PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005;The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger–>AHRC
After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the families of victims. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope, which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.
It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictator’s rule.
The statements by the Asian Human Rights Commission given below raises more questions about the seriousness of our government to solve the issue of missing persons.
PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2009
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Zarina Marri has been missing along with 429 persons since December 2005
The Asian Human Rights Commission has received further details in the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, a 23-year-old schoolteacher from Balochistan province, who has been held incommunicado in an army torture cell at Karachi, the capital of Sindh province and used as a sex slave, please see our statement; http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/1843/
The officials of the education department of Kahan have disclosed that Ms. Marri was a teacher at a government middle school in Kahan, Kohlu district, she was registered as Zarina Bi Bi and she was trained as a Junior Vocational Teacher. She was among those people who were transferred from Kohlu, Kahan, Sibi, Hernai, Much, Kohlo, Dera Bugti, Sabsilla, Bhambhoor, Loti, Dhaman, Pir Koh, Spin, Tangi, Babar Kach, Tandori and Sangan of the Balochistan province during December 2005 and July 2006 when the military government of the then President/General Musharraf was using aerial bombardments to defuse the nationalist movement of Balochistan against the construction of cantonment areas. On 14 December 2005, paramilitary troops accused the people of the area of firing eight rockets at a paramilitary base on the outskirts of the town of Kohlu, a stronghold of the Marri tribe, while President Pervez Musharraf was visiting it. After the visit of President/General Musharraf, within three days of the rocket firing incident, the paramilitary forces began attacking vast areas including the Kahan. It is reported in the media that the military government used the Pakistan air force for bombarding the area. During the fighting between local nationalist militants and the government forces particularly, due to the aerial bombardments, the local population started migrating to other places including to Punjab and Sindh provinces. Please also see urgent appeal of AHRC;
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2006/1872/ dated July 21, 2006.
After some days around 429 persons left the Kahan, district Kohlu, and migrated towards Dera Ghazi Khan district, Punjab province, Zarina Marri and her parents were also among the caravan. Since then there is no trace of the caravan of 429 persons. After some months people tried to search the missing people and some army officers deputed at the Kohlu district told the people of the area that so many persons were killed in the fighting between the government forces and militants and also in aerial bombardments. But after the revelation from Mr. Munir Mengal, managing director of Baloch language television channel, to Reporters without Frontiers (RSF) that Zarina Baloch was in military torture cell at Karachi and was forced in to sexual slavery, the concern of the people of Kohlu, Kahan, and Dera Bugti has risen about the people of the 429 persons which includes more than 70 women, including many young women, who may be used as sex slaves by the Pakistan military.
The government of Pakistan has still not initiated any serious efforts to investigate the case of Ms. Zarina Marri, despite, of continuous demonstrations in several parts of the country including, Islamabad, capital of country for the recovery of Zarina Marri from the military torture cell at Karachi and halting the business of making young Baloch women work as sex slaves by the Pakistan army. The government’s ignorance of the serious crimes by the military officers during Musharraf’s regime is evidence for the people in the country that the present government still does not have the power to investigate the military misdoings.
The case of Miss Zarina Marri has ignited the narrow nationalist and secessionist feelings of the ethnic Baloch nation which can easily turn into a bloody mutiny against the state if the cases of sex slavery by the military torture cells are not investigated. The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government to initiate a probe for the recovery of 429 people who are missing since December 2005. The government should also bring the persons who made Marina Marri work as a sex slave before the law regardless of how powerful they are or whether they are military persons.
For further information please see:
PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger
Source : http://www.ahrchk.net/statements/mainfile.php/2009statements/2400/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 4, 2010
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: The life of a disappeared student leader is in danger
The life of a student leader who was arrested by state intelligence officials is in danger. It is apprehended that he might have been killed. The government of Balochistan says that he was released on January 22, 2010, but his family members have said that he has not yet returned home. They have inquired after him at all local police stations, asking if he was booked under another case, but have not been able to find him.
Mr. Zakir Majeed, a student leader, was allegedly abducted by state intelligence agents on June 8, 2009 from Mastung, near Quetta. Majeed is the senior vice chairperson of the Baloch Student Organization, Azad. His alleged abductors drove up in two cars without number plates and asked the young man a few questions, saying that they were intelligence agents.They took Majeed away with them in their cars without making any charges. One car was a Toyota Vego, the other a Toyota Surf SSR. After UN Special Rapporteurs on Disappearances wrote letters about Mr. Majeed’s disappearance, his release was announced by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) For more details of the case, please see the following link, dated June 10, 2009; http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3175/.
