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]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blatent !!!

(The one and only genius ever born in Pakistan) General (r) Musharraf once againd claimed that Europe got the current level of democracy after centuries, so we will. He insulted 160 million people of Pakistan by saying that they dont deserve west-like democracy. I found following interesting 'comment" on BBC opinion page:

ٹيلی فون، ٹينک، توپيں، جہاز، کمپيوٹر، فريج، انٹرنيٹ، ايف 16 اور نہ جانے کيا کيا ايجادات جو صديوں بعد وجود ميں آئيں، وہ تو جنرل مشرف اور انکے دسترخوانيوں کو پہلی فرصت ميں چاہئيں مگر قوم کو جمہوريت کی ضرورت نہيں کہ مشرف کی عقل کے مطابق قوم اس قابل نہيں۔ مشرف سنو تم کروڑوں پاکستانيوں کی بار بار تذليل کر رہے ہو اور پاکستانيوں کو جمہوريت دينا تمہاری عطا نہيں يہ انسانيت اور پاکستانوں کا حق ہے۔ تم نے قوم کی جو تذليل کی ہے، ميرا سر شرم سے جھک گيا ہے۔ مغرب کو نہيں اب پاکستانيوں کوبھی تمہاری ذہنی حالت پر شک ہے۔

چاند بٹ، جرمنی

Rule of Law project LUMS-US Report Urges U.S. Lawmakers To Demand Restoration of Judiciary


CONTACT: Devin Theriot-Orr, LUMS Rule of Law Project, (0334)428-9694,

Washington, D.C. - The Rule of Law Project at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is issuing a report today entitled "Defending Dictatorship: U.S. Foreign Policy and Pakistan's Struggle for Democracy." The report is co-authored by members of a delegation from the United States National Lawyers Guild and is the result of a ten-day fact-finding visit to Pakistan to assess the status of the judiciary and the prospect for fair elections in light of recent attacks on judicial independence. The report criticizes U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan, concluding that U.S. support for resident Musharaff and its failure to demand restoration of the deposed judges will have long-term negative impacts on the judiciary and the rule of law in Pakistan and damage regional safety and security.

The report also concludes that the upcoming elections are unlikely to meet international standards due to widespread systemic and structural problems, including pre-poll abuses and the failure to enforce existing election regulations. Additionally, the report addresses press freedom in Pakistan, noting that severe restrictions faced by all media, in particular the Urdu-language press, constitute a "serious threat" to Pakistan's democratic development.

"The independence of the judiciary is a cornerstone of a functioning democracy. The United States' support for a dictator and its failure to demand the reinstatement of the deposed judges is critically damaging demcratic development and threatening regional safety and security," stated Rule of Law Project Director Devin Theriot-Orr.

David Gespass, the Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild and the leader of the delegation, stated that "We intend to share the report with the American people and place it before our elected representatives to help effect a drastic change in U.S. policy towards Pakistan that emphasizes human rights and democracy as the only real means of reducing the threat of terrorism."

Professors Roger Normand and Justice (ret'd) Jawwad Khawaja of LUMS established the Rule of Law Project to serve as an academic clearinghouse for documentation and research regarding constitutionalism and the rule of law in Pakistan. The Project is developing a comprehensive report on the impacts of the PCO and seeking information from all lawyers and members of civil society who were arrested, detained, or mistreated following the PCO.

Plane crash in GIKI

FYI: A great letter by a student at GIKI whose perspective of things in life changed after the plane crash.

Today, there was an incident here that substantially changed my way of thinking. A Pakistan Airforce trainer plane crashed inside GIKI premises today. The pilot and a gardener died on the spot. There was no other loss of life or property. Further analysis (and some witness reports) revealed that the trainee pilot's quick thinking had prevented loss of 300+ lives and damage to faculty buildings. The pilot, instead of ejecting from the plane when he knew it was going to crash, maneuvered the plane and kept it on the (narrow) road away from the buildings and places nearby, where students hang out during the day. Had he ejected from the plane, he would most probably have survived but the crash site was surrounded by buildings in which 300+ people were working/studying at the time, a lot would have been lost. In short, he sacrificed his life to prevent loss of other lives.

