We all must have heard the famous proverb: “LaatooN kay Bhoot, baatooN say nahee maantay”. Lets read two stories first.
Story 1 : The (Lack of) Power of Vote
In 2005 Muttahida Majlis -e- Amal (MMA), a coalition of political-religious parties that contested the elections and came into power in NWFP by the votes of popular majority, tabled Hasba bill in the assembly. They wanted to pass it from the assembly in order to be able to effectively implement Sharia Act 2003 approved by the same assembly. MMA leadership argued that it was a part of their mandate to provide speedy justice to the suffering communities at large and for this purpose it was necessary that relevant legislations as per the Islamic rules should be enacted. The opposition and the civil society organizations strongly criticized the bill on many accounts. They viewed it as unconstitutional, the Marshal Law of Maulvies, and a parallel legal system that would spread anarchy and chaos in the society and would deprive the general public of their rights and liberties.
All major political parties opposed the bill. Those parties included PPP, ANP, MQM and Q-League. (Listen to a debate on this bill from GEO TV’s program, Capital Talk. Among the opponents of this bill in this debate was Mr. Farhatullah Babar, who is now the spokesperson of the President Asif Ali Zardari. Even the then Islamic Ideology Council opposed the bill. The Hasba bill was finally blocked by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry declared it to be unconstitutional. The Bill never got signed by the national assembly and could not be enacted.
Story 2: The Power of Gun
Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) is known as the “Pakistani Taliban” and is the group behind the ideological inspiration for the Afghan Taliban. The TNSM sent over 10,000 fighters into Afghanistan to fight US forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001. Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the leader of the outlawed TNSM. Fazlullah’s forces over ran much of Swat and neighboring Shangla. The government of Pakistan launched an operation to dislodge the Militant Talibans from Swat in November 2007 and vowed to oust them by December. But the military fought a grinding campaign that failed to defeat the Taliban. The Pakistani security forces operating in the small district lost 195 soldiers, policemen, and Frontier Constabulary paramilitaries during a year of fighting. Finally, the government signed a peace agreement with the Talibans in Swat and Malakand. It took the coalition government comprising the secular Awami National Party and the Pakistan’s People’s Party and the Maulana Fazlullah-led talibans just three rounds of talks spread over 13 days to reach their peace accord for Swat.
The accord, named ‘Nizam-e-Adal’, was signed on 16th Feb 2009. On 14th April 2009 a bill was presented in national assembly on the advice of President to seek the view of people’s representatives in national assembly on this peace accord. House was univocal about bill except for MQM who didnot take part in voting. A debate on bill was due in parliament as part of procedure but was abandoned as all parties other than MQM were on agreement to pass the bill as soon as they can. After passing from parliament it was forwarded to President House where President Islamic republic Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari signed bill making it part of constitution. This all happened within one day. One of the quickest legislations in the history of Pakistan. (ANP, infact, wanted the president to sign the bill even without it being presented in the National Assembly).
In its essence, Nizam-e-Adal will establish shariah courts in the region with Qazi as its head. According to Maulana Sufi Muhammad, the decisions of Shariah Courts can not be challenged in High Courts or Supreme Court.
Conclusion / Summary
Through the power of Vote, elected representatives of people of NWFP, with more than 60 members in National Assembly, wanted to implement an administrative system so as to enact the already passed Shariah Laws. This was opposed by Federal Govt, ANP, PPP, PML-Q, MQM, and on top of it, was blocked by Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar.
Through the power of Gun, non-elected, self-appointed representative of people of SWAT and Malakand, with not a single member in National Assembly, wanted to implement a parallel Judiciary System, the decisions of which cannot be challenged in the existing Judiciary, in order to implement Shariah. This was supported by Federal Govt, ANP, PPP, PML-Q, and not objected by Supreme Court’s Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar.
“LaatooN kay Bhoot, baatooN say nahee maantay”