It’s been more than 10 months since the dictator Musharraf destroyed the most important institution of judiciary using the state military power, supported well by the USA and other foreign powers not willing to give the Pakistani nation the right to live freely under the rule of law.
This Eid I know like all other Eids will bring happiness for muslims all over the world since they have gone through a month of blessings and prayers but with all due joys and festivities we must not forget the people who have suffered and still are suffering from the unjust policies of the governments run by dictators,feudals and corrupt mullahs, we must not forget people who have lost their loved ones in this “War Against Humanity”(so called war against terror) from both sides, we must not forget people who lost their right to exist and live freely and thus termed as missing persons(Recent example is Dr Aaafia and her children , one of them is recovered but God knows where are the other two and still Aafia is in US custody facing false charges and inhuman treatment), we must not forget the people who are displaced due to the fight going on in Bajur,Waziristan etc, we must not forget the people of Baluchistan who suffered during the times of the tyrant (Musharraf), we must not forget the poorsof our country who suffered most due to corruption and trickle down economy policy by Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz and still facing the sufferings because the current government is no different they are just he continuation of the previous one interms of policy, we must not forget the cause of justice and independence judiciary in Pakistan and above all we must not forget who we are(Pakistanis) and what it means?
By not forgetting I mean to help the people who suffered and still suffering by any means you can (Actions or Words or Even Prayers).
In all our happiness and festivities we must not forget the lesson which Allama Iqbal taught us:
MEIN TUM KO BATA HOON TAQDEER E UMAM KIA HAI
SHAMSHEER O SANA AWWAL TAOOS O RUBAB AAKHIR
May Allah give us light and keep our hopes alive and make us more committed for the great cause and ultimate dream.
Eid Mubarak In Advance.
|Iftikhar sees increased need of independent judiciary|
|By Usman Manzoor
ISLAMABAD: Deposed chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said the country is passing through a sensitive phase where the innocents were being killed, highlighting the need of an independent judiciary.
In his letter to all the bars of the country, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry wrote the struggle of the nation, especially that of the lawyers, for democracy and the judiciary has registered a respectful chapter in the history.
While greeting the lawyers and the nation on Eid, the deposed chief justice wrote dictatorship has died owing to the efforts of the lawyers and democracy was entering a new phase, adding the situation has changed a lot.
“Though the lawyers’ movement was yet to bear fruits but in the presence of brave knights like the lawyers no one under the sun could stop the imminent triumph from being blessed on us,” reads the letter, adding: “Your objectives are just, therefore, I believe that despite hardships and hurdles the victory would be yours because the flags of the righteous and just people never bow.”
He wished all the lawyers‚Äô community and the nation with Eid greetings and prayed that may God save Pakistan from all harms. The deposed chief justice will offer his Eid prayers at the Faisal Mosque, Islamabad. He was unable to offer the last Eid prayer, as he was under detention along with his family.
Black coats observe Yaum-e-Iftikhar (The Nation)-23 Septemeber 2008
LAHORE – Lawyers Tuesday observed ‘Yaum-e-Iftikhar’ with a pledge to stand by the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and continue struggle for his and the restoration of other deposed judges who had previously defied the PCO oath and of late have spurned the government offer of re-appointment under fresh oath of the office.
The outstanding deposed judges are resolute on not accepting the re-appointment and fresh oath on the ground it would negate their Constitutional oath and amount to accepting PCO of Pervez Musharraf which he had passed as Army Chief on November 3. Thus, it would set a precedent for any Army Chief to suspend the Constitution, bring a PCO and subject the judges to it to have his diktats carried through the institution. Lawyers on accepting the re-appointment and fresh oath say, it is tantamount to providing a permanent way to undemocratic forces in the civil govt and its affairs.
The day was observed on the call of the National Coordination Committee to keep legal fraternity warm for what the chairman of the committee, Aitzaz Ahsan had said at its last meeting, for a big show and quicken the movement against the November 3 PCO as well as for judges restoration after Eid-ul-Fitr. Reports received at the Bar here showed that the lawyers at different parts of the country took active participation in the meetings held to renew their commitment with Justice Chaudhry bold ‘no’ to General (r) Musharraf and to carry on struggle for his restoration as Chief Justice of Pakistan. At places, lawyers also took out rallies and raised black flags to resent the yet not honourned commitment for the judges restoration through an executive order. Apart from meetings etc lawyers also continued to hold daily token boycott of the courts and hunger strike to press their demand for revival of November 2 judiciary with Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary as its head.