It is incidents such as these that force you to think about...well, about everything. And this time it got me thinking about his selfless act. It is only the leader of the Pakistan Army, who had lowered the army in the eyes of the civilian population. Whereas the truth of the matter is that our army, is willing to sacrifice for the country. They stand ever-ready, to defend our homeland from any harm.

It also made me think that It is really not a leader who makes all the difference. This single man had saved 300+ lives. It made me realize that every-day people can also be heroes. They can also do big things. And they can make a difference. If the pilot would have started blaming the engineers and the government for old planes with mechanical faults, there would not have been enough time for him to think and act as he did. We are too lazy and love to put the blame on others.

From now on, I resolve to change my lifestyle to favor growth and prosperity of Pakistan. I resolve to be honest, devoted and respectful and to deliver what I promise. May Allah grant me the strength to do so. Maybe one day I will be a hero and I will make a difference. Until then, I live on in the hope that the day will soon come.

Lastly, I salute the pilot, for his selfless act. May Allah rest his soul in peace. Amen.
Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute
Topi, Swabi

Bhutto's niece wants end to 'dynastic' politics

"We have to seriously look at her political legacy, which is deeply flawed," Fatima Bhutto said. "Both her governments were known for widespread corruption, for an abuse of human rights, and for an excess of police violence."

For detailed reading:  Bhutto's niece wants end to 'dynastic' politics -

Blogged with Flock

Engaging with Politicians

- Detailed Account of A talk organized by the CCP at LUMS, on June 22

A long and engaging talk was organized at LUMS by "Concerned Citizens of Pakistan", a civil society organization, galvanized into action in the aftermath of the imposition of emergency on November 3. The arrangement was unusual in that the CCP had booked an auditorium at LUMS – only those on the SACLUMS mailing list were invited. So many outsiders came in that most students, like myself, had to keep standing. The talk will be aired by Aaj TV (we weren't told exactly when), although with some modifications because the whole thing would violate the new censorship laws. The talk went on so long that I must admit that my account cannot do justice to all its twists and turns.

The Talk was titled: "Importance of rule of Law for society" A CCP representative opened the show, after which Talat Hussain conducted its proceedings. The talk started with Dr. Pervez Hassan, a representative of the lawyers' movement(also a trustee of LUMS). He was sitting in lieu of Tariq Hassan, who couldn't come but had sent a 12-page paper to Dr.Hassan so that his position may be represented. Dr. Hassan's speech focused around the need for upholding the constitution and restoring the judiciary. He also said that the Lawyer's Movement had not ended: it will pick up strength once again, after the elections.

The second speaker was a member of Tehrike Insaf(sorry, I cudn't get his name down). He said that when they were founding their party, many years ago, they had chosen the idea of Rule of Law as their party slogan, even though it wasn't fashionable back then. Every idea had a time and now the time for this idea had come. He felt that Musharraf was dragging Pakistan on the path to authoritarianism like Islam Karimov, Husni Mubari and Robert Mugabe have done elsewhere in the third world. He also stated that, in the coming general elections, he expected a maximum turnout of 10 to 15% ( I feel like placing a bet against him :-) His other concern besides uphold the judiciary's cause was to save the federation.

Justice(r.) Fakhrunnisa Khokhar spoke on behalf of PPP because all other senior PPP members had turned down the invitation. After paying rich tribute to the lawyers' movement (she, herself, was badly beaten up on Nov 5), she said that her party believed in contesting the elections and then championing the cause of the judiciary. She said that within the river there is a whirlpool - to bring change one had to jump into it; it couldnt be done from the outside.

