21 April, 2024

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Pakistan’s May 9 & Aragalaya Anniversary In Sri Lanka

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

In what might be called establishment telepathy in South Asia, even as government leaders in Sri Lanka were condemning the first anniversary of Aragalaya’s May 9 last year,  the military in Pakistan was calling May 9 this year a “black chapter” in the country’s history. That from an agency that has turned Pakistan’s entire history into one whole black book. Equally, as well, from the remnants of a Sri Lankan administration that drove the country’s economy into bankruptcy and precipitated the Aragalaya protests. The reference to May 9 and black chapter in Pakistan came in a statement of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Army’s media wing, condemning civilian protests “targeting army property and installations.” Not mentioned in the statement, of course, was what had provoked the protests, namely, the dramatic and high handed para-military arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan in a civilian courthouse in Islamabad, on Tuesday, May 9. That was the real black chapter written yet again last week by the country’s politico-military establishment.

But Pakistan’s Supreme Court had other ideas. Within three days of his arrest, the apex Court ordered the state to produce Imran Khan in person and then proceeded to declare the arrest illegal. Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial welcomed Imran Khan as he was produced before the Court and said, “Good to see you.” A government minister called it “love affair” between the judiciary and Imran Khan, but the Chief Justice and two of his brother judges who heard the matter were scathing in their condemnation of the source of the arrest warrant and the manner of its execution. 

Declaring the arrest “unlawful,” the Court ordered the former cricket hero and Prime Minister to be kept overnight as a state guest in the Islamabad Police Lines Guest House, and to be produced before the Islamabad High Court on Friday morning for the hearing of Mr. Khan’s Writ Petition challenging the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) action against him in the Al-Qadir Trust case – one of 120 cases that the government has generated against the former Prime Minister since his ouster in April 2022. “You will have to accept the High Court’s decision,” the Chief Justice told Mr. Khan.

Close Down the Courts!

On Friday, different benches of the Islamabad High Court granted Imran Khan multiple reliefs – a two-week bail in the Al-Qadir Trust case, a stay until the second week of June in the Toshakhana case, and a blanket order barring his arrest anywhere in Pakistan. The High Court Justices continued the barbed exchanges that the Justices of the Supreme Court had started earlier against the government for the high-court and high-noon arrest of Imran Khan on Tuesday. When the Advocate General for the government argued that that the High Court could not grant Mr. Khan bail because the army had been deployed in the capital, one of the judges (Justice Aurangzeb) mockingly savaged him: “Mr. Advocate General, you should advise your government to close down the courts.” He went on to ask if martial law had been imposed in Pakistan.

The court rulings and the free flowing obiter exchanges of the justices have given a major fillip to Imran Khan and his political party, PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, meaning Pakistan Movement for Justice) in what they insist to be their search for justice and for early elections in Pakistan. The court proceedings have also undermined the veracity of the allegations levelled against Imran Khan and reinforced the common cynicism about the 120 or so cases that the government has trumped up against him. In particular, the Supreme Court Justices took to task the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for its “contempt of court,” abuse of court staffers, and its humiliating treatment of “public representatives,” all of which, the Justices said, must come to an end. 

The NAB was created in November 1999 by President Pervez Musharraf, the country’s fourth military dictator, as a federal institution to fight corruption. The NAB has sweeping powers to conduct investigations, and inquiries, issue arrest warrants, and to pursue litigations. While the Bureau may have been effective in exposing and punishing corruption among unelected state officials, it has also become a government instrument against political opponents, a vehicle for abusing power and institutionalising corruption. According to Badar Alam, editor of the magazine Herald, the Bureau is “the brainchild of a military dictator,” which “exists to allow selective corruption to take place and to target political rivals.” 

The Supreme Court has become the NAB’s principal detractor, and the arrest of Imran Khan has given the court and other NAB critics a new cudgel to assail the Bureau. The cases against Imran Khan are simply too numerous to be serious. His followers and many independent observers consider them to be trumped up excuses to harass and take out a popular politician. Almost all the cases target Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi (Khan’s third wife with whom he shares a spiritual affinity for Sufism, a mystical manifestation in Sunni Islam) implicate them for allegedly benefiting from the corrupt practices of others, but every case targets only Khan and wife and none of the principal actors involved.  

