March 4, 2008


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MARCH 04, 2008


Musharraf standing on ‘exit door’: Aitzaz

Filed under: POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 2:41 pm
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MARCH 04, 2008

Amir Riaz 
LAHORE – Supreme Court Bar Association President and PPP bigwig Aitzaz Ahsan on Monday said that he would register criminal case against General(r) Pervez Musharraf, former prime minister Shaukat Aziz, caretaker PM Mohammadmian Soomro and other high officials for keeping Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges along with their families in ‘illegal confinement’ for more than four months.
He expressed these views while addressing a press conference here at his residence a day after his release from four months detention which he termed as illegal.
“I am going to Ghari Khuda Baksh and then to Islamabad where I, in the capacity of SCBA president, would lodge an FIR with police station concerned for the registration of a case under section 109(abetment), 344 (wrongful confinement for more than 10 days), 348 (wrongful confinement for getting confession), 506(criminal intimidation) of Pakistan Penal code. Whereas Musharraf, Shaukat Aziz, Soomro, Interior minister, Home secretary, chief commissioner Islamabad, IGP SP, DSP and SHO would be nominated as accused in the FIR.”
He pointed out that these were cognisable offences and in a cognisable offence police can nab accused without having arrest warrants, adding that apparently General Musharraf had an immunity under article 248 of the constitution but the draft of FIRs would be prepared keeping in view of this fact.
“We know that to what extent he has got the immunity. We will not let him get way with the crime he has done”, defiant Aitzaz said.
He said the similar kind of applications would also be submitted against illegal detention of Justice Sardar Raza Khan, Justice Shakir Ullah Jan, Justice Falak Sher, Justice Khalil ur Rehman Ramady and Justice Raja Fiaz and their families.
He also said that the civil suits for the recovery of billion of rupees as damages would also be filed against the government officials for keeping judges and lawyers under illegal detention, adding that the money would not be recovered from national kitty but of their personal properties.
Responding to a question, he said the parliament had the right to validate Musharraf’s November 3 extra-constitutional steps as had happened at the time of passing LFO. He, however, added that it would not be possible this time because political parties have matured over the years and they know it would be complete disastrous for the country.
He said, “ Musharraf is standing on exit door. He is no longer an army chief and is a gone man. Parliament could impeach him for subverting the constitution and on the charges of detaining the judges and their families.”
He said it was shameful on the part of government that CJP’s father-in-law was humiliated for five hours before he was allowed to meet his son-in-law, daughter and grandchildren. It had never done in world history.
He made it clear that the lawyers did not want confrontation with parliament. They want to see a sovereign and stable parliament. But at the same time, he said, the parliament would not be given much time for judges’ restoration because it could be done in minutes. He hoped that the new parliament would come up to the expectations of people.
“You cannot construct a sovereign parliament on the debris of judicial structure,” he maintained.
“Interior Minister’s two minutes call could resolve the issue. He could order that all the hurdles and impediment in judges way to go their courtrooms be removed”, he said.
Aitzaz reiterated that the long march had not been called off, but merely delayed to give the new parliament time to restore the pre-November 3 judiciary. Instead, a “Black Flag” week will be held.
He said if the parliament failed to restore judges, long march would advance from all four corners of the country towards Islamabad. He said their long march would be against Pervez Musharraf and his cronies who helped him make judiciary subservient.
Answering a question, Aitzaz said that the lawyers did not recognise PCO judges and there were appearing before them only to counter the difficulties of poor litigants.
He announced that a Black Flag week to be observed from March 9 to 16 in token protest against the government. Aitzaz criticised curbs on media and ensured a large number of mediapersons for their full corporation.
Aitzaz Ahsan’s release has rejuvenated the legal community, who is hoping that further concessions will be made by the new parliament for the independence of the judiciary and restoration of the judges.
Aitzaz Ahsan left for Garhi Khuda Baksh to offer Fatiha at the grave of slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto.

What a letter, indeed! By Kamran Shafi – IT IS MUSHARRAF’S DNA WHICH NEEDS ATTENTION

Filed under: DOMESTIC,POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:08 am
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MARCH  04, 2008


we have heard a lot said about My Lord, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry by Gen (retd) Musharraf and his minions in the one year that he has been dismissed/sent on leave/sent on forced leave/reinstated/dismissed/deposed/put under house arrest alongside his family including children, one as young as nine.

Most of this has been insane nonsense. But you have to see to believe the letter sent to the president of the American Bar Association (ABA) by the �president� of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Dec 26, 2007.

