Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan Has Belittled Himself


17 Feb 2012

By Saeed Qureshi

By pleading for wrong persons and for wrong causes, the distinguished icon of Pakistan's bar, barrister Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan has belittled himself. By choosing to bail out shady characters, he has eclipsed his fame that he justifiably earned during the movement for reinstatement of the deposed senior judges.

It is difficult to fathom as to what motivated him to defend the incumbent president and prime minister of Pakistan despite a deluge of allegations of Tsunami proportion swelling against them and at a time when the whole country is awash with their stories of flabbergasting corruption.

If it is a question of going by the book of law then any sane person would oppose NRO and its felonious beneficiaries for its being an instrument of exigency and sordid quid pro quo between the parties befittingly to be labeled as the "Pirates of Caribbean". Till the time the honorable Prime Minister Gilani was not saddled in the prime ministerial chair, he was enjoying a saving grace despite burdened with a heavy backlog of past discrepancies that he committed and for which he was jailed for a few years.

But as the adage goes, the old habits die hard; he went into a replay action with a vengeance. In tandem with his close kith, friends, ministers and cohorts, he misused his authority in such a big way as to pale his past misdoings. His son is implicated in money making scandals of Himalayan scale as well; one of which is the Haj scandal.

Aitzaz Ahsan is decorated with several feathers on his hat of achievements, which can be rated as outstanding. He enjoyed an enviable and most praiseworthy distinction of defending two prime ministers in the court of law: Benazir Bhutto in 2001 and later Nawaz Sharif.

He was the leading member of the panel of lawyers named as the ‘dream team' that robustly contested before a full court, headed by Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday, the suspension of chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordered by the then president Pervez Musharraf. As a result of their valiant defense, the Chief Justice Chaudhry was released by a panel of 13 judges.

Despite announcement by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in 2008 to release house-arrested chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, the decision was not carried out at the behest of upcoming President Asif Ali Zardari. Zardari feared the chief justice would repeal the amnesty given under the dubious NRO. That led to a massive countrywide protest movement in which Barrister Aitzaz played a prominent role.

That lawyers' movement was also joined by Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Nawaz Sharif spearheaded a kind of long march from eastern city of Lahore to Islamabad after defying a detention order issued by the local administration. As a result of the coordinated campaigning by both lawyers and politicians, chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, along with several other senior justices and judges, was reinstated on March 22, 2009.

This background glimpse of Aitzaz Ahsan was given to emphasize the vital and indeed the historic role of this distinguished member of bar in fighting for the legitimate and worthy causes. But of late, his decision to stand by the tormentors of judiciary and perpetrators of nauseating scams of corruption and to defend individuals whose past and present is checkered with greed, self indulgence, nepotism; has whipped widespread outrage and disapproval.

The stalwarts of the present government have an unbeaten notoriety for bad and inept governance, and for shameful obsession to enhance their personal and family fortunes while neglecting the pressing and grinding myriad problems of the people of Pakistan.

Out of a litany of corruption scandals, the Hajj Scandal of Abdul Qadir Gilani, Son of Yousaf Raza Gilani is a huge case of corruption that has not only tarred the reputation of prime minister but also of his family. The Khurram Rasool's mega case of commission and graft, a one time associate and media advisor of prime minister, has also been brought before court for trial.

Every minister of the present government in Pakistan is involved in some case of bribe, grafts, kickbacks and instrumental in debilitating the national institutions such as railways, the steel mills and power generation. There is a long list of sleazy scams that underscore the ruling cabal's insatiable lust and undying propensity for making their fortunes and enriching themselves by any conceivable mean. These leaders are exposed to a whole minefield of complex moral and legal issues.

The prime minister has dithered on complying with the orders of the Supreme Court to write letter to the Swiss authorities for reopening the money laundering cases against Asif Ali Zardari. They are chips of the same bloc and therefore scratching each other's back.

The government-judiciary standoff has jammed the whole country and there is not a semblance of any willingness on the part of the government to set the things in order. The soaring poverty, the dysfunctional power sector, the broken law and order and hyping unemployment among other grave problems, are driving the people crazy and they are seized with utter helplessness in the face of an appalling drift and decline.

Was it the lucrative offer to become a senator, or a hefty remuneration for fighting the case or some other irresistible perk that prompted this Goliath of the bar to stand on the side of the felons and crooks? Was it the bait for a ministerial post or offer of governorship that changed the honest mind of this outstanding lawyer with an impeccable reputation?

Otherwise how could this lofty lawyer consent to rescue the besmirched individuals from a predicament that they invited by themselves! Their odorous hands cannot be sweetened even if these are washed and sanctified by all the "perfumes of Arabia?"

Reputation and good name is earned the hard way and over a prolonged period of time. But smear is always lurking and comes readily and that is what barrister Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan is faced with presently.

 

©  EsinIslam.Com

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