The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) has taken up Mr. Majeed’s case after the submission of the WGEID form by the AHRC. After an intervention was made by the WGEID, the government announced on January 22, 2010 that Mr. Majeed had been released. The Balochistan High Court also ordered that an FIR (First Investigation Report – a legal document for police investigation) be filed for Mr. Majeed. Until this point, the police refused to register the young man’s disappearance, and a case of habeas corpus was up for regular hearing before the High Court of Balochistan. On January 27, 2010, a police official at Khuzdar Police Station of Balochistan, asked the younger brother of the victim, Mr. Waheed Majeed, to file the FIR before the Mastung Police Station. He did so, but the FIR was not entertained. After an intervention was made by higher-ranked police officers, the FIR was finally lodged. On February 2, 2010 Mr. Aslam Bizenjo, Provincial Minister for Irrigation telephoned Mr. Waheed to inform him that according to the list provided by the NCMC, his brother had been released. The Provincial Minister then asked him to speak with Mr. Akbar Durrani, the Home Secretary of the Balochistan government for further details. The Home Secretary confirmed that Mr. Zakir Majeed had been released on January 22, according to the NCMC list published on its website.
These conflicting pieces of information about Mr. Zakir Majeed’s disappearance have created a great deal of confusion in the minds of Mr. Majeed’s family and the human rights activists who are working for his release. In many past cases, the bodies of the disappeared have been found abandoned on roadsides after courts have ordered for their release, or family members of the disappeared person in question testified in courts that the arrest was done by intelligence agents.
The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the provincial government of Balochistan and federal government of Pakistan to secure the safe release of Mr. Zakir Majeed immediately. Since government officials have already confirmed Mr. Majeed’s safe release, we call upon these officials to be held accountable for these confirmations of safety, and urge these officials to take direct action to reunite Mr. Majeed with his family.
Enforced disappearances of civilians and the perpetual lack of thorough investigation by state officials has become so common that the sanctity and dignity of each human life is being ruthlessly compromised in the name of personal or professional gain. The AHRC calls upon the government of Pakistan to take a strong stand against corruption at all levels of its justice system and take steps towards rebuilding the rule of law in the country.
Below is the text of indictment in Dr. Aafia case.
The judgment below has many flaws but just to give you some idea:
- It doesn’t prove anything regarding her affiliation with Al-Qaida which was the primary reason for her abduction.
- It doesn’t discuss her abduction from Karachi in 2003 with her 3 children and the feared death of her youngest son by the hands of kidnappers.
- The decision talks of her having some attack plans. No evidence quality was checked and if we look at this point in line with the point of her abduction from Karachi in 2003 , this turns out to be as true as “Iraq having WMDs”.
All this is given in case background to create a fear among the reader about the accused without any solid proofs.
-The jury has given decision against her for attacking US citizens and soldiers even though no fingerprints were found on the M-4 rifle and no proof of firing with M-4 riffle were found and presented by FBI.
On principles the burden of proof lies with the prosecution or accusing party but here accused was found guilty because she could not prove herself innocent to the satisfaction of the jury.
Special Report: Dr. A’fia Siddiqui: VICTIM OF BUSH RAPE AND KIDNAP SQUAD
Source : http://www.uruknet.info/index.php?p=62041
By Gordon Duff
|January 10, 2010
WOMAN KIDNAPPED, RAPED AND HELD 5 YEARS IN SECRET BAGRAM PRISON NOW
FACING TRIAL FOR ATTACKING CIA TORTURE SQUAD
By Gordon Duff/STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor
Next week, a mother of 3 children is facing trial for, supposedly, wrestling an M-16 away from a CIA torture squad and trying to kill them. How did the CIA get her? They bought her. She was sold to them by a corrupt official in Pakistan as a “terror suspect,” a common problem and a well known ploy in the George W. Bush phony war on terrorism.
Was she a terrorist? There is no evidence of this, even after years of torture. The only serious crimes we find her guilty of is being a house wife, mother and Islamic and, I forgot, having an education. Her victims? Crippled and 100 pounds, she took on a room full of former Navy Seals, Special Forces and “private interrogators.” The obvious truth, of course: the charges are a fabrication by a pack of cowards and liars.
What do we really know? We really don’t know anything at all. Nobody has any evidence that this woman, a scientist educated in the US did anything at all. There is talk, empty talk about her sending money to charities that might be tied to terrorism. The amount of money is about 2% of a typical payment from one of the Saudi royals that have funded terrorists and suicide bombers for years, but none of them are kidnapped, raped, shot or beaten.
They have oil.
The case against her is made, at length, in the Wikipedia article about her. It is a good read. It makes me proud to be an American. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aafia_Siddiqui
What we see exposed, however, is the slave trade in “terror suspects” created during the Bush Administration fear frenzy when intelligence agencies around the world started dragging innocent people off the streets and selling them to the US for millions of dollars to supply the needed number of “terrorist arrests” to justify wild claims of a successful war on terror continually being made by Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and the rest of the gang.
The crime is an amusing one. A woman who was either just arrested or had been in custody for 5 years, depending on which of her captors you listen to. This should seem like an interesting read:
“On 4 August 2008, shorty after press rumors suggested that Siddiqui had been in Bagram for the last five years, the US government announced that Aafia Siddiqui was arrested on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan
The US claims that Siddiqui was not captured in March 2003, that she was arrested on July 17, 2008 outside the home of the Governor of Ghazni. The US account of the July 18, 2008 shooting is that FBI agents, interpreters, and several GIs entered arrived at the Afghan facility where Siddiqui was being held. The personnel entered a second floor meeting room—unaware that Siddiqui was being held there, unsecured, behind a curtain.
