story (Must Read)

March 17, 2009

(By Afaq)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – On one hand, terrorism and extremism is getting their roots deep in society, while on the other, the country is suffering a worst form of financial meltdown. On one side, armed forces and intelligence agencies are getting maligned through international campaign, and on the other, an environment is getting set that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not in safe hands.

This time when nation needs to be united to face and defeat the challenges, there is a cat and mouse game in play among the political parties and a vast majority is considering Lawyers’ Movement as the only solution to the problems of Pakistan.

When a Long March and sit in (Dharna) for indefinite period was announced by the lawyers’ leaderships, and when a worst form of law and order crisis was emerging on the streets, embarrassing Pakistan in the international community, the government of Pakistan surrendered to the demands of lawyers, and announced the restoration of Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry. This is a right moment to take another look at the so-called lawyers’ Movement.

This movement is based on the perceptions that Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry is the symbol of an independent and free judiciary, and that all the mess is created by President Musharraf, who was not happy by him over his suo moto actions, and that the reference against the judge was forwarded by the Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz due to his personal grudges with Chief Justice, over the decision against Steels Mills issue. The reality, through information that is revealed here for the first time, is a little different.

Steels Mills Issue-Unspoken facts:

A day before the judgment of Steels Mills, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry rang the military secretary of President Musharraf and asked for a sitting with him at Army House to discuss the details of the judgment. President allowed him to come and also did call Attorney General of Pakistan. When all three sat together, President said, “I don’t know the legalities, but all what I would like to say is that you took suo-moto action against the privatisation of Steels Mills. I believe in the dignity and honour of the Supreme Court. So, whatever be the judgment, it must not lower your dignity and honour, but remember government is doing a good job for privatisation. Please don’t try to hamper this process.”

Then both the attorney General and Chief Justice discussed the legalities and came out with a mid way solution. Chief Justice himself told President Musharraf that a good via media is brought out and he is going to give this as a decision the next day. Then Chief justice went to the bench and told that President himself has decided to cancel the privatisation of Steels Mills. So, without any idea of betrayal, 12 member bench of Supreme Court gave exactly the opposite decision to what expected by the government.

In 1985, soon after being established, it was planned to increase the productive capacity of Pakistan Steels Mills Corporation (PSMC) to 2.2 million tons annually to make it economically feasible. Unfortunately, the successive governments did not take personal interests and concerns in this project and finally the debt over Steels Mills reached to 19 billion rupees till year 2000 and the amount required for increasing its productive capability reached more than 200 billion rupees. The biggest challenge after 12th October 1999 coup was to bring Economic stability in the country. Musharraf did manage to convince Shoukat Aziz to resign from City Bank and to come back to Pakistan and serve the homeland. The economic situation was like a nightmare. Foreign reserves were remained only 0.7 billion dollars and sanctions were upon Pakistan due to nuclear explosions. No one was willing to take ‘risk’ of investing in Pakistan. After military coup, the situation was even more difficult. It worried Shoukat Aziz, but he accepted the challenge. He made a win-win policy for economic revival. The core of the policy was deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation. It worked well, and a confidence of investors recovered in Pakistan. Even during those months after 9/11, when Pakistan and Indian armed forces were alert stand by on borders with eye to eye balls contact, investment did not stop coming in Pakistan and Stock Markets shown good trends. Things were going fine and in the positive direction, but the suo moto action by Chief Justice hampered the overall process by shaking the confidence of the investors.

The day when decision came out was surely very shocking for the government. President Musharraf himself had visited China and Saudi Arabia to convince them to invest on PSMC. Finally after many years, his efforts bore fruits and he got able to convince Saudi Arabia based Al Tawairqi Group of Companies to invest in PSMC. In May 2006, an open auction held in Islamabad and Al Tuwairqi Group submitted a winning bid of $362 million for a 75 per cent stake in PSMC. It was being privatized in the profit of $ 13 million (without solding the land of Steels Mills). Due to the opposite decision of Supreme Court, hundred million of dollars which were lying in our banks by Mr. Tuwairqi to invest on PSMC and to establish another steels mills were brought out of Pakistan. Disappointed by the decision, Mr. Tuwairqi told everyone to wind up and went out, as investing in this country is not safe. This was again a great shock for Pakistan’s Economy. Without wasting a single moment, President Musharraf rung up Mr. Tuwairqi and requested him not to change his mind for investing in PSMC. Unfortunately, after having a bitter experience of Supreme Court’s decision, Mr. Tuwairqi excused to invest on PSMC. This was what Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry did with the Economy of Pakistan, but his ‘media managers’ applaud his decision as his national achievement.

