Ansar Burney completed his tenure as the first ever caretaker minister of human rights. During his four months stint in the Ministry of Law, Burney worked hard tirelessly for providing a safe passage for suspected and convicted enemies of Pakistan while completely disregarding Pakistanis. He even went a step further by actively trying to dissuade Pakistanis from fighting for their own rights. As this article will show, Burney’s work would make any Indian proud of him and hence he will be referred more appropriately as Burney (Singh). Continue reading
The top PPP leadership has recently approached the legal community proposing a “Minus-One-Formula” which opens the door for a full restoration of the judiciary without the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. It is in some way living up to the Murree Declaration albeit with a few political compromises but basically a face saving package for the PML-N and its full uncompromising commitment to the restoration of Pre-Nov 3rd judges. PPP being in the driving seat will undoubtedly bull doze its own agenda while the Sharif brothers will be left biting the dust and quite literally taken for a ride (willingly or unwillingly? – time will only tell). PML in turn may accept these compromise, claiming to fulfilled part of the promise as it was a minority partner in the PPP-led parliament
It has been a fact that the present PCO-adorned CJP Justice Dogar is a PPP leaning judge and surely Asif Zardari would definitely not sacrifice this top slot to accept Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry a PML-N leaning judge, paramount to shooting himself in the foot.
It seems that for now the leading lawyer activists are claiming that none of the judges will take office without the full and uncompromisable restoration of the entire pre-Nov 3rd Judiciary, but internally there are significant rifts within the legal cadre and the instant a partial restoration (minus-one-formula) is announced most of the ‘sidelined judges’ will snap into attention abandoning the rank and file and take oath for office, with or without Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry.
It is being reported in The News that once the new Prime Minister takes office i.e on Tuesday 25th March the first order of business would most likely be to free the Deposed Chief Justice Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry after Musharraf kept in under house arrest for over five months and 13 days.
The security forces deployed in front of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s house in the Judges Enclave in Islamabad will be removed on Tuesday evening, marking the symbolic end of an era when absolute power was enjoyed by one man for eight years, five months and 13 days. Power practically will be shifted to the democratically-elected prime minister on March 25, sources in the Pakistan People’s Party confirmed to The News on Sunday. According to the senior leader of the lawyers’ movement, Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmud, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, after being released from his five-month-long detention by President Pervez Musharraf, will remain at his home for three to four days and will meet visitors. Afterwards, Justice Chaudhry may travel to any city, if invited to address a bar council, Tariq said
By Naeem Sadiq, Published in Dawn on 17th March
Just imagine for a moment that an ordinary government servant, say a Lower Division Clerk of the Revenue Department appears on a local TV Channel and announces that the constitution of Pakistan is no more valid and the country would hence forth be run by a new law introduced by him, called the CCO (Clerks Constitution Order). This gentleman further states that all judges should consider themselves fired and house arrested, unless they take an oath on his newly invented CCO. What is going to be the reaction to this rather ludicrous announcement? Most people are likely to consider it comical and disregard it as an incident of no consequence. Some others may consider this person to be suffering from a delusion of grandiosity, some form of megalomania, acute egocentricity or simply undergoing a hypomanic episode. The newspapers would hardly bother to cover this story, except for some eveningers which might wish to use this as a filler for left over spaces. The local Nazim may ask the SHO to discipline this LDC for a day or two, till he learns not to talk about issues that do not strictly fall in the realm of land revenues. The Interior ministry would not even feel the need to issue a clarification, as they would not like to extend any more credence to this inconsequential irrelevance. The Parliament would not be required to even take a notice of this absurdity, while the Judges would certainly not be seen bee lining in large numbers, dying to take oath under the new CCO.
Cambridge, MA: Student Action Committee USA Chapter (SAC-USA) staged a successful protest in Harvard Yard today demanding immediate restoration of the pre-Nov 3 independent judiciary in Pakistan. The protestors condemned – in no uncertain terms- the unconstitutional acts of General (r) Musharraf which include the sacking of an independent judiciary, gagging of media and free speech, suspension of civil liberties and fundamental human rights and illegal detention of judges, lawyers and political opponents without any trial or charges. They chanted “Bring the Judges Back” and “No more Musharraf” and walked from John Harvard Statue to Harvard Square holding black flags and banners.
