loader

Daily Briefs


Photo : Al Jazeera

26 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.89

Pakistan This Week



Judiciary's Week Out: Courts on the functioning of the NAB, abduction of a journalist, and 'those we don't speak of'

PR Daily Brief | D. Suba Chandran

During the week, there were two major decisions by the judiciary – the first one by the Supreme Court and the second one by the Islamabad High Court – on the functioning of the NAB and the abduction of a journalist in the capital. Both were highly critical of the functioning of the State – the elected government and the institutions – directly, and the Deep State – indirectly.

Supreme Court on the functioning of the National Accountably Bureau (NAB)
The first one was on the NAB (National Accountability Bureau). During the recent months, the NAB has been under heavy criticisms for the way it has been functioning on a partisan manner. And the verdict of Justice Maqbool Baqar highlighted it exactly. According to Dawn, the verdict stated: "The bureau (NAB) seems reluctant in proceeding against people on one side of the political divide even in respect of financial scams of massive proportion while those on the other side are being arrested and incarcerated for months and years without providing any sufficient cause even when the law mandates investigations to be concluded expeditiously and trial to be concluded within 30 days."

The verdict does not only talk about the partisan approach of the NAB but also underlines how the functioning of the Bureau undermines the rights enshrined by the Constitution to the individuals. According to the verdict, "The present case is a classic example of trampling of fundamental rights, unlawful deprivation of freedom, and liberty and the complete disregard for human dignity as guaranteed by the Constitution."

One of the leading newspaper – the News International of the Jang group has repeatedly been emphasising about the above issue in general, and especially after the arrest of its owner. Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman, the owner of the influential Jang group, that has dailies and TV channels, was arrested in March 2020 and has been under the NAB custody. If the NAB could accuse and arrest a person like Mir Rahman, ordinary citizen has no chance against the Bureau, if it wants to pursue a case.

According to Dawn, "Justice Baqar regretted that it was frequently alleged that NAB was being flagrantly used for political engineering and that the bureau's discriminatory approach was also affecting its image and had shaken the faith of people in its credibility and impartiality."

The above is the larger fear over the NAB's functioning on three counts. First, whether the NAB is being used for political engineering. Second, how impartial is the NAB. And third, whether the functioning of the NAB would undermine the public faith in the accountability process.

The two leading opposition parties – PPP and PML-N have repeatedly been talking about the above three issues. So is the national media; editorials have been repeatedly written on the need for the NAB to function beyond partisan manner and also not be used by other institutions to undermine the political process.

The last point above is related to the role of the Deep State in influencing the functioning of the NAB. Does the Supreme Court's harsh statement target only the NAB? Or, is there a veiled threat to the Deep State as well?

Major Points of the Verdict:

  • "The NAB Ordinance from its very inception became increasingly controversial, its image has come under cloud and there is a widespread perception of it being employed as a tool for oppression and victimisation of political opponents by those in power."
  • "Nonetheless, investigation is often not concluded for months and cases remain pending for years and it is because of lack of professionalism, expertise and sincerity of cause that the conviction rate in NAB cases is abysmally low."
  • "It is in the context of such highhandedness and brazen disregard for human dignity that the Bureau has attracted ignominy and notoriety beyond our frontiers too."
  • "There is only one fundamental right in the Constitution, which is unconditional, inviolable and cannot be circumscribed under any circumstances. This is the dignity of man and one of the grave consequences of pre-arrest confinement, is the humiliation and disgrace resulting from such arrest, for not only the accused but also his family and persons attached to him. Arrest causes irreparable harm to a person's reputation and standing in society, often subjecting him to hate, vitriol, and infamy."
  • "Unfortunately, even after 72 years since the creation of our country, and despite 47 years since the adoption of the Constitution, we have not been able to realise the spirit and essence of the ideals set out therein. The people of this country are frequently denied their constitutionally guaranteed rights and the principles of equality, fairness, tolerance and respect for democratic norms are flouted with impunity."

Islamabad High Court on the abduction of a senior journalist in broad daylight in the national capital
The second major development relating to the role of the judiciary this week was related to the Islamabad High Court's demining question following the brazen abduction of a senior journalist in front of an educational institution by a group of men, suspected to be from the intelligence and a veritable arm of the Deep State in Pakistan.

One day before the abduction, the Supreme Court in a different case (explained above) in its verdict stated: "Unfortunately, even after 72 years since the creation of our country, and despite 47 years since the adoption of the Constitution, we have not been able to realise the spirit and essence of the ideals set out therein. The people of this country are frequently denied their constitutionally guaranteed rights and the principles of equality, fairness, tolerance and respect for democratic norms are flouted with impunity."

And that is precisely what happened when the following day, Matiullah Jan, a senior journalist was abducted by the men without uniform but assisted by a few men in police uniform.