Imran Khan has evaded, if not defied, investigation and inquiry, and turned to the court of the people to make his political case with the call for immediate elections. He is currently the most popular political leader in the country and his party is widely expected to do very well in an election. He has also started criticizing the army directly and even named an army officer for last November’s assassination attempt on him. The Army (IPRS) issued an unusually pointed statement personally reprimanding him for making “highly irresponsible and baseless allegations against a serving senior military officer without any evidence.” It was this statement that is supposed to have been the cue for the government and NAB to go ahead with the arrest of Imran Khan that has now spectacularly backfired. 

The government leaders are furious at the aftermath of the arrest and have not desisted from criticizing the Supreme Court for being “overly sympathetic” to Imran Khan and his PTI. But legal opinion seems to be in support of the court ruling and its calming effect on a troubled country. The arrest on Tuesday provoked violent protests including attacks on houses of army officials. The army had to be called in to maintain order in Islamabad, as well as in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces. After the Supreme Court ruling, Imran Khan has called for peace while noting that he was not in the know of what was going on in the country after his arrest and until he was brought before the courts. But he is still defiant and had earlier responded to the army’s accusation that “This is my army and my Pakistan. I don’t need to lie.”

The story of Pakistan

Imran Khan is not the first former Prime Minister to be arrested in Pakistan. A good number of his predecessors share that dubious honour with him. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Pakistan’s fifth Prime Minister, was arrested in January 1962 and was jailed without trial for his refusal to endorse General Ayub Khan’s military regime. Fifteen years later, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was arrested on the orders of another military dictator, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Bhutto was arbitrarily sentenced to death and executed on April 4, 1979. His daughter Benazir Bhutto served as Pakistan’s prime minister twice (1988-1990 and 1993-1996), was arrested multiple times while out of office, was placed under house arrest, and occasionally barred from political activities. She was killed by a suicide bomber after a rally in Rawalpindi on 27 December 2007 during the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf. 

Her successor, political rival and Zia loyalist, Nawaz Sharif, was similarly treated to arrests and exile by General Musharraf and the NAB. In 2017, Nawaz Sharif was removed from office and barred from holding public office by the Supreme Court following the Panama Papers revelations. He is now in London on ‘expired bail’ after going there for medical treatment. He is still the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), which is the leading party in the current governing coalition, with younger brother Shebaz Sharif as Prime Minister. The younger Sharif was earlier arrested in a NAB money laundering case, and so was the interim PML-N Prime Minister  Shahid Khaqan Abbasi  who had succeeded Nawaz Sharif.

Quite a welter of prime-ministerial arrests, and that has been the political story of Pakistan after its partition birth in 1947. Imran Khan might consider himself to be “singularly blessed,” as the newspaper Dawn editorially noted the day after the Supreme Court ruled his arrest was unlawful. But the paper has also warned that Mr. Khan’s legal troubles are not over and that he must “face the charges brought against him without any further confrontation.” That has been his modus operandi ever since he was ousted from office in April 2022 by a No Confidence Motion in Parliament, the first against a sitting Pakistani Prime Minister.

Not for the first time Pakistan is at the crossroads of history. The difference now is that the country’s military establishment, for long the bulwark of perverse stability, is facing the real threat of a popular uprising. Imran Khan has made many mistakes as Prime Minister, but his calls for justice and elections are resonating powerfully with the people. The judiciary has been dragged into the fray and the Supreme Court has put the state, and not so indirectly the army, on notice that they are responsible for his safety and security of life. The judicial interventions have given time for all the parties to the political crisis to plot their plans for the weeks and months ahead. 

The paradox is that just as Imran Khan cannot avoid facing the charges against him, no matter how trumped up they are, the government cannot indefinitely keep delaying parliamentary elections that most people are agitating for. And all of this against the backdrop of a seriously impaired economy and bailout talks with IMF that are going no where. General Elections have the effect of releasing pent up steam and providing a new starting point even if by universal experience nothing too much different happens after elections. But the cycle needs to go on to avoid a violent a calamity. 

