It is said that there really can be no peace without justice and present mess in our country is a prime example of this. It is indeed a passage of time where not even the most staunch supporter of Judicial System in Pakistan can defend it as it has failed miserably to deliver justice to the people of Pakistan .One may argue that why single out Judicial system when other systems have failed too but then judiciary was given a golden chance to revamp itself a few yrs ago by Pakistani people. Unfortunately the post lawyers movement era for judicial system in Pakistan is not what people hoped for and situation has worsened to a point that drastic steps like military courts had to be taken.
The Ex CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry who was the most powerful person during his second tenure,failed to bring any reform in judicial system and instead ended up making himself a highly politicized and controversial figure due to wrong priorities and interests. Interestingly enough the Ex CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry however is now providing the superior judiciary a chance to redeem itself through a 20 Billion defamation case against Imran Khan.
Although the intention behind this case is a political one as both Ex CJ and PML_N believe that since PTI and Imran Khan don’t have a video where Ex CJ is conspiring with Returning Officers ,nothing can prove their guilt. However what they aren’t expecting is that what if Judiciary takes it up in a fair manner and started taking circumstantial evidences, witnesses, data and observations from ECP,NADRA,Tribunals. What if they started calling Returning Officers in court for their statements? Wont this itself give PTI the platform to make tribunal findings of various constituencies part of a legal hearing which is something that PML-N is unwilling to give PTI in judicial commission.
Allegation by Imran Khan On Iftikhar Chaudhry: “ The 2013 elections was a rigged one with Returning Officers under the influence of Iftikhar Chaudhry helping in the rigging “ One should keep in mind that Imran Khan is not the only one who has levelled this allegation against him. All main political parties except PML_N has this very same point of view .
Senior PPP leader Amin Fahim went even furthur and narrated an incident where Ex CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry visited a RO in Matiari during election days and stayed in RO office for over 3 hrs.
With statements like above,the court may call some other politicians to record their statements during hearing but still court will most definitely be more interested to know of what neutral observers and ECP have to say in this regard.Unfortunately for Iftikhar Chaudhry , statements from EX Secretary ECP Kanwar Dilshad ,Ex Member ECP Afzal Khan and present ECP member Rtd Justice Riaz Kiyani are on record where they have said the same thing for Mr Iftikhar Chaudhry.
With all indicators,statements and facts indicating that ROs were working under the influence of the then Chief Justice of Pakistan,the only question remains to be answered is that did the ROs did justice to the duty that they were given i.e to conduct a free and fair elections or did they just fail in doing so under some directive from higher powers.Lets just forget about what Imran Khan or any other say about ROs role in rigging and just rely upon the reports by independent organizations like FAFEN(Free And Fair Election Network) or the post elections report by ECP
Report by Fafen on elections 2013 gives a detailed account of irregularities that took place and interestingly most of them have a RO role in it, be it changing the polling schemes on last day against ECP rules or disappearance of form 14,form 15 in a huge no of constituencies.Here r a few excerpts from the report:
Another post election report this time by ECP itself raises serious doubts over Returning Officers role in the whole elections process.The findings were so concrete that ECP report holds Returning Officers responsible for the election mess.
The post elections report by ECP narrates how returning officers were behaving on their own without ECP control over them .The polling scheme was changed on almost 100 constituencies by ROs on last day.Staff on polling stations was changed by ROs at the last moment and untrained staff was brought for duty.Such steps in an organized way raises serious concerns that all these actions by ROs were done under the directive of Iftikhar Chaudhry who was quite evidently the only person that ROs were listening and responding to .
If there was any doubt left over Returning Officers role,it was removed when just last month Aitzaz Ahsan made public his whitepaper on rigging in NA 124 with proofs.The whitepaper has exposed the role of returning officers and how they did the rigging.With unsealed bags,absence of form 14,form 15 in bags,waste garbage in many polling bags of NA 124,Aitzaz Ahsan feels that there is no way a RO could have done this on his own and definitely had the backing of some higher authority.sharing 2 of his conclusions here from the actual whitepaper:
Just as this blog cant end without the mention of Arsalan Iftikhar’s case,the defamation case in court cant go without the mention of Arsalan Iftikhar case. Everyone remembers how serious those allegations were .Shaoib Suddle in his initial report sumbitted infront of SC on 5/12/2012, confirmed that there were close ties between Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz with transactions done between them.The commission demanded from higher court more time and asked for direct access to Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz for direct Investigation.
However SC instead of allowing access,dissolved the Suddle Commission just after one day of submission of initial report terming it a personal matter between two individuals.It was a very bizarre move as nobody understood that how can bribing millions of rupees to the son of Chief Justice can be considered a personal affair but nobody dared to question the verdict of SC.
The events in last year or so suggests that even in Arsalan Iftikhar case, there was some kind of involvement of Iftikhar Chaudhry too.Even though Iftikhar chaudhry denies that he had ever met anybody from malik riaz family,there are photos of iftikhar chaudhry sitting casually with malik riaz’s younger brother shahid malik at Shahid Malik residence in UK.
If Arsalan had been doing this on his own,Iftikhar Chaudhry after that case would have stopped asking for favors for his son and would have tried to distance himself from him but we see the opposite of that.Just last year Iftikhar Chaudhry asked the Balochistan Govt to make his son as Chirman of Balochistan Investment Board and even he was given the post by Govt.However due to severe criticism from all sections he was asked to leave the post. Hasil Bazinjo who is chief of ruling party in Balochistan is on record that Iftikhar Chaudhry wanted us to make his son as Chairman Investment Baord.
Accountability of Elections 2013 is such a National issue for Pakistanis which many of the fellow Pakistanis are still been unable to understand.The feeling that nothing can touch us even if we rig the elections will only make Govt go more and more confident that even with worst performance they can come back as votes really dont matter in Pakistan.If we let it go this time then be assured that political parties will only think of how to lobby in bureaucracy,judiciary and establishment for next elections.This case has indirectly given a chance to superior judiciary to become the savior of democracy in Pakistan.