Lawyers protest, boycott courts (The Daily Mail)-25 September
QUETTA—Quetta lawyers staged a protest and boycotted the courts on Thursday. According to details, the lawyers staged the protest and boycott against non-reinstatement of Iftikhar Chaudhary. They demanded that Iftikhar Chaudhary including all other judges should be reinstated as the position of Nov 2. They said that they would not accept any Judiciary without Iftikhar Chaudhry. The crowd dispersed peacefully yet due to the boycott the people faced problems who came for hearing of their cases.
Well how many lives our nation will lose? how many lies our nation will face? how many incidents like Marriott do we have to see? What else can we expect in this so called war against terrorism(in fact a war against humanity)?
It seems that Zardari government is pursuing the same dirty agenda of CIA which Musharraf patronized to make Pakistan a real slave of the zionist powers. It’s the nation which now and then trust these traitors to rule the country.
I don’t know when people will learn?
Americans’ presence at Marriott not a secret: US embassy(The News)
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani authorities are trying to solve the riddle of US Marines and their mysterious steel cases, which were shifted to the Marriott Hotel four days before the hotel was reduced to ashes by the worst ever terrorist attack in the history of the federal capital.
These authorities want to ascertain if it was a routine exercise or part of some special mission that does not have the approval of the Government of Pakistan.
The US embassy insists the activity witnessed was a team of support personnel that often and routinely precede and/or accompany certain US officials. However, the government authorities probing the matter have already got most of the facts ascertained as mentioned in The News story on Sunday.
According to an official source, the authorities were told that mysterious activity of the US Marines took place around 12:00 midnight on 16 September. Already the government has got the information that several rooms on the fourth floor of the Marriott were in permanent use of the US authorities. Three of these rooms were said to be inter-connected and contained some intelligence equipment and other material allegedly used for espionage.
Sadruddin Hashwani, the owner of the Marriott, when approached denied that the Americans had any such presence in the hotel and said that like any such hotel in the world his guests included people of different nationalities. “Why focus on the Americans unnecessarily,” Hashwani wondered. He refuted that the US embassy had permanently hired several rooms in his hotel.
The US embassy spokesperson Lou Fintor, however, when asked if the US embassy had hired several rooms in the Marriott Hotel for years, said in his written reply that the US embassy has been a frequent customer of the Marriott Hotel for many years. On any given day, he said, there were employees of the American embassy and official American visitors staying at the hotel. “There is nothing unusual, secretive or ‘mysterious’ about this,” he said.
When asked if three of these permanently hired rooms were interconnected, Fintor said, “For our frequent visiting delegations, the embassy often rented adjoining rooms — as we often do in other hotels in Pakistan and in the world.”
Responding to unconfirmed reports that the US-rented rooms in the Marriott Hotel were being used by the CIA for espionage purposes, he said, “Unfortunately, far too many things have been ‘said’ that have absolutely no basis in fact. There is no truth whatsoever in allegations that covert activity was taking place on the part of the United States government.”
The spokesman said that these allegations are inaccurate, irresponsible, baseless and completely without any foundation whatsoever.
About the Marines and the steel cases which were reported to have been shifted to the hotel between the night of 16 and 17 September and whether these Marines and the suitcases were in the hotel on the day of the blast or evacuated before, he said, “A team of support personnel often and routinely precede and/or accompany certain US government officials. They often carry communication and office equipment required to support large delegations, such as high-level administration officials and members of the US Congress.”
He added that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would travel with communications equipment. “It is quite possible that some saw this communications equipment moved into the hotel. This equipment would leave with the CJCS. If the equipment was transported in full public view then obviously there was no attempt made to conceal its movement.”
Witnessed by many, including a PPP MNA and his friends, a US embassy’s truckload of steel boxes was unloaded and shifted inside the Marriott Hotel on September 16 midnight only after Mike Mullen, the US Admiral, had met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and others in Islamabad and had already left. Both the main gates (the entrance and the exit) of the hotel were closed while no one except the US Marines was either allowed to go near the truck or get the steel boxes unloaded or shift them inside the hotel. These steel boxes were not being passed through the scanners installed at the entrance of the hotel’s lobby, and were reportedly shifted to the fourth and fifth floors of the Marriott.
The US embassy spokesman also confirmed that the Marriott rooms, which were in use of the US officials, had the communication and office equipment, which were transported for use by Admiral Mullen.
A hotel employee, on condition of not being named, confided that the hotel management had been receiving threats from unknown persons for the last six months to get the US officials vacated from the hotel. However, Mr Hashwani when confronted said that there has been no threat received by the hotel management.
(this is rather long but i do recommend you read it in detail)
Friends and concerned citizens,
I am making public a few of my communications with Aitzaz Ahsan and his consolidated response to help put things in perspective. There have been a few questions that had been lingering in every one’s minds regarding decisions made at crucial junctions of the movement, Aitzaz’s decision to remain in the PPP – even when the party is the only hindrance in the restoration of the judges -, the end of the Long March and the lawyers silence on the casualties in the War on Terror and I hope this can address all of them. Many other answers are not part of these long emails but will be answered in due time.
