Report prepared by People’s Resistance
Judges of Sind High Court who did not take oath under the PCO of Nov 3 were surprised when they gathered for dinner at one of their homes, where a large delegation of ordinary citizens — students, businessmen, accountants, corporate executives, journalists, and activists were waiting with flowers and cake to meet them.. This meeting was part of the campaign to let these judges know that the people of this country stand by them and are proud of their principled stand.
The citizens delegation covered the entrance of the judges residence with rose petals. As each judge entered, he was presented with a bouquet of flowers with his name on it, on behalf of the people. On learning what the bouquets were for, the flower-seller sent two bouquets with love on his own account, said one of the citizens. Members of the delegation were receiving messages from all over Karachi as well as other cities asking them to convey their heartfelt gratitude to the non-PCO judges.
As each judge entered, the citizens delegation gave them a standing ovation and enthusiastic applause. A student from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) had flown in especially for the occasion with a letter for each judge from his fellow alumni and students explaining their support. “For giving us this glimmer of hope, this tangible inspiration, this possibility of change, we thank you, ended the letter. “For your courage and resolve, for your steadfastness, for your selflessness, we salute you. For carrying on the struggle and showing all of Pakistan what a principled stand really means, we congratulate you.
The average experience of the PCO-judges in the higher judiciary is about a year and a half, it ensued during the following informal discussion. This was found to be unprecedented. By comparison, the judges who did not take oath average some ten years of judicial experience.
The judges particularly appreciated the principled stand of their colleagues who had only recently been elevated from the District Courts, and of Justice Rehmat Hussain Jaffery, who was due to retirement this November but did not take oath despite being offered a position in the Supreme Court.
To a question about what was different this time considering that many judges had refused to take oath under previous martial laws, Chief Justice Sabihuddin pointed out that this time the number of such judges was far higher than ever before. Justice Zafar Sherwani pointed out that this time the judiciary did what the people expected them to do, which was to stand by the Constitution, rule of law and the principles on which this country was founded.
Members of the civil society reiterated their vow to never accept the PCO judges and their resolve to demand for reinstatement of the pre-PCO judiciary.