From activists in Lahore: Can we let apathy and general fatigue have the best of us while the government continues its draconian orders?
How long will Aitzaz Ahsan, Muneer Malik and Ali Kurd remain in arbitrary house arrest? Just Yesterday the Honorable CHIEF JUSTICE Iftikhar Chaudry was given illegal orders to VACATE his residence in a week or HE WILL BE EVICTED BY FORCE!
It is being reported that the deposed non-PCO judge Justice Baghwandas has been placed under house arrest. Justice Bhagwandas was one of the judges who was forcibly thrown into retirement since he along with over 60 Supreme Court and High Court judges who refused to sign an illegal consitutionsl order as prescribed by General Pervaiz Musharraf on Nov 3rd. Justice Rana Bhagwandas was placed under a house arrest, shortly after he told lawyers that deposed judges will be restored in “a few weeks”.
It must be recalled that CJP Justice Iftikhar and Mr Aitzaz Ahsan have been under house arrest for over two months and counting.
We the Citizens of Pakistan whemently object to this move by General Musharraf to silence the voice of its citizens and we join the judges in protest. Here’s to hoping that democracy returns to Pakistan without a self appointed dictator as President and to the hope that the feedom of speech is respected by one and all especially by the powerful who have been making tall claims at the international levels to soon hold free and fair elections, when its ironic that they have s short temper unable to stomach opposing views
The Student Action Committee (Lahore) has called for a protest on the 8th of January 2008 at 2 pm at Minar-e-Pakistan. In full collaboration with civil society groups, lawyers and activists; this protest is to be registered against the removal of the Pre Nov 3rd judiciary that stood for a just rule of law and against the inefficiency displayed by the establishment which lead to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in the year 2007 and thousands of others.
The students demand that the pre Nov 3rd judiciary be restored without which elections cannot be accepted.
Aitzaz Ahsans baseless detention keeps getting prolonged while the stringent treatment meted out to him suggests that our current regime shuns standing for principles and only favors partisan attitudes.
While Pakistan is on the bring of being considered a failed state, the SAC (Lahore) urges the nation to join forces on the 8th and stand loud and strong at Minar e Pakistan at 2 pm.
This article appeared in the Telegraph today where Jemima Khan discusses Fatima Bhutto as the most logical heir to the Bhutto dynasty, I might also agree that the 25 year old has the brains and maybe the brawns to take over the reigns of such a big party, but will she? is still an open question. The most important issue to analyze that if she does stick her neck out for the top slot in the PPP will the Bhutto supporters rally behind her considering her ongoing difference with Benazir. I guess not… so honest advice would be for her to stay low and pick the fight at a later stage when the fruits are better for the picking, if she were to emerge now it could be political suicide as the strong Benazir sympathetic vote bank could rub her the wrong way.
In other news, discussions in many circles around town, I am also told that if one were to search for a male leader within the Bhutto empire then a good option would be to keep an eye on Murtaza Bhutto’s son Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (Jr), many who have met this young chap say that he is very ‘street smart’ and could be a logical choice, though he is only 18 years old, but far more mature then the adopted-name-sake-Bhutto Bilawal Zardari.
Within the span of a few days since the assassination of Benazir, a strong rumor remains that a rift is already brewing up within the top ranks of the PPP since Zardari is not a natural leader and the more he interacts with the top brass the more differences continue to arise and the rift widens. It must be recalled that previously Asif Ali Zardari commanded respect and power under the umbrella protection of Benazir Bhutto quite simply because he was ‘the husband of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto‘ now with her gone it is a different story all together. I would not like to preempt the breakup but its important to keep an eye on whats brewing on under the covers
By Jemima Khan
Published in the Telegraph UK
Death duties are being reformed in this country and the upper limit extended. They don’t come more onerous than those left to Bilawal Bhutto, Zardari. Many Oxford undergraduates consider a career in politics; few are handed a political party, a new name and the statistical probability that you’re not going to die of old age, in bed.
As predicated by this scribe in a post on Jan 1st the only way ruling elite can ensure a weakened PPP is to slowly chip away and exploit the jealousies and rivalries of the Bhutto clan, this could be the start of such propaganda, I personally see three potential breakaway’s from this post-Benazir era, Mumtaz Bhutto, Fatima Bhutto & Aitzaz Ahsan.