On Tuesday (21 July 2020), Matiullah Jan came to drop his wife in her School at G-6 sector in Islamabad. G-6 is in the heart of Islamabad, not far away from the Diplomatic Enclave in the national capital. What happened after that has been captured by a School CCTV camera, that the abductors were not aware of. Had it not been for the CCTV camera, Maitullah Jan could not have been easily released by the abductors. The camera captured the abduction by men in plainclothes, but in the presence of policemen.

Fortunately for Matiullah, his abduction was captured and went viral in social media. When Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah, the Interior Minister of Pakistan made a statement first, that he had no clue about the abduction, there was enough evidence. Matiullah's brother approached the Islamabad High Court immediately.

The Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court, made scathing remarks about the State and its institutions, the same day. He was quoted to have stated: "The way a journalist was picked up in broad daylight, have all institutions been destroyed?... How did anyone, wearing a police uniform, dare to abduct a person?"

The Chief Justice was also angry because it took place in the national capital. He asked: "Where was Islamabad Police? How could this happen in the federal capital?" and continued "what perception does this send to the common person, that people here are walking about in police uniforms."

Thanks to the CCTV and the circulation of the abduction in social media, the abductors realised the folly and released Matiullah the same day. Perhaps, next time, they would be careful and ensure a better abduction process. For the abductors, more than being brazen, it is one of those things that could go wrong.

So who is behind the abduction and the political engineering though the NAB?
While the statements from the Islamabad High Court and the Supreme Court during the week was on two different issues, there is one underlying point. Who is it targeted against – whether the political engineering or the abduction of journalists in day broad light?

It is like the Night Shyamalan's movie – The Village. Everyone in Pakistan know about them: "Those We Don't Speak Of."

Other Daily Briefs

01 December 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.195

PDM stages another power show in Multan

28 November 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.194

Qureshi talks about Kashmir and the India dossier at the OIC

27 November 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.193

FO says Kashmir issue is a permanent item on OIC agenda

26 November 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.192

Pakistan shares dossier on India with the UN

25 November 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.191

Asad says COVID-19 numbers worsening, urges SOPs compliance

24 November 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.190

Pakistan to set up a new intelligence committee chaired by DG-ISI

23 November 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.189

PDM calls for the end of PTI’s “puppet rule”

20 November 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.188

Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Afghanistan

19 November 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.187

PDM may present its reforms as legislation in Parliament

18 November 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.186

PDM rejects Center’s move to ban public meetings

16 November 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.184

GB Polls: PTI becomes the single largest party

13 November 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.183

Maryam softens stance, says will talk to the Army

12 November 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.182

Survey predicts PTI’s victory in GB elections

11 November 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.181

Army takes action against the officials from the ISI and Rangers

10 November 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.180

COAS and DG-ISI to brief the Parliament

09 November 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.179

On Gilgit-Balitistan elections

06 November 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.177

Farmers protest in Punjab

04 November 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.175

FO rejects Indian Defence Minister’s remarks on GB

03 November 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.174

Maulana Fazlur calls for a PDM meeting

30 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.172

Pakistan criticizes the Indian media

29 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.171

"We gave India a bloody nose and it's still hurting" says DG ISPR

28 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.170

Pakistan observes 'Kashmir Black Day'

27 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.169

Quetta Rally and the PDM

26 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.168

PDM's strong rally in Quetta

24 October 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.167

Do More, says the FATF to Pakistan

23 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.166

Pakistan's Gender Gap

22 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.165

The "Karachi incident" spirals

21 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.164

"Who surrounded Sindh Police Chief's house," asks Bilawal Bhutto

20 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.163

FM Qureshi meets with Hekmatyar

19 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.162

PDM's second big rally in Karachi

17 October 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.161

PDM's first rally takes off to a great start in Gujranwala

16 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.160

PDM's first rally set to take off

15 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.159

Pakistan's pre-conditions for a dialogue with India

14 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.158

Pakistan re-elected to the UNHRC

13 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.157

Pakistan and the FATF's Grey List

12 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.156

Maulana Adil Khan laid to rest in Karachi

09 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.154

Khalilzad in Pakistan to discuss Afghan peace

08 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.153

Pakistan to experience muted economic recovery

07 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.152

20-point 'code of conduct' to promote sectarian harmony

06 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.151

A five-year development programme for the Gilgit- Baltistan

05 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.150

The next FATF meeting on Pakistan

02 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.148

Targeting Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N

01 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.147

On Pakistan Democratic Movement's rally:

30 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.146

PM Imran Khan wants to bring back Nawaz Sharif at the earliest:

29 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.145

Shahbaz Sharif's arrest causes an upheavel:

28 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.144

Abdullah Abdullah in Pakistan for a three days visit:

25 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.142

The Fallouts of the All Parties Conference:

24 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.141

Establishment and the PML-N:

23 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.140

For the US, the priority in Pakistan is to advance human rights :

22 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.139

One day after the All Parties Conference:

