It ironic that our Judiciary is being recognized world over whilst our own leaders fail to provide the people of Pakistan an independent judiciary.
Shorter version of this appeared in The News on October 30th, 2008.
Victory of Ali Ahmed Kurd as President of Supreme Court Bar Association is a historic milestone in the history of Pakistan and the history of the Lawyers’ movement for rule of law and accountability of the country. This is not just a victory for Ali Ahmed Kurd but for all Pakistanis who are still actively involved in the restoration of the judiciary to Nov 2nd position. These include journalists, students, traders, political party workers, doctors, businessmen and other members of the civil society. This is a triumph for all those who had given their lives to the cause on 12th May, 9th April and in the various attacks either on lawyers’ gatherings. In particular this is a victory for the late soul of Advocate Imdad Ali Awan who passed away while driving the Chief Justice’s car in Karachi. Even with so many sacrifices and being stretched to 18 months, the movement is alive and popular support thriving.
Guest Blog by Amjad Malik
Iftikhar is translated as ‘honour ’ in the dictionary, however this one word in Pakistan has gained significance from the name of deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammed Chowdhary who is still waiting for his restoration on 3rd November position. He was dismissed, and detained by General Musharraf as a result of an unlawful military action. Chowdhary not only settled the score of history by challenging the myth that Pakistani judges are always ready to work hand in hand to support its generals , but also tried to nip the very evil in the bud, which is core of Pakistan’s constitutional hap hazard history, the all time notorious ‘law of necessity.’
When we look at these hollow claims that law of necessity is buried forever especially after 20 July, we must analyse as to why there always seem a gap which is filled by our Generals. We need to look at the reasons as to why the country was divided in 1971; corruption allegations always surfaced in civilian rule and military never could hold them accountable as they lacked legitimacy. Musharraf regime despite weak opposition and leaps of dollars could not go nearer to the completion of its seven point’s agenda. In fact, he brought the federation to near collapse. Most ironic is the current civilized government who seems an epitome of mal administration where committee chairmen along with anyone coming to Premier house with warnings is deemed fit to be given ‘Federal Minister Status.’ President house seems to be representing a group amongst one party only than the federation. In these circumstances the slogan or aspiration of rule of law, democracy, justice, and governance seems a wish for the moon. Iftikhar Chowdhary has turned the tide towards the very basic fact that from Karachi to Khyber people demand justice let it be Justice with the state, justice with the nation or justice with the institutions.
Continue reading “‘Iftikhar’” »
CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry, Aitezaz Ahsan and Kurd are being prevented from entering the Supreme Court Building and the gates have been closed and barricades placed manned by rangers standing at alert
Civil society and lawyers are gathering together at CJ house
More updates to follow as the issue develops
Guest post by Silence from Islamabad Observer blog
The Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) has suspended the practicing licences of advocates Mahmood Ashraf and Rana Naveed, President and General Secretary, respectively of the Lahore High Court (Multan bench) for allegedly misbehaving with Latif Khosa, Attorney General of Pakistan, who also acts as an ex-officio Chairman of PBC. The PBC also restrained them from functioning as office bearers and operating the Bar accounts.
According to details, High Court Bar Association of Multan had banned Sardar Latif Khosa’s entry in Multan High Court Bar in a meeting of ‘General House’, yet he arrived at High Court Bar accompanied by lawyers belonging to People’s Lawyers Forum. The Secretary Bar, Rana Naveed and some other lawyers objected to Khosa’s presence there and ask him to leave and started to chant slogans demanding restoration of Chief Justice of Pakistan, Ifthakhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
We all must vividly recall the tragedy that struck Pakistan three years back on October 8th 2005 when a massive earthquake shook the life out of Pakistan. Images flashed across our screens moments later of devastation with hundreds dead and thousands injured, in those panic stricken days many visuals flashed across our screens but the collapsed towers of Margalla apartments probably shook the world more so, as this tragedy was attributed not entirely to the earthquake but instead claimed 72 previous lives as the builder deliberately had used faulty material in its construction
After struggling for over two years the family members of the 72 victims of the Margalla Towers were able to move the motion in the Supreme Court whereby the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry ordered the CDA and the original builder to compensate the victims, this order was given whilst the criminal proceedings still lingered on. Surprisingly on September 11th 2008 a month back the new Chief Justice of Pakistan Abdul Hameed Dogar ordered the CDA, without taking into consultation the victims and their families, to finally release the controversial land back into the hands of the original builder
In all honesty this seems to be a very suspicious move, firstly its being done without taking into consideration the pending criminal case outstanding against the builder for this heinous crime, whilst more importantly this decision allows the builder to run scott free as the property and wealth can be immediately liquidated and hence forth the builder can then conveniently drag the case as long as he wants as then he will not be pressed for any financial concern.
