Guest Post by Rashid Ahmad.
My thoughts on Nawaz Sharif (NS) verdict:
1. This decision, like all major decisions that involve national level politicians, will remain controversial as the people will look at this decision from their own perspectives. To Anti-NS folks he was guilty before the trial began, and it does not matter on which charge he is convicted, as long as he is knocked out. For those who support Nawaz Sharif, he would never be guilty even if he is caught red handed.
2. The conviction was a foregone conclusion. It may be selective justice but the real reason was the accountability court, working under direct supervision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which, to many people, is not a neutral arbiter any more, but the “REAL PROSECUTOR”. It is selective application of the law.
3. Although not comparing, this kind of motivated convictions are not uncommon. Pakistan’s illustrious judiciary has to its “credit” many infamous decisions: Doctrine of necessity by Justice Munir, and all those decisions that approved violations of the constitution by “The Aliens”. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's wrongful conviction, later admitted by Justice Nasim Hasan Shah. Justice Qayyum’s decision to convict Benazir Bhutto (BB) for corruption in 1998, based on illegal collusion among politicians, judges, and bureaucrats. This collusion was recorded by phone taps ordered by NS, but a bureaucrat provided a copy of it to BB and to British media. (Ironically in a different case earlier, Pres. Farooq Leghari had claimed that BB had tapped the phones of judges.) More recently, under Musharraf regime, the court had convicted NS and sentenced him for several years of imprisonment! Thus, if people take the decisions of the judiciary with a pinch of salt, they have a reason to do so.
4. During General Pervez Musharraf's regime, Nawab Akbar Bugti was once told by a reporter, in an interview, that govt. is prosecuting you because police investigations have established that you killed such and such persons. His response was telling, “If that police officer was under my control and command, he would sing a different song. The same police officer would state that Musharraf killed that person”! That is why the common phrase in Punjab is: “Wakeel na karo, Judge hi kar lo” (Don’t retain a lawyer, retain the judge”). Zero faith in politicians, police, institutions and the courts.
5. Surprisingly the judge has acquitted NS from corruption while-in-office charge. He convicted him on a different charge.
6. The key question here was: Who has the burden of proof? NS lawyer has argued that NAB (National Accountability Bureau) has not met the 4 requirements set in law to shift the burden of proof to NS. The judge concluded NAB has met them, hence it is NS who has to provide evidence (how his young children acquired the Avenfield properties) to establish his innocence.
7. And finally, this judge needs to take supplemental English to write better opinions/decisions. The quality of his writing is awful. The decision is full of typos, grammatical, spelling mistakes, and incorrect names etc. which makes it hard to read. There is even a sentence, which, if taken literally, is contradictory to his decision. I wonder if this is common in his writings or did he not have time to proof read his decision, or was it written by his staff on which he signed off.
Author Rashid Ahmad is a Pakistani-American civil engineer with a Master's degree from UC Davis. He was recently recognized for his community service by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg with a key to the city. Ahmad came to the United States in 1970 and has since been living in Sacramento-Davis area in California.