I have been a part of this struggle only because I rationally believe in it. The decision is an informed, educated one so I have been constantly giving the leadership my input, criticizing whenever I think is appropriate but otherwise supporting them throughout. The decisions taken by the leadership itself have been very informed and well thought out and I would like to make some of the reasoning public as many people have had raised questions.
To start of I am making public my infamous, rather harsh email – that was even picked up in Off the Record by Kashif. It was written after talking to people following the end of the Long March and how things seemed very abysmal.It appeared unlikely that we would ever recover from the aftermath. Many of the things in the email were based on the collective sentiment of our activists who had come for a siege.
However amidst all of our friendship and all I have probably been his harshest critic because our eventual struggle is ensure those who we support are accountable to us and that I am accountable to the people I mobilize. To my relief I have always gotten a satisfying answer which has kept my faith alive. Very few movements in the world have ever been this democratic and transparent to the extent where an ordinary supporter like myself can raise any number of issues and they are all directly answered by the leadership. This is the glory of this movement where the supporters aren’t brainwashed, jiyay-jiyay chanting, guns-wielding jiyalas but generally educated Pakistanis who understand what they believe in. The reason they are part of it is because of their fanciful idealism and because of their love for their country and understanding that if the judiciary is lost now, it may never be independent again. Hence most of the supporters become some of the harshest critics as well. As my friend Naeem Sadiq Sahib had once put it, civil disobedience is not our problem in Pakistani Politics; Our problem is civil obedience.
This is why I still strongly support the movement and urge everyone to remain loyal to it. Its 19 months now, since it all began with a simple NO.However throughout all the decisions taken have been with utmost logic and sincerity of intention and have generally been the best ones in retrospection with a lot of hindsight.
Of course we have a right to dissent, and we must exercise that right. However we do need to keep in mind that our criticism is justified and positive. At the end of the day, our leadership is much more experienced and probably more sincere and committed than us. It’s best to introspect before directing anger at the top – something I have learnt in this time too. I probably still won’t consider Zardari to be a legitimate President – for many reasons – but others have a right to have a different opinion which we must respect.
Also I am not related to Aitzaz Ahsan. I just came to know him through the movement and was only through this common cause for an independent judiciary that I met him. However by the time and effort taken by his many correspondences with many people it is pretty clear that he is making a sincere effort in ensuring transparency and of making sure everyone’s questions are answered.
Nonetheless the leadership has inspired may millions of in today’s youth with its constant dedication and committment, its ability to make tough but wise decisions, to have patience and resilience when even its own people turn against it, to withstand offers and offers and more offers of money, power and other perks and most importantly to ensure that movement is transparent and open to scrutiny by anyone. You can verify that from my emails below. I may have been a very strong public supporter but have always done my share of honest criticism.
I do really mean when I say that Aitzaz Ahsan we are proud of you and the vision that you have given our youth.
(Complete Emails can be seen at: http://www.teeth.com.pk/blog/2008/09/19/3093 )
Aitzaz Ahsan’s reply:
Dated: September 18th 2008.
My dear Samad,
I opened your mail yesterday and was deeply pained by it and by its tenor.
Of late there is a veritable campaign being fostered on the net and many mails are targeting the leadership of the Lawyers Movement. There is no doubt that most of the criticism is pointed at me but the beauty of the Movement has been that we have seldom taken any decision except through consensus though I admit to have been, in many ways, the prime mobiliser. As a result the criticism, to the delight of those who oppose the Movement, is of the entire leadership.
There are several issues being raised on blogs and through emails. I will address each briefly in this message because I greatly value your emotion and passion for an independent judiciary in Pakistan. But first the matter that has disturbed you as per your latest mail.
1. My association with the PPP:
This is one issue, however, that is personal to me yet it is one that I have shared with my colleagues. There are two aspects of it: the persona of Mr. Zardari and the PPP as a party.
i. You accuse me of having accepted Zardari as the constitutional president of Pakistan. Whether one likes it or not Zardari has been elected through a democratic process in accordance with the letter of the Constitution. That is undeniable. An even more significant aspect is that within that process the representatives of three smaller provinces have voted for him almost unanimously. Thus there are both the issues of democracy and the federation.
In our quest for an independent judiciary we cannot become oblivious to the primacy of the democratic will and the federal compact. In this quest we cannot befuddle either. Pakistan can only be sustained as a democracy and as a federation. Punjabi politicians must accept the democratic choice of the smaller provinces.
