Home > Uncategorized > Aitzaz Ahsan’s letter to the lawyers community.

Aitzaz Ahsan’s letter to the lawyers community.

My dear colleagues,

Assalam o’ alaikum

As I write this from a sub-jail, let me tell you how proud I am of each one of you and of myself to be part of the community that is writing the present chapter in the history of our unfortunate country. As you are all aware we, the lawyers, are the vanguard in this long-overdue, mammoth battle for civil rights and democracy in our country.

Jail is not new to me. I was first arrested as a one-year-old in the arms of my mother when she courted arrest in 1946 after my father and grandfather had already done so in the Pakistan movement. During the martial law imposed by General Ziaul Haq I was arrested and detained without trial several times for long terms and only because I pursued, even then, the ideals of democracy and an independent judiciary.

Let me assure you that the sacrifices you have given and the selfless courage you have shown for the selfless cause of an independent judiciary and civilian rule have no parallel anywhere in the world, even in countries from which we have borrowed the concepts of the rule of law and judicial independence. By seeking the restoration of the chief justices and judges of all provinces, we are in fact seeking to save and strengthen the Federation. Ours is a noble cause.

You know that Muneer Malik, Tariq Mahmmod, Ali Ahmed Kurd and I have never wielded any weapons. We have never broken any law. We are no terrorists. We are men of peace. Yet we were treated worse than terrorists while in jails.

In fact, when arrested, I was only seeking to persuade, through cogent and respectful arguments, 11 senior-most judges of the country that a General’s attempt to contest elections for the office of President was completely in breach of his own oath under the Constitution. And what happened? Just because that Bench seemed likely to give a verdict according to the express language of the Constitution, the General sacked the Chief Justice of Pakistan and other judges of the Supreme Court and of the four High Courts. Only judges who were willing to legitimise him were retained.

What happened thus was unthinkable in today’s world. It brought disgrace to the country. No such step was ever taken even in any “banana republic”. Yet because of us lawyers and the support we are getting from our kindred spirits in the media, the public and the students, no one can write off this country as a failed nation. However, for the first time since 1947, we are in the middle of a fresh struggle for independence: independence of civil society and civilian institutions.

It is in the context of ultimately achieving our one-point goal of restoring the pre-November 3 status quo and the fact of a form of elections being upon us, that I propose the following: One, Our stand for boycott would be vindicated if ALL major parties also boycott. Two, Our stand would also be vindicated if even one of the two major political alliances (ARD or APDM), decides to boycott.

Three, If, however, ALL major parties decide TO CONTEST elections, we must devise a strategy to use the momentum to our own advantage. How? My proposal is that: In situation Three, the hustle and bustle of the nation-wide election campaign may suck in all politically active persons within a few days. Local issues, of roads, water, sewage, schools and other services, may begin to engage people seeking promises of redress of their immediate miseries. Our one demand may go on the backburner of the public mind. People will become pre-occupied with other issues. That is what the regime is counting upon.

What then must be done in situation Three (and Only in situation Three)?

We have to keep the issue of the “deposed” judges alive. We have to keep the spotlight on our demand. To that purpose, I propose the following:

1. The Supreme Court Bar Association, while continuing to deny validity to this election prescribe its own OATH to be taken and signed by all CANDIDATES. The oath will require each deponent to swear that, if elected, he/she will move the necessary motion/resolution/law/amendment required to ensure the restoration of the “ousted” judges, to pursue such motion etc, to speak in its favour, and finally to vote for it. (I suggest below the contents of THE OATH).

2. The contents of the oath will be widely publicised by representatives of the Bar at all levels through press conferences and media reports.

3. It will be made clear that no candidate who does not take this oath is approved by the Bar as deserving the vote of the people irrespective of the Party he belongs to. If more than one candidate in any one constituency takes the oath, then these alone will be declared as the “pre-qualified” candidates disqualifying others from the support and vote of the people.

4. The oath alone is not enough. It is the MANNER IN WHICH IT IS TAKEN that is also vital. To involve the people and the Bar Associations nation-wide, the SCBA and the PBC must give a call that all OATH-TAKING CEREMONIES:

i. Will be held in District Bar Association premises before the General House;

ii. The oath will be taken by a senior office-bearer of the DBA and recorded by the electronic media and the press.

iii. Records of the oath will be maintained at the District, Provincial and Central level by the Bar Associations.

iv. Daily press conferences and press releases at the respective District and Central levels will announce the names of pre-qualified candidates issuing the names to the press.

5. Keeping members involved in this most engaging activity will also make the boycott of the courts (wherever prescribed) more viable and effective for a longer period.

6. Since all this activity will be WITHIN THE PREMISES of the Bars there will be no premature confrontation and this activity will be entirely lawful and sustainable. Yet it will become the most prominent activity in the public eye, nationally and internationally. In fact I expect the electronic media to run strips of the names of candidates who have or have not taken oath.

