President Alvi requests CJP to form judicial commission to probe 'regime change conspiracy'

Published May 12, 2022
This combination of photos shows President Dr Arif Alvi (L) and Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. — Photos via Twitter/SC Registrar Office
This combination of photos shows President Dr Arif Alvi (L) and Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial. — Photos via Twitter/SC Registrar Office

President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday penned a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, urging him to constitute a judicial commission to investigate the "regime change conspiracy", which former prime minister Imran Khan claims was behind his ouster from the top office.

The letter from the president to the top judge comes less than two weeks after Imran wrote a similar letter to the president and CJP Bandial, requesting a public inquiry as well as the formation of a judicial commission to probe the "threat letter".

In his letter today, Dr Alvi suggested to the CJP that the proposed judicial commission should preferably be headed by him and must conduct open hearings to "thoroughly probe the allegations of regime change conspiracy to avert a political and economic crisis in the country".

The president said the world had seen myriad examples of "regime change" where operations were conducted through conspiracies to change a particular government and such plots were later confirmed by the declassification of top-secret documents.

He lamented that disclosures were made only when the destinies of those countries had been "significantly damaged by illegal interventions".

Emphasising the importance of the commission, the president warned that a serious political crisis was looming in Pakistan, saying major polarisation was also taking place in politics as well as among the people of Pakistan in the wake of recent events.

He stressed that it was the collective duty of all institutions to make utmost efforts to avert damaging consequences to the country and prevent further deterioration.

"It is regrettable that random comments are being quoted out of context, misunderstandings are fuelling, opportunities are being lost, confusions not dying down, and with the economy also in crisis, while the situation on the ground is approaching a political powder keg that may ignite at any time," he said in the letter.

Dr Alvi pointed out that the Supreme Court had taken such initiatives in the past to constitute judicial commissions in matters of national security, integrity, sovereignty and public interest.

“A judicial commission, headed by [former] chief justice Nasir ul Mulk and two judges of the top court, inquired into rigging allegations in 2013 elections. Similarly, judicial commissions were also formed to investigate the Memogate matter, and moreover, a judicial commission is also currently functional for missing persons, that is headed by a sitting judge”, he observed.

He cited press reports as saying that the prime minister had also expressed his desire for a commission.

The president said the nation held the Supreme Court in high regard and "expects it to meet the expectations". He added that the commission should investigate the matter "based not only on technicalities of law, but in the real spirit of justice".

Dr Alvi said a judicial commission would be a "great service to the country as people deserved clarity on the matter".

“Who knows better than your Honour that to prove, that a 'smoking gun' has been identified in the hand of a conspirator, or to find a possible money trail, or to identify meetings where people have been motivated towards cover action, or where people have been bought and sold, could be a vigorous exercise”, he added.

The president noted that he was of the strong opinion that "even recorded circumstantial evidence" could lead to some conclusions based not on technicalities of law but in the real spirit of justice.

He cited incidents such as the murder of former prime minister Shaheed Liaquat Ali Khan, the Agartala Conspiracy case, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s public waving of a letter and allegation of a conspiracy against him, President Ziaul Haq’s plane crash, Abbottabad incident and many others that, he said, remained inconclusive.

He regretted that people had alleged and strongly believed in such obvious but "unfortunately" unproven conspiracies.

Dr Alvi requested that the proposed judicial commission should conduct an in-depth and thorough investigation into the regime change conspiracy.

Regime change conspiracy: How it all unfolded

The controversy surrounding the no-confidence motion against the former premier Imran Khan took a dramatic turn when the embattled PM brandished a letter at a rally on March 27 — days before his ouster — claiming it contained evidence of a "foreign conspiracy" hatched to topple his government.

Imran had kept mum about the contents of the letter when he first unveiled it but he spilled the beans days later by naming the United States when the exit of his government appeared imminent.

Imran's allegation that the US spearheaded his exit from power was based on a cable received from Pakistan's Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, in which the envoy had reported about a meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs Donald Lu.

Majeed had reportedly said that Donald Lu warned that Imran Khan’s continuation in office, who was set to face a vote of no confidence, would have repercussions on bilateral relations. The US was said to be annoyed with Imran over his "independent foreign policy" and visit to Moscow.

The Pentagon and the State Department have repeatedly rejected the accusations, saying there was no veracity to it.

The National Security Committee (NSC), which includes all services chiefs as well as the head of Pakistan's top intelligence agency, took up the matter on March 31 with then premier Imran Khan in the chair. The forum decided to issue a "strong demarche" to a country that it did not name over what it termed as “blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan”.

It had also termed the interference "unacceptable under any circumstances" and said the language used in the communique was undiplomatic.

While the forum had stopped short of calling the interference a conspiracy at the time, another meeting of the NSC was held on April 22 with newly elected premier Shehbaz Sharif in the chair, and which included the same military chiefs who attended the March 31 session.

During its second meeting, the NSC statement said it “reaffirmed the decisions of the last NSC meeting” and explicitly went on to add that it found no evidence of a foreign conspiracy.

Opinion

Editorial

Updated 20 May, 2022

TTP peace talks

ANOTHER attempt to sue for peace with the outlawed TTP is being made, again facilitated by the Afghan Taliban that...
20 May, 2022

Beyond the law

THE senior judiciary should take care not to overreach in its zeal to ‘fix’ issues it ideally need not worry...
20 May, 2022

Political musical chairs

YET another political crisis is brewing in Balochistan, where old rivals Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and Sardar Yar...
Updated 19 May, 2022

To be or not to be

The same decision taken weeks or months from now will have far more devastating consequences.
19 May, 2022

Impact on Punjab

THE Supreme Court judgement interpreting the issue of disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 63A of the...
19 May, 2022

Forest fires

THOUGH spot and forest fires have become a perennial phenomenon especially in peak summer, the recent blazes —...