The Warrant Officer took a seat and placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor next to the curtain . According to the US account the GIs set down their weapons, whereupon Siddiqui burst from behind a curtain, grabbed an M-4, and opened fire. One interpreter who was accompanying the officers seized the firearm from her.
US officials claim they have no idea where Siddiqui has been in the five years since she was captured on March 17, 2003.
Siddiqui arrived in New York on August 4, 2008, and was presented before a United States Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Siddiqui refused to accept the charges. Siddiqui’s lawyer stated that no one can believe the FBI story and that Siddiqui had actually been captured in Karachi, Pakistan along with three of her children.
On August 8, 2008 the Daily Times reported that Aafia was captured in Ghazni with her eldest son, Muhammad Ahmed. The report stated that documents existed that confirmed that Affia and her children had been captured in March 2003.”
REAL ISSUES FOR DECENT AMERICANS TO CARE ABOUT
This woman and her three children were kidnapped, and illegally held for 5 years under the most brutal conditions imaginable without any legal reason. She had been accused of no crime. After years of imprisonment, rape and torture, she is finally arrested for attacking those who tortured her.
REALITY CHECK: TIME TO STAND PROUD IN OUR WAR ON TERROR
After 5 years of imprisonment, Dr. Siddiqui was a total physical wreck, barely able to walk, and seriously disabled from hundreds of torture sessions. Yet she is accused of overpowering several Navy Seals and US Army Special Forces unarmed combat specialists, seizing a weapon and nearly killing all of them, this at a weight of 100 pounds.
“Nearly killing” is a bit of an overstatement. In fact, nobody was injured at all. The more we investigate this, the more this sounds like an outlandish war story cooked up to file for PTSD.
She faces 20 years for this crime and only this crime. Since when was it a crime to attempt to escape from illegal imprisonment? Any American who is illegally detained and imprisoned without due process can’t be charged with a crime for resisting torture or imprisonment.
Americans consider such actions their patriotic duty.
PHOTO STUDY OF OUR SECURITY FORCES IN KABUL PROVING THEIR CHARACTER AND DISCIPLINE:
ONE OF THE GREAT SUCCESSES OF THE WAR ON TERROR
Attorney General John Ashcroft considered the kidnapping of this woman, along with her 3 children, one of the great victories of the War on Terror. However, after 5 years of interrogation and 7 years of confinement, no charges could ever be filed against her other than trying to single handledly crawl out of her death bed and dispatch a room full of “drug store” Rambo types.
Ashcroft has many success in his career. He is the only person in American history to have lost a seat in the US Senate to a dead man.
In an unpublicized but much more interesting case, Ashcroft and his band of merry US Attorneys, in their attempt to rack up arrests for terrorism without doing adequate homework actually managed to drag in an entire CIA intelligence organization which had, until broken up by John Ashcroft and gang, penetrated the highest levels of Al Qaeda.
Not much more can be said, but several top CIA operatives now have the embarassing history of having been arrested for terrorist related charges. Ashcroft and later Gonzales have, through incompetence, done more to cripple US intelligence efforts than any group other than the Mossad.
Even the “outing” of CIA nuclear proliferation specialist Valerie Plame, believed to be responsible for North Korea getting nuclear weapons, involved much less utter bungling and inanity.
OBAMA, HOLDER AND A BUSH ERA “WITCH HUNT”
Nearly every legal expert in the world, including almost universal outrage among the legal community is Israel, has called this one of the most insane acts of abuse of any country that claims to have a functioning legal system and representative form of government.
Even the alleged “suspicious acts,” which are, by the way, buying totally legal and harmless gun accessories, is in itself totally insane. Am I going to have to register that dangerous combat assault flashlight I keep by my desk for when I drop my reading glasses?
Any idiot who goes to gun shows knows that the weapons that small children carry around in Afghanistan are ten times better than the things Americans can get from sporting good stores or thru mail order. Every time an American collector sees a photograph of a Taliban member who owns 2 goats carrying an AK rifle with forged receiver and top quality ART sniper scope, something worth $3000 or more in the US, the insanity of purchasing 3rd rate clone parts in the US to ship to a country that has enough assault rifles to supply the world for centuries begins to sink in.
Where is the NRA and ACLU?
AMERICAN ANTI-GUN CRAZIES
Even if we weren’t dealing with a kidnapped and raped mother facing trial for, not terrorism but for showing super human powers and violating, not terrorist laws but, moreover, the laws of physics themselves, I can’t help but come back to an old theme.
If I buy a semi-automatic shotgun and the Black Helicopter Secret Police raid my home, is a US Attorney going to call it a “ultra-high powered special operations assault mid caliber artillery piece?”
Is my Ruger 10/22, purchased for plinking tin cans going to be an assault machine gun?
