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‘What a lot of dust do I raise’

November 10, 2012

THE army chief insinuates that he calls the shots. The Supreme Court says that they do. The parliamentarians claim that they have that right.

The fly sat on the chariot wheel and said: “.. what a lot of dust I do raise!”

Going back to first principles, the people of a country require an armed force to deal with aggressors from without, a police force, fire-fighters et al to deal with strife within, a judiciary to adjudicate disputes according to a code of conduct (called ‘laws’) agreed upon by the people, representatives who make known their constituents’ views when formulating these laws, a bureaucracy to deal with administration (customs, health, tax, etc.) according to these laws, while the people go about their lives and daily affairs.

People offer to serve in performing these different functions, and are selected and paid by the public through taxes.

Thus all government institutions -- armed forces, bureaucracy, police, judiciary, etc.-- are executing different functions as paid servants of the people and the term ‘public servant’ accurately defines their status, whatever their own vision of themselves may be.

This status is one of respect wherever the contribution by persons in the public or private sector contributing to the general good through taking responsibility for a necessary function is recognised.

The people always head the power hierarchy within a country.

All government functionaries serve at their pleasure. Both would do well to remember this.


Why so much fuss?

WHY so much fuss about Gen Kayani’s statement in his address to army officers at GHQ?

He has merely stated what is very obvious and logical. He has defended the only institution which still has some semblance of discipline in this country.

His contention that nobody whether armed forces general or a civilian politician should be penalised unless proven guilty is very just, if the dice should not be loaded against them or in their favour during the legal proceedings. He was only implying that there should be no media trials if any army officers or generals are involved in any wrongdoings.

They should be allowed to go through due process of law. His two questions: (1) are we promoting the rule of law and constitution? and (2) are we strengthening or weakening the institutions?: are very pertinent and worth consideration.

I personally do not think the statement was in response to the CJ’s remarks during his address to the participants of 97th management course because the timings of two addresses do not confirm this theory.

What the CJ said during his address is also quite true and obvious. Nobody can deny the role of the Supreme Court as the custodian and legal interpreter of the constitution.However, the answer to the CJ’s five questions about the existence of a system of rewarding of merit, supremacy of law, trust of citizens in the state, present system having the capacity to eradicate corruption and protection of civil rights in Pakistan is a big ‘no’ and he and everyone else who is concerned knows it.

The big fuss is because our respected political leaders do not want to reform themselves and thrive on their paranoia about a khaki takeover.

The media also gives them support by coming up with all kind of odd speculations.

Our leaders, judiciary and media should be discussing the solutions to the institutions in the present state of affairs rather than knitting conspiracy theories.

Z. AHMED Islamabad