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Posts tagged with: Judiciary

Judicial Taliban

Lawyers have emerged as a great force in Pakistan who carries weight in the future law making and day to day running of the judiciary as well as executive in the country. Pakistan’s short history is full of lawyer’s contributions and in particular judges who never bow before a dictator to take oath under any PCO and preferred to go home honourably.

In any adversarial system, there is a lawyer for and against and a judge hears the case, decides on facts and law giving confidence to both parties on the ‘judgement’ he is about to give on its merits. On the day, a judge has to dispense justice, and of course justice needs to be seen to be done, and if judgement is known in advance, it does not meet the norms of justice. Recent events in Pakistan post liberation of judiciary has given an impression as if lawyers have a carte blanche and as if they are not willing to tolerate the other side view, I hope I am wrong. That is, and it will be dangerous for the promotion of tolerance, rule of law and good governance leading to true democracy as there is always the other side view and the story.

I have picked up two issues where there is a risk of miscarriage of justice and potential threat of the other party loosing chance of ever having a fair trial. In the case of 4 May 2007 lawyers procession in Sahiwal, in Punjab, which was intercepted by Police on orders of its superiors. A case has been registered against district police officer and others, but open alarming statements are being made by top judicial leadership for accelerating the process by doing a quick justice with warnings that someone else will do the job suo moto. No lawyer is willing to represent the said officer in the whole of District Multan before Anti terrorist court judge, which is an undesirable development for the profession as any accused is ‘innocent until proven guilty.
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Dorab Patel on Judicial Aloofness – CJP’s meeting Richard Holbrooke

Mr Shakil Jafri editor of The Financial Daily asked me to reproduce as an article what I had written on CJ meeting Richard Holbrooke. With the intention to expand on these few paragraphs I chanced upon some reflections of a past judge which I added to my statement and am reproducing it below.

Members of the Judiciary are supposed to stay aloof from social and political contacts. In this context let me quote from a speech delivered by Justice Dorab Patel at the Cornelius Society in Lahore in 1995. Justice Patel was a dissenting judge in the Bhutto case and had refused to take oath on General Zia’s PCO. He states that the judiciary in Pakistan inherited from the long line of judges, British and Indian, traditions of service, of learning and scholarship, of integrity, financial and intellectual, and of social aloofness.
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CJP Iftikhar meets Holbrooke?

There is a news item which may go unnoticed that the Chief Justice of Pakistan had a meeting with Mr Richard Holbrooke in his chambers on Friday.

We as members of the civil society have struggled long and hard for his restoration and we continue to respect the Supreme Court, but for matters of dignity and norms the Chief Justice should not have met a political official of the US Government, which has been responsible for kidnappings and ‘externments’ from Pakistan to say the least. A large number of cases were heard by the Chief Justice himself before and are still pending in which the US government has clearly been accused and implicated. Even the issue of encroachment of Pakistan’s sovereignty, and drone attacks in violation of the same and of our basic rights, can come up for hearing at the Supreme Court.

A statement made out by the Registrar is a clumsy effort to cover up the issue when he said that ‘Matters relating to judicial reforms as per national judicial policy and the whole judicial structure of Pakistan were discussed‘.
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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.
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Judiciary is restored! What’s next?

Guest Blog by Naeem ur Rehman

Iftikhar Chaudhry Pakistan restored judgesLawyers have achieved their historic objective after the restoration of the Judiciary on March 16, 2009 and now they can get on with their lives and profession. The question is what lies ahead of PML-N, PPP and us as a nation. As we are quite aware that this is not the end but actually the start of an other venture. The primary objective of PML-N should be to dismantle PPP and get the power as soon as possible, which most of us would agree with. Being a Pakistani and politically neutral, I would rather like to see Mr. Sharif behave more maturely and look at the long term gains for both the country and his party. There are grave concerns about the very existence of the country and all of them need to be addressed simultaneously and with great urgency and meticulousness.
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Supreme Court website reinstates CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry

honourable-chief-justice-of-pakistanAs of midnight 12:00AM 22nd March 2009 the Supreme Court of Pakistan website had officially updated its service to reflect the newly reappointed Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. The most important fact to note is that the record stands precisely as “Appointed as Chief Justice Pakistan on 30th June 2005”.

Reinstatement of Ifitkhar Chaudhry is step one towards the achievement of an independent Judiciary and now upon his shoulders [and other non-PCO judges] rest the burden of imparting justice to the people of Pakistan and hopefully standing up against the crooked and corrupt. So long to all the DOGar’s of Pakistan, we hope that you all may soon disappear into history merely as a bad dream.

Update: CJP Flag Hoisting by Naheed Khan & Safdar Abbasi?

