The Lawyers’ win is only Partially Legal

Guest blog by Abira Ashfaq via her Note on Facebook

I just returned from a wedding and I got an icky feeling about the lawyer leaders. I saw some there. I caught a glimpse of Aitzaz, but before I could get my glamor shot with him, he had shot off to another function. I support the movement and its leadership. I support the support they got from the roots, and the movement’s progressive thrust. But there is an ickiness, and I know these leaders aren’t the radical, or even the clean hearted hippies I wish them to be. In fact some of them have only recently reignited that radical spark form the students’ movement of the 60s after years of real estate work. Some of them have vested interests. But I already knew that, and its not naivety that you accept flawed individuals, but pragmatism that you suspend your judgment as they invigorate a movement — as leaders. And learn. Hence, CJ as a symbol, as a trigger, as a mascot, as an illustration of resistance is fine – an impeccable judge or fashion model he may not be – but I’ll take the missing persons cases and applaud him anyway.

So I reserve my judgment, and hope that institutional changes are made, and the good decisions keep us afloat. The movement won, and the people are happy. But not really.

The judges were restored, but there is a constitutional problem that’ll make your head spin. As a friend in the movement tells me, there are 4 categories of possibly illegal judges – the level of their illegality depends on when the took the jinxed oath. 1) those who were judges on Nov 2 and accepted the PCO on Nov 3; 2) the new appointees under Mush; 3) the new appointees under Zardari; 4)those amongst the 43 judges of the Nov 2 who held out for months, and then when the movement waned, they took a cynical fresh oath.

What will happen to these judges? Should some be hanged for treason under Article 6 for attempting to abrogate the constitution? Should they be asked to resign?

Roll back in time and even the esteemed CJ helped a dictator. How much do you roll back? Where do we start and stop to gain actual constitutional purity and somewhat of a separation of powers? Start with Nov 3 and kick out all the new judges? What about category 4? Category 4 is particularly troubling. Why would someone give in after supporting the movement for so long? What finagling, wheeling and dealing went on to make them give up? And why didn’t some of the other judges give in? Was it their morality, their savings, their compulsions, their principles, or the offers? How about transparency?

We met Judge Maqbool Baqar. He was depressed, and almost wanted civil society to give him a reason to believe. But he wasn’t’ signing up for a fresh oath. He was about to relinquish all chances of a cushy, prestigious judge job. What made him not take a fresh oath just like his colleague Mushir Alam and the various other judges from Lahore and Peshawar?

I don’t know. But they deserve special honor.

The questions may continue. But right now the mood and fervor is such that some people believe much is about to change with our legal system. People who’ve come back from the long march with stories of the storming of the Lahore High Court still haven’t gotten the tear gas out of their system – some still haven’t found the blood to ink their words with. But something has shifted. This movement has moved our society to a new intellectual plane where “rights” talk is going to lead to rights work.

Lets not blow our chances. Lets get down to building the institutions bottom up – fix the courts, lobby to change anti people laws, get the fundamental freedoms up and running – challenge illegals wars ad detentions.

And all that.

And most importantly the movement must become democratic from within. Yes we have Kurd, the brave leader who is a working class hero lawyer, but the women and the non elite lawyers must work to democratize the movement’s leadership, and impact change.

I am only partially anywhere these days, and only partially aware. To be quite honest I have abandoned a dozen books these last few months – exploding mangoes with only 30 pages to go, Kiran Desai ’cause she sucked, and now I can’t get past the English in Amitav Ghosh’s poppies. So hell, I am no expert on the constitution and this movement’s wins, and I only get through a Faisal Siddiqui article after three tries.

I just thought I’d get a note in this March madness. Rock on! Lawyers kicked ass. Boots back to the barracks. To hell with Zardari.

Whats this I hear about Aitzaz leaving the leadership?



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10 responses to “The Lawyers’ win is only Partially Legal”

  1. Ehsan Avatar

    Both the people and the leaders who support this movement are a bunch of wanna be democrats who don't care whats best for country but would rather have themselves show up on the world scale as democratic showoff's and these are the ones who are the real trash of Pakistan ! who have made Pakistan what it is now !

  2. rhea Avatar

    you were doing fine right until you hit the "go to hell Zardari" note.

    i totally agree on everything else. as you have said how much can you roll back? how many things will you condone before you start protesting? and because we come from such a desperately confused history, right now is not the time for an expense-paid trip to hell. we need stability like oxygen to a living being. we cannot afford to pick and choose a leader of our ideals simply because right now is not the time for this.

  3. Le Mystique Avatar

    The legal issues and the issue of 'how much can we roll back' carry weight but.. being Pakistani should not always be synonymous to being cynical or being a purist.

  4. dr.jawwadkhan Avatar

    "an intelligent attempt to confuse the civil society"

    this is not the end this is just a begining.people desprately need some change.some one will have to come forward to resolve this mounting restlessness.

    better lawyers than taliban.

  5. Danial Burki Avatar
    Danial Burki

    "Better lawyers than Taliban"?!

    Who are you and what have you done with Dr Jawwad?!

  6. Syed Avatar

    Wait and see. When the nation rises, even bigger issues like the one pointed out by the blogger are instantly solved. The only requirement is that people should remain vigliant and guard their achievements that have resulted after a long peoples movement.

    We would favour kicking of all those judges who took oath after the Supreme Court full bench judgment of Nov 3, 2008 when it declared the dictator's step of imposition of judiciary and sent home judges.

    Soem took oath after a long struggle and then due to financial reasons, family problems were forced to take frsh oaths. We can let them live becasue atleast they took stand for quite some time. Place ourselves in their shoes and then think. How many of us working and earning our bread through jobs, can afford to withstand the financial crunch that they would have suffered? Atleast I find it very difficult as i am solely dependant on my salary to run my family afairs.

    We should ask for kicking of the judges who immediately took oath after doger was nominated CJ and those whom zardari has sent in the courts in the absence of the legal CJP Justice Iftekhar Choudhry.

    Now the legality. We people of Pak are now the law and the powers to be have to listen to us. Else we now are awakended from our deeeep deeeep sleep. We can make people to answer for their ill doings.

    Alhamdulillah now our fate is in our own hands.

  7. noman Avatar

    lolz danial….

    so jawaad you have changed loyalties and now u finally believe that taaliban not a solution to our probs .

    what a dual opinion and personality!!!!!!!

    now u support rasikhul aqeeda lawyers .hahahaha

  8. dr.jawwadkhan Avatar


    who the hell opened your cage?

    what are you doing here?

    you know what?

    you peoples are the biggest moron i seen in my life. always in search of catch rather having a serious discussion.

  9. noman Avatar

    serious discussion………lolzzzzzzz

    i have seen the kind of serious discussion ur competent of doin….u call ur abusive /filthy mentality and dirty language as serious way of discussing things….hahaha.

    even this post of urs is an example.

    you never told me that why u ran from ghazi blog…..i seriously asked u to defend that chap but u left as usual….:))))))))))))))

    why u always try to divert attention?

    why u always try to avoid topic?


  10. dr.jawwadkhan Avatar

    i tried my best to defend that exalted soul.and i'll continue to do so.i didn't left, i am just waiting for new thing. but unfortunately you do not have… since 1&1/5 year you are being seated there and spreading the same old shit like a god damn patient of hemorrhoid in the toilet.

    and what do you have except burqa allegation?…nothing

    you are just repeating the sick and disgusting remarks since one and half year.

    i am just waiting for new thing.and i,ll inshaAllah always be there to defend the honor of a shaheed.