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Whatever is to become of the Movement for Justice

a letter to activists of the People’s Resistance by Dr. Awab Alvi

One issue which we all have dodged to question ourselves, is to decide what is acceptable when the powers-to-be talk about the ‘conditional’ restoration of the judiciary, either in the form of the much trumpeted 60-point constitutional package or separately.

For me, this movement (People’s Resistance) has been for the unconditional restoration of the Nov 3rd Judiciary (which also has included condemning the Martial Law & the restrictions on the media) When the powers-to-be talk about ‘middle ground’ compromises in the restoration of the Judiciary, it is sadly FAR from our own objectives. The irony is that we, in PR all seem to be preparing for a celebration the day Zardari restores the Judiciary in whatever way he thinks its best ‘for-him’. Is this ‘whatever-way-possible’ acceptable to PR. It sadly is not my wish, and I may venture to say that it might also echo the sentiments of other like-minded friends in this group

In my opinion the only reason to make a circus of the constitutional package is to show the judges that the powers-to-be have given them grace, and they should remain grateful to have received this gift-from-god. It is just another facade to the traditional appointment by the President / establishment which ensures that the buck stops at the supreme authority thereby ensuring the status quo. I hope we, in PR, are not fooling ourselves to believe that the ‘Zardari form’ of restoration comes without any strings attached. Had they been sincere then all this hoopla was not necessary and the legal way, via an executive order, was not too difficult to pull out of the bag. As opinion makers in this resistance we should be clear on our position, and be willing to call a spade, a spade and not worry otherwise.

Long March or Long Mobilization

In my opinion the Long March ‘mobilization’ was a tremendous success, it showed us that there are still thousands of Pakistanis who continue to believe in Pakistan. But sadly the Anti-Climatic end was a tragic blow which took us all by surprise and our movement is profusely bleeding as a direct consequence of the fateful decision to terminate the event so abruptly.

It is not the fact, that we did not have a dharna, it is not the fact, that there was no confrontation, it is not the fact, that we did not achieve anything except show up at 2 am in the morning and disappear just before sunrise. For me it is the feeling of immense betrayal which was most visibly seen on the faces of the thousands of patriotic Pakistanis standing on Constitutional Avenue in front of the Parliament, the feeling of having been ‘sold out’ by yet another leader.

My heart goes out to our friends who traveled 1200 km up north from Karachi in a mind numbing frenzy, rocking to the tunes of Mujhe-Insaf-do or the rhyme of Lab-hain-Azaad having been drummed to the chant of “Hum Mulk bachanay Niklay Hain – Aao Humaray Saath Challo” and even to convincingly tell their colleagues ‘Hum Judges restore kar kay aain gay‘ this sudden change of plan was tragic it was like having been disgraced publicly barely 3 hours into their arrival in Islamabad, as if to have said ‘go back home, you crazy patriotic fools, we only wanted to test your mobilization skills‘. It literally turned out to be nothing but a Long Mobilization, a show of strength, a game of numbers. If numbers was the intention, then the money spent to mobilize people from Karachi, Sukkur, Multan and Lahore, could have been better utilized to hire a sizable audience like the one purchased by Musharraf on the night of May 12th 2007, standing on the same stage before an audience of thousands he too, like Aitzaz, lacked the umph to deliver the goods, little good did the May 12th Jalsa do for Musharraf, that we expect miracles from the lawyers mobilization on Friday the 13th

Instinctively I blame the core leadership which naturally points to the figure-head Aitzaz Ahsan, who will forever carry the burden of this fumbled catch, he alone had the opportunity of a life-time to have been garlanded in the history books as the man who changed Pakistan, but sadly, he now is regarded as yet another leader that ‘could have changed Pakistan, but couldn’t’. This rising star turned into a shooting star, vanishing into infinity barely moments after it appeared on the horizon of Islamabad.

Postmortem, even Aitzaz accepts that it may have been a ‘strategic mistake’, but in an attempt to do damage control, he claims it to have been a good decision in hindsight, blaming the diminishing numbers of lawyers on the front-line in the presence of an overwhelmingly politically charged crowd which had the potential of running out of control. The scenario might have been true, but the sudden dismissal like the Anti-Climax orchestrated by Aitzaz was precisely what the doctor could have ordered in the prescription written out to Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari, who may have been cowering at home in tachycardia watching the buildup to the Long March, they both truly could not have asked for a better finale to the Long March, a finale one would always wish your arch nemesis to always have before any big contest. It was simply finger lick’in good. Did Aitzaz and his team leaders play into the hands of the establishment, willingly or unwillingly they might have.

