You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Declaration by Pakistan's former ambassadors

(From former foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad - we've already had similar declarations from a cross section of intellectuals and retired bureaucrats, retired Supreme Court judges, retired Sindh High Court judges and retired armed forces officers...)

We, as former ambassadors of Pakistan, deplore the imposition of the state of emergency and suspension of the Constitution by General (R) Pervez Musharraf. As the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared on 3 November, 2007, these steps, which amount to the imposition of martial law, are unconstitutional and illegal. Besides undermining the rule of law and delivering a severe blow to the independence of judiciary, they have dangerously destabilised the country. They also have incurred international opprobrium and badly tarnished Pakistan's image.

We, therefore, demand:
  • Immediate restoration of the Constitution and the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts as constituted before the declaration of emergency on 3 November 2007.
  • Formation of neutral caretaker Cabinets at the Federal and Provincial levels and reconstitution of the Election Commission to ensure the holding of free, fair and transparent elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies.
  • Immediate release of all persons imprisoned or detained under the emergency, including judges, lawyers, journalists, students and others.
  • Full restoration of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the lifting of all restrictions imposed on the media.
  • Strict adherence by the armed forces to their oath and constitutional role, in accordance with the directives given by the Quaid-e-Azam.
  • Strict application of the principle of accountability of holders of public office.
We call upon the parties and the candidates participating in the elections to make a solemn commitment to treat the reinstatement of the judges of the superior judiciary as the top priority issue after the elections.

The nation also expects that political parties and members of future national and provincial legislatures would adhere to recognized democratic norms in their future conduct and pay serious attention to the overcoming of the daunting challenges facing the nation.

We express our deep appreciation to the judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts who refused to take oath under the PCO, the lawyers for leading the movement for the restoration of the rule of law, the journalists for resisting the regime's efforts to gag the media and the human rights activists, students and other members of civil society for lending their full support to the democratic movement.

We express our solidarity with the nation in its demand for the full restoration of democratic and constitutional rule in the country.

1. Mr. Riaz Piracha, former Foreign Secretary
2. Dr. Humayun Khan, former Foreign Secretary
3. Tanvir A. Khan, former Foreign Secretary
4. Shamshad Ahmad, former Foreign Secretary
5. Riaz H. Khokhar, former Foreign Secretary
6. Dr. S M Koreshi
7. Gul Haneef
8. Amin Jan Naim
9. Touqir Hussain
10. Karamatullah Khan Ghori
11. Amir Usman
12. Javid Hussain
13. S. Azmat Hassan
14. Naeem U. Hassan
15. Shafqat Ali Shaikh
16. Karam Elahi
17. Afzal Akbar Khan
18. Mazhar Qayyum
19. Asif Ezdi
20. S. Iftikhar Murshed
21. Iqbal A. Khan
22. Shirin Safdar
23. B.A. Malik

Islamabad, 13 December 2007

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