ON and on it goes, the endless sparring between the judiciary and the government, and the government’s proxies sometimes. Fasih Bokhari, chairman of the National Accountability Bureau, has written an extraordinary letter to President Zardari and very deliberately made its provocative contents public. The Supreme Court, Mr Bokhari has alleged, is grossly interfering in NAB’s workings and its actions may even amount to “pre-poll rigging”. Separating the substance of the chairman’s accusations and the likely intentions behind them present two very different pictures. First, the likely intentions behind the letter. In writing to the president, Mr Bokhari appears to have cast aside all semblance of neutrality and independence. It is not so much the thrust of the NAB chairman’s complaints against the superior judiciary but the person he has addressed them to that is deeply problematic. Is President Zardari somehow supposed to come to the rescue of the allegedly besieged Mr Bokhari and NAB? In writing to the president, was Mr Bokhari evoking shades of Naeem Bokhari’s open letter to Gen Musharraf that led to the dismissal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in 2007? That these questions need be asked at all in this moment of growing controversy and crisis is itself a testament to the unnecessary and regrettable politicisation the NAB chairman has stirred up.

Unhappily, and not unusually, the Supreme Court itself is not entirely blameless in the present situation. The RPP case has emerged almost from nowhere to threaten a fresh political and constitutional crisis. The timing of the verbal order — followed by a less clear written order — to seemingly arrest the prime minister while Tahirul Qadri and thousands of his followers were calling for the ouster of the government a few hundred yards away was tone deaf, to say the least. The chief justice tasking a two-member bench of the Supreme Court to look into the death of NAB officer Kamran Faisal before even the basic facts are established seems unnecessary and premature. The only positive so far: even as the sparring has picked up again, neither the government nor the court appears to be truly spoiling for another major fight.

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Comments (5)

akhter husain
January 30, 2013 3:23 pm
Battle of wit ends up when one of the two accede to the demands of the other.This war of wits started ,as rightly pointed out in the editorial,when a reference against CJP was sent to judicial council for consideration after Naeem Bokhari's open letter was printed in media.The end to this drama will continue as long as power to rule is not decided that is who should call the shots ,the politicians or judiciary.Sooner the drop scene of this episode the better it would be for the country.
January 30, 2013 8:05 pm
If I am not wrong, Dawn had reported that Bokhari is the second high profile officer to point out meddling in affairs of his organisation by the SC in a year. Perhapse the example of Balochistan advocate general, who resigned in court after the CJ insisted on mentioning of what he thought is correct in report on missing persons, saying that 'he wants to serve with dignity'. Perhapse Babar Awan's cancellation of lawyer's licence was missed out of Dawn report. And last, perhapse the judicial gags put on Faisal Raza Abidi are also missed out in the report. However, the editorial at least brought out something that is not noting.
January 31, 2013 1:40 am
supreme court has taken the right step.
Husain Jan
January 30, 2013 6:43 am
What an editorial !!! When many top guns, including the present PM - who was then a federal minister- are reportedly involved in causing loss of billions of rupees to the exchequer and when the case of an officer associated with its investigation is suspected to have been murdered then how the SC action to form a bench to explore the suicide / murder incident can be termed as premature or unnecessary ?? After all the RPP case is lingering on since long and NAB, as usual....yes, as usual, does not appear to be interested in nabbing the culprits. Under the given scenario what should have the SC done ? Kept quite and see the drama of investigation by the govt appointed commission ?
January 30, 2013 4:26 am
A balanced evaluation of the problem and sane advice rendered, as usual, by Dawn.
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