Next spoke Chaudhry Ahsan Iqbal of PML-N, perhaps the most impressive speaker in the house. He told us that he had come all the way from his campaing activities in Narowal to address this gathering because of the respect he had come to develop for the civil society of Pakistan and for LUMS. (After the event, he declined my request for an interview because he couldn't spare time from his campaigning.) He congratulated civil society for finally waking up and standing for the cause of Pakistan. He said that the best thing that had ever happened to Pakistan was this: people would not even bother so much as to go and cast their votes are now fighting the battle for Pakistan and facing jails. He said that societies have survived with poverty and ignorance but never without laws. He added that the law is the shield of the poor against oppression because the rich can protect themselves by other means like money and influence, but the poor can only seek the law's help. It is particularly impressive that today the elite is coming out to protect the shield of the poor – the law. He announced that PML-N candidates would publicly take an oath on Feb 5 to pledge support for the cause of restoring the judiciary after getting elected. He concluded by saying that he had looked at the CCP's objectives and, for a moment, he thought it was his own party's manifesto (there is much truth in this statement, by the way.)

Hamid Khan was the last speaker of the house. He bagan by prasing the lawyers' movement and, in particular, Justice Khwaja, the Head of LUMS Law School (my school!) who resigned in protest against the humilating treatment met out to the Chief Justice. Hamid Khan's key addition to the discourse was his contention that if the Parliament was to restore the judiciary, it would be an insult to the judiciary, becasue the judiciary was not just above the executive but also above the legislature. The judiciary, therefore, had to be restored before the elections.

The Q and A session was long, heated and colourful. Most of the questions attacked the politicians, alleging that the political parties were corrupt, colluding with the army and betraying the people and the cause of rule of law. At times, the booing and jeering got so loud that Talat Hussain had to intervene reminding this very educated audience that democracy entailed giving others a chance to, at least, state their argument. In general, the speakers tried to clear the parties' position on various issues. Ahsan Iqbal from PML-N managed to answer almost all questions quite gracefully because, after all, his party's current manifesto is based upon the civil society's slogans. He did face trouble when somebody mentioned the assault on the Supreme Court during Nawaz Sharif's second term in office. He replied by saying that it was party blown out of proportions by the agencies and, partly, a mistake. Talat Hussain intervened saying that he had been present at that event and was convinced that the Sharif government was involved.

Justice Fakhrunnisa from PPP, on the other hand, had a harder time and, by the end of it, she had almost reached breaking point. Her best rebuttal to all of this criticism against PPP was her continual referral to the fact that she, and countless other PPP workers, also braved atrocities to stand with the cause of rule of law. It reminded me of Nov 5: at the High Court protest , we were hiding from the charging police batallion, along with Dr. Pervez Hassan and others. Outside, Fakhrunnisa Khokhar, the old lady was, true to her word, was suffering police brutality, amidst choking levels of tear gas. The audience, however, had not seen those scenes. In the cose comfort of PICIC hall, they mercilessly grilled her, making it clear that they were disgusted with the PPP's deal-making politics in the recent past, and the PML-N's similar conduct in the years before Musharraf.

Aasim Sajjad, a LUMS professor, and Athar Minallah, a lawyer and activist, reminded the audience that the future of democracy is inextricably linked to politics, politicians and political parties. In the past, the army has systematically maligned politicians, assuming for itself the role of the messiah. By its sceptical and contemptuous attitude, the civil society today is again falling into the same trap. If democracy is to survive in this country, we must all learn to respect politics and politicians and realize that political parties are, after all, comprised of politician wo are from amongst us, and, just like us, they are prone to human errors. It is by engaging empathetically with them and by trying to help them in bringing positive change that we can contribute to the country's future. By contemptuosly dismissing them, we are only easing the army's path, leading to the destruction of this country.

"Restoration of Judges and Democracy" convention at LUMS

By: SAC Correspondent

The convention organized was an immense success. So many people showed up that we did not have seating place. Many were standing around or sitting on the floor or stairs in the auditorium. The next convention therefore will be organized in an even bigger hall. The attendance was over 200 people.

