Subverting the Constitution

The alleged action of Hussain Haqqani and several others, who are directly or indirectly implicated in imperilling the countrys national interests by approaching a foreign country in writing, clearly falls within the ambit of treason as contained in Article 6 of the Constitution. Never before in the history of any country has this kind of unspeakable conduct been seen. Legal recourse is the only course open to the present government. If no action is taken against the conspirators, Pakistan will be considered as a weak nation that is unable to protect itself against such conspiracy against those in authority. The words used in the memorandum are sufficient to convict its authors of treason. It states: Should you be willing to do so, Washington's political/military backing would result in a revamp of the civilian government that, while weak at the top echelon in terms of strategic direction and implementation (even though mandated by domestic political forces), in a wholesale manner replaces the national security adviser and other national security officials with trusted advisers that include ex-military and civilian leaders favourably viewed by Washington, each of whom have long and historical ties to the US military, political and intelligence communities. Names will be provided to you in a face-to-face meeting with the person delivering this message. In the event Washington's direct intervention behind-the-scenes can be secured through your personal communication with Kayani (he will likely listen only to you at this moment) to stand down the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, the new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the civilian apparatus, to do the following. Undoubtedly, the people may have never before seen such selling out of ones national sovereignty, pride or self-respect. In the history of treason trials, there is no case of such sickening self-indictment by the conspirators of their evil deeds. This matter is infinitely clearer than that of the Roger Casement, in which the accused was convicted of spying and working for the Germans against his own country - the UK. As such, the prosecution must also involve the President. On the matter of the Presidents involvement, there is sufficient evidence; in particular, when Ijaz told the press that Mullen also insisted that I obtain the Ambassador's assurance that President Zardari had approved the offers contained in the memorandum. I did exactly those two things." Since all this evidence is available though the electronic media, there is really no scope for in-house inquiries of the type now being canvassed by the PM involving Haqqani to delay the result. Lets briefly traverse the legal provision, which is, in fact, in the Constitution itself; Article 6, High Treason: (1) Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason. (2) Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason. [(2A) An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.] (3) Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason. Another constitutional provision, which has direct bearing on this matter of grave national significance, is mentioned here. Article 5 of the Constitution says: (1) Loyalty to the State is the basic duty of every citizen. (2) Obedience to the Constitution and law is the [inviolable] obligation of every citizen wherever he may be and of every other person for the time being within Pakistan. In sum, the combined effect of these twin constitutional portions is that the acts which constitute criminal offences of this kind aim to apply directly to anyone, who aims to subvert the Constitution and is as much culpable as who actually does so by force. Also, aiding or abetting this anti-State conduct is equally proscribed. Furthermore, inviting another foreign power to actually do so by the use of might, howsoever defined, is equally a grave act of heinous proportions. Lastly, the Constitution mandates every one to remain loyal to it and the State. Forget about Mir Jaffer and Mir Sadiq; what has happened in this case is an act of almost unbelievable treachery by those responsible for safeguarding the countrys independence and sovereignty. Let me thus conclude by submitting that should the government fail to do so, it will be in the dock as well. The writer is a barrister at law (UK and US), senior advocate of the Supreme Court, and advisor to four Pakistans premiers on International and Legal Affairs, Special UN Ambassador for Family and Special International Ambassador to UN for Aged People, Professor, Harvard.

The writer is barrister at law (US and UK), senior advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and professor at Harvard University.

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