Amongst these three options Aitzaz Ahsan seems to me the one that can inflict the most amount of damage to Asif Ali Zardari’s run into parliament [though Aitzaz has withdrawn his election papers, but that issue can be sorted out], and I would not be surprised if we suddenly see Aitzaz suddenly sprung from his imprisonment. Many might ask if this is one more conspiracy theory into the muddle? Sadly yes, but one to definitely keep an eye on for…
The Guardian – 2nd Jan 2007
Mumtaz Bhutto sat back on the cool marble veranda of his sprawling country mansion in rural Sindh province. A guard brandishing a Kalashnikov stood behind him. A servant fanned the chocolate cake on the table to keep the flies at bay. He was dismayed. The rise of Asif Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s husband, to the leadership of the Pakistan People’s party, was nothing less than a disaster, said Mumtaz, the sprightly 74-year-old head of the Bhutto clan.
“Zardari is an illiterate man. He has no political background or experience. He will not be able to conduct himself as the same level as Benazir,” he said with barely concealed disdain. “Most unfortunate.”
Family feuds are never pretty but for the Bhuttos, Pakistan’s dominant political dynasty, they are played out with the same intensity that characterises the rest of the family’s Greek tragedy-style history.
I share with you a statement sent to us by Mrs. Ahsan who shares her frustration that her husband has yet again been placed under house arrest for another month starting this New Year. My hat goes off in salute to all those judges and lawyers who made this great sacrifice for the sake of Justice in Pakistan and their ongoing resistance against an illegal dictator and his illegal PCO. It seems the that the recent turn of events has only distracted us from the way Musharraf had ransacked and raped the Judiciary in Pakistan.
I can only look back to say, had if, the Judiciary been independent, then we might have been able to find the culprits involved in the assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, but sadly it is the irony that she herself was not advocating the restoration of the only credible judiciary, but toeing the line of the illegal & compromising ones. Had if…..
Statement issued by Mrs. Bushra Aitzaz Ahsan
At this moment there is a Quran Khawani for Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed outside our house in Zaman Park in Lahore. The Quran Khawani has been arranged by me but my husband, Aitzaz Ahsan, has not been allowed even to step out of the house and participate in the Quran Khawani. He is detained in our house at No. 5, Zaman Park which has been declared a sub-jail and as of today his detention has been further extended for a period of 30 days. In fact the security and police presence outside our house has been greatly increased and a battalion of policemen guard it now in fear that he may come out and join in the prayer meeting.
Submitted on the People’s resistance network, a clarification by Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan for publication in the newspapers tomorrow (25th Dec 2007) which shed light on how it is only possible to reverse Musharraf’s Constitutional Amendments – which according to him are beyond the scope of a simple 2/3rd parliamentary vote
December 24, 2007.
This is to clarify that Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan has wrongly been attributed a message to the Army Chief. In response to the Attorney General’s assertion that only a two thirds majority can rescind General Musharraf’s self-serving changes to the constitution, what Mr Ahsan said was that when an executive order is passed or promulgated by any executive authority, it can be rescinded or recalled by the same executive authority or its superior without the need for Parliament to intervene with a simple or two-thirds majority.
The issue is simple. The purported amendments in the Constitution have been factored in by a President exercising authority delegated by the COAS (what an anomaly: a subordinate delegating powers to his superior!). Even if these amendments be considered lawful (which they are not) they can be withdrawn by the executive order of the Defence Secretary, or the Defence Minister (any authority constitutionally superior to the COAS). Parliamentary intervention is not required.
That is the point.
An Op-Ed article written by Aitzaz Ahsan which appeared on the Sunday morning New York Times website can be read here
The chief justice of Pakistans Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and his family have been detained in their house, barricaded in with barbed wire and surrounded by police officers in riot gear since Nov. 3. Phone lines have been cut and jammers have been installed all around the house to disable cellphones. And the United States doesnt seem to care about any of that.
The chief justice is not the only person who has been detained. All of his colleagues who, having sworn to protect, uphold and defend the Constitution, refused to take a new oath prescribed by President Pervez Musharraf as chief of the army remain confined to their homes with their family members. The chief justices lawyers are also in detention, initially in such medieval conditions that two of them were hospitalized, one with renal failure.
As the chief justices lead counsel, I, too, was held without charge first in solitary confinement for three weeks and subsequently under house arrest. Last Thursday morning, I was released to celebrate the Id holidays. But that evening, driving to Islamabad to say prayers at Faisal Mosque, my family and I were surrounded at a rest stop by policemen with guns cocked and I was dragged off and thrown into the back of a police van. After a long and harrowing drive along back roads, I was returned home and to house arrest.
Posted on the Proud-Pakistan mailing list, reference to a news report which appeared in The Nation on 21st December 2007
Deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Supreme Court Bar Association President Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan are suing President Pervez Musharraf to claim damages worth two billion rupees through a defamation suit.
