Pakistan’s experience may be valuable for Nepal as both these countries have some common characteristics like a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic population. Pakistan’s failure in adopting a constitution from its Constituent Assembly, shuttling between presidential and parliamentary systems, frequent and prolonged army rules, a hardly independent judiciary can be lessons for Nepal. President Zardari seems lucky to become the first elected head of the state to address a joint sitting of Pakistan’s Parliament for the fifth consecutive year as democratically elected governments had been toppled by military coups without allowing them to complete their terms.
The civilian government and its powerful military had trust deficit since Osama bin Laden was captured and killed by the US Marines in May, 2011 in the garrison town. The government failed to assure the world that the security agencies were not aware of the long stay of Osama there. The government led by PM Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, therefore, became sceptic of the military takeover, which, perhaps, led to ‘memogate’ scandal by getting an unsigned memo submitted to the US military to stop the army coup, if at all in the offing. The army got irritated by the memo and wanted to know the persons behind it.
The relation between the civilian government and the army deteriorated when the army chief sent his reply without consulting the government to the commission constituted by the Supreme Court intervening on an appeal seeking responses from the president, the PM and the chiefs of the army and intelligence to investigate the scandal. PM Gilani took it as unconstitutional and illegal. In return, the army chief warned the PM of “ grievous consequences for the country”.
To cool down the tension, PM Gilani called for a meeting for national unity participated in by chiefs of the army and intelligence and also applauded the role of the army in the cabinet defence committee meeting by holding the armed forces as a pillar of the nation’s resilience and strength. He also assured the army of the support of his government, parliament and, above all, the patriotic people. Although, the judicial committee is yet to decide, this tension seems to have cooled down, for the time being, with the resignation of the ambassador Husain Haqqani.
But this time, unfortunately, to save the president Zardari, PM Gilani himself has to bear the brunt of the charges of corruption leveled against the president, by refusing the order of the Supreme Court to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen the money-laundering case against president Zardari. The Supreme Court has slapped the contempt case on the PM for disobeying its order to the government for not initiating action against the president. It appears to be a tug of war between the Executive and the Judiciary- between the PM and Iftikhar Chaudhry, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the PM disobeys the order holding presidential immunity as the reason behind his inaction.
Observers hold the impasse rooted in the reinstatement of Justice Chaudhry, who had refused to resign as per instruction of the then president Musharraf. As a result he was dismissed and house-arrested along with several judges, who refused to justify the emergency toeing the line of Musharraf. Justice Choudhry appears to react to his delayed reinstatement as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by the president against the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League( N) agreement reached at Muree, on March 9, 2008 to reinstate the superior judges sacked in the Novenmber 3, 2007 by president Musharraf, within a month of their government being formed through a resolution of parliament and also to form a historic coalition government by joining the government led by each party at the center and in the provinces.
President Zardari took several months to reinstate Justice Chaudhry, although his colleagues were reinstated earlier. Perhaps, he always apprehended that Justice Chaudhry, when reinstated as the Chief Justice, might take up the legal validity of the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance paving the way for the reopening of his corruption cases withdrawn by president Musharaf
Secondly, with his reinstatement, he openly admits his mission to restore his own glory, which he acquired through the battle against his attempted removal by Musharraf in 2007. Thirdly; he wants to show that he is dead against the corrupt leaders. Fourthly, he seemed to be in favour of the army chief against the president Zardari who allegedly approved the memo. Perhaps he is a sympathizer of Nawaz Sharif who took up the case of his reinstatement with the president strongly. Fifthly, he avoids opposing the army as the judiciary had acted in the past. It had approved the takeover of the civilian government by president Musharraf in 2000.
If the final judgment is pronounced in the contempt case against the PM, he may have to resign, and if he writes to the Swiss authority, the president has to resign. In both the cases, the present government is on a weak wicket, which may not allow the elected government to complete its full term. from THT