The slippery fence sitter Najam Sethi

Amalendu Upadhyaya
Posted By -

By Justice Markandey Katju

While many journalists in Pakistan shamelessly toe the line of the Pakistan Establishment, and while others bravely and vehemently oppose it, there are some, like Najam Sethi ( born May 1948 ), who run with the hares and hunt with the hounds. In other words, they pose as 'independent' and 'neutral', but avoid calling a spade a spade and taking a firm line, sitting all the time on the fence, and always equivocating and obfuscating.

Najam Sethi has done this all his life. Like an oversmart guy, he tries to please everyone, a gift for which he was rewarded by being made the caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab in 2013, and thrice the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board

Najam Sethi was appointed as the caretaker CM of Punjab on 26 March 2013. His name was presented by the opposition, the PPP, and the governing party, the PMLN, agreed to it.

This shows his proximity to both parties, and how he cultivated both over the years

PTI ( Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf ), the party that lost the 2013 elections, accused Najam Sethi of fixing the elections in 35 constituencies and famously called them 'the 35 punctures'.

The parliamentary elections held on 8th February 2024 were rigged on a massive scale by the Pakistan Establishment. All opinion polls showed that former Prime Minister Imran Khan enjoyed, and still enjoys, the support of about 90% people of Pakistan. Hence if elections had been free and fair, the PTI would have secured over 200, possibly even upto 225, seats in the National Assembly. But by a patently dishonest judgment of the Supreme Court bench presided over by Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, that modern Judge Jeffreys, the PTI was deprived of its party symbol, and its candidates were forced to contest as independents.

Despite that, the candidates put up by the PTI would have won at least 200 seats ( if not 225 ) had not massive rigging taken place.

The recent disclosure of the Liaquat Ali Chattar, the Commissioner of Rawalpindi, has let the cat out of the bag. In a public statement he has admiitted that PTI candidates who were leading by over 50,000 votes were fraudulently declared as having lost. It is evident that this happened all over Pakistan, on orders of the Pakistan army, which was determined to keep Imran Khan out of power by hook or crook.

Many people have praised the Commissioner for his courage in making such a massive disclosure of the truth.

But not our oversmart fence sitter. He will not displease the Pakistan army, the real ruler of Pakistan. He had earlier been arrested twice ( in 1975 and again in 1999 ), and so twice bitten thrice shy. Here is his marvel of equivocation about the Commissioners's revelations :

What is to be noted is Sethi's repeated obfuscations. While he says that the Commissioner certainly knew of what had happened, he adds that questions are being raised about the timing of his public speech, his mental condition, his motivation, his Jewish connection, his wealth, his 'kirdaar', etc.

Sethi asks why the Commissioner criticised the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Qazi Faez Isa ? The answer is obvious : it was because the CJP gave a blatantly dishonest judgment in the PTI symbol case, has violated his oath of office to defend the Constitution and protect the people's rights, and has been behaving in an obviously biased and anti Imran Khan and pro-PDM manner since long, as mentioned in my letter to him.

Not once does Sethi praise the Commissioner for his courage, as Ayaz Amir, Hassan Nisar, and others have done. Not once does he admit that there was massive rigging in the elections, though true to form and his slippery nature, he says that others, including foreigners, allege this.

Sethi forgets that, like Humpty Dumpty, fence sitters often have a great fall.
(Justice Katju is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. These are his personal views.)

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)