The Anti-climax witnessed that fateful night can be compared to the feeling one has while rocking to great music in a dance club and all of a sudden the lights & music turn off, the frenzy dissipates instantly and the people disappear, dismayed, disgruntled and disheartened. It was this feeling of helplessness that destroyed the movement, with no hope to live for, a nation limps back home to try and forget to never dream again. this is what destroyed the movement. Whatever is to become of the Movement is a fading dream shattered on the morning of Friday the 13th in year of Two Thousand and Eight

What to do?

How so ever, one may feel regarding the actions of the Lawyer leadership that day, one must quickly recover in time before the powers-to-be make minced meat out of our issue. I fear that is exactly what Asif Ali Zardari is doing these days, trying to cajole a restoration so that he alone can bask in glory, while he attempts to sneak past his version of the conditional restoration while we tend to our wounds

My suggestion for members of the People’s Resistance is to urgently get to work primarily to re-evaluate our position on what form of judicial restoration is acceptable to us. Maybe crack open the 60-point package and go through it one by one deciding what’s acceptable and whats not, once this position is determined then I urge PR to issue a public statement, independent of any lawyer movement or political party but simply as a civil society urging for our demands. We must remain as a pressure group that leads the change for the un-conditional restoration of the Judiciary, let not the promises of compromises be our guiding light to salvation. Let us for once stand up for Pakistan and lead the way and not be led.

Awab Alvi


  • R.M.S. Azam |

    The lawyers feel as much betrayed by Aitzaz Ahsan as anyone else at the manner in which he ended the Long March in the early hours of Saturday morning without a sit-in, when Parliament was due to arrive only 4 hours later.

  • Hassan Abbas |

    I don’t think you will get much of a response on this or any other post connected with the judges issue.The nation gave it’s full support to the lawyers/judges and their issue both in the elections as well as the Long March.
    Fortunately most of us had our eyes opened by that fateful ‘let down’ on the night the lawyers let us all down.
    It is all to clear the lawyers have only their own interests in mind ,and couldn’t care less for anyone else -supporters or not supporters.You cannot expect any justice from such a crowd restored or not restored.
    So go back to sleep and let Zardari deal with them as he want’s.They have proved they deserve nothing better.

  • Aflatoon |

    No, lets not give up….

    If Aitezaz didn’t live up to his objectives, lets get someone else. Who wouldn’t giveup to the pressure of PML or Zardari Mafia.

    The lawyers have done enough, if they have succumbed to the pressure then let the students take on this repsonsibility….

    But then who will be the leader?

    I have given up Imran Khan….No more.

    I don’t mind if Gen Kiyani steps in and restores the Judges. But what about those Judges who didn’t take the Oath under Musharraf in the first place. I think we shouldn’t forget them too.

  • Karim G |

    In the context of Pakistani politics it is always very difficult to have complete faith in what any public figure states as his/her policy or principled position. Outright lies, moving from one position to diametrically opposing position is so common that people have stopped bothering to question that.

    Thieves, looters of treasury, outright criminals have become respectable politicians. They project themselves as people who have the best interest of the poor at heart. IT is impossible to expect any thing from the political class. As for the lawyers’ movement, even the senior most leaders appear to be in leading position almost by default. They seem not prepared for getting what they asked for, the march appeared to be almost a scene of orchestrated chaos.

    The PPPAZ and its minions came on the networks to downplay importance of the event, dispute the number in the crowd or at best a disgruntled and reluctant admittance that “okay we might have screwed up”. People at the helm, King Zardari, Awan and others shifted from totally dismissive to outright ridicule of the movement and the lawyers yet at the same time trying to jump in front of the procession and claiming to have its true leadership.

    Zardari, Mushrraf, Nawaz Sharif and ALL the leading faces on the political scene in Pakistan are IRREPARABLY CORRUPT. There is no two ways about it and the damage that they have done is done. However, if venues like this are to have any real chance of achieving any thing, it is in my view to develop a true culture and infrastructure of political justice, a civil society free of elitism and class favouritism and more than any thing an honest assessment of our lot. I have avoided the buzz word DEMOCRACY because frankly we are not there yet.