The convention began by Hamid Zaman addressing the audience and introducing the host, Talat Hussain. Following that, the panelist began by giving their viewpoint on the matter of the restoration of the judiciary. Retired Justice Fakhrunnisa from PPP and Ahsan Iqbal from PML-N both promised their party's commitment to the cause of the people.

Retired Justice Fakhrunnisa declared her commitment to the struggle for the restoration of the judiciary, and stressed that after elections her party will do all in their power to get the judiciary restored. She said Benazir gave her life for the struggle of democracy, and democracy is not possible without the restoration of the judiciary. Hence, PPP will first and foremost work towards that.

Mr. Ahsan Iqbal declared the recent mobilization of the civil society and students as nothing less than marvelous. He said that throughout history, countries have survived poverty, hunger, illiteracy etc but never has any country survived without justice. He said that the lack of justive effects the poor and the middle classes the most, as they are unable to shield themselves from those with power. He declared that today, the civil society and the students have stepped forward to become that shield. He pointed to the historic nexus between the judge, the general and the Jageerdar and said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, a judge dared defy this nexus and give hope to the desolute and oppressed masses. He said that Nawaz Sharif himself will administer an oath to ALL party nominees in front of the Public. This oath will profess the utmost commitment of each to the restoration of the judiciary and the constitution. He said that Pervaiz Musharraf insulted 160 million people in his address in Europe when he declared Pakistanis as undeserving of democracy, and that Pakistanis deserve it as much as any other country. He declared Musharraf as obsessed with power.

Mr. Hamid Khan, began by historicizing the lawyer's movement. That it had begun since the first coup by Musharraf. He strongly denounced any system of which Musharraf was a part of, and added that when Benazir made a deal with Musharraf, it was a most painful moment in the lawyer's movement. He blamed this deal for the fact that Musharraf was able to remain on his seat post March 9. He therefore also denounced the current elections taking place under Musharraf's biased government. He also said that had all the parties boycotted elections from the beginning Musharraf would have been unable to retain any power and that Political parties should have only contested elections on the condition that Musharraf resign.

Mr. Parvaiz Hassan, representing Mr. Tariq Hassan in the convention, said that the so-called deposed judges are not under the law deposed. They are still legally the judges. He declared that the only solution to the problem of the repeated coups by the military is via recourse to the article 6 of the constitution. He said that Musharraf should be tried before the courts (once the judges have been reinstated de facto) for high treason. He also said that not only Musharraf but the PCO judges should also be held accountable. He stressed that unless this process of accountability begins in the country, there is no hope.

Mr. Ahsan rasheed representing PTI, stressed that these elctions are neither free nor fair. He emphasized the principled stance of his party in this regard. He said that his party now had an expanded electoral base, and stood to win many more seats, but purely on principles has decided to boycott the elections. He said that Imran Khan was offered to become part of the Musharraf government previously as well, but had refused each time.

The talk was very charged with emotions. A lot of people denounced Musharraf. Many also said that we will now hold the political parties equally accountable. PML-N and PPP were also questioned on judicial independence during their terms in power. Retd Justice Fakhrunnisa responded by saying that her party never deposed any judges. And Mr. Iqbal said that Nawaz Sharif was the first Prime Minister of Pakistan to ever present himself in front of the court. He, however, also stated that his party has learned from their past mistakes and was willing to improve hand in hand with the people. This was appreciated by many from the civil society that at least an acceptance and willingness to improve has been expressed. The general consensus of the convention was that Musharraf must immediately resign, that no power sharing agreement with him was acceptable and that the judiciary must be restored. PPP was also asked to give an official firm stance on the issue of the judiciary and to administer a similar oath as the PML-N. All politicians were asked to give an oath that if they are unable to restore the judiciary they will resign from politics.

(Although video of this event will be televised in an episode of 'Live with Talat', on Aaj TV, but we will also post here the UN-CENSORED videos of the event, in a couple of days)