The court examined the text for some time and then approved it.
Hence, a controversy that has been gripping the country for about three years seems to have come to an end. People should heave a sigh of relief that now, hopefully, the government would be able to spare some time to address their problems.
Also on the World Mental Health Day the right-hand man of President Zardari – Malik Riaz – started a new controversy. He filed a petition that the Supreme Court ‘shelve’ all matters pending against him till the retirement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. He said he doesn’t expect justice during Justice Chaudhry’s incumbency.
It’s too early to say what turn the situation will take in the days and weeks ahead. The government has many a ‘deception plans’ in the mind because of which no one can predict what somersault it will make at what stage.
On Tuesday i.e. only a day before the Swiss letter issue was scheduled to be taken up, it filed a review petition against the Sept 18 order of the Supreme Court. In that order the court had spelt out steps that included vetting of the letter’s draft by the court before approval. The petition said that according to true spirit of Paragraph 178 of the order, the letter to be written to the Swiss authorities is the government’s jurisdiction. It said that it was not envisaged to be a letter of the apex court, or approved by it.
The petition further said that the government would be justified in writing the letter in accordance with the requirements of para 178 and thereafter place the same before the court.
Almost everyone interpreted the move as another delaying tactic. The newspapers reported that on Wednesday (yesterday) the government would urge the court to decide the review petition before taking up the issue of the Swiss letter. The move, they said, would automatically delay the letter issue for some more time.
But the unpredictable law minister pulled a rabbit out of the hat on Wednesday. When the hearing started, he came up with the draft of a letter prepared after intensive consultations. He handed it over to the bench. The judges examined the same in the chamber. When the proceedings resumed, the bench expressed satisfaction over the wording.
This changed the situation in the courtroom. Contrary to all expectations, the situation appeared to be heading in the right direction. And since the court had no objection to the text of the Swiss letter, the review petition seems to have become redundant.
It’s a mystery if the conduct of the two sides was the result of some behind-the-scene moves or this was their professional course of action.
Apparently, some strings have been pulled from somewhere.
Some newspapers have been publishing for the last few days that the PPP was going to launch another serious attack on Chief Justice of Pakistan. They said the purpose was to force Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to resign.
Smelling the seriousness of the situation and the proposed attack’s likely impact on the image of the judiciary, a lawyer moved the Islamabad High Court to seek an injunction that the electronic media be restrained from telecasting the same.
The court granted the request and directed the relevant authorities to ensure that nothing against the judiciary was telecast.
It’s not clear whether it was because of this order or the change in the court’s behaviour viz-a-viz the Swiss letter or some other development that PPP Senator Faisal Raza Abidi cancelled the news conference he was scheduled to address in Rawalpindi on Wednesday.
So, for the time being, tensions have receded.
Taking advantage of the situation, the government may get approved the new National Accountability Commission (NAC) bill, which critics say is aimed at facilitating corrupt practices. One analyst said the NAC stands for “No Action against the Corrupt”.
Change seen in attitude on World Mental Health Day