7. Each ceremony will involve a maximum number of lawyers and political workers across the country. We will also thus cause a synchronised nation-wide activity with the Bars themselves playing the lead role while highlighting our own primary demand. At the end of the day we may have created a large lobby (perhaps even a majority) committed to our demand as we begin to ride the “judicial bus” that may yet be necessary by late January, 2008. You may even today propose a tentative date for that event. The proposal above is in respect ONLY of situation THREE. In that event, where ALL major political parties are participating in the elections, a mere placid boycott called by lawyers may not work. We have to be realistic. The electorate in that situation will get involved, distracted, indeed consumed by electoral activity. We, and our one demand may be sidelined. And if it is sidestepped during the elections it is unlikely to be of very high priority after the elections. We have to make it the PRIMARY ISSUE IN THE ELECTIONS.

We have a nation-wide network of District Bars. We can make it worth their while for candidates to adhere to our aspiration of restoration of judges. In the process we can, across the country, create a significant and vibrant political activity. And we will also keep the initiative with us. I am sure that within days candidates of parties already committed to the restoration of judges and independent candidates will be jostling for time to take the oath before the full blaze of the media. I can see them printing photos of the oath-taking ceremony on their posters and publicity material to assure the voters that they are committed to us. It will keep the issue of the “deposed” judges right up-front, and maybe make it the most inescapable electoral issue.

We are today contesting the most unique case in the history of the world. In this case, our professional fee as lawyers is whatever this country has given each of us to date and our clients are the 160 million Pakistanis. But our clients’ interest, our nation’s interest, we must, safeguard at all costs. If one unarmed lawyer could win the independence of this country, I do not see any reason why we, thousands of lawyers, should not be able to achieve victory.

If we put out hearts and souls into this perfectly legitimate and peaceful enterprise we will prevail. We shall overcome.

Yours truly,

aitzaz ahsan

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  1. Farouq Mallal
    December 7, 2007 at 9:40 pm | #1

    REVISED MEMO URGENT

    Date: November 06, 2007, Vancouver Br. Columbia
    To: Barrister-at-Law Aitzaz Ahsan, M.A. (Cantab)
    President Supreme Court Bar Association
    FROM: Farouq Mallal, LL.B
    Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public (Ret’d)
    Bachelor of Laws (LL.B), Dalhousie Law School
    Halifax, Canada
    SUBJECT: PLEASE GO “GREEN” IMMEDIATELY

    My Dear Brother Aitzaz:

    Asalam o alaikum.

    Since TIME is of the essence I will get to the subject matter immediately.

    Your letter, dated December 5, 2007 and Oath for Candidates is powerful and well written and well done. If I may very respectfully bring to your attention the following:

    1) Please immediately make arrangements to print or whatever one million (1 million) GREEN SCARVES; I leave the quantum in your very capable hands.

    2) Print on the scarves something to this effect: Asalam o alaikum and DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW (In URDU and ENGLISH);

    3) Use the scarves to motivate Candidates when they take the said Oath and allocate a minimum quota of say 10,000 (Ten thousand)) scarves or more to each Candidate. Citizens will also be motivated;

    4) Get the “MillWallahs” and “TextileWallahs” to donate this to the people of Pakistan and for Democracy. Get all the Courier, Trucking, etc. Companies to distribute these scarves to Rural Areas;

    5) In the absence of electronic media (T/V etc): Distribute through the fastest communicable manner the scarves to everyone on the major roads, grounds, rallies (subject to the Emergency Law, et. al.) in the Cities, to name a few, Karachi, Lahore, Multan Hyderabad, etc.; and do this everyday till the elections and a big rally distribution on Election Day;

    6) Pakistan will get world coverage. Remember the powerful effect of the ‘Orange Revolution?’

    7) I say very respectfully and suggest adding in your OATH FOR CANDIDATES, at the end, the following: “and I understand if I do not follow the aforementioned Oath, I may be in Breach of Trust and possible Legal consequences.” Please rephrase to give at least some notice to Candidates who breach their Oath due to the complexity and consequences of the said Oath. Otherwise, the Courts of Equity will come running down your necks for injustice, bias, entrapment, deception, et. al….who knows? Why take a chance.

    This is your sacred moment. ACT NOW, PLEASE. March peacefully and proudly with green scarves around your necks! Believe and Just do it.

    8) It is GREEN: for Islam; for Pakistan (Use the same Green Colour in Your Flag); for the Environment; ‘The Inconvenient Truth about Climate Change Globally;’ for Peace and Prosperity; and, for Democracy and The Rule of Law. THE GREEN MOVEMENT OF PAKISTAN’S BRIGHT (AND PROSPEROUS) FUTURE.

    It will work if you can put this challenging package together in time. To move on you must do it. I commend and applaud all the Pakistani Lawyers and Judges who supported the disgraceful removal of your respected CJ and I say to all of you: You have come a long way in your fight but you have miles to go. MOVE ON and THE TRUTH SHALL PREVAIL. God Bless Pakistan.

    Now, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my family. Also, Brother Aitzaz, we have mutual friends, to name one, Ayaz Fakir, The Nation Columnist. I know Ayaz for over fifty years.

