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Terrorism Still Posing Threat To World

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There will be no exaggeration to state here that the world is facing more danger than that of 9/11 as the terrorists are now in a better position to carry out the attacks. The United States has been spending a lot, but the situation is worsening with each passing day.

Rulers have miserably failed in their duties. Most of the tribesmen think that there is no justification for rulers to remain in power after failure in fulfilling their duties. The tribesmen fully agree with the statement of a US general.

The world is far less safe now than on September 11, 2001 due to US President George W. Bush's reaction to the attacks, notably in Iraq, the general who led UN forces in Bosnia said Tuesday. British General Sir Michael Rose praised the United States' invasion of Afghanistan in the immediate wake of the terror attacks in Washington and New York, saying the war on terror got off to a "brilliant start." "Instead of following up the military defeat of the Taliban with civil action and ensuring permanent security, President Bush, in his haste and ignorance, transferred his attentions to Iraq. The result is that the world is far less safe today than before he declared his war," he wrote in the Daily Mail, adding that Afghanistan remains unstable and the Taliban have regrouped."

The general is absolutely right in his words. The situation in Pakistan is also needing a careful study. There will be no denying the fact that Pakistan has become a hub for terrorists. The terrorists have almost succeeded in establishing their state in the tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border.

The current political situation in Pakistan is badly affecting the war on terrorism. An editorial comment discussed the internal political situation in Pakistan, which has also impact on the world politics. It stated that the politician has once again succumbed to the temptation of taking on the judiciary. The PMLQ president, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, has justified the deportation of Mr Nawaz Sharif on the basis of a “letter” from Saudi Arabia which caused the government to ignore the Supreme Court verdict and risk attracting the punishment for contempt of court. He says the Supreme Court will decide the right and wrong of the matter in the contempt proceedings already initiated by the PMLN.

The chief justice of the Supreme Court, Mr Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, speaking on the occasion of the opening ceremony of the judicial year 2007-08, chose to focus on the court’s responsibility to oppose violations of fundamental rights of the citizens and ended by saying: “In short, the court has to do justice. It has to do justice even though the heavens may fall”. While some government lawyers unconvincingly referred to the Quranic verse to defend Mr Sharif’s deportation, the attorney general Justice (Retd) Malik Muhammad Qayyum cautiously pretended to have no knowledge about the government’s decision to deport Mr Sharif in violation of the Supreme Court verdict.

The option of executive “defiance” of the courts came to the fore in Karachi in a more flagrant form when a mob at the Sindh High Court tried successfully to prevent the hearing of a case about the 12th May massacre when the supporters of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry were fired upon on the occasion of his arrival in Karachi. The responsibility for what happened that day is commonly placed on the shoulders of President General Pervez Musharraf and the MQM which is the dominant political party in the city and an ally of the PMLQ. The mob that thronged the Sindh High Court forced the judges to adjourn when warned of a threat to their physical well-being. An activist senior lawyer, prominent in the movement for judicial freedom in the country, was target-killed the same day as his taxi stopped at a red light.

If the government has deported Mr Sharif at the cost of losing whatever prestige it had at the Supreme Court, the case it makes is weak, to say the least. The official version of how the former prime minister was deported said clearly that he was arrested, then offered a choice of either facing a trial or leaving for Saudi Arabia. After this the official note said that he was placed on a flight to Saudi Arabia, without any indication of whether he accepted the choice. It was therefore surprising after this that the prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, and the PMLQ president, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, should both state that Mr Sharif was offered the choice and he opted to go to Saudi Arabia.

The other version of the story is that Mr Sharif refused to budge out of Pakistan and was willing to go to jail and face the cases brought against him by NAB. The Sharif family was very clear about what options it had. The option it chose was arrival in Pakistan after the “judicial revolution”. It was clear that any return to Saudi Arabia would seal their exile till 2010 without the option of travelling abroad at all. It is quite possible that the family anticipated the deportation to Saudi Arabia and therefore dropped Mr Shehbaz Sharif from the journey home. Both the brothers living in Saudi Arabia would have meant being stranded in Jeddah till 2010.

Saudi Arabia itself has been placed in a most embarrassing situation. Whoever orchestrated the “deal” of “Confidentiality Hold-Harmless Agreement” in 2000 must be wringing his hands in frustration at its strange denouement in 2007. Most individuals heretofore in the habit of speaking reverentially of the ruling family of Saudi Arabia are now compelled to question its “interference” in the law of the land by seeking to “supersede” the authority of the Supreme Court. The Saudi King may be irked by the prospect of going down in the estimation of the people of Pakistan in lockstep with the Musharraf regime. But the deed is done in the interests of the many confidential but important strategic links that the Pakistan army enjoys in the Gulf region.

Scary days are ahead, as the judiciary stands its ground and prepares to redress the plaints of those hurt by the government action of September 10. The PMLQ — much divided as well as weakened — has heard its party president talk about the imposition of an Emergency, and some ministers have referred to the option of martial law too. No matter what option the government exercises, its overtly expressed desire to save the 2007 general election from being ruined through destabilisation is being frustrated. It has opted to go it alone and not take the path of democratic give and take — “we are negotiating with the PPP in order to damage it” — and must now suffer the consequences of exposing the country to a most dangerous phase in its history. *

Second Editorial: ...and first casualty of the battle

The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi has accepted the bail plea of Maulana Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid, Islamabad, in eight cases but refused it in four including the ones registered in respect of the killing of a ranger and the abducting of some Chinese nationals. The cases will of course keep going up the judicial scale in appeal, but the political environment in which these cases will be heard may favour the vigilante cleric of Lal Masjid.

This would be a tragedy. The government of PMLQ will become less keen to pursue the cases against “extremism” as it faces the fallout from its recent political fiasco with regard to the return of the PMLN leader Mr Nawaz Sharif. The courts will sense the loss of edge of the official argument and give relief to a man who has the blood of many innocent people on his hands. Much pressure will come from the Lal Masjid acolytes in Islamabad and the clerical parties which the PMLQ would be interested in mollifying.

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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur District, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is (more...)

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