Dr Reeza Hameed: Supreme Court’s Opinion on the President’s Reference

At last, the Supreme Court’s opinion on the President’s reference has seen the light of day, albeit unofficially, and it makes miserable reading. The feature that stands out in the opinion is not only the unctuous tone which the Court has adopted in responding to the President’s request for an opinion, but also the sanctimonious view it has taken of the importance of its own opinion given in an advisory capacity, and the un-judicial language with which it has chosen to castigate those who have taken a view contrary to its own. The engagement of the Court in this manner on a controversial issue at the request of a person who sought its opinion on his capacity to stand for re-election at a poll that he was about to announce is bound to affect its own dignity and standing in the eyes of the public both at home and abroad.

The defining characteristic of the Court’s jurisdiction under Art 129 (Consultative jurisdiction) is that the question that is referred to it by the President must be one of public importance. The recent reference related to the qualification of the incumbent President in his individual capacity and nobody else. Continue reading

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The 2014 Indian Elections and their Impact on the Region: A Talk by Professor Lawrence Sáez

Dr. Lawrence Sáez, Professor in the Political Economy of Asia, Department of Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, will address the members of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs on “The 2014 Indian elections and their impact on the region” on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 at 4:00 p.m. sharp in the Library of the Institute.

 You are cordially invited to attend this session. Professor Sáez’s numerous publications can be viewed here and some of them include:

(2011) South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): An emerging collaboration architecture. London: Routledge.

(2004) Banking Reform in India and China. Palgrave MacMillan.

(2002) Federalism Without a Centre: The Impact of Political and Economic Reform on India’s Federal System. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Professor Lawrence Sáez is Professor in the Political Economy of Asia in the Department of Politics at the School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS), University of London.  He is also co-director of the Centre on the Politics of Energy Security. He is also a visiting professor at SciencesPo, Paris.  His research is focused on comparative political economy, particularly as it pertains to the challenges of economic reform across different industry sectors in emerging markets. Continue reading

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Editor: Terrorism, Deprivation of Citizenship and Statelessness Case in United Kingdom Supreme Court

images-1-1This post relates to an ongoing national security case in the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court and involves jihad and terrorism and the executive’s powers of deprivation of citizenship.

This is yet another case related to terrorism. It readily demonstrates that people from diverse backgrounds are attracted to Islamic extremism and that the UK is fertile ground for breeding fanatics. The dilemma for the UK, of course, is that an increasing number of young men and women holding British citizenship are so utterly disillusioned with life that they are willing to embrace martyrdom in the name of “radical” Islam. Consequently, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced further powers to prevent jihadis from entering and exiting the UK (see more in “comment” below). Born in Mongai, Vietnam in 1983, the appellant, known only as “B2”, lived in Hong Kong with his parents prior to the family’s arrival in the UK in 1989. After claiming asylum they were granted indefinite leave to remain and later in 1995, when B2 was 12, they also acquired British citizenship. B2 and his parents never held Vietnamese passports and they never took any steps to renounce their Vietnamese nationality. In fact, the only document linking B2 to Vietnam is his birth certificate.

B2 is British educated. He attended a college of design and communications in Kent. He converted to Islam when he was 21 and it is contended that following his conversion he allegedly descended into Islamist extremism Continue reading

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Faiz Ahmed Faiz: The Romantic Rebel

Faiz Ahmed Faiz is an icon of Urdu poetry and belongs to that galaxy of poets which counts among others Ghalib and Allama Muhammad Iqbal as its shining stars.

Faiz was born in Sialkot, also the birth place of Iqbal. Both belong to Punjab, ‘that green patch between mountain and desert’. Faiz wrote romantic poetry infused with a revolutionary zeal. Victor Kiernan, who translated the works of Iqbal and Faiz and introduced them to the English speaking world, said: ‘Iqbal was a prophet of a newly incandescent Islam, Faiz a freethinker feeling his way towards Marxism’.

Biographies of Faiz mention that he was born into an academic and literary family. In fact, Faiz was from a poor family. His father was a self-made scholar.