However, when Dr. Hasan went on his terror campaign at Ft. Hood using an FN Herstal 5.7mm 20 round assault pistol with classified ammunition available ONLY to our special operations troops, ammo specially designed for penetrating body armor, newspapers, TV, everyone was silent. We can be so very “uncurious” when we need to. I am still waiting to find out why we are concealing this.
WHO IS THE VICTIM HERE?
These things are obvious. We paid criminals to kidnap an innocent person for cheap public relations gain, elections were coming up and our War on Terror was looking as phony as, well as phony as it actually is.
Then, after years of rape and torture, this frail Islamic woman tries to fight back, or so we are told, told by people who imprison innocent people, rape and torture. Are these witnesses we would have in an American court?
She already considers herself dead. What human can survive such brutality, injustice, humiliation and abuse. Who are the real victims here?
Americans who know nothing of the trial, American who sat silently while this went on, Americans who thought their cowardice was buying them “safety.”
We are the victims because we are despised around the world for brutality and injustice we know nothing of because we gave up our free press and our love of honor for, well, I don’t actually know. A picture of Sarah Palin comes to mind, her or “Joe the Plumber.”
and so it goes
American Jury Decides Against Aafia Over Baseless Charges–>Hypocrisy of so called civilized country exposed
The decision by American court against Dr. Aafia Siddiqi on baseless charges may not harm Aafia much as she has gone through worse already. But the case has really exposed the biased approach and hypocrisy of a so called free country and its system of justice.
The court didn’t take into account Aafia’s abduction in 2003 and didn’t bother to look at the main accusation of her affiliation with Al-Qaida because FBI and USA army didn’t have any proofs against her in those charges.
The proofs fabricated to frame her on the charges of American soldiers had many flaws.
- No bullet holes of M-4 rifle were found on the wall of interrogation cell.
- No finger prints of Aafia were found on the rifle.
- Witness accounts against her were contradicting and were clearly fabricated.
Apart from USA government and court, Pakistan security institutions and government deliberately destroyed the case by appointing a team of lawyers against the will of Aafia . The purpose of appointing those lawyers was to harm the case and the lawyers were clearly following the lines of Pakistani and American agencies.
American citizens need to think if this has happened to Aafia in their courts, it can happen to them as well. They can be framed and punished as well.
In simple words I can say:
SO CALLED NATIONAL SECURITY WON AGAINST JUSTICE!!!
Justice Javed Iqbal in his statement few days ago rightly pointed out to the fact that cases like missing persons pose real threat to democracy not the verdicts of Independent judiciary. In his statements he further criticized the performance of the government institutions. He said no government institution is working properly and the system is on the verge of disaster. He further said someone had to intervene to save the system and huge cry was raised every time when court does it.
The issue of missing persons is considered as the main reason behind the attempted removal of CJP Iftikhar Chaudhary twice by Musharraf’s government. According to HRCP estimates there are 198 reported missing persons since 2007 out of which 66 are from the deprived province of Baluchistan. The estimated figure of unreported cases is much higher. In a talk show recently Asma Jehangir, Chairperson of HRCP told that in 2009 there were 30 new cases of missing persons came to their knowledge.
After the 18th February 2008 elections it was expected that the newly elected government would try to improve the human rights situation and give some relief to the victim families. But this proved to be another shattered dream of people blinded by their faith and hope which soon turned into disbelief on the system for many.
Not only that all the people missing are not recovered but this heinous crime of illegally abducting the people is going on and hurdles are being created to trace the already missing. In a recent television interview Dr. Fawzia Siddiqi , sister of Dr. Aafia Siddiqi said the real danger from the release of Dr. Aafia is felt by those who are part of this evil network which kidnaps people and sell them. It is amazing that in the time of elected government with new army chief and intelligence chiefs no actions were taken against those involved in these illegal and inhuman activities during the former dictators rule. Government is using delaying tactics in Dr. Aafia case and has showed it’s inability to take the case in International Court of Justice.
In war hit areas of NWFP the situation is probably worse than other areas as there is no free media access and also judicial authority is almost none in many areas due to military control. Not only young but old and aged are being picked up by the security institutions in the name of war against terror. In a case filed by Syed Iqbal Kazmi, representative in Pakistan of Human Right Commission South Asia (HRCSA), an eighty years old man Wazir was picked up by Mohmand Rifles on September 2, 2009.Mohmand Rifles personnel picked up Wazir alleging that his son was involved in terrorist activities. In another case police and intelligence agencies in a joint raid picked up Usman Ali on January 29, 2009 from his house on suspicion of having relations with Taliban. Baluchistan is also facing similar situation though 20 of missing persons were released on political pressure But still there are many including people like Pasand Khan Mandai from Baluchistan Worker’s Party were picked up by agencies during 2009 and their cases are still pending.
The statement by Justice Javed Iqbal clearly reflects the growing sentiments in Pakistani Society about the current democracy. Justice Javed Iqball said,” What type of democracy do we have wherein fundamental rights of the people could not be ensured?” The remarks were given while he was heading a three-member bench of the apex court, hearing petitions of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and others.