The letter, spread over four pages and a 14-page annexure, had been prompted by a visit to Mahmud Durrani, Pakistan�s envoy to Washington, by a delegation of the ABA, quite obviously to protest the treatment being meted out to the Chief Justice and his family by what goes by the name of the government of Pakistan. The letter can be taken apart word by word but paucity of space prevents one. A few examples, therefore: On the very first page in paragraph 3: �Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was appointed as Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) in June 2005, strictly on merit, as he was then the senior most Judge of the Supreme Court.�

Now hold your breaths. On the first page of the annexure titled �Profile of the Former Chief Justice of Pakistan�, in paragraph 6, the following pearls have been penned by the Commando: �He lobbied extensively for his own appointment and met several senior civil, military, intelligence and political personalities as a result of which he was able to have himself designated as CJP three months before schedule. He thus forestalled the chance of any other judge to be appointed on the coveted post.� I ask you!

Wait; there is more: Writing about the various charges against the CJ, the �president� of Pakistan has the gall to admit to a high personage such as the president of the ABA that the Chief Justice of Pakistan was being watched by �multiple� intelligence agencies in these words: �Ground check (sic) through multiple intelligence agencies not only confirmed the veracity of these reports but revealed other incidents of conduct unbecoming of (sic) Chief Justice of Pakistan.� I ask you!

And: Telling what is a white lie, the letter goes on to state one of his �excesses� in the following words: �It was part of these excesses that the Supreme Court under his influence/pressure ordered release of more than 60 hardcore terrorists arrested during the Red Mosque incident in Islamabad.� What could be further from the truth? If I recall, the CJ was under suspension when the case of the Red Mosque was taken up on a petition by Justice Nawaz Abbasi, one of the judges who later sat on the bench constituted by Rana Bhagwandas to consider the whole matter. (Justice Bhagwandas was not part of the bench.) Additionally, the judges involved in the Red Mosque case sit on the bench even today! I ask you! (Are you listening, Your Excellency, the American Ambassador?)

Again: Blaming the CJ for enlarging the Supreme Court bench hearing objections to a serving Chief of Army Staff getting himself elected president for another five years by soon-to-be-dead parliaments, the letter says: �Furthermore, the former CJ realising that majority of judges of the seven-member bench hearing the petition were likely to uphold the detailed judgment of the Election Commission of Pakistan rejecting objections to my eligibility, enlarged the bench to nine members. Still sensing that his motives may not be fulfilled, he added two more members and raised the number of judges to 11 to ensure that a negative verdict emerged.�

This is pure poppycock. We all remember that CJ Chaudhry had quite correctly recused himself from any of the benches considering Musharraf�s �election� and that it was Justice Javed Iqbal (who today enjoys another sinecure in the government of the Islamic Republic) who enlarged the bench to include all available judges of the Supreme Court, barring the three who refused to hear the case as they had already pronounced upon it in an earlier hearing.

There are other priceless gems too, such as the use of terms like �Constitutional Consultees� and �Pakistan today stands at crossroads�; using the word sifarish and then explaining what it means; spelling mistakes such as �walki talki for Walkie Talkie; even invoking the name of Allah Almighty in telling Mr William Neukom: �Chief Justice of Pakistan is the custodian of the highest office for the dispensation of justice which is an attribute of Allah Almighty.� I ask you!

In what is the silliest �charge�, and which shows the smallness of the whole exercise, the Commando says: �Against all norms of decency and truthfulness expected of the exalted office, CJP as a matter of routine used to claim medical bills for items which do not fall in the category of medicines, e.g., Accu Check, a gadget to test diabetes, contact lens solution, face masks, creams, tooth paste, acne lotions, Hashmi Ispaghol, etc�.

I kid you not, dear reader, I swear I do not. Mr Neukon should have fallen off his chair laughing.

But what should have really upset the recipient of the letter are the words: �There are serious instances involving his personal life and character; information on which has been withheld to protect the sanctity of his family life.�

And then, in a flight of the Commando�s vivid imagination: �Similarly there are a number of serious allegations of white collar crime, which if investigated could lead to startling disclosures.� I ask you!

I beseech Gen (retd) Musharraf to please, please stop maligning the country in the remaining time that he has as �president� and making it more of a laughing stock than it already is.

Let me end by begging our political leaders, particularly Mr Nawaz Sharif and Mr Asif Ali Zardari, to beware of the fifth columnists present very near the heart of both parties and come into an immediate compact with one another to form strong coalition governments in the centre and in Punjab. If they hesitate any longer they will have exposed themselves to the intrigues being plotted in the �President�s Lodge�, the new name given to Army House by the Commando who refuses to move to his palace in Islamabad.

Remember sirs, if we miss the bus this time, we�ll be left at the bus stop till Kingdom Come, to the utter glee of the Commando and his tight friends, the US administration of George Dubya.