Presidential Reference against Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP):

Print and electronic media in Pakistan is used to remain very active and in search of any thrilling story soon after its independence given by President Musharraf. Mr. Ansar Abbasi (The News) investigated about the Chief justice and found that always a favour was given to his son Dr. Arsalan Chaudhry, directly by the orders of CJP himself, which were mostly not on merit at all. Due to unknown reasons, he did not public this story. However, he slipped his tongue in Geo’s famous ‘Capital Talk’ in early 2007. Kamran Khan, from Geo, also brought Dr. Arsalan on telephone call in early 2007, asking about the news against him. Dr. Arsalan, the son of CJP denied the news and told media that he is going to Court to defend these allegations. CJP anxious about media reports raised this matter to President Musharraf in his meeting with him on 13th February 2007. President instructed the investigation agencies to explore the realities behind these reports. The famous letter from Naeem Bukhari stimulated the issue even more. When the investigation completed, the findings were very shocking for President. They all were going against CJP. It revealed that not even the allegations of media about his son are true but also more serious findings were brought into notice of President Musharraf, including his personal corruption and greed for protocol, for which he was not entitled for. It all worried President. CJP had been used to visit President in his office and house many times, even with his family. There was nothing wrong in the personal terms and relations between the both. President Musharraf, at this moment, however had to decide what to select. Either he had to prefer personal relations or to follow the legal course of actions.

On 7th march 2007, Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz advised him to send the findings to Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in the form of reference to decide for the fate of CJP. Justice Jehanzeb Rahim of Peshawar High Court also filed a reference against CJP in his letter to President. This was the time, when CJP highly informed about this progress, rung DG MI, Major General Mian Nadeem Ijaz on 7th March 2007, and requested him to get the copy of reference and to hand over it to him. Next day, CJP called Abdullah Yousaf, Chairman CBR in his chamber at Supreme Court to discuss the same issue of reference being filed by Justice Jehanzeb. CJP asked Chairman CBR to favour him by making clarification to President that he was not at fault over the allegations written by Justice Jehanzeb. On the same 8th march, CJP also rang military secretary (MS) of President Musharraf to arrange an urgent meeting with President the next day. Although President was due to leave for Karachi on 9th March, to participate in the Pakistan Navy exercise “Aman 2007”, but MS rescheduled the program and asked CJP to visit by 1130 hours on 9th March at camp office of the President’s secretariat. The same night, CJP rang DG MI to be present in camp office to assist him. On 9th March, during meeting, President informed CJP about all the findings of investigations, and asked for the clarification of his position. President told CJP that he is going to forward the findings to Supreme judicial Council. Realising that the findings are embarrassing for CJP, he gave him a way out as a courtesy move, saying, “If you find the hearings of SJC below your dignity and honour, then you can resign to avoid the case.” CJP said that he would face the allegations in SJC and would defend himself. President then signed the reference and officially it was sent to SJC for hearings.

This was what happened. Unfortunately, the media and political parties developed strange perceptions and vicious hype was created all around the country. No one on media ever read and present the material filed in reference. There were serious allegations against the CJP. Question is whether CJP above law? Should there be no forum for his accountability? Even President is not above law. There is a procedure written clear in constitution regarding his impeachment. The media and the lawyers of CJP escaped themselves out of hearings of SJC, by using the political and media fronts, making false perceptions. By claiming that a ’dictator’ sitting in ‘Army House’ has ‘summoned’ CJP and ‘threat’ him to resign, totally wrong environment developed, which hijacked the minds of public, and a civil disobedience sort of movement sponsored in streets and roads of Pakistan, labelled under ‘lawyers Movement’, powered by political parties and media.

