So, 83% of Pakistanis want the President out (according to International Republican Institute’s latest survey)
But, he would not budge… what a stone…. 🙂 Democracy when it works in my favor is democracy, when it doesn’t, it is just ignorable…
Enough is enough
The country is in trough
Mushi; you’ve a thousand times fluffed
t’s time for you to take-off
Here is an interesting editorial laying out the options –
After President Pervez Musharraf’s meeting with leaders of the erstwhile King’s Party, the PMLQ, on Saturday, the only feasible option for the president is to resign and bow out of the political scene. The PMLQ secretary general, Mr Mushahid Hussain Syed, told the TV channels that his party had given him two choices; either fight the impeachment or resign and go home. Although it was not spelled out how he would fight the impeachment, one can interpret the message of the party only one way: the president has no choice but to stand down if he can’t get the army and ISI to back him up.
The other message his party delivered to the president was even more significant. It told him that it would not support the use of Article 58-2(b) to pre-emptively dismiss the government and the assemblies “because that would destabilise the country”. The president had already expressed his intent not to use the said article. What was the need on the part of the PMLQ to emphasise this point? One can only say that by coming clear on the use of the said article without the support of the military the two had drawn a red line in the contest developing between the coalition parties and the president. It means that the president has accepted the option of either going down or quitting but not pulling down the system to keep himself in power.
Fighting the impeachment the constitutional way is spelled out in the Constitution. The president has the right to come to the joint session of parliament and present his defence or refutation. The PMLQ and his supporters will be there in the joint session to cheer him. Beyond this point the legal way is enveloped in an interpretive fog. Can he go to court against the charges made in the impeachment document? While it is clear that the impeachers have to charge him on two counts, it is not clear who will adjudicate the rights and wrongs of this charge sheet. Someone has already gone to the Sindh High Court challenging the intent of the impeachment move!
People who conceive of constitutional matters in tight laboratory conditions will have to accept that not even the legally “pure” lawyers’ movement was possible without the political leg-up given it by civil society and the political parties that had vowed to unseat the president. One can say that even the old Supreme Court that restored Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry last year took a good look at the crowds gathering outside in the streets to say goodbye to the Doctrine of Necessity before taking what was essentially a political decision. The impeachment too is not purely a legalism. The political aspects of it are overwhelming and they are coming to the fore.
The politics of impeachment is heating up, menacing to the president in its vociferous claims. Mr Asif Ali Zardari says the coalition has 350 votes in favour of impeachment although the total votes belonging to the coalition in both the houses are less than 310. The impeachment requires 295; therefore the hype is clearly meant to create a “psychology of stampede” among changeable politicians and dishearten a beleaguered president. Anyone who knows Pakistani politicians will tell you that changing masters in a crisis is never a problem here. The PMLN says a deluge of PMLQ votes was straining to join the impeachment move. The PMLQ had done the same sort of thing after the PMLN government was overthrown in 1999.
The lawyers, whose leader Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan had reacted in an extreme manner to the sequencing of impeachment before restoration of the judges, have realised the serious dimensions of what is about to happen. The Lahore High Court Bar leader Mr Anwar Kamal, a person of high probity and legal competence, has welcomed the decision to impeach the president first. This means the lawyers’ movement may be inclined, during its rally on August 14, to accept the PPP’s stance that restoring the judges while the president was in place would be fraught with risks. It is important that the rehabilitation of the judiciary take place without any political rifts.
Unless the president wants an opportunity to finally face the parliament — which he has not been able to [for many years] address under the Constitution — and defend himself against the contents of the impeachment, he should call it quits. He can do that even on the floor of the parliament after having made his case. To that he would be entitled as a right of our future generations.
Arcticle 47 of the Constitution:
47. Removal or impeachment of President.
1 – Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, the President may, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, be removed from office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity or impeached on a charge of violating the Constitution or gross misconduct.
2 – Not less than one-half of the total membership of either House may give to the Speaker of the National Assembly or, as the case may be, the Chairman written notice of its intention to move a resolution for the removal of, or, as the case may be, to impeach, the President; and such notice shall set out the particulars of his incapacity or of the charge against him.]
3 – If a notice under clause (2) is received by the Chairman, he shall transmit it forthwith to the Speaker.
4 – The Speaker shall, within three days of the receipt of a notice under clause (2) or clause (3), cause a copy of the notice to be transmitted to the President.
5 – The Speaker shall summon the two Houses to meet in a joint sitting not earlier than seven days and not later than fourteen days after the receipt of the notice by him.
6 – The joint sitting may investigate or cause to be investigated the ground or the charge upon which the notice is founded.
7 – The President shall have the right to appear and be represented during the investigation, if any, and before the joint sitting.
8 – If, after consideration of the result of the investigation, if any, a resolution is passed at the joint sitting by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] declaring that the President is unfit to hold the office due to incapacity or is guilty of violating the Constitution or of gross misconduct, the President shall cease to hold office immediately on the passing of the resolution.