Bushism of the Week: �I welcome you all to say a few comments to the TV, if you care to do so� � President George W Bush; inviting visiting Irish dignitaries to address the media, Washington, DC, Dec 7, 2007

March 1, 2008


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MARCH 01, 2008


February 25, 2008

Filed under: POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:08 am

Musharraf clings to power as Pakistan’s main parties struggle to forge alliance

Filed under: POST-ELECTIONS 2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 3:02 am
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The country’s president, soundly beaten in the polls and with his enemies uniting against him, faces protests and demands for the release of the deposed chief justice

By Andrew Buncombe and Omar Waraich in Islamabad
Sunday, 24 February 2008

The motivation of the black-suited lawyer, campaigning noisily in front of barbed wire, barricades and several dozen riot police, could not have been simpler.

“We’re gathered here for the defence of justice and the release of the confined judges,” said Mumtaz Ahmad, as his fellow lawyers chanted slogans calling for the ousting of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf and the release of Chief Justice Iftikar Chaudhry, whom he sacked and placed under house arrest. “This has been done by Musharraf. We are here for solidarity.”

In the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December, and the dubious process by which Mr Musharraf became president, few expected last week’s National Assembly elections to be fair or peaceful. Remarkably, however, for the most part they were.

With Mr Musharraf’s parliamentary allies sorely beaten, there is now optimism among Pakistanis that, for the first time in several years, a genuinely civilian-led government is to take control. Yet the issue of what to do with the President, and the Chief Justice who defied him, could yet derail the agreement that the two successful parties are trying to forge.

On the surface, the issue appears reasonably straightforward. Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister and head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), which unexpectedly won the second-largest number of seats, called for Mr Chaudhry’s restoration throughout the campaign. Indeed, he made it a point of principle, and many believe that it helped his party ride the anti-Musharraf wave that swept some parts of the country. But Ms Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which secured the highest number of seats, is less concerned about Mr Chaudhry’s return and appears keen to keep open its political options as it attempts to build a coalition. Some within the PPP have little time for him.

Pakistan’s politics is a three-dimensional game of chess, however. Alliances and agreements that appear solid can quickly evaporate, while bitter rivalries can vanish and a partnership be formed if suddenly the situation demands it.

Mr Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, Ms Bhutto’s widower and the PPP’s leader, have said that their parties will, for the first time, work together to form a government. But to preserve harmony they have skirted the issue of Mr Musharraf’s future, and the restoration of Mr Chaudhry and other judges sacked by the president when they refused to ratify his imposition of a state of emergency.

“We want to form the parliament first and then let the parliament look at the issue of the judges,” a senior PPP member told The Independent on Sunday. “We need to have some legal basis on which to do this.” Mr Sharif has, for the time being at least, gone along with the PPP line. Surprisingly, the question of who should be prime minister is not causing any friction: various names have been mentioned, but the only sure thing is that it will not be Mr Sharif or Mr Zardari, neither of whom have a seat in the National Assembly.

But the issue of Mr Chaudhry is not going away. The lawyers’ movement, which supports his restoration and has been leading protests against the government, has said it is a point on which it will not compromise. Mr Sharif and his aides know he risks losing support if he now changes his position.

Aitzaz Ahsan, a veteran leader of the lawyers’ movement who has been in regular contact with Mr Sharif throughout the election period, said: “Iftikar Chaudhry must be restored, for how will we ever have an independent judiciary if a judge knows that acting independently could mean a life behind barbed wire?”

The US and Britain have been urging the two main parties to move swiftly towards forming a government. They say this is more important than becoming fixated on the issues of Mr Musharraf and Mr Chaudhry. The Bush administration has let it be known that it still supports Mr Musharraf, despite the electorate’s clear rejection of him. The British government – mindful of being accused of meddling in Pakistan’s politics – urges all “moderate parties” to form a government. Such a move would, according to a Gallup poll released yesterday, be the preference for most voters. Forty per cent of PPP voters said the PML-N was their second choice, and 45 per cent vice versa.

Yet for all the diplomatic nuance, many within the lawyers’ movement believe Mr Musharraf is being given a lifeline by the West. One of the demonstrators near Mr Chaudhry’s house last week was carrying a banner that read: “US – Shame On You.”

Yesterday the PPP indicated that if it does not immediately push for Mr Musharraf’s ousting – for which it would need a two-thirds majority – it may try to reduce his powers as president. In particular, it said, it wished to change Article 58 (2b) of the Pakistani constitution, which allows the president to dismiss the prime minister and the parliament – a power which has been used against both the PPP and Mr Sharif’s party in the past.

Just a week ago, few would have predicted that Mr Musharraf would find himself in a situation in which he could be fighting for his political life.

Mr Ahmad, the lawyer demonstrating outside Mr Chaudhry’s house, saw a simple solution. “We are against Musharraf, we are saying he should quit his office,” he said. “The people, with their votes, rejected him.”


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FEB 25, 2008


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FEB 25, 2008


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