Let us check whether President Musharraf had followed the constitutional path or not.

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Article 48

(1) – In the exercise of his functions, the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet (or the Prime Minister).

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Article 209

(1) There shall be a Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan, in this Chapter referred to as the Council.

(5) If, on information [from any source, the Council or] the President is of the opinion that a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court,

(a) May be incapable of properly performing the duties of his office be reason of physical or mental incapacity; or

(b) May have been guilty of misconduct,

The President shall direct the Council to [or the Council may, on its own motion] inquire into the matter.

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Article 180

At any time when-

(a)The office of Chief justice is vacant; or

(b)The Chief justice of Pakistan is absent or unable to perform the functions of his office due to any other cause,

The President shall appoint [the most senior of the other judges of the Supreme Court] to act as Chief justice of Pakistan.

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So, what President Musharraf did was simply the constitutional route followed. There were media allegations about the misconduct of CJP. CJP even himself asked President to make enquiry about them. The investigations were being made. Prime Minister advised Mr. President to send the findings to Supreme Judicial Council. Under article 48 of constitution, President was bound to act upon the advice of Prime Minister. Meanwhile CJP himself asked to visit President at CampOffice of President’s Secretariat. CJP was informed about the findings. He was willing to face the charges in SJC. Under the article 209, it was mandatory for President to send the reference to SJC, which he did.

What was unconstitutional in all that? Is Chief Justice above law? Or constitution can be hijacked by the rallies and public movements.

Unfortunately, what happened next made the social fabric of our society turned towards the worst and more worst. Supreme Judicial Council started hearings. CJP and his lawyers escaped the hearings by few excuses. They claimed that the judges of SJC are biased against CJP, and hence they must be changed. Media started campaign that President has nominated his own judges in SJC which was clearly wrong and false perceptions. The SJC was composed exactly according to the constitution, including the acting Chief Justice, two next most senior judges of High Court and two next most senior judges of Supreme Court. Then highly politicised and vocalised Aitzaz Ahsan, being invited frequently on the media channels used every tactics to provoke the feelings of public against President Musharraf and turning public in favour of CJP. The issue was sub judice and it was the contempt of court to speak about such issues live on TV channels, but everyone utilised the media forum to stimulate the public sentiments towards the movement of civil disobedience. There happened a chaos and anarchy everywhere in Pakistan. President Musharraf said hundreds of times, that whatever be the decision, would be acceptable to the government. Taking this as a weakness of him, the highly politicised lawyers of CJP made such an environment that the hearings of SJC paused and the petition to stop its hearing was brought into the Supreme Court. Finally, after much mess, Supreme Court gave a verdict in the favour of CJP and he was reinstated on 20th July. Everyone applaud it well, not mentioning that Supreme Court had not given any importance to the charges filed under the reference. It was not fair at all, but being a verdict of Supreme Court, President Musharraf welcomed the decision.

Besides the ‘victory’ of reinstating CJP, the track record of so called ‘Lawyers Movement’ is so embarrassing. Let us have a brief over view how this ‘victory’ is being made and how throughout, lawyers have behaved;

1-Lawyers hijacked the accountability of CJP in SJC bypassing the Article 209.

2-Contempt of Court, being made every day by speaking live on TV channels against a sub judice issue.

3-Making allegations on the brother judges of biasness and personal interests just to escape the hearings of SJC.

4-Climbing at and breaking the gates of Supreme Court, just to pressurize the government and creating law and order situation by fighting with security forces and police.

5-President Supreme Court Bar Association Muneer A. Mailk forced the lawyers to join the so called Lawyers’ Movement by starting cancelling the membership of Bar Association of those lawyers who were not joining this brigade.

6-Attack on Khalid Ranjha (Government’s counsel) by lawyers when he was stepping out of hearing of SJC.

7-Attack on the car of Waseem Sajjad (Government’s counsel) by the lawyers when he was on his way to attend SJC hearing.

