Friday, June 10, 2011

CJP over Ateeqa Odho liquor case

Liquor bottles never kicked like that!
Film actress Ateeqa Odho has landed herself in hot waters after custom officials seized two bottles of liquor from her luggage at Islamabad airport. The film actress and All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) vice-president reportedly threatened the custom inspector after he refused to let her go. Ateeqa also told the customs inspector that he would have to deliver these bottles at Karachi at her residence.

CJP’s suo moto:
The matter was swept under the procedural carpet of Pakistan’s bureaucracy. However, Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary took suo moto notice of the incident and called the people involved in the Supreme Court. It was there that the CJP directed the officials to proceed in accordance with law.
Ateeqa has gone underground to avoid arrest following the registration of a case against her for possessing narcotics. She has also started consulting her lawyers to save her skin.

Is CJP’s action right
There has been a lot of noise over the CJP’s action. Some people, including APML spokesman Chaudhary Fawad Hussain, has criticised the CJP for taking the suo moto action over a “minor issue” of two bottles of liquor.
When we want the rule of law and the supremacy of the constitution in Pakistan, then we have to see these rich influential people undergo the same legal process which an ordinary person undergoes. The Pakistani media always highlights incidents in India when a celebrity has to go to courts or jail, questioning that why Pakistani judiciary and police is not as vigilant as India’s. Now when the judiciary in Pakistan has started awakening, some segments of the media has started calling it judicial activism.

What do an ordinary person with two liquor bottles has to do:
Had there been an ordinary person in Ateeqa’s place, he would have two options - first to bribe the custom official and second to adapt the due course of law.
Possessing two bottles of liquor is a bailable offence. The actress would have to spend two days in police custody before her lawyer would secure her release on bail. She would later pay a small fine to dispose of the case.

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