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Latest comments

  • 16
    16

    Imran Khan was trying to put the country on in some order for development and that upset the US. It did not use the army this time but the irreconcilable foes in parliament to deny Imran a full term (a record in Pakistan’s parliamentary history). The Army came in later to assert itself.
    The choice before Pakistan is between Imran Khan and the Army.
    I worry that the Army could decide the matter, with the blessings of the US.

    • 5
      13

      Yes, as US hegemony wanes and the West with its massive Wars / Machine destroys the plant environmentally, the rest of the world is trying to move on. The crashing American empire and NATO war machine is a danger to the world and itself.
      Both the Sri Lanka Aragalaya, that was staged: 1) to further ruin the economy, distract, and STAGE the DEFAULT and depreciate the rupee and 2) bring Pro-US Ranil Rajapakse to power in a regime change operation to promote the myth that Sri Lanka is bankrupt and there is no Alternative to the IMF; and the ouster of Imran Khan last year were CIA-NED operations.. instrumentalizing genuine grievances of course.
      The Internet Social Media “influencers” that staged the Araglaya were NED funded and trained like many of the artists, actors, and directors of the Aragalaya.

      • 7
        13

        Also, as China recently brokered a historic peace deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia to being peace to Yemen and stabilize the Middle East, the US with its 750 military bases is causing Chaos around the Global South – particularly the Muslim world. hence, Sudan, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan are sites of Over the Horizon, hybrid cyber-kinetic operations..
        The US and NATO war machine divide and destabilize countries..
        and are a danger to the world and themselves as the war in Europe shows. They live on war and want a third world war!

    • 5
      2

      “The choice before Pakistan is between Imran Khan and the Army.”
      we should ask the question what is the choice for Sri Lankans? In Sri Lanka now the military, Rajapaksas and Ranil are on the same side against the people? What is the choice for Sri Lanka?

    • 12
      3

      Aiyooooooooooooooo

      Masood Azhar Is China’s Favorite Terrorist
      https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/03/21/masood-azhar-is-chinas-favorite-terrorist/

      Imran Khan can’t or won’t do anything that harms interest of ISI, Armed Forces, Terrorists, China, Feudal Lords, ……………………. His debut political rally saw plenty of anti Indian rhetoric from Imran and warnings to his neighbour.

      Forget USA, China is Pakistan’s all weather friend as such I wonder why it is not encouraging or promoting democracy in Pakistan.

  • 9
    7

    Yes, Rajan Philips,
    .
    What’s happening in Pakistan must certainly be giving the jitters to all out politicians here..
    .
    The gentlest, most constructive thing to do is ASAP to hold elections. The Local Government Elections.

    • 7
      3

      Your hate to RW is comparable with that of a teenager. Somewhere else, you have added like that.

      To anyone with some logics in mind, what deems necessary for the moment is to feed the people first by providing them with the essentials. Even european markets are hated by many these days not being able to bear the sky rocketing price hikes of the daily essentials.

      First things first, we should provide some saline to the terminally ill mother who is now in ICU, before trying to attack corrupted staff mebers in that operation theatre. This has nothing do with me being biased to anyone politicians, but the fact to the eyes of the rational thinkers.

      • 7
        3

        cont.
        Your thinking is just connected with your immatured belief in JVPrs. No elections should be even questionable until the economy is revived to some extent.Besides, We know the outcome of previous elections. People dont forsee but become easy prey of the crooks. Do you want it to happen again ?
        :
        Obviously, your blindness to see things right, has nothing to do with people’s choice but it is you who fell in deep time to time.
        :
        CT archives will reveal anyone who would disagree with me.

        Btw, I was happy hearing that there are rumours that Dr Harini A or Mr Peris would perhaps be the leader of the JVP/NPP soon.
        If that would be the case, It can dawn more hopes in people that are lagged with anxities not knowing what to do.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OplWmtDbo0A
        (Please focus on the question raised by some one at 10.05th minute of the video).