8-Attacking and beating a journalist ‘Khalil Malik’ by lawyers in the square of Supreme Court, just because he had published some material against the CJP.

9-Attacking and beating Advocate Naeem Bukhari in the quad of Supreme Court by lawyers, just because he exposed the ‘corruption’ of CJP in his letter.

10-When Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz went to submit the nomination papers of President Musharraf in Election Commission for Presidential elections 2007, lawyers surrounded the election commission, and Prime Minister remained under siege by these lawyers’ brigade for hours.

11-Throwing black poisonous acid on the face of Mr. Ahmed Raza Qasuri (Government’s Council) by a lawyer in the premises of Supreme Court. If he had no eye glasses on face, God willing, he might lose his sightedness.

12-Attack of hundreds of lawyers on Sher Afgan Niazi. God saved his life in this horrible incident.

13-Strikes by the lawyers of the courts. Common people suffered by much inconvenience waiting for judges and lawyers to entertain their cases.

14-Long rallies (extending even to 40 hours) by CJP and lawyers turning a sub judice issue to highly politicised campaign.

After few days of apparent silence, the restored CJP again started making personal bravado against President Musharraf, security agencies and intelligence agencies. A long list of suo moto actions were made every day to paralyse the functioning of executive, legislative and law enforcement agencies. Knowing that people and media of Pakistan were supporting the actions of CJP, he did every possible thing to embarrass the government. Suo-moto action against the traffic jam in Karachi is just an example of the attitude of a person who has nothing to care about the ills growing in own judicial system. He did nothing for making improvement in the courts. Cases still are going for 20, 20 years but he did not take any steps for betterment. Once, Geo TV’s famous show “Gumnaam” showed a spy camera video of the case of bribery by one judge, but CJP did not take any action against this judge. On the other hand, the channel was charged by the contempt of court and asked to make open apologies. CJP did not take any notice of any of the illegal activities of lawyers, like beating and attacking on Naeem Bokhari or spraying of acid on Ahmed Raza Qasuri’s face. He did nothing to stop the illegal activities of Qabza mafia or No. 2 drugs etc. He never took suo moto actions against those militants who were threatening the barber shops or Cds shops. He never did care of those extremists who were blasting girls’ schools. Not caring of his own rallies, which even extended over 40 hours, he however did take suo moto actions of traffic jams. Then, he started embarrassing the chiefs of intelligence agencies in courts. Once he said, “Not only you, I would even bring General [Musharraf] in my court.” He released first so called missing person after being reinstated, named Qari Abdul Basit, who was charged of the assassination attempt on General Musharraf. Supreme Court took suo moto action against Red Mosque operation. CJP in open and strong words spoke against President of this operation. Government, law enforcement forces and intelligence agencies were highly demoralised. Supreme Court started hearing the petition against the eligibility of President Musharraf to be a candidate for next term of President. Earlier, Supreme Court rejected the petition but later again started hearing the same like petition. Then, Supreme Court allowed President to be a candidate for Presidency, but bound the election commission not to announce the result. The sword of uncertainty remained hanging over the heads of the nation. After Presidential elections, Supreme Court tried to extend the decision by all possible excuses. It seems a mockery with the nation, that the hearing of petition against president’s eligibility was announced to be pending for even 10 days, just because one of the judges of the bench was going to attend the wedding of his daughter. Not only this, three times, CJP changed the compositions of bench listening the case of eligibility. It all was self evident that Supreme Court was simply planning not to allow President Musharraf to continue holding his office any more. Supreme Court was just delaying the decision against him till 15th November 2007, till the term of National assembly get completed and President Musharraf then had remained by no chance of making any amendment in constitution by the assembly. It all was nerve stressing and alarming for President. He had waited long for the full decision regarding the reinstatement of CJP to be announced by Supreme Court. Supreme Court was bound legally to release full decision in 90 days, but this period also passed without having the issuance of the full decision. Moreover, constitutionally Supreme Court was even not given by the mandate to entertain any petition against the President’s elections.

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Article 41 (Clause 6)

The validity of election of the President shall not be called in question by or before any court or other authority.