    The so called ‘civil society’ as such is just a slogan. Bunch of western influenced people whose lives are completely alien to the local reality have come up with these concepts that have no meaning for ordinary people. The interaction between classes can be best described as that of master and slave, literally. Masses have neither the intellectual nor material means to play any effective role in shaping the policies. As for the educated class, it is our student unions who have blessed us with the most notorious killers and spies. In other societies universities are hotbed of philosophical and ideological debates and revolutionaries, for better or for worse they gave countries Castro and Che we got the likes of Altaf Bhai and Haqqani Bhai.

    My take on the march is that it was a healthy demonstration of people power. Whether the conclusion was a let down who knows, but at least not body got hurt. May be it will provide imputes and experience for people and organizers for more effective ways to assemble people for targeted and clear objectives. But I still believe that there is a lack of political ideological leadership in this country and it is that vacuum that has allowed the assorted group of low lives to claim the driving seat of the nation. The dakaits in suits, uniforms and sherwanis are ruling the country.

  • Faisal.K |

    Well Said Awab the ” No Dharna” at the end may have saved some confrontation it may also have saved someone some face. However there were many who could not go with you guys but were up watching and hoping…maybe even praying that now we shall see if they can resist the voice of the people. To deal such a blow to such spirit is symbolic of our countries leadership, they are all sell outs..to a phone call to cases to external pressures…each and every one of them!!!

  • Silence |


    I understand how frustration as well of other participents.

    If there was a single death or one fire shot in Islamabad, today we would have been in a state of “civil war”, I assure you of that, civil society and liberal forces are not that organised to benifit from any major upset, the ultimate benificiary would have been Mujahdeen and pro-establishment elements. Although I hate the name Asif Zardai, but I agree with his statement that we dont afford to watch a warlord sitting on each hilltop and each town.

    Please do not take it a sellout by anyone or a betrayl, rather you guys avioded the establishment plan.

    The present democracy (looli-langdi) is better then another decade under dictatorship and obviously establishment is not happy with it as well.

    Read this article please, although bit old but it shows you what US and establishment thinks about democracy in Pakistan.


    The conclusion is shoking!

    “”””””Pakistan is not the place and today is not the time for allowing good intentions to pave the road to an illusionary democracy that could end-up looking more like hell”””””

  • Aamir pakistani |

    ALHUMDULILAH long march ends with no damage to any one….
    Aitzaz suffers alot,v should’t see him suspeciously,,he is our hero….

  • Imran |

    Pakistan Politics is becoming like American tv show “Lost”. Which group of survivors or captors are you with?

  • Pakistani |

    Musharraf Zindabad. He has changed Pakistan in the last 8 years.

  • Silence |


    Yes, changed Pakistan in to a hll, thank you Musaffar!

    Had you heard before a afghani rfugee like karzai thretening to send his forces in Pakistan, which he even dont have?

    All this to protect two cronies of US musaffar and karzai.

    But its a new time, try to live with it….

  • Pakistani |

    Please ask your elected leaders to act against Karzai. Musharraf is 100 times better than the current lot of politicians inside and outside theparliament. After implanting hair and trimming your moustaches, you dot become a changed person overnight and look at the stupidity with which people are dancing to the tune of these leaders. No one even Media dares to ask Mr. Tiger about his stay in Saudi and London luxuries when country was being run by Musharraf and his supporters. Similarly no one asks Mr. Arrow about the source of his properties in other countries and corruption cases in spain, London and swiss courts. No one asks Mr. Justice Chaudhry about the truth in the reference against him and why didn’t he face the charges against him. Pity on us that the known culprits of yesterday have become champions of democracy and protectors of constitution today and people with their short memories in big heads have forgotten all about their past. No one dares to speak against Zardari in Lawyers’ and PMLn rallies and instead of talking about delay by Zardari in restoration of judges, Musharraf is criticized for sitting illegally in the presidency. PMLn making noise about impeachment has not moved any resolution on its own in the parliament after spending 3 months in the new assembly. They are insulting him everywhere so that he goes on his own because there is majority in the parliament of people who oppose him. By that logic, there would be many presidents and PMs in the world who would leave. E.G. in US, democrats have majority in congress but no one is asking Bush to leave. We all are part of this circus, which was started by lawyers due to their political affiliations and now everyone is playing its part. Today, If Musharraf leaves, all these parties including Tiger bhai and Arrow Bhai will fight as if there is no tomorrow. IT is only Musharraf who is keeping them united and they have an excuse in himself for all the blunders they are making. We are fast losing another great leader due to our shortsightedness and loss of memory.

