Civil society activists seek restoration of judges–>The News

Civil society activists seek restoration of judges
Monday, April 07, 2008

LAHORE: The Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP) held a protest for the restoration of judiciary in front of the Lahore Press Club here on Sunday.

The participants holding banners chanted slogans for the rule of law, the supremacy of the Constitution and the restoration of judiciary. A CCP representative, Zaman Khan, said that circumstances had altogether changed in the country but there were issues that needed commitment and dedication of the new parliamentarians.

The CCP wanted to tell the Western powers, especially the US, that democracy stood revived in the country after a long period and the US administration should not stop functioning of parliament in Pakistan, adding, the US should not support a dictator in the country when political forces had won the elections.

He said the Western powers had realised that President Musharraf was “throwing dust into their eyes” and telling them that the war on terror would be affected if democracy was revived in the country.

He said the Canadian prime minister had also expressed deep concern over Musharraf’s diplomacy in Bucharest when he claimed that Musharraf was against democracy in the country. He said the people of Pakistan had firm belief that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) would abide by the ‘Murree Declaration’. He said political forces should first restore the deposed judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, including chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, and then discuss a package for judicial reforms in parliament. He said the new coalition government should put forward any such constitutional package before the people so that they should also be aware of the public opinion over any future legislation that could affect the future of the country.

He said that they were optimistic about the restoration of judiciary because people had given a heavy mandate to political parties for this cause and political forces should not ignore valour and determination shown by the chief justice on March 9 for the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution when he refused to bow down to military generals at the GHQ.

He said many innocent people had been killed in the tribal areas in the name of war on terror, adding, Waziristan was not a haven of terrorists and it was possible that some foreign elements were carrying out terrorist activities there. He said the government should also engage militants in negotiations in order to resolve the issue amicably rather than using innocent people as fodder for war on terror.

He said General (retd) Musharraf, who claimed to be a die-hard patriot, should not use machinations to derail the process of democracy in the country. He said Musharraf should not compel political forces to implement any constitutional package that was allegedly prepared in collaboration with Malik Abdul Qayyum. He also urged the PML-N to respect the mandate given to the party for its support for the restoration of judiciary in the country. He said that the CCP representatives would gather outside the Punjab Assembly to express solidarity with the PML-N over the issue of judiciary.

Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) Media Coordinator Muhammad Azhar said that the people of Pakistan would not rest unless all the judges of the Supreme Court were not restored. He warned the new coalition government to ward off the nefarious designs of the establishment in order to keep democracy on track.

CCP member Faryal said that people, including women, had come to streets to uphold the sovereignty of the country. She said the people had resolved to save the county from all internal and external conspiracies. She said that Pakistani would never succumb to the US and UK pressures and they were determined to protect and promote democratic values in the country at any rate.