Is the May 9 Mutiny yet not over but has changed the dynamics?

Political DiscourseIs the May 9 Mutiny yet not over but has changed the...

Islamabad, Pakistan: Former Federal Minister and son of former Governor Punjab Hammad Azhar got 51 bails in the May 9, 2023 Mutiny cases. Before him over 100 accused of May 9 mutiny got reliefs, mostly from Peshawar High Court and Islamabad High Court. Many of the accused were allowed by courts to contest the February 8 General Elections 2024 and now they are elected legislators and sitting in assemblies.

Some of the accused have been allowed to contest the Senate election and all happened right under the nose of the State that looks helpless to take the culprits of the May 9 mutiny to the task. It is still remembered that PTI’s former Federal Minister Zartaj Gull dramatically appeared before Peshawar High Court and the court was kept open till midnight to provide her relief bail as she wanted to contest General Elections 2024. Therefore, the scene that happened in Peshawar High Court on April 1, 2024, was not unprecedented or unexpected but of course, it seemed an “April Fool” with the legal system. The May 9 2023 mutiny was unprecedented in 75 years history of Pakistan when PTI followers attacked military-related buildings and installations at 300 different spots spreading all over the country.

It is not unfounded to believe that those who made Imran Khan the prime minister in the past are somehow or still in a position to get him out of the clutches of the State

   

The then PDM government and Interim government that was an extension of the PDM government had a lukewarm response to take the culprits to the task while courts had a proactive response to bail everybody who was involved in this mutiny, resulting in a situation that led to a free-for-all all situation providing opportunities for alleged culprits to reach assemblies through February 8, 2024 elections. The situation is so grave that Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, while hearing the lifetime disqualification case observed that “those who made the country hostage are again contesting the election”. His observations were an excellent explanation of what the country is facing today. The time has testified that many who were allegedly involved and were seen and heard in videos while directing PTI followers to attack military installations are now free and enjoying their terms as members of National as well as provincial assemblies. People who understand the dynamics of Pakistan’s politics have been claiming that the “May 9 Mutiny is yet not over” and their observation looks “not unfounded”.

It is harsh to claim that Pakistan’s judiciary which played a pivotal role in making Imran Khan the prime minister in the past is still playing a pivotal role in safeguarding him and protecting those who attacked the state on May 9 on the alleged orders of Imran Khan. The glaring example of the “May 9 Mutiny is yet not over” is the release of Hammad Azhar who got bail in 51 cases in just 10 minutes although he was an absconder since May 9, 2023, and did not appear in any court despite of raids to arrest him because he was so confident that nobody could touch him as he is former federal minister, son of a former Governor (Punjab) and he belongs to “superclass” of the country. He was categorically right to think like this because of the way he got bails on April 1, 2024, and testified that “laws are only for poor and powerless in Pakistan”.  The speedy delivery of justice to Hammad Azhar, one of the main suspects of May 9, who was a fugitive confirms again that if you have the right connection in the system, you can even defeat the State and that is being done in Pakistan. Isn’t this an insult to the justice system to provide 51 bail to a fugitive who is allegedly involved in attacking the State in just 10 minutes?

There are several questions that also raise the possibility that “The May 9 Mutiny is yet not over but just has changed the dynamics. How did Hamad Azhar, the fugitive of May 9, reach Peshawar High Court, how was the court held, how did he get relief and who were the managers of this scene? The details are amazing. From lawyers to judges and from administration to intelligence wings, everyone seemed on the same page to provide relief to Hammad Azhar who was brought undercover in the guise of lawyers. Chief Justice Muhammad Ibrahim was waiting for fugitive Hammad Azhar and granted bails in all cases Hammad was wanted by the police in Punjab.

The story has not ended. On the other side of the political stage, a scene is awaiting the spectators and that can clamp State institutions to take any action against the May 9 Mutiny accused because the dramaturge of this scene is nobody except that miscalculated move of the government. The Chief Justice of Pakistan constituted a seven-member larger bench of the Supreme Court on a letter to be written by six judges. This was done after the government formed a one-member Inquiry Commission with the consent of the Supreme Court to investigate allegations raised by six judges of Islamabad High Court (IHC) against intelligence agencies who are trying to track down and crack down on whosoever was involved in the May 9 Mutiny. Interestingly, the person chosen by the Prime Minister for a one-member Commission Justice Tasadeq Jilani regretted heading the Commission and his lawyer son signed a letter along with 300 other lawyers demanding the Supreme Court to hear the grievances of the IHC judges and their allegations against Pakistan Army.

It may be mentioned after the meeting between the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the Supreme Court released a formal press statement about the issue and explained well what terms of reference would be included in the matter and on what matters the Commission would conduct its inquiry and the facts in the light of the evidence but the situation altogether changed when Justice retired Tasadeq Jilani regretted to head the Commission. It is pertinent to mention that PTI once proposed the name of Justice retired Tasadeq Jilani for Interim Prime Minister in the past and political cadres were amazed when the Federal government proposed his name as head of the Commission.

After the sudden announcement of the formation of a seven-member larger bench by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to hear the case of letter of the judges, one thing has come out very clearly that is the possible purpose of the formation of this larger bench is to give relief to these six judges because all these six judges had to appear before the Inquiry Commission and had to justify prove allegations they made against Pakistan Army but now the situation had altogether changed and in favor of six judges.

Since Supreme Court is not an investigative institution therefore the specific allegations made by these six judges will not be properly investigated nor will these judges be compelled to give evidence. In a way, it can be seen that the Supreme Judiciary has constituted this larger bench only to give some relief to its six judges because it was their compulsion to present evidence before the proposed Inquiry Commission. However, it is presumed that now after the formation of this larger bench, no evidence will be asked from judges. On the other hand, the hearing of the case would live on television screens and names of officers who allegedly tried to influence the judiciary will be on-air.

On the other hand, a propaganda campaign against the Pakistan Army can be seen in pro-government groups where mockery of senior former and retired military men can be found. Such campaigns in the past had only been in PTI circles but now they have seeped into groups indirectly linked to political parties of sitting government. The situation is getting serious everywhere for the State and the target is to bail out those who were allegedly involved in the May 9 Mutiny.

These above-mentioned developments suggest that the May 9 Mutiny accused are beyond the grip of the State and an overlapping unseen Mutiny is yet not over against State institutions. It is not unfounded to believe that those who made Imran Khan the prime minister in the past are somehow still in a position to get him out of the clutches of the State because those who made Imran Khan had been in sensitive positions and had access to sensitive information and data against almost everybody and they might be in a position to manage and influence everybody to get the support for Imran and his followers.

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