Might I dare say this is just another prime example of injustice we can hope to get from such an ‘influenced’ system. I share with you the email sent by the family members of the victims of Margalla Towers including the order published by the Dogar court, though I also remain open to a better understanding of what this order entails and its ultimate impact in providing justice to the few victims that perished on 8th October 2005
Continue reading “Margalla Towers tragedy – Builder being compensated” »
Guest Post by Samad Khurram
Friends and concerned citizens,
I am making public a few of my communications with Aitzaz Ahsan and his consolidated response to help put things in perspective. There have been a few questions that had been lingering in every one’s minds regarding decisions made at crucial junctions of the movement, Aitzaz’s decision to remain in the PPP – even when the party is the only hindrance in the restoration of the judges -, the end of the Long March and the lawyers silence on the casualties in the War on Terror and I hope this can address all of them. Many other answers are not part of these long emails but will be answered in due time.
I have been a part of this struggle only because I rationally believe in it. The decision is an informed, educated one so I have been constantly giving the leadership my input, criticizing whenever I think is appropriate but otherwise supporting them throughout. The decisions taken by the leadership itself have been very informed and well thought out and I would like to make some of the reasoning public as many people have had raised questions.
To start of I am making public my infamous, rather harsh email – that was even picked up in Off the Record by Kashif. It was written after talking to people following the end of the Long March and how things seemed very abysmal.It appeared unlikely that we would ever recover from the aftermath. Many of the things in the email were based on the collective sentiment of our activists who had come for a siege
However I become extremely occupied with things after the Ambassador incident and Aitzaz later wrote an article for me in the Newsweek to ensure I am not labelled into something I am not.
Continue reading “Aitzaz Ahsan explains his decisions” »
A few days back the Asian Human Rights Commission issued an urgent press release about a Pakistani, Dr. Afia Siddiqui, who has been missing from Pakistan for over four years, since 2003. Her kidnapping has since then been denied by both American and Pakistani governments but actually she has been suspected of being an operative of Al-Qaeda and has been on FBI’s wanted list. There is reason to believe that she is also one of the missing persons who had been ‘handed over’ to the Americans courtesy of Pervaiz Musharraf. Let us not forget that the missing persons case was a turning point in the history of Pakistan where Pervaiz Musharraf had a severe falling out with the then CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry who was investigating this case and probably stepped on a few toes definitely ended up rumbling a few skeleton locked within Musharraf’s treasure chest of hidden secrets
- Sign Asian Human Rights Commission’s Urgent letter of Appeal which will send an email to Bush, Karzai, Gilani, Farooq Naek & Rehman Malik
- Sign the online petition for her release
- Join Facebook groups to participate in digital activism to raise awareness here and here
- Spread the word by email & SMS to all your contacts so as to create more pressure
The People’s Resistance (PR) welcomes Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, a symbol of constitutionalism, to the city of Karachi. We salute the Chief Justice and all those honorable judges who upheld the constitution of Pakistan by saying “NO” to the illegal Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). Together they stood for the voice of their conscience, sacrificing their liberty and well-being, to protect the Constitution of Pakistan.
We protest and hold the government responsible for its failure to do what should have been its very first priority. We believe that a lawful and independent judicial system is a pre-requisite for development and progress in Pakistan. We are fearful that the absence of Justice will lead to lawlessness and disorder, which will exacerbate the shortage of food, the spread of extremism and the economic strife.
As a civil society advocacy and watchdog group, PR stands for the complete and unconditional restoration of the November 03, 2007 judiciary.
Continue reading “People’s Resistance – Welcomes Judges to Karachi” »
Guest Blog by Amjad Malik
On 5th of May 2007 Lahore High Court Bar gathered a storm where deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan was facing trial on charges of misconduct, came to the city with a procession of lawyers and won the day. He won the hearts and minds of lay Pakistanis for just saying ‘No’ to the outgoing General. Ahsan Bhoon then President of Lahore High Court Bar was at forefront in the host committee organising that event. Since then he became a priority in the eyes of establishment and like Americans say ‘there is a price for everyone in Pakistan’ Mr. Bhoon proved that right by putting the price of his leadership of popular lawyer movement for the sake of becoming Mr. Justice Bhoon proving Sir Allama Iqbal right that Muslims bowed down when the time came to standstill in the battlefield. No offence to the judge, he did what all are doing around, he grabbed what he could.
