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Friday, 6 December 2013

Pet snake's hiss - to be your own master

Pet Snake's Hiss - to be Your Own Master

VIP culture: JuD chief’s petition referred to larger bench

Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. PHOTO: EXPRESS
LAHORE:  A single bench of the Lahore High Court on Thursday referred Jamatud Dawa chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s petition regarding “VIP culture” to the chief justice so he could fix it before a full bench.
After Justice Ayesha A Malik heard preliminary arguments by Saeed’s counsel on Thursday, she referred the matter to the chief justice, saying a full bench should be constituted to deal with the matter.
The petitioner said public functionaries “lived like kings and princes in palatial government houses”. He said they were not following the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) sunnah and their lifestyles contravened the Constitution.
He said the governor alone lived in a “palace” on 68 acres. Some of the commissioners lived on properties of up to 100 kanals, said Saeed. They should be accommodated in five marla houses each, he recommended in the petition.
Saeed said the British prime minister lived in a 17th century four-bedroom house on a small street. Their chief executive’s lifestyle is truly Islamic and emulates the Holy Prophet’s sunnah.
The rulers of Pakistan, however, built air-conditioned stables for their horses and gave them costly jam to eat, said Saeed. In the meantime, he said, hundreds of Pakistanis sifted through garbage for food. “A 75-year-old man, Lateef Khan, has been scavenging for food at Khyber Teaching Hospital for the last 30 years,” he said.
Saeed said David Cameron used to ride a bicycle to the UK parliament before he became prime minister and later switched to an official car because of security concerns. London Mayor Boris Johnson still went to work on his bicycle, he said.
On the other hand, he said, former president Asif Ali Zardari had travelled to London on a private jet that was parked at the airport for £600 per day. The Pakistan High Commission had booked a jet for £20,000 (Rs2.908 million) per day to take the president, his family and officials of the High Commission from London to Edinburgh, a 40-minute plane ride, for Bakhtawar Bhutto’s graduation ceremony.
He said the luxurious VIP culture was a legacy of the colonial era and needed to be declared a violation of Article 8(1) and (2) of the Constitution.
The VIP and VVIP statuses were ultra vires of the constitutional provisions of equality, social and economic justice and principle of democracy as enunciated by Islam, said Saeed. He said stopping traffic for VIPs was a violation of fundamental rights. The presidency, prime minister’s house, governors’ houses, chief ministers’ houses, ministers’ enclave and the “palaces of all state functionaries” should be declared a violation of social justice, he said.
He said the court should direct the government to abandon the “luxurious lifestyle” it provides for its functionaries in the light of Article 38(b) of the Constitution (Promotion of social and economic well-being of the people).
He said schools for the elite must open their gates to children of the poor. The children of the rich and poor must study under the same conditions and the same syllabus, Saeed said.
Those paid from the public exchequer must not get free electricity, gas or petrol, he said. Saeed asked the court to direct the respondents – the federal law secretary, the interior secretary, the Punjab chief secretary, the president and the prime minister- to follow the example of state functionaries in the UK. “Even though they are not Muslims, they can be considered to be followers of the sunnah,” he said.