The protest – which is one of three organized by SAC-USA (the other two being in New York and Washington DC) – attracted a large number of students from Harvard College, Kennedy School of Government, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, Fletcher School of Law, Boston University and other premier institutions of the Boston region. Joining students in their demands were doctors, lawyers – particularly the National Lawyers Guild, Massachusetts chapter-, professionals of Pakistani origin and other members of American Civil Society.
In a press briefing given by the US State Department on 10th March a few questions were raised on Pakistan and its ongoing judicial & political crisis. It seems that the US Government is still not willing to come clean and talk about the restoration or independence of judiciary, despite one reporters direct question talking about the independent judiciary being a pillar for US democracy.
Its ironic to see that the US government meddling in Pakistan’s affairs to the extent of deliberately ignoring the judicial problem and rubber stamping the Martial Law enforced by their blue-eyed boy-wonder [Musharraf] on Nov 3rd. One has to logically question if America really wants to resolve the terrorism issue in this region, as without a proper judicial system no one can expect the criminals to be brought to justice let alone stop the chaos in the country.
The recent increase in suicidal bombings will got to show that we are not faring any better under the authoritarian regime, the problems will not magically disappear. American officials may deny any claim but this recent ‘happy go lucky’ democracy which will come under Asif Zardari is yet again being rubber stamped into approval by the Americans. So much of meddling in into the politics of our country, I have the urge to directly hold the American Government responsible for the chaos in Pakistan.
Hear the section on Pakistan from the Daily Press Briefing by Sean McCormack, Spokesman for the State Dept
Guest Blog by Temporal who blogs at Baithak
Today, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, a man of well chosen words said, “My heart is full of secrets, which, if I reveal to media they could bring storm in the national politics.”
I have written on this subject earlier. This is the third blog on the subject of fissures in the PPP. The interim Co Chairperson of the PPP as per written will is thrust in the limelight. To be fair he needs time to establish his control over the party. The eminent giant stalwarts that surround Asif Zardari since Benazir’s assassination were pygmies in front of her. They dare not speak unless asked. If she said jump they would ask how high. In the days following the assassination on three occasions Asif Zardari publicly declared his lack of interest in becoming the Prime Minister and indicated Makhdoom Amin Fahim as PPP’s choice for the post. What gave?
Intrigues. Royal intrigues. Makhdoom Amin Fahim was loyal to his leader. The poor fellow is being sent to the cleaners. Greed is worn on the sleeves by the party stalwarts. They see “Ministries” in their dreams. Not one faithful has come to Fahim’s rescue. Read on.
In a joint statement of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari they have come together to form a coalition govt and have promised to reinstate all deposed judges within 30 days of Parliament. Aitzaz Ahsan welcomes this new development and states that countdown will begin.
In all honesty this could be the ‘face-saving’ excuse that Nawaz Sharif needs to enter into the coalition to form the government, as in the past few days it had slowly appeared that Zardari was least interested in any discussion leading to the restoration of judiciary, it simply did not benefit him and his party to even talk about the judiciary. This new joint statement allows Nawaz Sharif some breathing room for another month but the focus will then be squarely on the ‘duo’ to fulfill this promise to the people of Pakistan. I personally celebrate this news but raise a concern that it could only be delaying tactics an attempt to diffuse the issue the restoration of judiciary into irrelevance.
Reports are coming in that the Black Flag Week Rally in Islamabad was lathi charged and heavily tear gassed
As reported on Dawn
Police fired teargas at supporters of the country’s sacked chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, protesting outside his official residence in Islamabad on Sunday, witnesses said. The protestors, including lawyers, political party workers and civil society activists, were stopped by riot police at the barbed barricade erected outside the residence of deposed supreme court chief justice. Later, police fired teargas at the protestors to disperse them and both sides threw stones at each other, an AFP photographer said. The protestors wanted to march towards Chaudhry’s residence and present him with flowers but police stopped them, he said. The hide and seek and intermittent clashes between the police and the judges supporters continued till late in the afternoon. Lawyers across Pakistan Sunday began the observance of “Black Flag Week to press for Chaudhry’s reinstatement. President Pervez Musharraf sacked Chaudhry on March 9 last year on misconduct charges but the Supreme Court reinstated him in July. In November Musharraf again sacked Chaudhry and other judges under emergency rule, fearing they might disqualify him for contesting presidential election while being army chief and president at the same time. Chaudhry and his family have been living under house arrest at the official residence in judges colony in a heavily-guarded government residential area of Islamabad since November. Pakistan’s incoming government coalition partners Sunday said that the new parliament would reinstate the sacked judges
The old saying in Pakistan goes – come into power and all your previous sins are forgotten, Wednesday March 5th marked another gloomy day in the history of Pakistan, Five corruption cases against Asif Ali Zardari, were quashed by an accountability court in Rawalpindi. The move comes in response to a ruling by a Sindh court which ordered the government to withdraw all local and foreign cases again Zardari by March 21 in line with President Pervez Musharrafs National Reconciliation Ordinance.