It was precisely 505 days since that fateful day on November 3rd 2007 when General Pervaiz Musharraf overthrew a sitting Chief Justice and replaced him with an illegally sworn judge. On Sunday 22nd March the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry will be reinstated and to celebrate the momentous occasion the official flag will be hoisted at his residence at 11:00AM in the morning.

It should have been a momentous occasion to celebrate the activists who helped the reinstatement. Now as the Chief Justice is about to resume his work, it is reported in the press that Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan has taken it upon himself to hold a flag hoisting ceremony at the Chief Justice’s house. Talking to media he has said that political parties have been invited to participate in the ceremony while Naheed Khan, Safdar Abbasi and Shaharyar Awan (son of late lawyer leader Imdad Awan) are to hoist the flag.

One does have to wonder why such individuals have been picked by Aitzaz, to have selected people who have practically done little to help the reinstatement of the CJP Iftikhar. It seems more like a move by Aitzaz for political salvation amongst the potential PPP-breakaway faction, if for nothing else.
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The GPO 150 and the spirit of March 15

Email posted on the Socialist Pakistan Network by Ammar Ali Jan

GPO-150I happened to be part of that “GPO 150” when the police started using tear-gas. This is a picture of us throwing stones at the police (I’m in a red shirt on the right)

We had left Zaman park where Aitzaz had been placed under house arrest. Lahore gave the look of a deserted ghost town in the morning with the Mall road completely blocked. I was with the Labour party Pakistan, Student Action Committee and civil society members. We decided to walk our way towards the High court in pairs so that the police fails to notice us. Some of us succeeded while others, like Nauman Qaiser and Jalees Hazir were arrested at the checkpoints [addendum: Jalees Hazir made it to the High Court].

I have been to many protests in the past but I have never seen anything like the passion visible in front of the High Court. There was a consensus that if the Lahore High Court falls, the movement will fizzle out. We also had Feryal Gauhar and Hina jilani with us in the crowd and they also thought that resistance in front of the High Court is the key for a victory. As the police started shelling tear-gas indiscriminately, many started falling unconscious. All of us panicked and started fleeing the scene to evade arrests. A man who must in his 70s, started yelling to the fleeing crowd (which included me as I could no longer breath) that this was not a time to run but to fight. Eventually, the baba ji fainted as well but he encouraged all of us to come back and continue the fight.
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The Beginnings’ End

Guest blog by Kamil Hamid

While celebration is in order, the civil society movement and Pakistanis in general must understand that it is crucial this be used as a beginning for a new era of activism and the drive for justice. Sitting back at this point, and allowing “appropriate parties” to handle matters would be nothing short of disastrous.

As I write this, the general atmosphere among many of us is one of jubilance, celebrating our victory. After a two-year struggle, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry has finally been restored. Over the course of these years, Pakistan has faced some of its darkest times, the circumstances of which have still not changed greatly. We face a growing religiously motivated insurgency, not confined to the North but breaking out like an epidemic across the country. We also face a severe energy and food crisis, as well an economy that has nearly imploded; thanks largely to the reckless and irresponsible way it was handled for the past decade. Our largest city, the hub of our economy, is ruled by ethno-fascist thugs who have garnered genuine support among some of its citizens due to their frustration with the government’s lackadaisical attitude. The continual pounding of American drones on our Northwestern borders, as well as a bristling India to the East only makes matters worse.

Yet it would be incorrect to say that we have not come a long way: Musharraf has been forced out of power, and the military has been forced back into the barracks (hopefully, for the last time). A vibrant and energetic civil society has formed and proven to the world that Pakistan is not the nation of sleepers that it has often been mockingly called.
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The morning after the revolution or was it?

Guest Blog by Zermeen Amira

long-march-2009-pakistanI have to admit I started the day on a fairly jubilant note having woken up after receiving an SMS from an overseas friend that the Chief has been restored (I had gone to bed by mid night having watched the political drama incessantly for the past few days and as a result getting reprimanded by my spouse). Today back to work, I have had enough of sweets to put on a few pounds in the next few days as it all metabolizes. As evening has progressed and the adrenaline rush has subsided I have started to ponder the events of the last 24 hours and all doesn’t seem to add up. Perhaps the merry making and jubilation is premature.