Talking to The Nation on Thursday, Aitzaz made his intentions known when asked to comment on a statement of President Musharraf in which he charged former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Aitzaz Ahsan, senior deposed judge Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif for hatching a conspiracy to throw him out of the presidency. “A time has come when he will see a controversy behind every curtain, said Barrister Aitzaz while playing down the allegations levelled by President Musharraf. “We are consulting our lawyers and will soon file a defamation suit of two billion rupees against Musharraf for leveling false allegation and bringing our name into disrepute without any substantial evidence, said Aitzaz, who was released earlier in the morning for three days.
Read the report here
Credit for all the pictures Abro’s Flickr Stream
Report of the Eid Day vigil outside Karachi Press Club to protest against the way authorities manhandled Aitizaz Ahsan after he was suddenly ‘temporarily’ released then then abruptly arrested again. Report by Urooj posted on the People’s Resistance network
The CMKP Karachi DC organised a candlelight vigil at 06:00 p.m. yesterday (December 21) outside the Karachi Press Club, to protest against the bullshit meted out to Aitzaz saheb while he was on his way to Islamabad yester-morning.
Even though the entire thingum was put together at a very short notice, quite a few people showed up — around 20 loge thhey, I think. CMKP ki achhi khaasi representation thhee, with comrades Zafar Aslam, Khurram, Adil (who’s still suffering from the aftereffects of December 17), Zoha, Jaffer, some of our KU cadre, and myself. Humarey ilawa
there was Comrade Sherbaz from the Labour Party, while the rest of the people were from Peoples Resistance (PR).
Guest Blog by Sophia Ali
I am outraged like many of you by the sheer brutality of the treatment meted out to Aitzaz Ahsan, and that too on Eid! My salutations to you Aitzaz and to all the heroes of the resistance. May Allah bring our struggle to fruition!
Woh Eid e Nazzara darkar hai yaron
Jahan zulm ki har hai yaron
Qaid ki bharmar hai yaron
Sach bhi giraftar hai yaron
Khalq e khuda bezaar hai yaron
Takhtnashin ghaddar hai yaron!
Guest post by Hassan Baig
Hassan analyzes the realistic implication of the open letter written by Aitzaz Ahsan to the Pakistan Bar Council on Dec 5
Barrister Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan is a leader in his own right. A populist leader even. Moreover, his read of the political spectrum and all developing eventualities is sensible and practical.
But perhaps not practical enough.
Ms. Benazir Bhutto is widely believed to be averse to the idea of the reinstatement of the deposed judges. In fact, she has gone as far as publicly chiding the lawyer community (and probably Barrister Ahsan in particular) to form their own political party if they so wish. This stand is understandable when seen under the light of the economics of it: the political and self-preservation costs to Ms. Bhutto of a reopening of her files by independent-minded judges are far greater than the costs of loss (if any) of the PPP’s public appeal as a result of her endorsement of the establishment’s agenda. Ms. Bhutto would never underwrite an option which pays dividends only in moral rectitude and not in monetary and/or realpolitik terms.
Posted on the Emergency Times mailing list and also on the People’s Resistance
Aitzaz Ahsan was picked up on the motorway enroute to Islamabad, beaten up, glasses broken and brought back to Lahore in a police bus. Is now suffering from bruises and fever.When he asked for a detention order, they shoved a gun in his face and said – This is your Order.
A number of Vigils took place across the country at 6:00pm on Eid Day. Lahore held a vigil outside Aitzaz Ahsan’s house at Zaman Park. Whilst People’s Resistance in Karachi staged a vociferous demonstration outside the Karachi Press Club condemning the ruthless attitude of the administration against Barrister Aitizaz Ahsan.
An article written by Javed Siddique in The Nation titled ‘Former CJ was corrupt‘ gives an interesting insight into how Musharraf believed that an elaborate conspiracy was being hatched to unseat him from the throne of the President of Pakistan. At first I wanted to leave the full contents of the article intact without any editing, but the more I read it, I get the urge to comment on each specific issue as my own rebuttal to all this hogwash. The rebuttal is being clearly demarcated in [italic parenthesis]
Article orginally written for The Nation by Javed Siddique titled ‘Former CJ was corrupt‘
President Pervez Musharraf has said that besides former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice (R) Khalilur Rehman Ramday, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan and Nawaz Sharif were involved in the conspiracy to block his way to become a constitutionally elected President. He said this while addressing the 18th Annual Banquet of the Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee (PAK-PAC) and its Board of Directors here [Islamabad] at a local hotel on Wednesday. President Musharraf claimed that Justice (R) Ramday and Aitzaz Ahsan held meeting in Geneva. “Today I want to disclose as to what conspiracy was being hatched to sidetrack democracy. [Hallelujah, pray tell us *looking onwards with a twinkle in the eyes anticipating for some juicy gossip*] He alleged that Justice (R) Ifthikhar was at the centre of this conspiracy. [...geez is that all you got for us!!!]