21 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.138

Nawaz Sharif goes on an offensive and talks about

19 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.137

Kashmir will be the focus of PM Khan’s UN address, says FO

18 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.136

Pakistan’s Persisting Polio Problem:

17 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.135

The need for a twin strategy in south Balochistan:

16 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.134

A non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz Sharif:

15 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.133

The CPEC march continues:

11 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.130

Pakistan and the SCO

10 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.129

Accountability Court declares Nawaz Sharif as an absconder

09 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.128

Federal-Provincial divide over Karachi increases

07 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.126

On Karachi, PPP and PTI divide comes to open

05 September 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.125

Kashmir in the UN and Pakistan

02 September, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.122

Court directs Nawaz Sharif to appear before the court

01 September, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.121

Rains and Floods continue to haunt Pakistan

27 August 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.117

An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies

26 August 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.116

"General Bajwa stabilized Pak-Saudi ties"

24 August 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.114

Pakistan, China and J&K

22 August 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.113

Pakistan and China pledge to safeguard common interests

20 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.111

The tragedy of Scientists from Pakistan's minority communities

19 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.110

"Pakistan can never recognise Israel," says Imran Khan

18 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.109

PTI's two-year report card

15 August 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.107

Pakistan's Palestine Dilemma

14 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.106

Pakistan at 73: Celebrating the Independence Day

13 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.105

COAS Gen Bajwa to visit Saudi Arabia soon

12 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.104

Government and opposition agree on six FATF bills

10 August 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.102

The FATF divides within Pakistan

09 August 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.101

Pakistan This Week

08 August 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.100

National Assembly clears two FATF bills, but blocks one.

07 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.99

Govt decides to lift restrictions as COVID cases decline

06 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.98

Pakistan's continuing Kashmir frenzy

05 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.97

Pakistan's new Map of J&K

04 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.96

Kashmir obsession in Pakistan

31 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.94

Two FATF bills passed in the National Assembly

30 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.93

Religiosity in Pakistan: From Creeping to now Galloping

29 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.92

Opposition parties attempt to come together

28 July 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.91

Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

26 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.89

Pakistan This Week

23 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.86

On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad

19 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.82

Pakistan This Week

17 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.80

The licences are not fake but only dubious

16 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.79

On building Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan

15 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.78

On Af-Pak Transit Trade

12 July 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No. 75

Pakistan This Week

11 July 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.74

FATF action plan to be completed at the earliest: Shaikh

08 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.71

Return of Lal Masjid Maulana

07 July 2020, Tuesday , Vol 1, No.70

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

06 July 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.69

The problem with Pakistan Railways

02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65

The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan

30 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.63

BLA claims the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi

28 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.61

Pakistan This Week

27 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.60

PTM accepts the dialogue offer, but wants CBMs

24 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.57

Reviewing Pakistan's Space Programme

23 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.56

Imran Khan says he was against the idea of lockdown

21 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.54

Pakistan This Week

20 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.53

Budgets presented in KP, and in Gilgit-Baltistan

19 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.52

PTI tries to get the BNP back into coalition,

18 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.51

Baloch partner of the PTI government leaves the coalition

15 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.48

The PTI government invites the PTM for a dialogue

14 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.47

Pakistan This Week

13 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.46, Special Brief

Pakistan Budget 2020-21: The First Cut

12 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.44, Special Brief

Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2019-20

07 June 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.38

Pakistan This Week

05 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.36

Highest COVID Spike

04 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.35

Imran receives a briefing at the ISI HQ

03 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.34

Covid cases spike and Lahore becomes the epicentre

01 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.32

Drivers of Karachi Violence

30 May 2020, Saturday, No 1, No.30

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

29 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.29

Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests

24 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.24

Pakistan This Week

22 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.22

The missing girls of Pakistan

21 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.21

Locusts threaten Pakistan's food security

17 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No 17

Pakistan This Week

15 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.15

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases

14 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No 14

Violence in Afghanistan and the Media in Pakistan

12 May 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No 12

Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

9 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No 9

Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;

6 April 2020, Monday

Punjab: Surge in Covid-19 cases

2 April 2020, Thursday

Centre extends lockdown to 14th April

25 March 2020, Sunday 

Multiparty conference blames Imran Khan

24 March 2020, Tuesday 

Curfew last option: Imran Khan

21 March 2020, Saturday

Pakistan fights CoronaVirus

5 March 2020, Thursday

26.5 per cent drop in trade deficit

27 January 2020, Monday 

PTI's Punjab problem

27 January 2020, Monday 

For the PTI, all is not well inside Punjab

25 January 2020, Saturday

Pakistan successfully tests Ghaznavi 

16 January 2020, Thursday

PTI's coalition conundrum enlarges

25 November 2019, Wednesday

Terrorism declines in Balochistan during 2019

07 November 2019, Thursday

Azadi march and sit-in

04 November 2019, Monday

Pakistan rejects India's new J&K map

29 October 2019, Tuesday 

Karachi signs a MoU with Qingdao