May 032008

By Umar Cheema

NEW YORK: The coalition government’s committee to iron out differences on the restoration of the deposed judges has two very interesting characters: Khawaja Asif and Farooq Naek. It’s a combination of fire and water.

Notwithstanding the fact that they are closely related to each other, they are poles apart in their approach towards politics and a report goes that they had not been on speaking terms for quite sometime in the past.

Khawaja Asif is defiant, Farooq Naek is plaint but both of them are clear reflection of what views their respective leaderships hold on this important issue. And the fact remains they are very loyal to their leaders. They are relatives yet rivals. Each has been pressing the other for his respective demands; each has been depressing the other. But one is emerging as hero and the other as villain.

For many people, they are only brothers-in-law to each other. Naek’s sister is the wife of Khawaja Asif. But they are also first cousins. Naek has a brother-in-law in PML-N, Khawaja Asif as well as a brother-in-law in MQM, Senator Col (retd) Tahir Hussain Mashahdi.

Khawaja Asif and Farooq Naek both did law graduation. Khawaja Asif joined a UAE bank but Naek remained in legal profession. Khawaja Asif is totally opposite to what a banker should be. He is representing a lawyer’s approach and Naek that of a banker: very calculated, cautious but at the same time, catastrophic. For example, Khawaja Asif should have been like Shaukat Aziz and Muhammadmian Soomro who submitted to the will of a military ruler but he is not. Although, Khawaja Asif is very submissive to his boss, he is a no nonsense person.

Where he is loyal to the boss, he is clear-headed in his approach. This correspondent still recalls conversation with Khawaja Asif when Mian Nawaz Sharif was moving from Saudi Arabia to the UK. “I rang him to get the cell number of Nawaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif politely refused.” The reason he gave was that he did not want to betray his leader. “Look! You must be calling our other colleagues and would definitely succeed in getting his number. But my problem is I have accepted him (Nawaz) my leader. And my leader gave me his number with instructions of not passing it on to somebody else. Therefore, I cannot betray commitment with my leader,” he had told this correspondent that was really worth appreciating.

Khawaja Asif joined politics following the death of his father when he left his job to avert the political demise of his family. He has since then been very active in politics and his courageous stands, especially during last year, often win him appreciation.

He faced the worst days after Musharraf’s takeover but never abandoned his leadership and now he has emerged among the confidants of Nawaz Sharif. He was the person who sought public apology for his father’s switching allegiance to the former military ruler Zia-ul-Haq.

On the other hand, there is his dear cousin, Farooq Naek who has been a student of a renowned lawyer, A K Brohi. Although, he is not a banker, he behaves like a banker, busy in brokering controversial deals like the NRO and nowadays the judgesí issue.

Being the lawyer of Asif Zardari-Benazir Bhutto in Swiss court and other cases paid him back and he was elected senator in March 2003.

But he still seems to presume himself not more than a legal wizard. Naek is undoubtedly a competent lawyer but he is outcasting himself from the legal fraternity. While the lawyers have shown unprecedented unity for the restoration of the judiciary, Naek appears to have remained busy during this time, fabricating different formulas like ‘minus one formula’, ‘plus-D formula’. And the worse case is he is doing all this in collaboration with Malik Qayyum.
Courtesy: The News, 3/5/2008

 Posted by at 8:13 pm

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