Another example of a fiery anchor Dr Shahid Masood who gained prominence from his popular ‘views on news’ programme at local TV channel later was prompted or rather demoted to ‘Merey Mutabiq.’ He successfully caused stir in the ranks of the blue eyed clan by touching the corny subjects. One TV channel nearly went bankrupt as these lots were adamant that these newly liberated channels can truly bring true independence of media in a society where military regimes have deep rooted stakes visible at every corner of the major cities and ingrained in every chapters of the national history of Pakistan. He hit the nail aright and after partly causing 3 of November emergency, caved in when newly installed Government found him to be their loyal subject ready to do a job under them other than the job of nailing them for their wrong doings. At last his fire, mighty claims of principles, and future aspirations seeing media on top, all went to ashes and he gave in and accepted the hiring & firing role of chairmanship of national television PTV, a job truly well suited for a managerial type man. In UK, Jeremy Paxman would never accept a job of management of a TV station when his mastery is an anchorship of BBC ‘Newsnight’ a popular daily current affair programme. However, the sacred struggle for a genuinely free media was sacrificed at the altar of pragmatism and after shaking all the conscience of the nation to be brave and steadfast against the General, he left all on the likes of Hamid Mir, Ansaar Abbassi and Rauf Klasra or at best for the younger generations to fight for the so called freedom in some other times. He must have thought that he has done enough and let’s give other a chance, can’t blame him, he did befittingly to the environment as who knows he may not have this opportunity again. Alas, the destination is far away but struggle is lost for a job.
Continue reading “True independence of institutions or just a ‘job’” »
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.
Continue reading “Whatever is to become of the Movement for Justice” »
A special truck customized to represent the illegal prison run by the US Army at Guantanamo Bay is seen to be en route to Islamabad along with the Long March. Some student volunteers were rallied across various student networks to join on the float as mock prisoners.
Catch the Live updates of the Long March at PkLongMarch.blogspot.com
The first day I personally reported on the details of the journey from Karachi to Hyderabad and then Sukkur, it was later followed up by frequent SMS and Phone call contacts with participants of the Long March in the onward segment of Sukkur to Multan and then today to Lahore.
Today’s coverage was extensively reported by ALE-Xpressed who braved the crowds to welcome the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on his arrival at Lahore Airport from Multan. Watch one of his videos here while the rest can be viewed at the Live blog at PkLongMarch.blogspot.com (short URL http://help.pk)
Cyril does well to decipher the Constitutional mess being created these days by various individuals in Islamabad, the chaos of the Double A’s, Double B’s, Triple A’s and what not have been deliberately designed to perpetually confuse Pakistanis of their real implication. This article helps explain the overt and covert implications if these were to be made part of our constitution. At times it seems this constitutional package is just another form of constitutional rape to cater to the whims of the status quo. While the nation starves from food and hunger these politicians are fighting over crumbs simply help pave their way into a safer corrupt future
DAWN: 11th June 2008: THE summer blockbuster is here. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and Aitzaz Ahsan are on a mission to bring President Musharraf to justice. Barnstorming the country, the dynamic duo wants a climactic showdown in the shadow of parliament. Over in his fortress Musharraf is defiant, ready to grind out a Pyrrhic victory if that’s what it takes. It’s all very exciting. But must we hew so closely to Bollywood-length epics?
Asif Zardari could have cut this saga short. Instead, he gave a kid a box of crayons and asked him to re-write the constitution. Forget the spirit of the draft — given its progenitors it was never going to be a panacea — but need it have been drafted so shoddily? Ambition isn’t one of the defects it suffers from though: eighty changes proposed to a constitution with two hundred and eighty sections. All worked out in secret, away from the supervision of parliament. If Asif had been around to guide the Constituent Assembly perhaps it wouldn’t have taken nine years to draft the first constitution.
Continue reading “Dawn Op-Ed: Marching into History by Cyril Almeida” »
ACTION ALERT FOR LONG MARCH
Pakistanis through out the country have today embarked upon a historical Long March for the restoration of the Judiciary. There are hundreds and thousands of people who will participate in the procession witnessing history in the making, taking pictures and capturing priceless videos from their cell phones as the rally winds its way to Islamabad. Be a part of impacting a greater change by sharing these updates, pictures and videos with the global audience. In an attempt to harness this Mobile Journalism we hope to have you participate in this concept at http://PkLongMarch.blogspot.com (or http://help.pk – shorter to remember)
We need all participants of the procession to become our on ground reporters for the Long March movement by sending instantaneous and live updates via email to LongMarch@help.pk or LM@help.pk (shorter to remember) where you can send send in your live comments / Pictures / Mobile Videos on the progress of the Long March as it makes it way to Islamabad, for some who do not have GPRS facility can still update us using the SMS-Email facility [160 character limit] provided by most cellular networks to participate in this campaign
Action Alert: Send updates, Pictures, Audio Clips, Videos of the Long March making its way to Islamabad
Website: http://PkLongMarch.blogspot.com (or http://Help.pk)
Email: LongMarch@help.pk (or LM@help.pk)
Help Spread the word so more people know about this utility and be a part of true revolutionary Citizen Journalism in Pakistan, this concept directly helps promote the Long March to the global audience which contributes to an indirect pressure on the establishment to Restore the Judiciary in Pakistan
Hum Mulk Bachanay Nikay Hain
Aao Humaray Saath Chalo