Archive | June, 2013

Sacking judges is an act of high treason in Pakistan

25 Jun

MushThe government has finally come clear on a matter which is being considered of paramount importance for democracy, Pakistan style. Amid strong protests against unjust taxation in the next year’s budget, load-shedding and law and order issues, the new government has decided to prosecute former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, for high treason under article 6 of the Constitution. The charge, if established, will lead to death penalty for Musharraf. The provision of the Constitution prescribes similar punishment for all those who aided or abetted in heinous crime of suspension or abrogation of the Constitution.

The development is interesting. Pervez Musharraf is guilty of high treason on two counts; the military under him staged a coup on October 12, 1999 and dismissed the government of Nawaz Sharif. At that moment, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Musharraf was not present in Pakistan; he was not even anywhere. He was in an airplane flying home from abroad. While he was in air, he was sacked and the pilot of his airplane was ordered not to land till the newly appointed COAS was securely installed in his place. The pilot was even asked to take the plane to India, a country bitterly hostile to Musharraf for Kargil operation which was a huge embarrassment to Indian government and India. Pakistan army reacted to this, captured the government and allowed Musharraf to land in Pakistan. Rest is history.

Second time Musharraf suspended the Constitution was when he proclaimed emergency on November 3, 2007. This second offense was aimed at getting rid of troublesome judiciary. No government was sacked this time and no parliament dissolved; it was judges of the superior courts who lost their jobs. They remained jobless as even the successor democratic government of Zardari was not willing to restore them. They were restored after street agitation started by lawyers and supported and sponsored by opposition parties.

The first act of suspension of the Constitution was widely aided and abetted by a cross-section of society; opposition under Benazir Bhutto welcomed it, 70% of the people on the street were jubilant, the Supreme Court endorsed it and the subsequent parliament validated it.  The second suspension was endorsed by the SC but when the sacked judges were restored they declared it as an act of high treason.

Imagine; abrogation of the Constitution, dismissal of elected government and dissolution of the parliament was not only acceptable, it was baptized as kosher by the judiciary. The judiciary was so magnanimous with the usurper that it gave him a blank check to amend the Constitution at will. Amendment of the Constitution, even the judges knew, was the prerogative of the elected representatives and that too with a two-third majority.

It seems that the judiciary which is Pakistan’s new establishment is bent upon settling its score with Musharraf. This has given a godsend opportunity to Nawaz Sharif not only to settle the scores with the generals but also to subdue the military in order to have a free-hand to deal with India, Afghanistan and the terrorists. This is evident from the fact that, at the expense of public interest, he has chosen to be the foreign minister and defense minister himself. This gives him an opportunity to flex his civilian muscle, a serious mistake which was first made by power-drunk Bhutto and then Sharif himself. The consequences in both the cases were disastrous.  No military in a country faced with external and internal threats can afford to be personal fiefdom of unscrupulous politicos.

Under the Constitution, trial under article 6 is to be initiated and concluded by none else but the federal government. The judiciary, however, is not prepared to take any chances. Setting aside the principle that in this particular case, the judges are aggrieved party themselves and they should demonstrate least interest as to how the government proceeds in the matter, it has in its infinite wisdom, decided to monitor the prosecution. Only yesterday, the honorable judges sought a step-by-step mechanism from the government for initiating high treason proceedings against Musharraf. It was very interesting to note that when attorney general informed the bench that the government would require a 30-day period to prepare a detailed mechanism, including who would investigate, who will prosecute, and who will be named as abettors in the treason case, the court observed that a one month period could not be granted because the government had in principle decided to proceed against those who had violated the Constitution. He said the mechanism should only seek to clarify how the process would be initiated and concluded.

The court has insisted time and again that only the act of November 3, 2007 constituted high-treason whereas Musharraf asserts that proceedings for this offense should start from 1999 when he actually abrogated the Constitution. The court is aware that the learned judges would be deemed as abettors and partners in the crime, if they were to prosecute Musharraf for his martial law.

The case has taken interesting turns. The top judges don’t want to dig the past which highlights their own role and want to focus on 2007 which made them jobless. In any case, this is evidently a case of conflict of interests. Their desire to monitor the prosecution proceedings and their interest to personally approve the procedure is, prima facie, a violation of principles of natural justice and would not augur well with judicial independence of Pakistan. This may have adverse consequences for the toddler called democracy, Pakistan-style.