This is not merely an issue of likes or dislikes. Equally it is not merely about the independence of the judiciary or the legitimacy of the Chief Justice. We do not recognize Dogar as the legitimate CJP. But we cannot ignore the democratic verdict, particularly the resounding ‘voice’ of the three smaller federating units. Hence in my statement I said precisely that: ‘Although Zardari is the constitutionally elected President of Pakistan, there is a defect in the oath that he took. However, it would be unfair not to recognize him as the President after he has obtained the overwhelming majority of the votes of the electoral college expressly provided in the Constitution whose supremacy we seek’.
Also when we speak of intra party democracy remember how Hilary Clinton, after having pounded Obama for a year, accepted him as the Party’s candidate when he got the Democratic nomination. She now campaigns for him. We call that democracy. So why when Aitzaz, having raised the issue (of the presidential nomination) in the Party (and outside it) goes with the overwhelming Party majority, is it a betrayal? And note, too, that no one complains that neither PML-N (Justice Siddiqui) nor PML-Q (Mushahid) raised any objection to his candidature when they had the opportunity during formal proceedings before the Election Commission.
ii. The judicial issue remains paramount with me. Even within the PPP I am the loudest voice of dissent on this issue and keep it alive in the Party. Is it not essential that some voices of dissent remain in this Party, which does, after all, enjoy the support of a very large section of Pakistanis at home and abroad? Why must we abdicate and leave the field open for those opposed to CJP Iftikhar? I can assure you that he does not want me to leave the PPP. On the contrary, (and believe me, or check with others close to him) he wants me to remain in the Party as do I. And yet I openly join issue with the Party on the judges’ matter. I contest the position and logic of its leaders openly and without mincing any words.
The apparent slow-down in the movement is attributed to my connection with the PPP. Thrice I have volunteered to place the leadership of the Movement in other hands while continuing to work for it as an ordinary comrade. On each occasion (July 19 in the All Pakistan Representative Lawyers Conference in Lahore, August 23 in the meeting of the National Co-ordination Council in Islamabad, and September 4 in the meeting of the Steering Committee of the NCC in Lahore), all 300 representatives of all the Bars by a resounding and unanimous acclaim reposed confidence in my leadership.
I have led the lawyers from the front. You have found me in the thick of the lathi charge, being hit by stones hurled by police, being arrested and jailed, writing poetry from prison cells, rousing bazaars during the Black Flag Week, clambering upon the Edhi ambulance to save the Movement as well as Sher Afgan from sure fire lynching, leading the Long March in the scorching summer heat, touring the country, driving the Chief Justice, pleading his case before the Supreme Court, and engaging media persons as well as opponents in the debate and argument. Highlighting the fact that the martyred leader of the party Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto declared Chief Justice Chaudhry as the Chief Justice of Pakistan and its Co-Chairperson thrice signed agreements to restore him as such, a promise that must be kept it is my effort, I seek from within the Party, that it honours these solemn declarations. And when I have been imprisoned my wife had taken up the banner and led rallies and protests. All this while I have obtained no office from the PPP (twice even declining to become its MNA in solidarity with the Movement).
None who chooses to throw stones at me, and there are a vast number, stops to reflect upon the fact that all the decisions he/she chooses to nail me for were made after deliberation and by consensus. If I was indeed motivated by my association with the PPP in not going for a dharna after the Long March (on which more later), what persuaded men of such integrity as Muneer Malik, Ali Kurd, Tariq Mahmood, and all the four provincial Presidents: Anvar Kamal, Latif Afridi, Rashid Rizvi and Baz Kakar (all strongly or mildly anti-PPP) to expressly state in their own speeches at that rally that there would be no dharna that night? Certainly not my association with the PPP.
In fact I personally had concluded my speech (you will recall) by saying that all those who wanted to do a dharna were free to do so if they wished! Why did then only a dozen or so volunteer?
I have no doubt been prohibiting some slogans being raised against the PPP leadership. It is the slogan I consistently prohibited against Musharraf also, being of the variety liking him to a particular animal or questioning his parentage. Yes I have pleaded with lawyers to remain dignified and ‘shaista lab’. I believe that emotions do not have to be expressed in expletives to be effective. The contrary has more effect.
The PPP is a major element in the politics of Pakistan. You may or may not agree, it commands the support and loyalty of millions of Pakistanis most of whom are perfectly likeable, family-oriented, peaceable and honest people committed to the political process. It is also a mainstream party with effective and country-wide cadres and organization. Many PPP lawyers continue to vigorously support the Movement. The Islamabad Bar President belongs to the Party as does the Secretary of the Rawalpindi Bar. These two Bars have been the front edge of the Movement being proximate to Parliament and the Supreme Court. Most district and taluqa Presidents of Bars in Sindh belong to the PPP and were in the forefront of the nation-wide dharnas. The shaheed Imdad Awan was a PPP stalwart, a PPP Senator, who died in harness. He used to be deeply disturbed when his Party was condemned by protesters. Must we lose all of them, and even when they support us on this one vital issue?