It seems that current so called democratic government has completely failed to protect the rights of our people. The situation demands real seriousness and sincerity, it is already too late. People are already fed up with inflation, corruption, load shedding and same old deceptions and lies. Government needs to take some real measures to rectify it’s mistakes and the mistakes committed during the time of the former dictator Musharraf otherwise things will go to the point of no return.
A really informative article on the economic situation of Pakistan,friends of Pakistan, the crisis we are facing due to our role in so called war against terror and foreign interference in our issues.
Cast your vote in favour of Pakistan and Boycott “General” Elections 2008 and support the cause for justice in Pakistan.
The reasons to boycot elections:
>The present setup is illegal
>The judiciary is not free (no one trusts the PCO judiciary of the dictator)
>The president is illegal
>Taking part in the elections (even voting) will be like supporting the constitutional violations
>Real Constitution not present
>The elections are arranged to form a setup which will continue the BUSH WAR against Islam and Muslims.
“A system which does not have the concept of justice should be thrown on the face of the people running it”
How worse can things go?
Our CJ is forced to clear his position in the world because our so called President Dictator is maligning him all over the world.
BUT for CJP Sahab
“Sir you are giving justifications to the wrong people, they are the ones (especially Rice) who supported Musharraf’s actions from the back and its part of their ‘Do More’ policy.”
Keep Your spirits high , Allah will help you and us.
*AN OPEN LETTER TO:*
The President of the European Parliament,
The President of France,
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,
Ms. Condaleeza Rice,
Secretary of State,
United States of America,
Professor Klaus Schwab,
World Economic Forum,
All through their respective Ambassodors, High Commissioners and
I am the Chief Justice of Pakistan presently detained in my residence
Since November 3, 2007 pursuant to some verbal, and unspecified, order passed by General Musharraf.
I have found it necessary to write to you, and others, because during
His recent visits to Brussels, Paris, Davos and London General Musharraf has slandered me, and my colleagues, with impunity in press conferences and other addresses and meetings. In addition he has widely distributed, among those whom he has met, a slanderous document (hereinafter the Document)
entitled: "PROFILE OF THE FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE OF PAKISTAN". I might
let this go unresponded but the Document, unfortunately, is such an
outrage that, with respect, it is surprising that a person claiming to be head of state should fall to such depths as to circulate such calumny against the Chief Justice of his own country.
In view of these circumstances I have no option but to join issue with
General Musharraf and to put the record straight. Since he has voiced
His views on several public occasions so as to reach out to the public at large, I also am constrained to address your excellencies in an Open Letter to rebut the allegations against me.
At the outset you may be wondering why I have used the words "claiming
the head of state". That is quite deliberate. General Musharraf's
constitutional term ended on November 15, 2007. His claim to a further
thereafter is the subject of active controversy before the Supreme
Pakistan. It was while this claim was under adjudication before a Bench
eleven learned judges of the Supreme Court that the General arrested a
majority of those judges in addition to me on November 3, 2007. He thus
himself subverted the judicial process which remains frozen at that
Besides arresting the Chief Justice and judges (can there have been a
greater outrage?) he also purported to suspend the Constitution and to
the entire judiciary (even the High Courts) of all independent judges.
only his hand-picked and compliant judges remain willing to "validate"
whatever he demands. And all this is also contrary to an express and
order passed by the Supreme Court on November 3, 2007.
Meantime I and my colleagues remain in illegal detention. With me are
detained my wife and three of my young children, all school-going and
special child. Such are the conditions of our detention that we cannot
step out on to the lawn for the winter sun because that space is
by police pickets. Barbed wire barricades surround the residence and
phone lines are cut. Even the water connection to my residence has been
periodically turned off. I am being persuaded to resign and to forego
office, which is what I am not prepared to do.
I request you to seek first hand information of the barricades and of
detention, as that of my children, from your Ambassador/High
Commissioner/representative in Pakistan. You will get a report of such
circumstances as have never prevailed even in medieval times. And these
conditions put in place, in the twenty-first century, by a Government
Needless to say that the Constitution of Pakistan contains no provision
its suspension, and certainly not by the Chief of Army Staff. Nor can
amended except in accordance with Articles 238 and 239 which is by
Parliament and not an executive or military order. As such all actions
by General Musharraf on and after November 3 are illegal and ultra
Constitution. That is why it is no illusion when I describe myself as
Chief Justice even though I am physically and forcibly incapacitated by
state apparatus under the command of the General. I am confident that
consequence of the brave and unrelenting struggle continued by the
and the civil society, the Constitution will prevail.
However, in the meantime, General Musharraf has launched upon a
initiative to defame and slander me. Failing to obtain my willing
he has become desperate. The eight-page Document is the latest in this
Before I take up the Document itself let me recall that the General
ousted me from the Supreme Court on March 9 last year while filing an
indictment (in the form of a Reference under Article 209 of the
Constitution) against me. According to the General the Reference had
prepared after a thorough investigation and comprehensively contained
the charges against me. I had challenged that Reference and my ouster
the Supreme Court. On July 20 a thirteen member Bench unanimously
down the action of the General as illegal and unconstitutional. I was
*The Reference was thus wholly shattered and all the charges contained
therein trashed.* These cannot now be regurgitated except in contempt
Supreme Court. Any way, since the Document has been circulated by no
person than him I am constrained to submit the following for your kind
consideration in rebuttal thereof:
*The Document* is divided into several heads but the allegations
in it *can essentially be divided into two categories*: those
that were contained in the Reference and those that were not.