Acting upon this, government lawyers withdrew cases which had been filed against Zardari in Switzerland last week. Two further cases are pending against Zardari and are due to be heard on March 12. While under the radar we have been told that over 3000 cases of convicted MQM criminal have also been cleared as per the NRO deal and have been released onto the streets of Karachi.
In a statement to BBC, Farooq Naik, Zardari’s lawyer has been quoted to have said ‘Allah has differentiated truth from lies and justice has been done‘ i’m simply speechless [Is he serious?, how does an NRO deal and Allah feature together in this corruption issue ...]
And…. we expect them [PPP] to work for the ‘independence of Judiciary’ let alone hope that one day it might come to its senses to maybe work for the restoration of pre-Nov 3rd status quo judiciary, who are we fooling around here… well it seems, the ones being fooled are the people of Pakistan, yet again for the umpteenth time
Guest Blog by Amjad Malik
Public have silently spoken through ballot putting added pressure on our political clan who always fall a prey to pragmatism and accept defeat before even the battle starts. Lawyers moved, bench stood up, media bore with the bashing honourably but only the clan of Q did not move and surrender to public demand and in the end they fell badly from their throne as pride hath a fall. Now public with sheer wisdom have given the task to the new parliament to sort out the mess the country is in rather than boycotting or bringing an orange revolution which is in true sense a silent revolution where opponent is defeated though still alive.
Posted by AH Nayyer on the People’s Resistance Network
The hunger strikers – Iqbal Bali and Jahangir Akhter – are steadfast in their stand on the 4th day. They have been joined by a protester from Sindh whose son has been abducted by the police and agencies. The strikers heard in the afternoon that the children of the Chief Justice may be released by the administration. Protesters started gathering at the hunger strike camp around 4 O’clock. Lawyers also joined in today. The hunger strikers joined the procession that went from their camp to the Judges Colony.
At the barricade before the colony, the protesters learnt that the news of the release of the children of the Chief Justice were false. The children informed on phone that when they tried to come out, they were stopped at the gate, and the gate was locked by the agencies. The protesters raised slogans and listened to speeches from their leaders. Then they made another attempt at removing the barbed wire barricade. When they were just about to succeed, police lobbed a large number of CS gas canisters, dispersing the crowd. The protesters assembled again and remained at the site for another hour.
Received from AH Nayyar on the People’s Resistance network
The hunger strike by two leaders of Awami Jamhoori Ittehad in Islamabad has now entered the third day. Iqbal Bali and Jahangir Akhter have been on hunger strike to protest the illegal incarceration of the children of Chief Justice Iftikhar. They are sitting in a camp in front of the Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, near the Judges colony, and have vowed to end their strike only at the hands of Justice Iftikhar’s youngest son, Balach.
Today, they marched with other protesters to the police barrier at the entrance to the judges colony, and unsuccessfully tried to cut the heavy roll of barbed wires. Even a jeep could not pull the wires away. The protesters remained at the barrier for over an hour, raising slogans. Yesterday, Justice retired Tariq Mahmood visited the camp, stayed with the protesters for quite some time, and addressed the gathering.
This session with Barrister Qazi Faez Isa was recorded a few weeks back on January 25th when he came to Shirkat Gah, Karachi on the invitation of Peoples Resistance & The Green Economics & Globalization Initiative to talk about the political issues related to the constitution of Pakistan. Its been over a month but even now since the elections this discussion with Qazi Faez Isa is still worth listening to but mind you this was recorded before the elections.
I think the most important part of his talk is when he sheds light on the ‘less talked about’ issue of the Islamabad High Court and its implications on the people of Pakistan. It seems that the Islamabad High Court issue has been snuck under the table amidst the political chaos which ensued in the latter part of December, and an issue equally as important as the restoration of Judiciary
Download the MP3 (27MB) [download#5]