 

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Nelson Mandela: Such men are born after centuries

24 Jun

ImageNelson Mandela is in news again; this time for entirely wrong reasons. The shining star of our times who belongs to the galaxy of history’s great people is preparing to meet his peers. He is struggling to survive the deadly lungs’ disease in a hospital but looking at his age, he will one day meet the fate all great people meet, but death will not rob him of the aura and the greatness which make him an undisputed legend of 20th and 21st centuries. He fought a battle against the crudest of the injustices called apartheid. He personally suffered all the naked cruelties of inequalities and injustice but when his time came, he embraced his tormentors. What a great man this world is going to be deprived of.

According to biographical details obtained from credible sources, he was born as Rolihlahla Mandela on July 18, 1918 in Transkei, South Africa, in the tiny village of Mvezo on the banks of the Mbashe River in the province of Transkei. “Rolihlahla” in the language of Xhosa literally means “pulling the branch of a tree,” but more commonly means “troublemaker.” Mandela’s father was destined to be a chief and for years served as a counselor to tribal chiefs. But over a dispute with the local colonial magistrate, he lost his title and his fortune. Rolihlahla was only an infant at the time and the loss of status forced his mother to move the family to Qunu, an even smaller village north of Mvezo. At the suggestion of one of Rolihlahla’s father’s friends, he was baptized into the Methodist church and became the first in his family to attend school. As was the custom at the time, and probably due to the bias of the British educational system in South Africa, his teacher told him that his new first name would be “Nelson.”

In 1939, Mandela enrolled at the University College of Fort Hare, the only residential center of higher learning for blacks in South Africa. Fort Hare was considered Africa’s equivalent of Oxford or Harvard, drawing scholars from all parts of sub-Sahara Africa. In his second year, he was elected to the Student Representative Council (SRC). After completing education, Mandela directed a campaign of peaceful, non-violent defiance against the South African government and its racist policies, including the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1955 Congress of the People. He founded the law firm Mandela and Tambo, partnering with Oliver Tambo, a brilliant student he had earlier met at Fort Hare. The law firm provided free and low-cost legal counsel to unrepresented blacks.

In 1956, Mandela and 150 others were arrested and charged with treason for their political advocacy, though they were eventually acquitted. Meanwhile, the ANC was being challenged by the Africanists, a new breed of black activists who believed that the pacifist method of the ANC was ineffective. By 1959, the ANC lost much of its militant support when the Africanists broke away to form the Pan-Africanist Congress. In 1961, Mandela, who was formerly committed to non-violent protest, began to believe that armed struggle was the only way to achieve change. He co-founded Umkhonto we Sizwe, also known as MK, an armed offshoot of the ANC dedicated to sabotage and guerilla war tactics to end apartheid. He orchestrated a three-day national workers strike in 1961 for which he was arrested in 1962. He was sentenced to five years in prison for the strike, and then brought to trial again in 1963. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of his 27 years in prison. As a black political prisoner, he received the lowest level of treatment. However, he was able to earn a Bachelor of Law degree through a University of London correspondence program while incarcerated. A 1981 memoir by South African intelligence agent Gordon Winter described a plot by the South African government to arrange for Mandela’s escape so as to shoot him during the recapture. The plot was foiled by British intelligence. Mandela continued to be such a potent symbol of black resistance that a coordinated international campaign for his release was launched. This international groundswell of support exemplified the power and esteem Mandela had in the global political community.

In 1982, Mandela and other ANC leaders were moved to Pollsmoor Prison, allegedly to enable contact between them and the South-African government. In 1985, President P.W. Botha offered Mandela’s release in exchange for renouncing armed struggle; the prisoner flatly rejected the offer. With increasing local and international pressure for his release, the government participated in several talks with Mandela over the years, but no deal was made. It wasn’t until Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced by Frederik Willem de Klerk that Mandela’s release was announced in February 1990. De Klerk unbanned the ANC, removed restrictions on political groups, and suspended executions.

Mandela was elected president of the African National Congress in 1991 with lifelong friend and colleague, Oliver Tambo, serving as National Chairperson. Mandela continued to negotiate with President F.W. de Klerk toward the country’s first multi-racial elections. White South Africans were willing to share power, but many black South Africans wanted a complete transfer of power. The negotiations were often strained and news of violent eruptions, including the assassination of ANC leader Chris Hani, continued throughout the country. Mandela had to keep a delicate balance of political pressure and intense negotiations amid the demonstrations and armed resistance.