Quite obviously, those that are a repeat from the Reference hold no
these have already been held by the Supreme Court to not be worth the
they were written in. In fact, the Supreme Court found that the
submitted against me by the Government was so obviously fabricated and
incorrect, that the bench took the unprecedented step of fining the
Government Rs. 100,000 (a relatively small amount in dollar terms, but
unheard of sum with respect to Court Sanction in Pakistan) for filing
clearly false and malicious documents, as well as revoking the license
practice of the Advocate on Record for filing false documents. Indeed,
with the prospect of having filed clearly falsified documents against
the Government's attorneys, including the Attorney General, took a most
dishonorable but telling approach. Each one, in turn, stood before the
Supreme Court and disowned the Government's Reference, and stated they
not reviewed the evidence against me before filing it with Court. They
filed a formal request to the Court to withdraw the purported evidence,
tendered an unconditional apology for filing such a scandalous and
documents. So baseless and egregious were the claims made by General
Musharraf that on July 20th, 2007, the full Supreme Court for the first
in Pakistan's history, ruled unanimously against a sitting military
and reinstated me honorably to my post.
Despite having faced these charges in open court, must I now be
with those same charges by General Musharraf in world capitals, while I
remain a prisoner and unable to speak in my defense?
There are, of course, a second set of charges. These were not contained
the Reference and are now being bandied around by the General at every
I forcefully and vigorously deny every single one of them. The truth of
these "new" allegations can be judged from the fact that they all
date to the period before the reference was filed against me last
none of them was listed in the already bogus charge sheet.
If there were any truth to these manufactured charges, the Government
have included them in the reference against me. God knows they threw in
everything including the kitchen sink into that scurrilous 450 page
document, only to have it thrown out by the entire Supreme Court after
month open trial.
The charges against me are so transparently baseless that General
Musharraf's regime has banned the discussion of my situation and the
in the broadcast media. This is because the ridiculous and flimsy
the charges is self-evident whenever an opportunity is provided to
Instead, the General only likes to recite his libel list from a rostrum
in gathering where there is no opportunity for anyone to respond.
Incidentally, the General maligns me in the worst possible way at every
opportunity. That is the basis for the Document he has distributed. But
has not just deposed me from the Judiciary. He has also fired more than
of the Superior Judiciary of Pakistan – nearly 50 judges in all --
with me. They have also been arrested and detained.
What are the charges against them? Why should they be fired and
I am the corrupt judge? Moreover even my attorneys Aitzaz Ahsan,
Malik, Tariq Mahmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd were also arrested on November
Malik alone has been released but only because both his kidneys
a result of prison torture
Finally, as to the Document, it also contains some further allegations
described as *"Post-Reference Conduct"* that is attributed to me under
various heads. This would mean only those allegedly 'illegal' actions
claimed to have been taken by me *after* March 9, 2007. These are under
heads given below and replied to as under:
1. *"Participation in SJC (Supreme Judicial Council) Proceedings": *
*(a) Retaining 'political lawyers': Aitzaz Ahsan and Zammurrad Khan:*
It is alleged that I gave a political colour to my defence by engaging
political lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan and Zamurrad Khan both Pakistan Peoples'
Party Members of the National Assembly. The answer is simple.
I sought to engage the best legal team in the country. Mr. Ahsan is of
course an MNA (MP), but he is also the top lawyer in Pakistan. For that
reference may be made simply to the ranking of Chambers and Partners
Such is his respect in Pakistan's legal landscape that he was elected
President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan by one of
widest margins in the Association's history.
All high profile personalities have placed their trust in his talents.
has thus been the attorney for Prime Ministers Bhutto and Sharif, (even
though he was an opponent of the latter) Presidential candidate
Musharraf) Justice Wajihuddin, sports star and politician Imran Khan,
Speakers, Ministers, Governors, victims of political vendetta, and also
internationally acclaimed gang-rape victim Mukhtar Mai, to mention only
Equally important, Barrister Ahsan is a man of integrity who is known
withstand all pressures and enticements. That is a crucial factor in
an attorney when one's prosecutor is the sitting military ruler, with
enourmous monetary and coercive resources at his disposal.
Mr. Zamurrad Khan is also a recognized professional lawyer, a former
Secretary of the District Bar Rawalpindi, and was retained by Mr.
Ahsan to assist him in the case. Mr. Khan has been a leading light of
Lawyers' Movement for the restoration of the deposed judiciary and has
bravely faced all threats and vilification.
