Supreme Court Convicts Prime Minister For Not Complying Its Order
A dark chapter was written in the political history of Pakistan last week when a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court convicted Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani for his willful intent of not complying with its order regarding writing a letter to the Swiss and other authorities for the reopening of illegal wealth cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. Within hours, the government announced its decision to appeal against the verdict.
Prime Minister Gilani, who had earlier earned the distinction of being the longest serving genuinely democratically elected prime minister of the country, also became the first prime minister in a democratic dispensation convicted on the charge of deliberately disobeying the country's highest court.
A seven-member special bench of the apex court headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk, while announcing the short order in the contempt of court case against the hapless premier, ruled that the accused is found guilty of contempt for willfully flouting the directions of the Supreme Court. PM Gilani was punished with imprisonment till the rising of the court.
Gilani, who appeared before the court along with his cabinet members, was called to the rostrum for his conviction for flouting the court order.
Reading an already prepared verdict, Justice Nasirul Mulk said, "For the reasons to be recorded later, the accused Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and Chief Executive of the federation, is found guilty of and convicted for contempt of court under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with Section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance (Ordinance V of 2003) for the willful flouting, disregard and disobedience of this court's direction contained in paragraph number 178 of the judgment delivered in the case of Dr. Mubashar Hasan vs the federation of Pakistan after our satisfaction that the contempt committed by PM Gilani is substantially detrimental to the administration of justice and tends to bring this court and the judiciary of the country into ridicule".
After showing restraint for over three years, the apex court was left with no option but to finally issue a show cause notice to the premier on January 16 for not implementing its order on the NRO and later summoned him on January 19. The court had finally framed charges against the premier on February 13.
During the course of the hearings, the court had repeatedly asked the counsel for the premier to ask his client to write the letter to the Swiss authorities. However, Aitzaz Ahsan apart from opposing the bench for not being competent to hear the case stressed on the immunity enjoyed by the president under international laws.
Only NA Speaker Can Disqualify Me, Says PM
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani challenged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to bring a no-confidence move against him if it had the courage and also reiterated that it was only the speaker of the National Assembly who could disqualify him whatever the decision against him was. "Whatever is the decision, nobody except you the speaker, can disqualify me. You are the custodian of the house. You are not here to act like the post office rather you have to set up your court and apply your mind," said Prime Minister Gilani.
Osama's Family Repatriated To
Under the cover of darkness, former Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's 14-member family was quietly repatriated to Saudi Arabia on a special Saudi chartered plane last week.
According to sources, the special plane reached the Benazir Bhutto International Airport to carry the family to Saudi Arabia. The family members, including three wives and two daughters of Osama bin Laden, were transported to the BBIA in a coaster at approximately 10 minutes past midnight amidst stringent security measures taken by the security agencies and Islamabad Police.
According to sources, the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC), well before the departure of the Al-Qaeda leader's family, completed the documentation process necessary for the deportation and gave them the green signal to depart. At 11:00 pm on Thursday night, a platoon of Islamabad Police lady commandos reached the guest house followed by five vehicles of police commandos and six vehicles of district administration and intelligence agency operators. National and international media was also present in front of the house to cover the event but they were not allowed to talk to any family member, and that the women didn't wish to be seen by the men since they observed purdah. The coaster was covered with white sheets before the veiled women climbed aboard. The ambassador of Saudi Arabia in Islamabad and other relevant officials were present at the Benazir Bhutto Airport as well. The family checked in through the VIP Rawal Lounge, before departing the country.
Police Operation In Lyari
Time magazine unveiled its list of 100 people it considers "influential," including Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, featured on the unranked list with Taliban chief Mullah Omar, North Korea's Kim Jong-un and Syrian strongman Two policemen including a CID officer, a citizen and two miscreants were killed while 20 others sustained injuries in a gun-battle in Lyari. The death toll in three days of fierce battle between law enforcers and criminals has climbed to 24. Those injured in rocket and hand grenade attacks also included police personnel and media men. The situation remains volatile in Lyari as criminals are putting up tough resistance by using hand grenades, rockets and sophisticated weapons against law enforcement agencies. Several residents have fled from their homes due to the ongoing wave of violence. However, police and FC personnel have captured some parts of the area and taken positions on rooftops of tall buildings, as crack down on gangsters continues in the troublesome area.
At Juman Shah plot, an Armored Personnel Carrier's (APC) tyres were destroyed when it came under rocket and grenade attack. However, the policemen inside the carrier remained unhurt.
A CID official, Fayaz Ahmed lost his life in a rocket and fire attack in Cheel Chowk area.
Rockets were fired from unknown direction on police personnel and representatives of media injuring over a dozen people including 2 media persons and 2 DSPs.
The terrified residents of Lyari claimed that due to the operation, they had been confined to their homes and the exchange of fire between the police and gangsters had created fear and panic amongst the residents. Families from the area continued to leave to move to safer locations as tension prevailed in the area.
Bajwa - New DG ISPR
Former commander of the 111-Brigade, Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, has been appointed as Director-General, Inter-Services Public Relations. Maj Gen Bajwa, who replaces Maj Gen Athar Abbas, is a highly-respected soldier with rich experience as a former combat commander. He has been moved to the media side after his successful bid as a combat commander in Wana. He assisted General Pervez Musharraf, in compiling his book, In The Line of Fire, as his staff officer.
Farman Shinwari Named New Al-Qaeda Chief In Pakistan
Al-Qaeda has named Farman Ali Shinwari, hailing from Landikotal subdivision of Khyber Agency, as its head in Pakistan. A statement had been issued by the Al-Qaeda leadership, saying that Farman Ali Shinwari has been chosen as the head in Pakistan. The statement said that reason of his selection was his close affiliation with Badar Mansoor and his knowledge about Fata.
Pakistan Test-Fires Nuclear Capable Ballistic Missile
Displaying its prowess in the missile technology, Pakistan successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable intermediate-range surface-to-surface ballistic Hatf IV (Shaheen-1A) missile last week.
Fired from an undisclosed location, Pakistan carried out this successful test-fire almost a week following the Indian announcement of test-launch of 5,000-km range nuclear-capable Agni with Washington calling for "restraint" among nuclear powers.
"The missile is an improved version of Shaheen-1 with improvements in range and technical parameters, and having capability of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads," said an announcement of the ISPR following the successful test-fire by Pakistan.
President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated the scientists working on the programme over the success of the missile test. Though the range and payload of this missile are not disclosed, many say that Shaheen-1 is estimated to have a payload capacity of 1,000 kilograms and range of 750 kilometres. However, it can hit a target in much longer range.
Reshuffle In Sindh Cabinet
Following the recent changes in the federal cabinet to achieve political benefits, the Sindh government has also agreed upon a reshuffle in the Sindh cabinet.
According to sources, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wassan has been removed and he is now planning to go abroad on a long leave. Sources said the home minister had submitted an application with the Sindh chief minister, saying he wanted to go to the United Kingdom for treatment.
However, in the wake of deteriorating law and order in the city, the timing of his leave has fuelled speculations that the home minister is going to be replaced. Interestingly, former home minister Zulfiqar Mirza had also gone on leave before his replacement.