CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

April 5, 2008

March on (Editorial) (TO REMOVE MUSHARRAF’S LEGACY)

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008,Uncategorized — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:58 pm
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THE NATION

APRIL 06, 2008

EDITORIAL

PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari likes to play his cards close to his chest, but so far as his roadmap for solving the current judicial crisis goes, his meeting with SCBA President Aitzaz Ahsan was quite an eye-opener. Talking to Mr Aitzaz in Naudero during the Central Executive Committee session, Mr Zardari said there was no doubt that the role of legal activists was of great importance, it was however blown out of proportion, while the efforts and struggle by Benazir Bhutto were the real turning point in country’s transition to democracy. Mr Zardari expressed his feelings against constant threats to launch protest and long marches.
Meanwhile, it is hard to rule out the possibility of conspiracies being hatched in order to lessen the powers of the deposed judges in case they are reinstated. There are rumours that a package is being proposed for the restoration of judiciary, containing conditions like reducing the tenure of judges and giving them mere titular positions. The lawyers say such a move if it is floated, would be resisted as the package is nothing but eyewash. The other day, PPP Co-Chairman reportedly suggested to CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to take up the assignment of a provincial governor.
Such a stance is regrettable. The role of lawyer’s movement in shaping the country’s current political landscape is indisputable and such efforts to sabotage the movement may backfire. It was indeed the decision by the Supreme Court which provided legal cover to the return of political leaders in exile including Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, which in turn facilitated the February 18 elections. But the legal fraternity must be given due credit for taking up the issue at a time when opposition of any kind was dealt with severely by the Musharraf government. Back then, no one was willing to come on the road and challenge the power of the regime, except lawyers. Their movement was indeed for the supremacy of the parliament and ensuring the rule of law in the country. It was then that the political parties cashed in on it and translated the lawyers’ manifesto ostensibly for their election campaign and got themselves elected.
It will be a sad day when political parties decide to back down on their promise to restore the deposed judiciary. The PML(N) is emphatically maintaining its original stance on the issue. The onus now lies on the new leadership particularly the PPP, which must display political maturity by bringing the movement for a free judiciary to its successful conclusion. For that is what the electorate requires.

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