Finally, surely I am entitled to my choice of lawyers and not that of
*(b) "Riding in Mr. Zafarullah Jamali (former Prime Minister)'s car":*
How much the Document tries to deceive is apparent from the allegation
I willingly rode in Mr. Jamali's car for the first hearing of the case
against me on March 13 (as if that alone is an offence). Actually the
Government should have been ashamed of itself for creating the
that forced me to take that ride.
Having been stripped of official transport on the 9th March (my
were removed from my house by the use of fork lifters), I decided to
the one-mile to the Supreme Court. Along the way I was molested and
manhandled, my hair was pulled and neck craned in the full blaze of the
media, by a posse of policemen under the supervision of the Inspector
General of Police. (A judicial inquiry, while I was still deposed,
established this fact). In order to escape the physical assault I took
refuge with Mr. Jamali and went the rest of the journey on his car.
of taking action against the police officials for manhandling the Chief
Justice it is complained that I was on the wrong!
*(c) "Creating a political atmosphere":*
Never did I instigate or invite any "political atmosphere". I never
addressed the press or any political rally. I kept my lips sealed even
extreme provocation from the General and his ministers who were
on a daily basis. I maintained a strict judicial silence. I petitioned
Supreme Court and won. That was my vindication.
1. *"Country wide touring and Politicising the Issue":*
The Constitution guarantees to all citizens free movement throughout
Pakistan. How can this then be a complaint?
By orders dated March 9 and 15 (both of which were found to be without
lawful authority by the Court) I had been sent of "forced leave". I
neither perform any judicial or administrative functions as the Chief
Justice of Pakistan. I was prevented not only from sitting in court but
from access to my own chamber by the force of arms under orders of the
General. (All my papers were removed, even private documents).
The only function as 'a judge on forced leave' that I could perform was
address and deliver lectures to various Bar Associations. I accepted
invitations. They are peppered all over Pakistan. I had to drive to
towns as all these are not linked by air. On the way the people of
did, indeed, turn out in their millions, often waiting from dawn to
from dusk to dawn, to greet me. But I never addressed them even when
insisted that I do. I never spoke to the press. I sat quietly in my
without uttering a word. All this is on the record as most journeys
covered by the media live and throughout.
I spoke only to deliver lectures on professional and constitutional
to the Bar Associations. Transcripts of every single one of my
available. Every single word uttered by me in those addresses conforms
the stature, conduct and non-political nature of the office of the
Justice. There was no politics in these whatsoever. I did not even
my present status or the controversy or the proceedings before the
or the Court, not even the Reference. Not even once.
All the persons named in the Document under this head are lawyers and
members of the reception committees in various towns and Bar
1. *Political Leaders Calling on CJP residence:*
It is alleged that I received political leaders while I was deposed. It
on the record of the Supreme Judicial Council itself that I was
after being deposed on March 9. The only persons allowed to meet me
those cleared by the Government. One was a senior political leader.
else was allowed to see me, initially not even my lawyers. How can I be
blamed for whomsoever comes to my residence?
Had I wanted to politicize the issue I would have gone to the Press or
invited the media. I did not. I had recourse to the judicial process
reinstatement and won. The General lost miserably in a fair and
contest. That is my only fault.
Hence the conclusion drawn by the General that charges had been proved
against me 'beyond doubt' is absolutely contrary to the facts and wide
the mark. It is a self-serving justification of the eminently illegal
*of firing and arresting judges of superior courts* under the garb of
Emergency (read Martial Law) when the Constitution was 'suspended' and
'restored' later with drastic and illegal 'amendments' grafted into it.
The Constitution cannot be amended except by the two Houses of
and by a two-thirds majority in each House. That is the letter of the
How can one man presume or arrogate to himself that power?
Unfortunately the General is grievously economical with the truth (I
from using the word 'lies') when he says that the charges against me
'investigated and verified beyond doubt'. As explained above, these had
fact been rubbished by the Full Court Bench of the Supreme Court of
against which judgment the government filed no application for review.
What the General has done has serious implications for Pakistan and the
world. In squashing the judiciary for his own personal advantage and
else he has usurped the space of civil and civilized society. If
norms of justice will not be allowed to operate then that space will,
inevitably, be occupied by those who believe in more brutal and instant
justice: the extremists in the wings. Those are the very elements the
seems to be pitted against. Those are the very elements the actions of
General are making way for.
Some western governments are emphasizing the unfolding of the
process in Pakistan. That is welcome, if it will be fair. But, and in
case, can there be democracy if there is no independent judiciary?
Remember, independent judges and judicial processes preceded full
by several hundred years. Moreover, which judge in Pakistan today can
independent who has before his eyes the fate and example of his own
Justice: detained for three months along with his young children. What
the children's crime, after all?
There can be no democracy without an independent judiciary, and there
no independent judge in Pakistan until the action of November 3 is
Whatever the will of some desperate men the struggle of the valiant
and civil society of Pakistan will bear fruit. They are not giving up.