  • 10
    3

    In all of Lanka’s history ……..the Aragalaya was a glorious thing …….. that ended up in Lanka’s history’s greatest disappointment: Ranil. …… A tinpot whimpering wimp of a wanna be dictator without the salient talents/qualities of a proper dictator.

    Lanka is so pathetic …….. can’t even a produce a proper dictator …….. without pandering to 37 + 2 ministers …….. and the bloodsucking parasites, the “Buddhist” “clergy.”


    Already starting to miss Gota ……… he wasn’t all that bad …… as Lankans go, did a very competent job of bankrupting the country in 2 years ……. with his incompetence, Ranil will drag the bankruptcy much longer …… keep the people half-starved barely living for much longer.


    Movies for the times: Night of the Living Dead, ……… Land of the Dead, ………….

    No need for a big budget, a script ………. just film what’s happening around: all the horrors in one place with undertones of religious slapstick comedy …….. hire a good editor ……. money for jam ………

    • 5
      4

      nimal fernando

      “A tinpot whimpering wimp of a wanna be dictator without the salient talents/qualities of a proper dictator.”

      You mean salient talents/qualities like the ones possessed by your role model tin pot fascist Thiruvengadam Velupillai Prabaharan.

      • 4
        1

        You took the words right out of my mouth, Native! :)))

        Lanka’s biggest curse is that Prabakaran lost!! ……… And left the “Sinhalese” rulers unchecked.

        Prabakaran was a true patriot! …….. Can you even begin to compare him to the whimpering, cowardly, mini-midgets like Ranil, Mahinda, CBK, Gota, Basil et al? Just look at the harm they have done to the country/people!! …….. The only difference is they are either Sinhalese or pretend to be Sinhalese.

        Although you like to project yourself as a non-racist ……. the truth is, unbeknownst to you, your mind works on racial-lines ……. and is unable to see the talents of someone not of your clan – a common pitfall of many.

        In spite of all of your fire and fury and bluster ……. your thinking stops at a point. It’s pretty obvious!!!

        Gotta try a little harder! :))))

        • 1
          0

          NF and all,
          .
          It is now becoming clear that Mahinda destroyed the nation in more ways than Wijeweera and Prabhakaran combined.
          Even school-going children would have no doubt about this, but it would take several more decades for Champa and the Sinhalese man to grasp it.
          .
          However, sources say that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna is going to re-appoint Medamulana Thirisan Balla as the Prime Minister. RW has no “say” here because he is elected only by the votes of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna rather than anyone else.

  • 1
    0

    Pakistan Military disrupts the democracy unlawful arrests provoked violent protests Imran Khan on May 9 is another ignominious mark on Pakistan’s democratcy record lesson in delayed election

  • 2
    0

    Our president and members of parliament must take a lesson from the dilemma in Pakistan. You cannot occupy office without the legality of elections if we call ourselves a democracy. Soon there will be an uprising, an Aragalaya, or call it what you may. But we must avoid the inevitable chaos and bloodshed that must follow. Ranil lost his home in the last chaos. But it was only his home. He can lose a lot more, the whole lot. No one wants the country to burn.

    • 1
      2

      “Our president and members of parliament must take a lesson from the dilemma in Pakistan.”
      There were lots of things happened in Sri Lanka in the past 75 years and so far none of our Primie Ministers, Presidents and members of Parliament or the people of Sri Lanka did not learn not a single lesson. Do you think the dilemma in Pakistan is much worse than dilemma after Bankgruptcy? Today, the President is the head of corruption group, Criminal group. If he had a genuine interest in the country he should have gone for election with his policies allowing the democracy to decide the fate of this country.

  • 3
    6

    How the Aragalaya was staged to enable the Default and rapid currency depreciation and ensure the regime change operation to bring The Ranil Rajapakse regime to power is available her: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ysy6qrXi0m0
    An ex-US marine tells all ..so now that the Ranil Rajapakse is in power the Aragalaya is a weak show to distract from the IMF asset stripping SL!
    Complex System Analysis the us of AI and Big Data mining means that an Over the Horizon destabilization program in ongoing to ensure that Sri Lanka is US and NATO controlled.
    This is why Ali Sabri is in Stockholm to discuss the Indo-Pacific! Muslims have always been the US catspaw..