Negotiation prevailed, however, and on April 27, 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections. At age 77, Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the country’s first black president on May 10, 1994, with de Klerk as his first deputy. In 1993, Mandela shared the Nobel Prize for Peace with de Klerk for their work towards dismantling apartheid and in 1995 he was awarded the Order of Merit. In 1994, Mandela published his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, much of which he had secretly written while in prison.

His authentic biography, Higher than Hope, was penned down by Fatima Meer. A longtime opponent of apartheid herself, Meer, who was banned and jailed with Winnie Mandela, acknowledges her personal commitment to the ANC’s integrationist program (as opposed to that of other groups, such as the separatist Pan-Africanist Congress), and though she sometimes portrays Nelson and Winnie in idealized terms, her account of their critical role in bringing an end to South Africa’s racial oppression is thoroughly engaging, informative and moving.

According to Los Angeles Times, Meer’s biography of Mandela delivers the story of a man whose every waking moment has been devoted to African liberation. Meer traces that struggle from 1941 when Mandela, then 23, arrived in Johannesburg to study law and immersed himself in the city’s progressive community of intellectuals and activists. “We were critical of the ANC,” he writes of the organization founded in 1912. “We felt it was out of touch with the masses.” Therefore, he and several friends established the African Youth Congress, their own militant wing of the ANC, which by 1949 was able to take control of the parent organization and move it from an ineffective “constitutional struggle” against government oppression to Gandhi-style non-violent, passive resistance in the successful 1952 Defiance of Unjust Laws campaign.

Under Mandela’s leadership, the ANC grew “from a few thousand to an estimated 100,000″ by 1951. But two years later, the racist government responded with the Group Areas Act (reserving practically all urban and developed land for whites), the Bantu Education Act (aimed at giving African children an inferior education) and the Bantu Authorities Act (to control the movement of Africans); extended the pass system to include women, and passed legislation outlawing passive resistance. In 1954, the government banned Mandela from all ANC gatherings for five years.

Mandela has given hope to the oppressed humanity and demonstrated, through personal example, the virtues of tolerance and forgiveness; the two attributes of world’s great leaders. In his life, he was a world leader and in his death, his personal virtues and leadership qualities will guide the humanity for all times to come.

 

Doha Talks: Why are Karzai and his Indian handlers furious at ISI?

20 Jun

DohaAfghan president, Hamid Karzai’s frustration with, and his diatribe against, Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency makes a lot of sense now with the events unfolding in Doha, Qatar where Taliban have an office to deal with the US through negotiations. The independent experts, and the US administration officials, attribute Taliban willingness to talk to Pakistan’s efforts who is believed to have some influence on Taliban through ISI. The Afghan president not only bashed ISI through an interview aired by a Pakistani channel, he suspended his government’s negotiations with the US on an agreement to leave behind a residual foreign force in Afghanistan post-2014. In a fit of rage, he declared that the High Peace Council will only participate in the Doha talks if they are “Afghan-led” — something the Afghan Taliban have showed little interest in.

By all means, this is great breakthrough for the US who wants to get out of Afghanistan mess which it created not only for itself but also for the region. Leave it will, bloody-nosed, but putting all eggs in Karzai’s, and by implication in Indian, basket would have been another blunder with far greater consequences. It seems that the Taliban and the US talking directly with ISI chipping in, Mr. Karzai’s role in the future of Afghanistan has been brought to a naught. This also keeps India out of the future Afghan calculus, something it was hoping to seize in order to keep its grip on Afghanistan. There is likelihood that Karzai and his Indian handlers will try their best to frustrate the negotiation process.

ISI received another attack from a Pakistani minister on Tuesday when a pro-India anchor made him spit his venom against a former chief of the agency. He said in that interview that army needs to be purged of generals like Pasha, referring to the ex-DG ISI who was not popular with the US and India and who has the singular distinction of receiving a bad press in Pakistan, India and the US. The said minister thinks that Gen Pasha during his time in ISI supported Imran Khan who gave tough time to him in the recent elections. The anchor, knowing the minister’s anger, conducted his show very brilliantly and extracted a strong statement from him who appeared totally clueless as to the real intentions of the anchor.