The Lawyers’ Movement is a plural movement comprising of a rich diversity of opinions and persuasions. It is not easy to lead such a collective, and to do so for 18 months, keeping them all together. It is even more difficult to keep within the movement cadres and members of a Party whose leadership turns away from it. Yes, there are some who want to take advantage of this turning away for their own political benefit. But it would splinter the Movement as many of its opponents want. This has been, and remains a delicate task not to be addressed by emotion alone. The collective wisdom of the leadership of the Movement is a better guide to follow than the emotion of some of the more passionate ones who may be reckless about the split in the ranks of the movement (not just in the leadership).
As to myself, I have a long association with the PPP and its supporters, cadres and office-bearers. I have been with them in street demonstrations over the past four decades, been beaten by the police and been in jails and lock-ups with them. There is a bonding of a nature so pure and I have no intention of giving up that association.
This should suffice to address your current disappointment with me, but I take this opportunity of posting you with some other issues as you are a well keyed-in young man with many a critic and supporter within the reach of your net.
2. The pace of the Movement:
You must understand the nature of political and social movements. They cannot be sustained at the same high pace all the time. They cannot be run in top gear all through. Nor can they continue the same activity at varying speeds all the time.
If the only measure of success is the actual physical reinstatement of Chief Justice Chaudhry, then we have failed, at least to this point in time. But consider some of the successes of the Movement:
· The July 20, 2007 unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court.
· The return of the exiled leaders on the 18th October and 25th November.
· The 27th November shedding of the uniform.
· The 18th February resounding defeat of the dictator at the polls.
· Payment of all back dues to deposed judges immediately after the Long March.
· Even more significantly, there were three outright victories, and (prima facie) final and successful conclusions of the struggle. From any perspective whatsoever these should have been a triumphant completion, thrice over, of the last lap. This is the number of times the Movement impelled the leaders of the ruling coalition to actually and publicly sign formal documents and to make public declarations of their solemn commitments to restore all judges in accordance with the Murree Declaration. Would you not categorise that as a triumph each time? Should more have been required of the Lawyers?
We cannot, after all, carry the Chief Justice and judges on our shoulders, smash plate glass and padlocked doors, and break into court-rooms and seat the judges in the chairs they ought to be occupying. Telecast live by the channels across the globe, such mayhem will be the end of the Movement as well the judges. There is a dignity in the Lawyers’ Movement which is all about avoiding scenes like the Sher Afgan incident in Lahore on April 8. That dignity has won us global respect and acclaim. We have to remain within the bounds of what is non-violently possible and doable though some will shout: we need to give up non-violence! Fair enough: come out yourself and take it up as a course of action. The present leadership and vast body of lawyers will not resort to such actions howsoever much we may be chided with pusillanimity in this behalf.
Note also that regardless of whomsoever has reaped its benefit, the Lawyers Movement remains the only sustained movement in this country that has not had the support (in fact, it has been actively opposed) by the Army, the Intelligence Agencies and the United States. That is a feather in its cap.
When, to every one’s surprise, the signed declarations were not acted upon last month I immediately called a nation-wide two-hour dharna on the 28th of August. That strategy was a resounding success. Though the time of dharna was limited, the spread and span was wide, thus jamming at once all the traffic in the entire country. What more can a mere 80,000 lawyers (of which at least half have always been non-practising or indifferent) and brave activists of civil society do given their small numbers? So I gave a call for what we could do with small numbers peppered across the land.
But, yes, I confess the Chief Justice has not been reinstated despite the signatures, the public promises, the Long March and dharnas. Meantime many of his colleagues broke ranks and took fresh oath. What do you do when people who, undoubtedly have been under pressure, decide to break rank? Hum nay tou in ko dhoop bhi nahin lagnay di. We braved the sun, the baton, the gas, the bullet and the prison cells. But they gave up. It affects the morale of the rank and file. I hope they will remain conscious of the cross on their shoulders and be good judges in the days ahead.
The Movement has also slowed down on account of Ramzan. That is why we did the nation-wide dharnas before its advent. Immediately after it we will be pre-occupied with Kurd’s election to my post. With a political government in place, it will not be a walk-over and the campaign will demand all our energies and time.
But the lawyers and civil society must not only be remembered for heating up the streets. Let us be realistic. We need at least one of the big parties with us. But both are now engaged in power-politics and consolidation of their governments in the Centre and the Punjab.
