Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Najam Sethi Must Want A Job In The Musharraf Government

How else to explain this shocking editorial, where the Daily Times essentially - though not explicitly - lays the blame for the imposition of emergency on the courts and media? Isn't that the same thing as blaming a raped woman for not dressing conservatively?
There is no doubt that there was “judicial activism” in the country not normally seen in third world states where institutions often malfunction. Before he got wrongly dismissed in March 2007, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had hundreds, some say thousands, of suo motu cases under his belt. He had already put the brakes on privatisation by reversing the sale of Pakistan Steel Mills. But after his reinstatement, the apex court underwent a radical and extremist transformation that, as it turns out, has harmed rather than helped Pakistan. The lawyers’ movement and its support among the general public made the judges square off against the government.

Unfortunately, many electronic media journalists, flushed by their new found freedom to say whatever they liked, motivated by the principle of subjecting the state to accountability, and offended by the government’s action to remove them from scenes of conflict, added to the tendency to push the executive to the wall. Regrettably, too, the Lal Masjid in Islamabad was returned by the Supreme Court to the terrorists under these conditions. A suo motu judiciary went after the “missing” people cases with a vengeance, regardless of the nature of the terrorist charges against them, threatening the civil servants with punishments, and indirectly causing them to lose initiative in the pursuit of their duties.

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