Let me also assure you that I would not have written this letter
General's unbecoming onslaught. That has compelled me to clarify
as my past will testify, I am not given into entering into public, even
private, disputes. But the allegations against me have been so wild, so
wrong and so contrary to judicial record, that I have been left with no
option but to put the record straight. After all, a prisoner must also
have his say. And if the General's hand-picked judges, some living next door to my prison home, have not had the courage to invoke the power of 'habeas corpus' these last three months, what other option do I have? Many leaders of the world and the media may choose to brush the situation under the carpet out of love of the General. But that will not be.
Nevertheless, let me also reassure you that I continue in my resolve
not to preside any Bench which will be seized of matters pertaining to the personal interests of General Musharraf after the restoration of the Constitution and the judges, which, God willing, will be soon.
Finally, I leave you with the question: Is there a precedent in
history, all history, of 60 judges, including three Chief Justices (of the Supreme Court and two of Pakistan's four High Courts), being dismissed, arrested and detained at the whim of one man? I have failed to discover any such even in medieval times under any emperor, king, or sultan, or even when a dictator has had full military sway over any country in more recent times. But this incredible outrage has happened in the 21st century at the hands of an extremist General out on a 'charm offensive' of western capitals and one whom the west supports.
I am grateful for your attention. I have no other purpose than to clear
My name and to save the country (and perhaps others as well) from the
calamity that stares us in the face. We can still rescue it from all kinds of extremism: praetorian and dogmatic. After all, the edifice of an independent judicial system alone stands on the middle ground between these two extremes. If the edifice is destroyed by the one, the ground may be taken over by the other. That is what is happening in Pakistan. Practitioners of rough and brutal justice will be welcomed in spaces from where the practitioners of more refined norms of justice and balance have been made to abdicate.
I have enormous faith that the Constitution and justice will soon
Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry,
Chief Justice of Pakistan,
imprisoned in the Chief Justice's House,
LAHORE: The lawyers, civil society members, human rights activists and politicians on Thursday held a joint protest rally from Aiwan-e-Adl to the Punjab Assembly building, demanding the restoration of the deposed judges and release of the detained lawyers from the government.
The Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) and the Lahore Bar Association (LBA) held their general house meetings at their respective buildings and took out rallies. They shouted slogans against the government and in favour of the deposed judges and detained leaders – Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Munir A Malik, Tariq Mehmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd.
Mrs Aitzaz Ahsan and activists of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Tehreek-e-Khaksaar (TK), Women Action Forum (WAF) and Pakistan Medic Association (PMA) also joined the lawyers’ rally. The PTI, JI and TK supporters were holding their party flags, while others were holding placards and banners inscribed with their demands for the restoration of deposed judges. One of the posters read: Aye Sitam Gar Tum Nay Socha Hay Kabhi, Tujh Say Sari Khudai Tang Hay Kiyon? (Oh oppressor! Have you ever thought why everyone is annoyed with you?)
Punjab PTI president Ahsen Rasheed led his party protesters, Dr Zahid Muhiuddin and Dr Yasmin Rashid were leading the PMA activists and Shahtaj Qizalbash was leading the WAF protesters. The lawyers removed the last poster of the Pakistan Muslim League–Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q), hanging with a lamppost on The Mall, and set it ablaze. All the banners and posters of PML-Q candidates had been removed during the last Thursday’s rally.
After their general house meeting, the LHCBA lawyers – led by their president Ahsen Bhoon – joined the LBA rally at GPO Chowk, taken out from Aiwan-e-Adl in the leadership of Manzoor Qadir. Then the lawyers held a joint march towards Charing Cross. After remaining there for some time, the protesters dispersed peacefully.
General house meeting: Earlier, addressing the LHCBA general house meeting, various speakers stressed the need to ensure the boycott at the Lahore High Court, according to the call of the Pakistan Bar Council. Advocate Ahsan Wyne appealed to the politicians to join the lawyers’ movement for the independence of the judiciary.
Former LHCBA president Ahmed Awais said the judges who took oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) were job seekers and nothing more. The lawyers will not recognise them as judges, he said, adding “They have committed treason by betraying Pakistan and its constitution.” He urged the lawyers to ensure the complete boycott of the courts.
Supreme Court Bar Association secretary Amin Javed urged the lawyers to maintain unity and said some negative elements wanted to sabotage their movement. “This movement is not only for the restoration of the judiciary but also to save the country from disintegration. We are not afraid of anything, and are ready to face starvation. But we will not back away from our movement.” The LHCBA president stressed the need to form an independent parliament to get the deposed judges restored.
Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Qazi Hussain Ahmad said that All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM) would organise public gatherings across the country from January 28 against the February 18 elections.
Addressing party gatherings at Pabbi and Kheshgi towns near Noshera, he also said that they would launch full fledge campaign against what he termed the fraud elections and create awareness among the masses to stay away from the polls process.
He said that the Election Commission, caretaker government, polling staff and voter rolls were all under the influence of the government. In this situation, the Jamaat chief said free polls could not be expected. He further said that the government to be formed as a result of the fraud elections would not be able to overcome the challenges being faced by the country.
Qazi Hussain was of the view that the government, by declaring Pakistan a frontline state and has brought the war of US interest to the country.