    I am the youngest son of Dr Bashir Mallal, LL.D, founder and Editor of The Malayan Law Journal (MLJ) and author of 18 Law Books. He was a Professor of Law at the University of Singapore Law Facilty and an authority on Mohamedan and Criminal Laws; and, Civil Procedures Practice. My Father was born near Islamabad in 1898 and arrived in Singapore in 1914. He started MLJ in 1932.

    From 1941 to 1945, my Father shipped all his ten children and my beloved Mother to Dehra Doon, We were guests of His Majesty the King and returned safely home after the declaration of surrender by the Japanese in August 1945. I was a World War II child. I have seen brutality and war

    On our way, to catch the Dutch Hospital ship from Calcutta, our train somewhere mid-way between Dehra Doon and Calcutta, got derailed and the only compartment standing unscratched was one Third Class Bogey. We, about 18 of us, which included nine Mallals, a few friends and British Government Officers were in this Compartment. This tragedy occurred around early August 1945.

    My immediate eldest Brother and I walked outside this ugly environment and I remember seeing hundreds of body parts thrown and scattered all over the place. Although I was eight years old, I do remember the horrific scenes I saw. I feel what all of you are going through.

    Over time, your sorrows, wounds and resentment will minimize. It will heal. Be patient. You are all doing so well that I am amazed at your might, intelligence and hope. God Bless You All. You all are in my prayers every night.

    I came from Singapore, as a foreign student, to Karachi, in 1956 when my mother died. I was 17 years old. I was the first group to do ‘Higher School Certificate’ (“A” Levels) at the infamous Karachi Grammar School. Ms Arban Kharas was my Classmate and she too is in the legal fraternity. I was to study law but instead stayed in Pakistan for eight years. No regrets what so ever.

    I was at the Beach Luxury Hotel on a Saturday night in mid-October 1958 with Ayaz and quite a few well known Karachites, including the Hon. Khuro, Chief Minister of Sind, who was sitting near us. Mid-way of this function, he left and we were wondering why all this commotion? When we were returning home, the streets were flooded with Policemen.

    President Iskander Mirza’s unwisely proclaimed Martial Law in Pakistan and appointed General (as he then was) Ayub Khan as the Martial Law Administrator (MLA). A short while later, Mr. Mirza was exiled to London and MLA
    General Ayub Khan became the Boss and then the President.

    It was so peaceful, you could hardly feel the Martial Law. I hope this beautiful scenario returns. During this period, I remember meeting The Hon. Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto, who was General Ayub Khan’s Foreign Minister. It was a real pleasure to have known him. His oratory skills were impeccable.

    I left Karachi in August 1964 for Montreal, Canada. A very well known friend and family in Karachi (also very well known by Ayaz) helped to become who I am. That fine Pakistani gentleman, who I dearly love, is Rafi Muneer.

    I went back to school in 1965 and finished my Electronic Computing Diploma in April 1967 as a Computer Programmer. This Industry was only eight years old! Big demand. I later specialized in MIS Systems Security for 10 years prior to law school. Later on, I wrote numerous papers on “Law and The Technology.”

    I went to Dalhousie Law School when I just turned 40 (1977) with two small infants. I graduated in Class of 1981 and got called to the Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor in 1983. I am so grateful to my wife and best friend Veena for her love and her complete support, so as by becoming a Lawyer, I could provide better live for my two wonderful children, Natasha (who is becoming a lawyer) and Samir (Top Documentary/Movie Maker in Canada).

    If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to email me. I can be reached at Area Code (604) 730-1326 and Fax is (604) 730-1327. Email:vfmallal@shaw.ca

    After you have read this Letter, you may send it to whosoever needs it. I support you lawyers. Lawyers like, Ms Asmi Jehangir and yourself, motivate me when you fight for the Rule of Law. Bravo. For me, it is engrained in my soul!

    I will appreciate it if you can please forward this email to Ms Jehangir and Ms Kharas.. With warm regards and I look forward for your reply.

    Finally, please give President Musharraf a chance to get over this quagmire of nightmare politics, which is simmering down a bit. Great leaders have made some mistakes but when you weigh their achievements and failures on the scale of justice, President Musharraf will score a lot of points (e.g. Amendments to: Womens’ Protection Act – Hudood Ordinance). Khuda Hafiz.

    Yours truly,

    Farouq Mallal, LL.B,

  2. Saeed Tiwana
    December 19, 2007 at 8:56 pm | #2

    Generals desire to become politicians & vice versa.
    Given 7 years of absolutism, they will end up losers;but instead of bowing out they want seven more years to come up right next time.
    Just pick up syllabus of Defence College . That syllabus should be for politicians. Generals have to know MAJOR TACTICS to mount the enemy’s chest; here they mount ours.
    I have an open bet of 5 lacs rupees if any serving or retired Pakistani general can prove that he knew the art of war to defeat the Indian army in the 1971 war. Sir, they do not know war.
    And we dont want to fight our army.
    Otherwise they would have learnt the price of arrogance. There are two kinds of officers in our army; the shameless ones and the others.

  3. April 17, 2013 at 8:25 pm | #3

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging
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