Faiz had his early schooling in a traditional madrassa. He became academically proficient both in Arabic and English, and secured post-graduate degrees in both disciplines. Interestingly he secured his honours degree in Arabic under the tutelage of Syed Mir Hassan who had also tutored Iqbal.

At some point in his life, Faiz got drawn into Marxism and became a committed communist and joined the Progressive Writers movement which boasted as its members the likes of Sajjad Zaheer. Continue reading

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Case Note: Tarakhel v Switzerland

TARAKHEL v. SWITZERLAND – 29217/12 – Grand Chamber Judgment [2014] ECHR 1185 (04 November 2014)

Abjectly neglected but strategically vital, war-torn Afghanistan’s festering wounds are unlikely to heal anytime soon. When my friend John and I recently met the Afghan Ambassador in the UK at his modest Ealing residence, sitting in the shadow of twin photographs of the Lion of Panjsher and President Karzai (as he then was) but nevertheless pragmatically arguing the case for peace with the Taliban, H.E. Dr Yaar and his staff were emphatic that Afghans are mistreated by the British and European authorities but that no one is bothered by it. Dr Fazal, a veteran battlefield doctor and a mild-mannered and pious leader of the Afghan community in the UK, who accompanied us to the meeting, concurred with H.E. Dr Yaar. Afghanistan’s stability is in everyone’s interest but that country’s future is looking exceedingly uncertain. The plight of Afghans seems just endless.

In this riveting case which paradigmatically demonstrates the difficult issues linked to asylum seeking in Europe, the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court (ECtHR) held at para 122 that, in the absence of first obtaining “individual guarantees from the Italian authorities that the applicants would be taken charge of in a manner adapted to the age of the children and that the family would be kept together”, returning the Afghan applicants concerned from Switzerland to Italy “would be a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.” Continue reading

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Dr Reeza Hameed: President’s Reference to the Supreme Court

z_p21-March-02It would be impossible for the Court to arrive at a considered opinion within such a short period of time …

It is reported in the media that President Rajapaksa has referred to the Supreme Court for its opinion the question of his own competency to contest a further term, and that the Registrar of the Court, on the instructions of the Chief Justice, has written to the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) inviting submissions in writing but denying an opportunity to make oral arguments in Court. Furthermore, submissions are required to be submitted to Court no later than 3.00 pm on 7 November, which gives anyone less than 48 hours to do so. It appears that the Court is required to give its opinion to the President on 10 November 2014.

It is evident that President Rajapaksa has made this reference purportedly acting under Article 129 (1) of the Constitution, which provides for the Court to exercise it consultative jurisdiction. A president, acting under this provision, may refer ‘a question’ (not any question) Continue reading

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Landmark Judgment: Tamizuddin Khan versus Federation of Pakistan

The Governor-General’s power of dissolution was withdrawn because the Independence Act did not permit him to dissolve the Constituent Assembly …

Despite its secular and democratic roots, Pakistan is a country where constitutional freedoms have been suppressed and coups, corruption and cronyism have prospered. Unsurprisingly, because it fell prey to dictatorship shortly after Independence, the country is often labelled a “failed state”. Perhaps somewhat ironically, over and above the grim reigns of despots like Ayub, Yahya and Zia, the demise of democracy in Pakistan is directly attributable to the judiciary. On the other hand, the decision in Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan (Petitioner) v Federation of Pakistan (Respondent No.1) & Others (Respondents) 1954 SHC 81 is an example of an early landmark judgment which set a different standard (analysed in detail below) for upholding the rule of law. To the people of Pakistan, who are damned by oppression, even six decades later, it symbolises what could have been a much brighter future.

Indeed, to this day, if anything, our indulgence in the Sind Chief Court’s rationale repays freedom and the rule of law which were shortchanged when this meticulous judgment was deplorably reversed by Muhammad Munir CJ in Federation of Pakistan v Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan PLD 1955 FC 240 where he sinfully held that the Governor-General’s assent was necessary to all laws passed by the Constituent Assembly. Continue reading

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