Monday, September 2, 2013
Dated 03.06.1947 (Jinnah recording from AIR Archives) I am glad that I have been afforded the opportunity to speak to you directly through this radio from Delhi. It is the first time I believe that a non-official has been accorded an opportunity to address the people through the medium of this powerful instrument direct to the people on political matters. It augurs well and I hope that in the future I shall have greater facilities to enable me to voice my view and opinions which will directly to you live rather than in the cold print of the newspapers. This statement of his majesty’s government embodying the plan of the transfer of power to the peoples of India has already been broadcast and will be released to the press to be published tomorrow morning. It gives the outlines of a plan for us to give it our most consideration we have to examine it coolly, calmly and dispassionately. We must remember that we have to take momentous decisions and handle grave issues facing us in the solution of the complex political problem of this great subcontinent ihabibited by 400 millions of people. The words has no parallel on the most onerous and difficult task which we have to perform. Grave responsibilities lies particularly on the shoulders of Indian leaders therefore we must galvanise and concentrate all our energies to see that the transfer f power is effected in a peaceful and orderly manner. I must earnestly appeal to every community in particularly the Muslims in India to maintan peace and order. We must examine the plan, in its letter and spirit and come our conclusions and take our decision. I pray to god that in this critical moment he may guide us and enable us to discharge our responsibilities in a wise and a statesmanlike manner having regard to the sum total of the plan as a whole. It is clear that the plan does not meet in some important respects in our point of view. And we cannot say of feel that we are satisfied or that we agreed with some of the matters dealt with in the plan. It is for us to consider whther the plan as presented to us by his majesty’s government should be accepted by us as a compromise or a settlement. On this point I do not wish to judge. The decision of the Council of All India Muslim Council League which has been summoned to meet on Monday the Nineth of June and the final decision can only be taken by the Council according to our constitution, precedence and practise. But so far as I have been able to gather in the whole raction in the Muslim League Circle in Delhi has been hopeful. Of course the plan has got to be very carefully examined in its pros and cons before a final decision can be taken. I must say that I feel the viceroy has battled against various forces very bravely and the expression that the has left in my minds is that he was activated by a high sense of fairness and impartiality and it is important to us to make his task less difficult and help him as insofar as it lies in our power in order that he may fulfill his vision of transger of power to the people of India in a peaceful and orderly manner. Now that the plas has been broadcas orally and makes it clear in paragraph 11 that the referundum will be made to the electororates of the present legislative assembly and the North West Frontier who will choose which of the two alternatives in paragraph 4 they wish to adopt. The referendum will be held under the aegis of the governor general in consultation with the provincial government. Hence it is clear that the verdict and the mandate of the people of the rontier province will be obtained as to whether they want to join the Pakistan Constituent Assembly or the Hindustan Constituent Assembly. In these circumstances, I request provincial Muslim League of the frontier province to withdraw the movement of peaceful civil disobedience which they have perforce resosted or and I call upon all the leaders of the Muslim League and the Musalmans generally to organize all the people to face the referendum with open courage and I geel confident that the people of the Frontier will give their verdict by a solid vote to join the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I cannot but express my appereciation of the sufferings and sacrificies made by all classes of Muslmans and particularly the great part that the women of the frontier played in the fight for our civil liberties. Without apportioning blame and this is hardly the moment to do so, I deeply sumpathise with all those who have suffered and those who died and whose properties were subjected to destruction and I fervently hope that the Frontier will go through this referendum in a peaceful manner and it should be the anxiety of everyone to obtain a fair, free and true verdict of the people. Once more, I must earnestly appeal to all to maintain peace and order. Pakistan
Undated (Jinnah recording from AIR Archives) I thank his majesty, the King on behalf of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and myself for his wishes and message. I know great responsibilities lie ahead and I naturally reciprocate his sentiment and we greatly appreciae his assurance of sympathy and support and I hope that you will please communicate to his majesty our assurance, good will and friendship for the British nation and the Crown head of the British Government. I thank your Excellency for your expressions and good wishes for the future of Pakistan. It will be our constant efforts to work for the welfare and well-being of all the communities in Pakistan and I hope that everyone will be inspired by the idea of public service and they will be imbued with the spirit of cooperation and will show that the political and civic virtues which go to make a great nation. The tolerance and good will of the great emperor Akbar showed to all non-Muslims is not of recent origin. It dates back 13 centuries ago when our prophet not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians handsomely after he conquered them. He showed to them outmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims where they rules is replete with those humane and great principles and which should be followed and practised us.