CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

April 14, 2008

CJ’s massive support

Filed under: NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 12:30 am

THE NATION

APRIL 14, 2008

EDITORIAL

It is a measure of people’s intense desire for an independent judiciary and strong ire against President Musharraf’s unconstitutional act of removing Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and more than 50 judges of the superior courts that 81 percent of them, according to Gallup Pakistan, favour the CJ’s restoration. Only a paltry 17 percent have opposed the idea and two percent remained non-committal in the poll results released on Saturday. It is hard to fault the logic behind this overwhelming wish. Chief Justice Chaudhry had spearheaded, through suo moto actions, the recovery of what have come to be called ‘missing persons’, who in fact had been spirited away by the intelligence agencies from their homes on the excuse of nabbing ‘terrorists’. It went to his credit that he secured the recovery of a goodly number of them out of the several hundred or, maybe as claimed by certain sources, thousands who suffered the ordeal. He had also taken notice of official transgression and mismanagement in cases other than those pertaining to the missing persons. The President’s action against the judiciary that was helping redress public grievances against the establishment’s wrongdoings was seen as an assault on the independence of the judiciary. Having experienced its benefits, the people strongly believe, and rightly, that it can set the ball rolling for a cleaner administration.
The deposed Chief Justice has also reiterated his vow not to resign once he is rehabilitated in the post but has assured that he would perform his duties in accordance with law and the Constitution, dismissing fears in some circles that he might be vengeful against those who supported his ouster. At the same time, the PML-N and the Jamaat Islami have articulated in unambiguous terms the view that the restoration of judges within 30 days of the formation of the government was a national requirement that would ‘eliminate palace intrigues’ and put real democracy back on the rails.
The polls reflected the strength of public confidence when a good two-thirds of respondents countywide gave a ‘very favourable’ or ‘favourable’ view of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, that hopefully would be borne out as his government functions. And 29 percent judges him fair and only seven percent gave him a poor rating. This optimistic feeling is also seen in the change of general perception about the country’s future. Now 45 percent of the people believe that the country is headed towards the right direction as against barely 15 percent of the respondents of the Gallup poll conducted before the February 18 general elections. Understandably, the President’s popularity graph remains markedly low: 26 favour his continuation and 73 percent his ouster (51 percent through resignation and 22 percent by a possible move of impeachment).

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