It is no secret that the US wanted India to handle Afghanistan post-2014 putting Pakistan’s security into serious jeopardy. India is trying very hard to get an access to Central Asia through Afghanistan and had invested in Pakistan’s political elite to get the status of MFN (most favorite nation) in order to use Pakistan as a transit route to Central Asian States through Afghanistan. This move has so far been resisted by security establishment further frustrating India’s designs. Indian presence in Afghanistan would mean Pakistan’s encirclement, a top-priority strategic objective of India and extending trade concessions through MFN status would hurt Pakistan, though it would surely benefit the traders’ community.

Pakistan and its ISI have so far played it cards very brilliantly but it has invited the ire of pro-India lobbies in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Original article appeared at: ALLVOICES

 

Afghan president and Pakistani minister bash ISI, Gen Pasha with one voice

19 Jun

karzai.big_picIt was a real treat to watch interview of Afghan president Hamid Karzai with a Jang Group journalist two days ago. Both the interviewer and the interviewee are known for their sympathies for anti-Pakistan terror outfit, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). President Karzai admitted that Afghanistan has provided safe havens to the elements of TTP. From the very outset, it was clear that the interview was scheduled for the sole purpose of bashing Pakistan’s premier intelligence out, the ISI.

Within two days of Karzai interview, the same media group aired an interview of Pakistan’s Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan on Tuesday. The anchor is known for his hatred of army and ISI and his leanings towards separatist elements of Balochistan, the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA). Both the journalists very brilliantly made their subjects spit venom against ISI.

ISI is under attack not only from the external front, it is being targeted from inside.

The Interior minister did not attack ISI directly; he carefully targeted its former chief, Gen Pasha. He said in his interview that remnants and the legacy of former ISI chief Gen (r) Shuja Pasha must be eliminated from within the army. The minister knows Pakistan’s entire security establishment inside out. He is the one who paved the way for elevation of Gen Musharraf as COAS through his brother, a general and defense secretary. When Musharraf dismissed Nawaz government in 1999 and jailed Nawaz and other leaders of his party, he did not touch Nisar Khan and lodged him in his house with all comforts at his disposal.

Same is the case of Hamid Karzai. He spent his life in Pakistan before moving into Afghanistan on CIA’s behest in 2001 to take over as president after fall of Taliban government. He too was comfortably lodged in Quetta under the benevolent umbrella of Pakistan’s security agencies. Karzai is known to be a paid operative of CIA and it is no more a secret that he has been receiving bundles of dirty cash from CIA. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election.

In an interview with Pak private TV channel Geo, President Karzai said that the military and intelligence agency of Pakistan are adopting crazed killer methods based on religion to destabilize Afghanistan. Playing to the galleries, President Karzai said, he had no complaints against the people of Pakistan because they shared their home and food with Afghans during the ‘Jihad’ years but he seriously had issues with the military and intelligence agency. He said that the military apparatus of Pakistan and its intelligence agency has been always misusing the Afghan good-will to make Afghanistan’s government work as their puppet and surrender to the evil will of that country.

In the era of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW), such interviews should not be taken lightly. It is the war of perceptions. The media creates perception to discredit the armed forces or glorify their role. The punch line of Karzai interview that Pakistanis are good but ISI is rogue is, in fact a subtle attempt to drive a wedge between the people and their first line of defense, the ISI. Similarly, the punch line of Nisar Khan’s interview that army is generally good but legacy of Gen Pasha must be eliminated will have similar effects as of Karzai’s interview. The minister may have said something he did not know will have adverse ramifications for the armed forces but the well-meaning politicians should be wary of those journalists who make them say something for their own, and their masters’, vested interests.

 

With sympathetic judiciary and sold-out media anchors, terrorists have a field day in Balochistan

15 Jun

ziaratPakistan’s restive province of Balochistan is on fire again with increased intensity in the activities of militants of Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). Two terrorist incidents on Saturday have posed serious questions about political stability of the province after a populist government headed by a commoner has been installed only last week. The first incident was destruction through rocket attacks of Ziarat Residency, a building in scenic pine forests about 75 miles from provincial capital, Quetta. This building is of historical monument and Pakistanis have special emotional attachment to this building because the Founding Father, Jinnah spent his last days here.