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Making the clear violation of constitution, Supreme Court was entertaining the petitions against President and was trying much to delay the decision till 15th November. Meanwhile, a bloody campaign of suicide attacks stimulated with so much acceleration in settled districts of Pakistan. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement forces were cornered by Supreme Court and all the fragments of the society. A form of civil war was going to develop in Pakistan. Government was in the state of semi paralysis. The general elections were near in few months. All the self exiled politicians were returning back to Pakistan with having strong lobbies behind in West. Under such state of affairs, ISI reported something very important and alarming. It was about the secret meeting of Aitzaz Ahsan with Mr. Khalil ur Rehman Ramday in the Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting was very meaningful in understanding what Supreme Court was planning to do with Musharraf. The case of eligibility of President was in court. Khalil Ramday was heading the bench. Aitzaz Ahsan was representing himself in court against the eligibility of Musharraf. It was legally very undesirable to set secret meetings between the judge and a lawyer. There were also various indications and reports about the foreign money involved to promote all that lawyers’ campaign. Reportedly this money was going to Aitzaz Ahsan through various channels, mostly including few NGOs and human rights’ activists. There were also the reports of Aitzaz’s undisclosed visits to India during all that campaign. Justice Rana Bhahwandas’ famous statement in very start of all that reference’s episode, “Soon, we would give good news to nation” was also something important to read between the lines.

All of a sudden, suspicions against the role of Pakistan in war against terror were being floated in international media. International community started speaking against Pakistan and starting asking for restoration of Democracy in Pakistan. To promote the dangerous agenda against Pakistan, ‘Newsweek’ magazine came out with a title story, “Most dangerous nation in the world is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s Pakistan”. Pakistan’s nuclear status was under a deadly threat. Ground field was well set to announce by world powers that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not safe and that terrorists could take control of them. Although IAEA had already announced that chapter of nuclear proliferation is closed for Pakistan, but Benazir Bhutto coined a strange statement that she could allow the access of international agencies to Dr. A.Q. Khan and that she could allow American forces to operate in Pakistan’s tribal areas. On one side, a well planned campaign was going on, and on the other hand Economy of Pakistan started suffering negative trends for the first time in last many years.

President Musharraf tolerated all that but finally when he found that things are slipping away from the hands of Pakistan, and that inaction at that time would lead to total chaos and destruction and the irrecoverable damage to Pakistan, he finally decided to impose the state of emergency on 3rd November 2007. Judges were offered to take oath under new PCO. Many judges accepted this offer and many refused. Those who refused, including Iftikhar Chaudhry, started a new version of Lawyers’ movement.

Let us see what constitution allowed President Musharraf at that time.

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Article 232 (1)

If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists in which the security of Pakistan, or any part thereof, is threatened by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond the power of a Provincial Government to control, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency.

Article 236 (2)

The vailidity of any proclamation issued or order made under this part shall not be called in question in any court.

Article 270 AA (3)

All proclamations, President’s orders, Ordinances, Chief Executive’s orders, laws, regulations, enactments, including amendments in the Constitution, notifications, rules, orders or bye-laws enforce immediately before the date on the date which this Article comes into force shall continue in force until altered, repealed or altered by the competent authority.

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What more to be lost?

We must see what Pakistan has achieved so far and what has been lost after the campaign of lawyers. Unfortunately, it seems that we have lost everything, and achieved nothing. Pakistan’s Economy is out of business now. Pakistan is now on the list of most insecure countries. Pakistan’s institutions are breaking up. Rotten politicians are back on stage. Most corrupt and incompetent leadership is on the charge of government. Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence services are maligned nationally and internationally. Pakistan’s nuclear status is at stake. What more wrong and what more horrible can be expected.