However, to keep the spotlight on the issue I have plans for the CJP’s visit to Europe and North America. For that we need the support of the community abroad. From November 4 to 14 he will travel through Belgium, Holland, Germany, France and the UK. November 15 he travels to NY to receive the NY Bar’s Honorary Life Membership. On November 19 he receives the Harvard Law School’s Medal of Freedom previously awarded only to Thurogood Marshall and Nelsen Mandela. (You are aware how Ali, my son, has co-coordinated the grant of both honours). These events will spotlight the underlying issue of the independent judges. What a shame it will appear when the US Bars and academia honour a Chief Justice we have ousted? We need you and your friends to mobilize people to accompany the CJP in long processions of cars in his travels around the US as other destinations will also be indicated soon.
I would also like him to attend the Lawasia Conference in Malaysia end October. He should be seen striding across the world with confidence and the gait of the constitutional Chief Justice of Pakistan. That will be another phase of the Movement, albeit with fewer participating lawyers from Pakistan.
So the Lawyers’ Movement is not all about the street alone. It is about an issue that has been agitated vigorously on the street and will be done again when the moment is ripe. To ripen it we may have to broaden our platform to link the issues of popular weal such as inflation, crime, discrimination, with that of the restoration of the Chief Justice. People miss his suo moto energies. But we are neither a political party now, nor can we aspire to become one in the future (there is such a rich diversity of views and persuasions amongst the community of lawyers). That can be stated to be our weakness. But it is real.
3. The controversy about the Long March dharna.
In my estimation the Long March (LM) was a huge success. It spanned the country. It woke up the people. It demonstrated that the people of every nook and corner, or every hamlet, village and town of Pakistan urgently wanted the reinstatement of the CJP and judges. It mobilized an entire nation. Every habitat that the ‘Marchers’ drove through was thronged with the locals showering rose petals, offering water bottles and food items. There were men, women and children of all ages, regions, ethnicities, linguistic groups and religious persuasions. Students, labour unions, lumpen labour, farmers, white collar professionals, even senior executives joined the milling crowds with pride and enthusiasm. The nation was energized.
Though the proposal for the Long March was mine, the decision was collectively taken by the All Pakistan Representative Lawyers’ Conference in Lahore on May 17. More than 300 Bar Presidents and office bearers from all over the country attended. There was indeed some talk at the Conference of the LM culminating in a dharna, but the Conference did not adopt the proposal. The decision was the LM would disperse after the concluding speech.
There were the hard-liners. They were not in a majority, but they were certainly more vociferous. I tried to plead with them at all stages to remain within the ambit of the decision. So we had to put our heads together again during the LM. Muneer, Kurd, Afridi, Tariq, Anvar Kamal, Baz Kakar, Rashid Rizvi, and I were all one that the dharna was impossible given the weather. It was June 14. You should remember the next day’s blazing sun. Incidentally when we rose from the two-hour dharna in the sun on August 28, countless lawyers thanked me for saving them a 14 hour sun blazer on the bare and boundless asphalt of the Islamabad Parade Ground at a much hotter time of the year, mid-June! Hamid suggested a 24 hour dharna but there was no point. The full day’s heat the next day was before us. And getting up after 24 hours we would have still been pestered by the media: have the judges been restored that you are leaving the venue? And there was no way that we were going to storm any building. I have already described to you what might have happened in such an eventuality.
We had not gone there to invite another military intervention. Certainly not. We had not gone there for a blood bath. Let that be clear. If the dharna had not petered out in the blazing sun, an assault would have resulted in discredit and, perhaps, a blood bath. What we wanted to do, to start with, in the LM we achieved. We wanted to force the world to notice the agitation within the nation as a whole on the judges’ issue. We were consciously following the precedent of Martin Luther King, not of any militant insurgency.
True there were shouts for a dharna in the front end of the crowd and just beneath the stage. These started after the speech of Mian Nawaz Sharif (who had himself contributed much of the crowd) that there be no dharna. Earlier both Qazi Hussain Ahmed and Mr Imran Khan in their speeches had exhorted the crowd to stage a dharna and left. Now when MNS suggested the contrary, these front benchers became anxious and began to shout “abhi nahin toa kabhi nahin”. They even aimed plastic water bottles full of water at us on the stage. Some tried to storm Parliament behind the stage. These activities were covered by the media.
But should we have been cowed down by this emotion? Jalib said:
Hajoom dekh kay rasta nahin badaltay hum….
That is what leadership means. The leaders have often to take seemingly unpopular decisions. So we had to be firm in our resolve. I had invited families, women and children to the final rally. I had promised that it would be peaceful and would end in peace. Men on motorbikes had brought wives, mothers and children with them. It was a large and festive crowd. They had come to make a point and they knew they were making it. More was not required of them or any one else.
The decision not to go for a dharna was a collective decision. Is one allowed to wonder why I am, alone, being targeted by those (most of whom were not even there), who think that the dharna would have made the government capitulate. I nevertheless have shoulders broad enough to take the criticism on myself alone because I think what we did was right.