    • 8
      1

      Dinuk dear,
      My toilet is blocked. You think it was a US Marines Over The Horizon operation using Big Data Destabilisation and Asset Stripping?

      • 7
        0

        I was not able to sleep after reading some comments being posted by bandarawella joker. Is US or EU behind that? 🤔 🤣🤣🤣🤣
        .
        Aragalaya was inevitable the man donkey Gota performed his presidency That is what anyone with some sanity would say looking back. U tubers breed like termites today. That is everywhere the same. 🙃

      • 5
        2

        OC
        Have you considered the possibility that it is a Chinese job, with so many Chinese hanging around in Colombo?
        Many here would be pleased to hear that, and more so if you offer Russia as an option.

        • 2
          4

          Your Bathiudeen PhD can only go up to that. Poor Sadampi.! Chinese prisoners do not poop in toilets, but in ships sent be to Langkang to fertilize the fields. Chinese prisoners hang around Colombo to fertilize Sinhala Buddhist Modayas. Please do not come back and ask me “Map Please ” One thing I am not popular in creating like you, so can draw the maps you want. 2nd, what is the map you are offering to prove the ways you suggest are the only path to push Colombo elites in blitz? Won’t the demand lost, Deva bad-us can blitz the Colombo elite’s music better than the Chinese prisoners?

    • 7
      0

      Dear logical Thinkers over to you@,
      .
      school drop-out Wimal Weerawanse (a provable high criminal) became the number one CONSPIRACY theorist of RAJAPAKSHE political propaganda machines. That made the bugger the HIGH voter earner also in srilanka’s most literate bundesland, which is WESTERN PROVINCE again and again.

      And not long ago, even MBBS and other degree holders lined up to grab their rations on DHAMMIKA paniya (panacea against COVID 19 viral infection which was arbiorily mixed by a schizophant patient regulated by KALI AMMA), even if they were blessed with FREE EDUCATION to allow them a medical degree. — their psychology is similar to that of a drug addict in this country…
      -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObJpXb4hXfQ
      .

      • 7
        0

        cont.
        .
        Hakgediya promoter FAKE Prof. became a spiritual man of most prestgeous men and women of srilanka during RAJAPAKSHE time, even if marine researchers have found that no HAKKGEDIYA or anything like could be related to make woners giving by their hitherto publications.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcR2EUAj8OE

        And everyone knows that the country is filled with stupid people fall on any easy tricks being played by various kind of tricksters for their selfish gains.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVN3oht8VXo

        Iliterate astrolodger, ROYAL ASTROLOGIST moved the stupid folks during Mahinda’s abusive days similar to the days of Zimbabwian Mugabe’s tyranny or that of Tripoli’s man.
        :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMpW3M_ZUFE

        So now, with all being aware to even school going children, OUR ballige puthas to go after any low level youtubers regarding their own conspiracy theories focusing on ” people s rise”… funny of the day.

    • 2
      0

      D
      “Muslims have always been the US catspaw.”
      That is a little over the top.
      Will not another community qualify equally, if the reasoning is that the community is broadly pro-US?

  • 1
    0

    Rajan Philips.

    I wouldnt send even my Mother-In-Law to Pakistan……..

  • 2
    2

    Nothing to do with US vs. China Russia. All to do with mad-hatter Imran Khan running around in circles attempting to do the “Capitalist-Craze” thing over all of them by trying to make easy money off all of them by buying and selling, hedging-betting&netting, oiling and kneading all kinds of international stock & bonds deals (which includes much illegalities)……attempting to hold Damocles swords over each power….…Exactly like what our Rajapaks’s vistas-of-prosperity were about, since hence passed down to Ranil who is doing exactly that and beyond, with the greatest of legitimacy, such that US-China-Russia are at the pentagonal drawing board, drawing up plans for the Newest-World-Order(that includes The BOMB), to bring about global financial harmony.