In another incident, at least eleven female students were killed and several others injured when a blast hit a bus near Quetta’s Women University on Baruri road. According to police, explosives were planted inside the bus parked on the premises of the university. Another 22 people had been injured in the blast with some of them in critical condition. This attack comes hours after militants attacked Quaid-e-Azam residency in Ziarat area of Balochistan. According to reports, a larger portion of the building was destroyed in the attack.

Attackers of the Quaid-e-Azam Residency in Zairat are reported to have removed the Pakistan flag and replaced it with the flag of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). According to Interior ministry report presented in the National Assembly on Saturday, there was firing and five explosions at the Qauid-e-Azam Residency at approximately 1:15 AM. Following the attack, the historic building was completely burnt and the fire was extinguished after a four hour struggle. District Police Officer (DPO) said that six bombs were also recovered from the site of the incident. He said that each bomb weighed 2 to 3 kilograms.

The BLA is alleged to have been sponsored by Pakistan’s archrival, India and its leaders have been provided asylum in Switzerland and UK. It has some local sympathizers too as Pakistan Supreme Court chief judge Chaudhary, himself hailing from Balochistan has repeatedly provided relief to them and rebuked the security forces for chasing them. Judge Chaudhary was a personal favorite and lawyer of slain tribal leader Bugti whose grandsons are leading BLA. One of them was caught red-handed smuggling a huge cache of arms and ammunition but was released on the orders of the judge. Another sympathizer of the separatists is a host of a popular talk show of a leading news channel. His late father was recently honored by Bangladesh’s pro-India regime for supporting the cause of India-funded insurgency in East pakistan in 1971. This is the reason that security agencies want Balochistan to be a No-Go area for the apex court.

After the May 11 elections, it was hoped that Balochistan might stabilize but the decision of Nawaz Sharif to appoint a popular leader as chief minister may have irked the BLA separatists because he is not a tribal chief while Balochistan government has so far been under the tribal chiefs who have received hundreds of billions of development funds and syphoned them off to their personal coffers depriving the common man of the benefits of development.

Courtesy: ALLVOICES

 

Welcome to Pakistan; a paradise for tax dodgers

14 Jun

taxThe cat is finally out of the bag and it has exposed the real face of ruling elite. The budget 2013-14 clearly shows that the rules are totally insensitive to tens of millions of those who voted them into power. They have a visible tilt for those who are rich and tax dodgers at the same time. Like in the past, the poor and the salaried class, who are already paying through their nose to keep the country going, will continue to be milked. The direct taxes have been levied on the salaried class and indirect taxes, as usual, have to be paid by the common man. The rich and beautiful of this country will continue to be having a good time at the cost of poor who will be pushed towards the wrong side of the poverty line.

Normally, the civilized societies keep a fine balance between the direct and indirect taxes. Direct Taxes are the taxes that are levied on the income of individuals or organizations. Income tax, corporate tax, inheritance tax are some instances of direct taxation. Income tax is the tax levied on individual income from various sources like salaries, investments, interest etc. Corporate tax is the tax paid by companies or firms on the incomes they earn. These taxes are paid by the rich.

The common man pays indirect taxes through various means. Indirect taxes are those paid by consumers when they buy goods and services. These include excise and customs duties. Customs duty is the charge levied when goods are imported into the country, and is paid by the importer or exporter. Excise duty is a levy paid by the manufacturer on items manufactured within the country. Usually, these charges are passed on to the consumer. Same is the case with Value-added Tax (VAT) and General Sales Tax (GST) but the experts classify it under direct taxes. For poor strata of the society, the indirect taxes constitute a large chunk of their income while it is less than fraction of the income and resources of the rich.

Generally, the direct taxes should exceed the indirect taxes in a poor country. But in the case of Pakistan, it has always been the other way round. In the budget just presented, direct taxes constitute just 38% of total tax revenue. The rich have been spared of their obligation to pay up. Without making contribution to the exchequer the money amassed by the rich will continue to be ill-gotten if not plundered from the hapless poor.