I think those, like you, who were themselves there and prepared for the dharna, have a right to be critical. You wrote me a very strongly worded mail. You were disappointed even then, though I think I was able to convince you of the merits of the conclusion of the LM. Those, however, who never came there are aiming the most vicious stones. And there are far more of the latter category than of the first pelting projectiles of hate and venom. That remains their privilege.
4. The war in FATA:
I promised you a word about my own view on this war. Any support to the Government in its actions in this military campaign should again not be taken as capitulation on national interest or on the judges’ issue. To my mind:
· We must not condone US intrusions into our airspace. That is unacceptable.
· The Americans have messed up this region of ours with our rulers blindly complying with all US requirements.
· Innocent Pakistanis are dying in these cross-border incidents and this is called ‘colateral damage’.
· We cannot also, and at the same time, support elements that slit peoples’ throats, program kids to become human bombs, stone men and women, lob bombs upon schools forcibly preventing the female education, or deny polio drops to infants.
· We believe that the most effective weapon in a war has nothing to do with post-modern technology. It is a friendly local population that has enforceable rights.
· Rights cannot be enforced without an independent judiciary.
· The Militants blow up hospitals, schools and roads but promise only some rough and ready justice. That is all. That is what draws some people to them.
· So we have to ensure that our people do not lose hope of justice within the system.
· Hence we come back to the point of the independent judiciary and independent judges.
· But we are in veritable pincer and must not, in emotion, lose sight of the demerits of either side.
We must nevertheless recognize that this war is against a mindset that threatens our Pakistani way of life, the culture of the Indus Muslims: a tolerant, liberal, democratic, plural Islam. The average Pakistani is anything but an extremist. So in this fight we may again be supporting Zardari and the Army without prejudice to our position on the Chief Justice and the Judges.
Finally, the Lawyers’ Movement has not been easy to lead. Unity has had to constantly be created, and recreated, out of a natural and wide diversity, often antagonism, of views and backgrounds. Different party policies and affiliations have always had to be balanced. Individual sensitivities predilections have had to be accommodated even when others have been hostile to these. But we have marched forth. We will continue to do so though the shape and manner of the forward progress may vary.
This, however, is a crucial time. It is time to stand together and to be patient with mistakes, past or future. Kurd’s election bid calls for a closing of the ranks. Much of the viscious criticism is grist for the mills of the opposition. We have to slow down the pace to strive for a broader, winning consensus amongst the limited electorate comprising of senior lawyers registered with the Supreme Court. While the support of the younger advocates is unreserved, the SCBA members who mainly comprise the more senior lawyers, are less strident and adventurous. But they are the electorate. Their support is crucial to the Movement, and their pace slower. We may, of necessity, have to lower the decibel level. And now with a political government opposed to us the election will be a challenge. But we must face it with solidarity.
With fond regards,
Ahmed is finally handed over to Pakistani government but still no clue of Dr. Aafia’s other 2 children .
The falsehood by US media and agencies is continued and it shows their behavior of not considering others as human beings.
Concrete evidence are there that she was kidnapped from Karachi but still fbi is consistent with there false claim that she was arrested from Ghazni in Afghanistan.
Liars and enemies of humanity and peace.
Aafia’s son freed by Kabul, flown to Islamabad(DAWN)
By Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD, Sept 15: A 12-year-old son of neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui was handed over to his aunt Fauzia Siddiqui here on Monday after years of detention in a US military base in Afghanistan.
Touching scenes were witnessed when Mohammad Ahmed, wearing white Shalwar Qameez, was brought to Dr Fauzia Siddiqui’s house in Sector F-7/1 amid tight security. He was warmly hugged by his aunt.
According to published reports, Ahmed was only six when he and his mother, a brother and a sister were abducted from Karachi in 2003. Later they were reportedly handed over to US authorities.
“He is traumatised and quite afraid but seems to be in good health,” Dr Fauzia told journalists after the boy had been handed over to her by officials of the interior ministry and intelligence agencies.
She gave a written statement to the officials expressing her gratitude to the nation, President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, PM’s Adviser on Interior Rehman Malik, Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah and the National Assembly and Senate for getting the boy freed.
Dr Fauzia said: “Ahmed is mentally disturbed and so far he has said nothing about what had happened to him in custody.”
She suggested that he should undergo a thorough check-up to determine his health condition.
The boy was handed over by the Afghan government to Pakistani officials in Kabul earlier on Monday.
Pakistan’s Press Counsellor in Afghanistan Naeem Khan told the PTV that Mohammad was in good physical and mental health and “he is OK and fine”.
Answering a question about the other two children (son and daughter) of Dr Aafia, he said only Mohammad Ahmed was in the custody of Afghanistan and he had no information about the other children.