    What the world needs now is love sweet love (TLC) by the leaders, where each of these most useless countries be true to their own, and distribute the country money to their starving citizens so they can start building ground-up. Pakistan needs a purely Islamic government (minus hand-chopping and women-stoning) ; Sri Lanka needs JVP with SJB (Sajith to help out with the IMF capital so it can be spread out for profit, equitably). It is that simple!

    • 1
      0

      Ramona,
      You are outdoing even Dinuk today…..

      • 1
        0

        OC,
        This is why I still question whether Ramona is a blood relative of Champa, a self-proclaimed Bandarawela teacher and gender analyst.

        Btw, I plan to come to SL soon. This time I am posting a packet of “Ratathatanakola” to my old friend SM shortly before my trip.
        .
        Will I be killed on the street? What do you think about human safety in my home country full of POHOTTUWA stray dogs?

  • 0
    2

    Conspiracies are everywhere. Imaran Khan’s removal last year was a US conspiracy. The insurrection in Sri Lanka was a US conspiracy. The recent crisis in Sudan was also a CIA conspiracy. Didn’t infamous Victoria Nuland visit Sudan in March and riots began after that?
    On the European side, Russia is facing betrayals after betrayals at the hands of their own commanders. There is a pattern.
    1. First, it was their former intelligence chief.
    2. Then, the betrayal in Kherson in October last year. At a glance, Russia’s withdrawal from the city of Kherson seemed to be the best course of action to avoid an urban warfare. I remember mentioning it. The withdrawal was first announced by Ukraine not Russia, because Ukraine is not good at keeping secrets.
    3. Then they announced that Russia planned to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia. Anyway, Russia’s Foreign Ministry intervened and stopped further withdrawals.
    4. Last November, I said President Putin would be betrayed on the battlefield. When he made some changes to the military hierarchy in January this year, I said he only addressed 50% of the problem. I could have told him directly what the other 50% was. But I didn’t, because I am not an adviser. I only share my opinion in my leisure time.

  • 0
    2

    5. The constant attack on Russia’s Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu and the Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov and the speculation spread around last year that the latter would be removed from post for incompetence proves that they were a headache to Ukraine.
    6. I was very surprised when Russia reinstated a previously removed General and entrusted him with some responsibilities at a critical juncture of the (war). How did Russia lose 2 aircraft and 3 helicopters in one day?
    7. I don’t remember when, but I warned Russia that Bakhmut could be a distraction and that it was obvious that Wagner and Ukraine scratch each other’s back. I can give so many examples from Makiivka to the latest Ukraine attack in the outskirts of Bakhmut and from the attempts made to deplete one’s own ammo to demoralization tactics and war crimes made-to-order. But there is no need. The betrayal is on record now.
    9. Russia will have to pay for putting all eggs in one basket and handing it over to one man in Bakhmut. Now the man has threatened to drop the basket, breaking all the eggs. Kherson 2.0.
    Contd’…….

    • 0
      1

      10. I thought Ukraine’s counter offensive would start on May 9, because the egg basket was meant to drop on the 10th. However, it didn’t happen. Some people say it was because Russia issued a written warning to the man with the basket that dropping the basket is treason. It looks like the basket-man desperately wants to drop the basket for a hidden reason. So far, his verbal diarrhea didn’t produce the anticipated result, i.e. recalling him.
      11. Mr. Putin is not an ordinary person. He was a former KGB officer. I am sure he knows what is going on behind the scene. But he won’t let the basket-man betray his country, maybe until he makes some alternate arrangements, such as deploying Russia’s most powerful modern weapons in place of eggs.
      12. Finally, I want to say, Russians are hardworking, honest people. But, Ukrainians are smart and shrewd. They know they can’t win a war against mighty Russia. Therefore, they vigorously explore other possibilities. President Zelensky seems to be celebrating the victory in advance. Everybody says, Bakhmut is a fortified city. Correct. “Peter the Great” has used it as a “Guard Post” to protect Russia. It may be the reason Russia wanted the city back.

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