Members of civil society, lawyers, business persons, doctors and womens rights and human rights ativists met with Judges who have not taken oath under the PCO to express solidarity and show support
Following is a summary of this meeting.
Treatment of Judges
- Guards were taken away the same night that emergency was declared. (Saturday 3rd November) and PCO was imposed on Judiciary and Press.
- On Sunday PCO Judge Muneeb went to court and ordered the Protocol officer to have all the judges who have not taken the oath to immediately remove their belongings from their chambers. At the same time orders had also been passed that their official cars will not be allowed into the High Court premises. Their belongings were dumped into sheets and were taken to their houses by their peons and Daftaris.
- The night MLO was imposed by the Chief of the Army Staff, 20 judges went to meet Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed at his residence. Of all the judges, PCO Judge Allah Dino Metlo and Mehmood Rizvi were very vocal in their support for the unity of the judges and remained with the CJ till 11 pm, they assured that they will not take oath under MLO (PCO). The next morning Memood Rizvi took the oath and on the following day Justice Metlo took oath.
- While the Chief Justice was in meeting with the judges, the Governor of Sindh called and threatened that meeting be disbanded immediately. CJ Sindh, responded that he is under constitutional duty to advise judges to follow the Order of the Honorable Supreme Court, suspending the PCO, the Governor banged the phone.
- Immediately thereafter, armed personal surrounded the house of Chief Justice and dismantled the security tent and forced the drivers of the honourable judges to report immediately to the head quarter they roughed up the judges and drove them out of the house of CJ and put him under house arrest.
- Chief Justice is under house arrest, no formal orders of house arrest have been passed.
- All judges, who did not take oath under PCO (infact it is Martial Law Order), assembled and proceeded to High Court at 8.30 AM, to attend their court work but were stopped at the entrance gate by the armed personals and were forced to return.
- The judges are being threatened that if they do not take the oath they will loose their pension and privileges and they will not be allowed to practice in the High Court.
- On 5th November 2007 Honourable Chief Justice was brought to the House of Justice Mushir Alam in police custody to attend the funeral of his sister in law, but he was not allowed to go to the grave yard.
- A two pronged approach of inducements and threats is being used. They are being told that they should take the oath for the sake and in the larger interest of the judiciary.
- Chief Justice Sabihuddin, Justice Zaheer Jamnali and Justice Ã‚Â® Fakhruddin Ebrahims sons were arrested. However, they have now been released.
- Some judges have received calls from Brigadiers telling them to take the oath.
- Due to the absence of all experienced judges the province wide administrative work of the judiciary is bound to collapse/ suffer.
- There is no judge in SHC who have no basic knowledge and or experience to attend, Constitutional, Taxation, Corporate, Building Control, land matters, Intellectual Property, Constitutional cases.
- The PCO CJ of Sindh High Court, Afzal Soomro, has serious health problems. He had suffered a nervous breakdown two years ago and since then has been seriously handicapped. It is quite well known fact that he just sits on the bench with another judge as a silent spectator. Matter of judicial incapacity was pending before the Supreme Judicial council. He was issued notice by the Council and CJP advised him to seek resignation and get pension, but before it could materialize the PCO debacle took place. It seems the Government has found an ideal candidate for the post of a rubber stamp CJ..
- There are reports that at least 3 PCO Judges are reporting to the Governor House on a daily basis. Staff from the Governor House and members of a political party are virtually running the Sindh High Court. In clear violation of an earlier decision of the High Court to not visit the Governor House and also that in future no High Court Judge will act as acting Governor.
- Judges on the 7 member bench conducting inquiry into the May 12th incident have received threatening letters at their residence besides severe threat to their life and lives of their family members. A common threat is that order for coffins of their size has been placed.
- Driver of one of the judges was asked to report to the High Court when he was bringing children from the school. Now the Justice Mushir Alam is driving his children to and back to school.
- Amendments have been made in the Army Act to bring in a provision to enable the Army to detain civilians and try them in Army courts.
- Strong rumors that the all the Bar Councils will be dissolved and lawyers will be enrolled under a fresh setup under the PCO Judges. This is a move to create a new cadre of PCO lawyers?