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Contempt of the People The Supreme Court issued the contempt of court notice to Mr. Imran Khan contending that Mr. Khan has initiated a campaign to deliberately “scandalize” the judiciary. Looking at the record of the recent years, to the cynic it might seem that the court is rather easily “scandalized”. The suggestively named offense of scandalizing the court is a common law offense, which is now becoming extinct in most countries. In 1899, a U.K. court in the case of Mcleod vs. St. Aubyn , observed, "Committals for contempt of court by scandalizing the court itself have become obsolete in this country.... But it must be considered that in small colonies, consisting principally of colored populations, the enforcement in proper cases of committal for contempt of court for attacks on the court may be absolutely necessary to preserve in such a community the dignity of and respect for the court." So, while not good enough for the “civilized” world, it still has its utility here. The offending word is “shameful” which Mr. Khan used in relation to the role of the Judiciary and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).With the utmost of deference; will My Lords describe the Presidential election judgment as making them “proud”? Is the speedy nipping in the bud of the conspiracy against Master Arsalan Iftikhar a “shining” moment? Does the requirement of being polite while referring to judicial pronouncement apply on to judgments of the Present Supreme Court or does it extend back to all previous decisions? For example, the only term that intuitively comes to mind while describing the ZAB judgment is either “shameful” or “shameless”, similarly the list of cases involving legitimizing martial laws etc mandate the use of these words. One may have very serious and legitimate differences with Mr. Khan’s politics, however he is a representative of the people and the serving of the notice and way he was treated in court leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. The only good coming out of all this is that those cheering the Court on in other contempt notices and overstepping of authority for the past four years now are willing to reconsider their position. One hopes that the realization that principles trump personalities sinks in. As a general principle, political polemic should not be employed while discussing judgments. However, the breach of general principles is a two way street here. Other dusty principles are, “sober as a judge”, “judges speak only through judgments” etc. Judgments are silent, while courtrooms deafening. Justice is being delivered one sound bite at a time, jurisprudence being made in the news tickers. The Presidential election judgment was a political decision. If not necessarily in the partisan party sense, then at least in the original Greek sense of the word, “politics”. Mr. Khan responded in the same language in which the judgment was written. It is also the only language spoken in the court. The argument for temperate language is always a persuasive one. Yet, at times the media reports of the language, tone and tenor coming from Court Room number 1 is not for the faint hearted. I have no inclination of joining Mr. Khan in his present predicament, yet as a humble servant of the law one has to respectfully ask if a red line has been crossed. Perhaps, so many red lines have now been trampled upon that we now suffer from color blindness. The excellent Babar Sattar has been reprimanded and told to be careful in his criticism. Mr. Sattar is always very eloquent and temperate, yet My Lords and their “admirers” in the media have taken offense. Maybe it is not how it is being said, but what is being said or perhaps why anything is being said at all. The overuse of contempt law is a symptom of us a state and as a people, who have been bypassed by time, living in our own warps. The gag orders on Faisal Raza Abidi and Malik Riaz, the prohibitions of any discussion of the phenomenal entrepreneurial success Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the desk thumping, the threatening tones of “shhh…not a word” in the times of Face Book and Twitter? A state and those in authority struggling to come to terms with the fact that they are no longer the sole gatekeepers to information; websites banned, op-ed censored, television programs blacked out; yet it keeps coming out. Silencing voices is no longer just wrong; it is also futile. The power of the contempt provision derives from its sparing use. It gets cheapened and ineffective with overuse. If everything is contemptuous, nothing is. If respect has to be demanded instead of being commanded, you already have a problem. The Lahore High Court Bar association (LHCBA) has been less careful than Mr. Khan in passing a resolution. I only repeat what has already been reported in the Media, the LHCBA general house has asked for a reference to be made to the Supreme Judicial Council (Rest in peace) against the judges on the bench for the Presidential election. God forbid; yet it has been said and is now in the public domain. Will My Lords now issue a contempt notice to LHCBA general house? It is certainly within their power to do so. If My Lords in their infinite wisdom feel that it will contribute to the majesty of the law and the integrity of the legal system then all lawyers critical (including your faithful servant) will be willing to spend up to six months in Jail. My Lords, do it if you deem it fit and if it pleases you, however do not ask us to “shut up”. We will not, since we cannot. My Lords have unquestionably the constitutional power to sentence anyone of us to prison for contempt, however with my head bowed, they do not have a right to insult us, not to display contempt for the people; contempt of the people. My Lords, the Presidential election decision and summoning Mr. Khan were not your “proudest” moments and insisting on it will not change that. Lordships, there is work to be done; not the glamorous prime time variety but hard toil. The lower judiciary needs to be reformed, the superior judiciary restrained. Posterity is not kind to evening news stories; jurisprudence needs to be laid down. The D.I Khan jailbreak and its implication for us a state should have been the issue of the last week. Are we condemned to witness, revel in and repeat shenanigans and ego trips only? "Kisay wakeel karien, kis se munsafi chahein"