    Long Live Musharraf and long live Pakistan

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    There is no Justification to defend any Dictator in what ever form. No Pakistani can defend such people. Aitzaz Ahsan did the best under the circumstances, people who are talking against him are those who do not want positive change in this ugly prevailing system. Long March has proved that Pakistanis are Alive and they will resist against the atrocities of the establishment. Weldone Aitzaz Ahasan and the Lawyers you people did it and the Civil Society supported the March and it was the start of a new PAKISTAN. ALLAH MAY BLESS PAKISTAN WITH PEACE AND PROSPERITY AMIN.

  • tanya |

    Musharraf is no dictator in comparison with these “democratically” elected kings. Speaking of the ‘national mandate’ they received – these feudals got a meager 33% of the vote – that’s no national mandate to me. Feudalism is the OPPOSITE OF DEMOCRACY. Western textbooks told us that by the act of voting, we have got democracy. That is an immature assumption. We don’t need feudals, we don’t need mullahs and we don’t need the army. We need a whole new generation of politicians to cleanse us of these idiots who have been running Pakistan for themselves for the past 60 years. ONLY ONE MAN STARTED TO BREAK THIS ARMY, MULLAH, FEUDAL TRIUMVIRATE – Musharraf. He introduced the Nazim system which has created the impetus for democratic change from the bottom up. Do you think feudals will ever educate people? Or pull them out of their poverty? Or give them local democracy? Of course NOT – if they do, to whom will they send their empty trucks to be filled with serfs from their lands to vote for them??? I believe it was Ahmed Rashid who at one point said that even if the feudals of Sindh and Punjab put up a dog for election and told the serfs to vote – that dog would too, be ‘democratically’ elected.
    Some called the Q League the King’s party, but the real ‘king’s party’ is the PPP. Renaming airports, issuing holidays, spending 200million rupees on a Benazir Museum (and a small side gift of 50 million for the renovation of Moenjodaro! How Sweet… !), renaming parks and avenues, declaring holidays on birthdays weddings death anniversaries of Bhutto – WTF???!! This is more dictatorial than anything I ever saw Musharraf do. TWO MEN WHO ARE NOT EVEN CONSTITUTIONALLY ELECTED BY US are RUNNING PAKISTAN TODAY – Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif. Disgusting party ‘lafangas’, ‘gundas’ are back on the streets. IT IS THE 1990’s AGAIN MY FRIENDS! THOSE PEOPLE ARE BACK. THOSE DAYS OF INSECURITY, OF MISSING SCHOOL FIVE DAYS A WEEK THOSE HORRIBLE DAYS OF MY CHILDHOOD… ARE ALL BACK.
    Eight years under Musharraf gave me a more peaceful life. It gave some sanctity to my childhood. My heart bleeds for this country and its irresponsible ‘liberals’ and media.

  • tanya |

    oh, and about the judges issue: I request the media, since they are very good at their job (no sarcasm intended) to criticize EQUALLY. These lawyers and judges who have been out on the streets for over a year now, only recently got paid their salaries, after nine months or so. Can somebody please tell me WHERE they are getting the money to live on from? Especially in these expensive times, somebody enlighten me so that I may follow the same route, my family’s having a hard time. Who is paying for these posters and banners and pickets and stages and rallies etc etc… these cost a hell of a lot. In lakhs, ask any advertisers. The media may have politicized the masses, but it does not bring with it the art of analysis. We must ask these questions for the sake of our country.

  • Tahseen Alam Khan |

    Answerable is he who has been sitting at the Helm of the affairs for the past so many years. Pakistan has never been into this type of situation before. I do not defend the polititians but they come at the end of this Blame Game. Media is doing good in showing the public the true picture of our political system apart from Adds which are against our Social Cultural and religious Norms and Values. Without the reinstatement of the Judiciary we will be facing much Worst Situations. At present JUNGLE LAW is prevailing where Might is Aways Right. Allah May Bless Pakistan Amin.