Just look at the disparities of obligations and injustice of taxation measures. Daily Pakistan Today has presented some startling figures collected by NADRA last year which show only the tip of the iceberg. According to these figures:

  • There are 1.611 million people who frequently embark on international tours but do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • About 584,730 Pakistanis have multiple accounts in domestic and multinational banks, but do not possess NTNs.
  • Over 56,000 people live in posh areas and more than 20,000 people own luxury cars, still pay no income tax.
  • There are 66,736 individual consumers who pay large utility bills, but no income tax.
  •  More than 13,000 people have licenses of both prohibited and non-prohibited weapons, but they do not possess an NTN.
  • There are 25,130 people who are engaged in lucrative professions like medicine, engineering, law and chartered accountancy, but they do not pay a single penny as income tax.
  • Nearly three million people possess a National Tax Number (NTN), but only 1.4 million of them filed income tax returns last year.

These figures, though do not present the comprehensive situation, clearly show that Pakistan is a paradise for tax-dodgers. While a clerk is made to cough up taxes from an income which does not give him a decent living, those who live a life of princes are all exempt. And those who call themselves business community are totally immune to cough up because they do not document their transactions. Currently, 70% of the economy is informal and remains out of tax net. Same is the case of filthy rich whose life style suggest they should contribute but they do not make any contribution.

The best course to mobilize the resources would be make NTN card a door-opener. It should be made compulsory to give NTN number for all occasions from the admission of children to buying cars and houses and for purchasing air-tickets. This will provide a treasure trove of potential taxpayers who are out of the tax net.

 

Auditor-General of Pakistan and the contempt of Federal Tax Ombudsman

12 Jun

FTO

Hussain Saqib

A ridiculous situation has emerged in Pakistan whereby holders of two constitutional offices, the Auditor-General (AGP) and the Federal Tax Ombudsman (FTO), have locked horns over a trivial matter. The AGP had observed that the FTO was not entitled to claim a certain allowance meant for members of judiciary. The FTO, armed with the powers of punishing anybody for contempt of his office, took exception to it and issued a contempt notice under section 16 of the governing statute of his office. Not only that, the honorable FTO ordered the police to arrest AGP and produce him before the FTO.

Before we deliberate on the issue, let us look at section 16 of FTO Ordinance, 2000. Under this provision, the FTO shall have the same powers, mutatis mutandis, as the Supreme Court has to punish any person for its contempt who abuses, interferes with, impedes, imperils, or obstructs the process of the Federal Tax Ombudsman in any way or disobeys any order of the Federal Tax Ombudsman. These powers also includes to prosecute someone for contempt of the FTO who scandalizes the FTO or otherwise does anything which tends to bring the Federal Tax Ombudsman, Staff Members, nominees of the Office, or any person authorized by the Federal Tax Ombudsman in relation to his Office into hatred, ridicule or contempt. There is a proviso to this provision under which fair comments made in good faith and in public interest on the working of the Federal Tax Ombudsman or any Staff Member, or on the final report of the Federal Tax Ombudsman after the completion of the investigation shall not constitute contempt of the Federal Tax Ombudsman or his Office.

Obviously, these powers have been given to the FTO to ensure that he performs his functions without fear or favor. His core functions, according to preamble of the law, are to diagnose, investigate, redress and rectify any injustice done to a person through maladministration by functionaries administering tax laws. It seems that the objection of the AGP to the claim of FTO for a certain allowance does not come under scandalizing. The AGP, or the officer authorized by him, discharges his functions under the Constitution and his audit teams raise thousands of objections everyday which hardly draw the ire of concerned quarters as to use the powers unfairly given to them to perform their respective functions.

AGP and the FTO are two respectable constitutional offices irrespective of the fact who holds the office. Unfortunately, the media had successfully made the office of AGP controversial the day present incumbent, being the senior-most in his department was tipped to hold this office. Irrespective of his personal connections with the political leadership, the fact remains that he heads a highly respected constitutional office. To settle the score of his perceived nearness with the prime minister of the day, the entire office of AGP was scandalized and held in disrepute. He has to perform his functions without fear or favor. The best course of action would be to seek advice of the concerned quarters and settle the matter. As of today, the functionaries of the AGP office feel coerced and would be deprived of their right to work objectively.

The situation can be termed as ridiculous to say the least. Imagine, if the AGP was also equipped with the powers to prosecute for contempt of his office. Moreover, objecting to drawl of certain allowance is something very personal to the holder of the office of FTO and objection to this does not, prima facie, constitute scandalizing or hatred or even ridicule of FTO as an institution. This is a sorry state of affairs and has to be addresses to mitigate the damages caused to two state institutions.