I am cautiously optimistic that all will be all right. However, it is still five days before the Chief is actually restored and that is an eternity in politics. Anything still can happen given that President Zardari still hasn’t been seen in public yet. Is he still wincing like a wounded dragon plotting his next move or has the remorse finally taken the better of his bare knuckled political instincts. No one knows. The news that has started filtering out in the evening of the 16th is not that great. Here is some text directly from TV channel ticker tape.
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16 March, a new dawn in Pakistan

Guest Blog by Amjad Malik

Yousaf Raza Gillani’s early in the morning address to the nation restoring the remaining including the Chief justice of Pakistan Mr. Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chowdhary was a sigh of relief to the nation. Alas, President Zardari’s advisors could not foresee the repercussions of his decisions not to restore CJ and imposition of Governor rule and he had to see this day. The same mistake was made of the aide of Gen. Musharraf on 9 march 2007 when they advised him to sack the very judge who was lauded by millions in the country for his fairness and bravery. In any event, in the end common sense prevailed and politics won on the day. PM’s decision to seek review of the decision of Supreme Court of 25 February 2009 is the key to promote tolerance in the state, and harmony amongst provinces. This review will also keep the little left respect of the supreme court intact too, as parliamentary action would have promoted confrontation between both. This is the victory of the whole nation which is alive and conscious of the situation it is in, and the whole nation including all section of society whether political workers, civil society, media, lawyers, and lay men, women, and children deserve to be applauded for their forbearance and free expression of their will by participating in the long march.

One must wonders that due to lack of foresightedness, the rulers provided an opportunity to the slept lion Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to show his bravery and defiance on principles, and popularity which is devastating for the Govt at this early juncture of their 5 years slot. But it will be unjust if we forget the steadfast lawyer leadership, UN intimidated media and robust civil society with thousands of unnamed supporting characters who brought the rulers to their knees and won fruit on the day of long march. They stood on the ground like they did on 3 November 2007 at the time of emergency. Govt of Gillani deserves to be appreciated for listening and meeting public demands, respecting the will of the people as Lawyers and civil society were on streets since 9 March 2007. Army command deserves applause for nipping their lust for power when they bore patiently with the inefficiencies of our today’s rulers who blindfolded threw the nation into a turmoil and flared the hatred when the spirit of reconciliation was in the air. This is the time when Pakistani people have a chance to regroup and make this country a mirror image of the aspirations of millions of those who decided to join this new land at the time of independence in 1947 in a dream come true style by sacrificing nearly 4 million souls. Nation was jubilant in May 1998 after becoming an atomic power and now the nation has a cause to be overjoyed after seeking victory on a principled point of restoration of Chief Justice who defied a military dictator.
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The Most Important Part of a Change is a Change in Perception

Guest Post by Ayesha Mirza

Any change to come at this point has to be sustained

We will win one day, one battle, but not the war against this system, if such a war indeed exists. The monsters we face today are those of our own making, whether through direct contribution or simple indifference, our actions have contributed to pushing this country into the position it is now.

Somewhere along the way we forgot that we are this nation. Now as we sit on the sidelines and criticise perhaps we no longer recognise how those raised fingers point back at ourselves. As the super-structure acts to preserve its own interests it does nothing more than replicate our own actions.

The problems of this nation are more deep-routed than simple corruption and mindless, self-interested pursuit for power. The cancer runs deeper, as a disease in society that feeds upon its moral fabric, a parasitic fiend that feeds upon the humanity of this nation. 
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Judges to be restored, a victory for Pakistan

Almost a year and a half ago on November 3rd 2007 Pakistan was plunged into darkness at the whim of a dictator who believed he was above the law, it was from the that gloomy day hundreds and thousands of Pakistanis rallied for the supremacy of law and constitution. As of the last few hours there is jubilation on the streets of Pakistan. The rule of Law is about to reign supreme over any form of dictatorship.

It has been a dream come true, to have the restoration of our judges upon the shoulders of the people if Pakistan and not based on the mere whims of a political compromise. I congratulate the people if Pakistan.

What remains to be understood is whatever will happen to Dogar and the many other new inductees that Zardari enlisted in very recently. Answers will be provided in the Prime Ministers address in the next 30 minutes and is supposed to be in line of the Charter of Democracy

A standing ovation to the lawyers movement, civil society groups, student groups and the various political parties that have stood up for the restoration of the judiciary.

But more importantly I would like to congratulate fellow activists of the Peoples Resistance in Karachi, the Student Action Committee in Lahore and the digital activists of the Emergency Times – Each and everyone of you made the difference.

The Lahore Rebellion: Email update from Labor Party Pakistan

The fight is going on. Police is sometime retreating and coming back to use tear gas. The protesters are also determined to express their right to get together.

Police is firing directly at the demonstrators. One casualty the Shahid siddique, the newly elected president of Lahore High Bar Association. Thousands of rounds of tear gas been fired at General Post Office Chowk. Many has injured. Asma Jehanghir is also been effected badly.

The Labour Party Pakistan contingent arrive at GPO Chowk around one pm. They include several women. Maqsood Mujahid, member national executive committee LPP told me on phone that all of us have been effected but all of us are on high spirit.
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