India-Pakistan ‘reunification’? Why not a South Asian Union?

himal_southasia_south-up_mapThe respected retired Indian Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju at a recent function New Delhi said that “the only solution to the Kashmir issue is reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong, secular, modern minded government which does not tolerate religious fanaticism or bigotry and suppresses it with an iron hand.” Continue reading

Indian Supreme Court acquits Pakistani prisoner Dr Chishty

After the acquittal: Dr Chishty and Mrs Chishty with Justice Katju at the judge's residence, New Delhi, Dec 12, 2012

After the acquittal: Dr Chishty and Mrs Chishty with Justice Katju at the judge’s residence, New Delhi, Dec 12, 2012

At last! On 12-12-12, the Indian Supreme Court acquitted Dr Chishty. Earlier, an unprecedented Indian SC verdict had granted him bail to return to Pakistan, the first time ever that a Pakistani prisoner in India was given such permission. The retired virologist, now over 80 years old, had gone back to India quietly in November for the court hearing seeking to dismiss the murder charges against him. It’s been a long struggle since we first started campaigning for this, and there’s a great feeling of satisfaction that it has finally ended well.

Tehelka did a podcast with me this morning. I made a mistake in the chronology of how the process to free Dr Chishty began. In fact, Amna Chishty (Dr Chisthy’s daughter) had written to the Indian SC and Law Ministry, after which the trial was finally held (after 19 years); Justice Katju came into the picture a bit later – but his role in freeing Dr Chishty was, as I said, essential.

Biased judges ‘should excuse themselves from hearing such cases’ – Justice Katju

In his article ‘A judge’s armour‘ (The Friday Times, July 20-26, 2012), advocate Chaudhry Faisal Hussain discusses the issue of contempt of court in the context of the current political system in Pakistan. “The best shield or armour of a judge, he writes, is his reputation of integrity, impartiality and learning. An upright judge will hardly ever need to use the contempt of court power in his judicial career,” he writes, quoting Justice Markandey Katju, the retired Indian Supreme Court judge who currently heads the Press Council of India. Continue reading

Justice Katju’s email discussion with a Lahore lawyer

The following email correspondence copied to me stems from a comment on my blog by Barrister Rizwan Ahmad, Advocate High Court, Lahore, Pakistan, addressed to Justice Katju, in response to Justice Katju’s views on the Pakistan Supreme Court judgement first published on this blog. I forwarded the comment to Justice Katju who replied to Mr Ahmad: “I was constrained to write such a hard hitting article because your Chief Justice and his colleagues have lost all sense of self restraint expected of a superior Court, and have been playing to the galleries for quite some time. Whether they have a hidden agenda or not I cannot say, but they will certainly wreck the Constitution if they go on like this.” Read their  subsequent exchange below, arranged chronologically, starting with Rizwan Ahmad’s reply to Justice Katju’s email: Continue reading

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