The boy arrived at the Benazir International Airport in Islamabad from Kabul in a PIA flight and was taken to his aunt’s residence. Security officials did not allowed journalists to talk to him at the airport.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan co-chairman Iqbal Haider said that the daughter of Dr Aafia was also in Afghanistan. He regretted that despite having US nationality, the US government did nothing for the release of its four citizens. “This is severe violation of the US laws and constitution.”
He said that earlier the US and Afghan governments had denied the presence of Mohammad Ahmed in Afghanistan but some Afghan citizens had informed Dr Fauzia that he was in custody of US troops at the Bagram base.
HRCP Director I.A. Rehman urged the government to get the other two children of Dr Aafia released.
Agencies add: “Under the presidential order of Hamid Karzai, we hand over Ali Hassan to Pakistan authorities,” Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen told reporters in Kabul, naming the boy as Ali Hassan and not as Mohammad Ahmed.
“We hope this step should symbolise friendly ties with our neighbouring nation Pakistan,” he said.
Mr Baheen said: “The boy was kept in a guest-house like a guest. He was not a prisoner.”
He said Dr Aafia had adopted the child in 2005 after he lost his parents, a doctor and an engineer, in the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir.
Afghan police said they had arrested Dr Aafia and her son Ali Hassan outside the governor’s office in Ghazni province in July after becoming suspicious of her behaviour.
US soldiers in Afghanistan later took Dr Aafia under their custody after she allegedly grabbed a US warrant officer’s rifle during an interrogation session and fired at them, US officials said.
While Dr Aafia was flown to New York to face federal charges of assault and attempted murder, the boy remained in Afghan custody prompting calls by Pakistan and rights group for his release.
Until her arrest in July, Dr Aafia had been declared as missing by rights groups since she left her parents’ house in Karachi in March 2003.
In 2004, Dr Aafia was identified by the FBI as an “Al Qaeda operative and facilitator who posed a clear and present danger to America.”
She was married to a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the Sept 11 attacks. Her husband was captured in 2003 and is now held at the Guantanamo Bay.
It has now become clear what was being said by the patriotic Pakistanis that
this so called war against terrorism is infact a war to enslave other nations
Attacks on Pakistani soil were being regularly conducted by US forces and now
in the name of this war they have officially formulated a policy to launch strikes
Pakistan government and military must change their strategy and come out of this
so called war against terrorism (actually it’s a war against peace and humanity) and
mark the targets to hit in and outside the region incase of adventurism by enemies of
humanity and peace (the zionists , the true racial fascists).
|‘US to hit militant safe havens in Pakistan’|
WASHINGTON: Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Adm Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded before the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that the US military was not winning the fight against an increasingly deadly insurgency in Afghanistan, saying it would revise its strategy to combat militant safe havens in Pakistan.
Mullen said he was “looking at a new, more comprehensive strategy for the region” that would cover both sides of the border, including Pakistan’s tribal areas. “These two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them,” Mullen said. “We can hunt down and kill extremists as they cross over the border from Pakistan but until we work more closely with the Pakistani government to eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming.”
Robert Gates said the United States’ relationship with Pakistan is not confined to anti-terrorism assistance alone but it is much broader in range and takes into account the interests of Pakistani people.
He cited Washington’s plans for massive economic assistance for Pakistan and said it would bolster the confidence of the new government in the United States having a long-term commitment to the South Asian country.
“We are in this to help Pakistan over the long-term and it is not just a relationship based on military relationship that is focused on the border with Afghanistan but it is much broader and has the interests of Pakistani people in mind,” Gates told the House Armed Service Committee.
The top Pentagon leader said the United States has a multi-year package for economic development of Pakistan. “A broader kind of assistance package that helps the Pakistani people, I think will not only give their new government the confidence that we have a long range plan in mind in terms of partnering with them but that it is multi-faceted and is not just focused on the military fight,” he stated.
Gates said the Pakistan military and the government were focused on the instability in the border region and it was critical to continue to work with the new Pakistan government. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman Joints Chiefs of Staff, said the United States will sustain relations with Pakistan over the long haul.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Adm Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee success in Afghanistan would require more civilian effort beyond the military fight. “Frankly, we’re running out of time,” Mullen said. “I’m not convinced we are winning it in Afghanistan. I am convinced we can,” he said, offering a sober assessment nearly seven years since the US-led forces toppled the Taliban after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.
The officials said the West should do more to help Afghans with new investments in roads and other infrastructure, education and crop assistance. “These are the keys to success in Afghanistan,” said Mullen. “We cannot kill our way to victory.” He said Afghanistan badly needed a national security force supported by local leaders. Gates supports an Afghan government proposal to double the size of the country’s army by creating an active-duty force of 122,000 troops by 2014.