Saturday, July 22, 2017

SC Panama Case Judgement and Crowds Clamoring for the Heads of Rich under Robespierre

It is worrying to see the sentiments of educated people and the functional illiterates (those who know how to read but are not readers) on the social media clamoring for the head of the PM and his family. They want an immediate decision and seem to have no patience for the "niceties" of "due-process-of-law" to be followed. They are shouting, screaming, cheering for the heads of PM and those related to him for the "crime of being rich". The crowds are being led and encouraged by those educated whose sentiments seem to have more in common with Robespierre during French Revolution.  It is interesting to compare the emotions of people clamoring for the head of PM to the mobs/crowds during "reign of terror" in 1793 France screaming "off with the heads" of the rich. Heads of thousands of aristocrats were chopped off by the guillotine for the crime that their hands were soft (meaning that they were not working with their hands) which implied that they were rich. This mood was then captured by Balzac in his famous quotation which was used by SC Judge Khosa "Behind every fortune is a crime" in Panama Case Judgement.  Balzac was an inspiration for Marx and Engels who were the inspiration behind the communist revolution in 1917 of Soviet empire that outlawed all individual enterprises and enforced "equality" of salaries and perks for all the jobs. Interestingly, this emphasis on artificial equality became the famous satirical expression "all are equal but some are more equal than others" that became the death knell for the demise of communism and Soviet Empire.

As I see the popular frenzy of the youth and educated on the media asking urgently for the head of the PM and ignoring and dispensing the requirements of due process of law, I am reminded of the Reign of Terror in France in 1793. I also connect it to the reference of French author in the SC Judgement of April 20 which starts with Judge Khosa's judgement that is spread over 200 pages and quotes Honore De Balzac "Behind every great fortune there is a crime" and then goes to condemn the rich using Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice quote: "To do a great right, do a little wrong”. Balzac was born in 1799 just a few years after the "Reign of Terror" and must have carried the emotions and sentiments of the crowds screaming "off with the heads" under the leadership of Robespierre with scant regard to due process of law.


This Balzac's statement "Behind every great fortune there is a crime" is categorical and is condemning all the wealthy people, a-priori, without trial and is thus a highly problematic concept to be relied upon in a court of law, and that too by Supreme Court which is going to make it quotable for decades to come. Fortunately, this view was rejected by the majority of the supreme court judges on the bench 3-2. The majority held that a person can not be convicted by an appellate court (SC) without due process of law in a trial court followed by his right to appeal.

It is interesting to note that Balzac emphasized class conflicts and inspired the revolutionaries and Marxists who hated the rich and gave birth to socialism and communism ideologies which emerged from Marx and Engels:
Marxist Friedrich Engels wrote: "I have learned more [from Balzac] than from all the professional historians, economists and statisticians put together".[128] [Wikipedia]
On the other hand irony of PM's situation in SC  can be seen as a great "Makafaat-e-Amal" as he tries to defend himself after the submission of JIT Report. His counsel is fighting to get the "fundamental rights of due-process-of-law" for the PM. Those rights that are trampled upon daily by the police and LEAs (euphemism for overt and covert agencies in Pakistan); LEAs routinely handcuff the common people for extortion and bribes, often forget the suspects after throwing them in jail for years, kill them in blatantly contrived police encounters and subject them to "forced disappearances" about which even SC can't do any thing, ..... I believe it is the pent up emotions of this deep sense of injustice in our society that has led to the situation that is resembling the time before the "Reign of Terror".

PM's attorneys are struggling to get the following rights from SC.
1. Right to a fair and open trial
2. Right to due process of law, getting charged first before being sentenced.
3. Right to be held "innocent unless proven guilty".
4. Right to a defense attorney during deposition.
5. Right to be presented with evidence and cross examine the evidence by their attorney
8. Right to cross examine the witnesses by their attorney.

Pakistan nearing this stage where educated and the energetic youth are clamoring for the heads of rich and are willing to violate the due process of law in their haste is really terrifying:
During the period of the French Revolution, and especially during the Terror (1793-1794) when the state enacted martial law, use of the guillotine skyrocketed. Led by Maximillian Robespierre, the Committee on Public Safety enacted a series of decrees that established a system of Terror, enforced by the state, in an effort to root out counter-revolutionaries and save the new Republic from itself.
Under this system, at least 40,000 people were killed. As many as 300,000 Frenchmen and women (1 in 50 Frenchmen and women) were arrested during a ten month period between September 1793 and July 1794. Included in these numbers were, of course, the deaths of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Although all social classes and professions were targeted, the death toll was especially high for both clergy and aristocrats. The numbers of those killed and taken into custody were probably even higher as the documented numbers don’t include people killed by vigilantes and other self-proclaimed representatives of the Republic.
I believe that under no circumstance the demand for quick and instant justice from mobs and crowds and the pressure of popular sentiments should dictate the decision of Supreme Court of Pakistan. It would be disastrous for Pakistan. As we have seen that political issues can not be resolved through SC judgements. Gen Zia the dictator who toppled the government of Bhutton in 1977 tried to solve the problem of ZA Bhutto, the deposed PM, potential political protests through a contrived SC judgement on a criminal case of murder. He was hanged in 1979 as per the SC judge. The consensus today points towards the Supreme Court also admitting that their were serious lapse of the "due process". Popular opinion now considers the judgement as the "Judicial Murder"

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