So far no movement or strong demonstration is made against the extremists and terrorists. Civil society and human rights activists are used to speak against them in very soft words, usually on TV screens, but not on roads. All the focus is to speak against former President, armed forces and intelligence services, which indirectly is meant to strengthen the anti-state elements. The duality of Pakistani media  is well exposed since 2007. First, it was said that General Musharraf is not going to remove his military uniform etc, but he appointed new army chief. Then, was said that he is not going to lift state of emergency, but he lifted it up. Then, was said that general elections would be rigged for favourable results, but the entire world observed that elections were the most free, fair and peaceful. Media broke much news that former President is going to fly away from Pakistan in 48 hours, but all was bogus. Then it was said that President is going to dissolve the assemblies, but even it did not happen. On the other hand, political parties are well naked as well. The same PPP, which supported Lawyers’ Movement with full energy, started speaking against this movement after being elected. Mr. Zardari signed thrice the agreements for restoration of judges, but then refused it. The time, when Lawyers’ Movement was having last breaths, the decision of Supreme Court regarding the disqualification of Sharif brothers, ignited it again. Things are crystal clear. Lawyers used the politicians and later PML-N used the lawyers for their vested interests.

All patriotic Pakistanis must open their eyes and must smell the conspiracy behind. CIA and RAW are fully active and involved behind all that mess. They had set well their assets in media to promote anarchy and disinformation in Pakistan. Media has done nothing in discouraging the extremism and terrorism. Media has promoted the international campaign more than them. The focus and concern is shifted from the issues of national interests. No one cares of the economic fall down. No one asked where the foreign reserve of 16.7 Billion dollars has gone down to 5 billion dollars in few months under democratic government. No one asks for the reason why we are forced to beg IMF. No one asks why Dr. Samar Mubarik had been forced to leave his seat. No one cares of the funds of Nuclear and missile research program being cut by more than 50 %. No one cares from where Baitullah Mehsud of Waziristan is getting satellite information and weapons and suicide jackets. No one is caring of the separatist organisations in Baluchistan. Media is not telling us that for 7 months, the funds of paramilitary and police of NWFP are stopped by the government and that Pakistan armed forces are supplying weapons to them. Media would never tell about the holiday being announced by Chief Minister Balochistan, Aslam Raeesani on 15th August 2008 to synchronise it with Indian Independence Day. Media is not focussing about the drones attacks on tribal areas. What media is speaking for is just about the lawyers’ movement. So that Pakistani nation never get able to think of any other issues, which are far important for the sovereignty of Pakistan.

It’s all a psychological war. Nation must open their eyes. We must not been misguided by the propagandas and perceptions. Our enemies have played a dangerous double game. We must not give them any impression that Pakistan is going through a situation of civil war and disintegration. We must not suffer paralysis through analysis. We must stand for Pakistan armed forces in such state of affairs. Pakistan is not ready for British form of democracy. Pakistan is more important than democracy or constitution. Human rights, civil liberties, democracy and constitution are just the part of nation. Nation is not the part of them. We must safeguard Pakistan. Pakistan comes first.

Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry is back in his office as a chief justice. PML-N’s pressure tactics win. Army Chief again has shown patience and resolution to avoid playing any role in politics. But game is not ended. It’s just a start. Time not always remain the same. Future would decide about it and about the role of Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry. There still are many constitutional and legal issues. What would be the fate of those judges who have taken fresh oath under PCO? Would he give the favour to those, who supported him or would he demonstrate the neutrality? Would he take the notice over NRO, when the case against it would re-start in Supreme Court? Would he take actions against those judges who took oath under PCO on 3rd November 2007? Would he like to reform the session courts, high courts and Supreme Court? Above all, would he like to proof that the findings in Presidential reference were not correct and that he is not guilty of anything wrong. What if the disqualification of Sharif brothers remain hold? Would PML-N again start the violent campaign? What about those countries and the guarantees, which made reconciliation just before sit in (Dharna), instead of possible Martial Law.

Let us end this article by the last words of letter of Naeem Bukhari to CJP,

My Lord, we all live in the womb of time and are judged, both by the present and by history. The judgment about you, being rendered in the present, is adverse in the extreme.”

(www.geocities.com/nayyarafaq)

(1) A Proclamation issued under this part may be varied or revoked by a subsequent Proclamation.
(2) The validity of any Proclamation issued or Order made under this Part shall not be called in question in any court.
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