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 30, 2008

Lawyers unveil plan for ‘Iftikhar Day’

Source: The News International

Besides the Lawyers community, the HRCP and the People’s Resistance to also take part in the protest

The lawyers community will stage a protest demonstration on Thursday to celebrate “Iftikhar Day” at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) to express solidarity with the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The call for a country-wide protest demonstration was given by the Sindh High Court (SHC), and was later endorsed by the Pakistan Bar Council, which, in a joint meeting, declared to observe January 31 as ‘Iftikhar Day’ to salute the former chief justice for his continuous detention since March 9, when he was made non-functional by the President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf.

Giving plans for the day, President Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA), Rashid Razvi, in a joint press conference at the Shuda-e-Punjab Hall on Tuesday, informed journalists that all the bars of the country would observe the day by holding demonstrations, protest processions and seminars across the country to pay homage to deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

General-Secretary, Karachi Bar Association (KBA), Naeem Qureshi, while giving details of the protest plan, said that all 310 bars of the country, including the Supreme Court Bar Association, Pakistan Bar council, Sindh Bar Council, all the high court bars of the country and the Malir Bar Association (MBA), endorsed the decision.

He disclosed that the elected body of the KBA, along with its members, would reach the SHC in a form of a caravan, where MBA members would also join in. A joint governing body meeting would be held at the SHC, from where thousands of lawyers would march towards the KPC.

He appealed to all civil society organisations, NGOs, students’ bodies, political party leaders, labour unions and other concerned citizens to join the rally to voice their protest against the illegal detention of the CJP and their support for the revival of democracy, rule of law and restoration of all judges deposed after promulgation of emergency on November 3.

The procession to the KPC from the SHC would be led by Rasheed Razvi. Speaking to journalists, the SHCBA president said that no judge in the world had ever been detained, which was, unfortunately, the case for jugdes in Pakistan.

He said that the CJP was to appear before the review board, but, to date, the government had been unable to produce him there, nor was any habeas corpus filed by any lawyer for his detention.

He further said that, unfortunately, while most wanted criminals such as Rashid Rauf were at large, a respected CJP was under detention. Razvi said that the CJP was not even allowed to offer Eid prayers, as if he was a hardened criminal.

He said that the action against the judiciary, media and other segments of society was taken by the government only to prolong one man’s rule,

Judges who were removed under the PCO would also address the gathering on “Iftikhar Day”, informed Razvi, who, however, added that their names could not be disclosed due to security reasons, as they would be placed under house arrest, he apprehended.

Vice President of Malir Bar Association, Ashraf Samoo, also endorsed the call.

Replying to a question, Razvi said that the HRCP has supported the call, while a civil society organisation, the People’s Resistance, has also backed it. He said that no political parties have approached the lawyers in this regard.

The political parties were, however, requested to include the restoration of judges in their election manifesto, which would help lead the country towards real democracy. During a meeting with Asif Zardari at Naudero, Qureshi said, they requested him to include the demand for an independent judiciary in the PPP election campaign.

Retired generals invite Musharraf to their meeting

Source: The News International

The retired generals, who President Musharraf described as ‘good for nothing’, have invited General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and many others to their next meeting on Thursday.

“We invite you as General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, along with your star-studded team of ex-servicemen to join us. Honour us with your presence and give us your wisdom so explicitly being expressed,” a letter co-authored by many said.

Instead of Lt-Gen (retd) Faiz Ali Chishti, the Thursday’s meeting is being presided over by a respected ex-serviceman, Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan. Musharraf’s close aides like Gen (retd) Ehsan-ul-Haq, Gen (retd) Muhammad Yousaf, Gen (retd) Aziz Khan, Gen (retd) Ahsan Salim Hayat and Lt-Gen (retd) Moeen-ud-Din Haider have also been invited to the meeting.

A PML-Q leader and the oldest ex-serviceman who had drafted the resignation of Maj-Gen Askandar Mirza when Gen Ayub had toppled him, Lt-Gen (retd) Majid Malik has also been invited.

Others prominent ex-servicemen invited are Air Marshal (retd) Noor Khan, Lt-Gen (retd) Ali Quli Khan, former COAS Gen (retd) Wahid Kakar and Gen (retd) Aslam Beg, and former admirals like Sharif Ahmad, Fasih Bokhari and Fazil Janjua and others.

It won't be a surprise if Musharraf engineered terror attacks: General Chishti


A retired Pakistani General who opposes President Pervez Musharraf said he would "not be surprised" if Musharraf had engineered terror attacks to manipulate his image in the West. Former Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti heads the influential Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, which last week issued a blunt open letter signed by more than 100 senior officers calling on Musharraf to quit.

The statement fuelled Western speculation that Musharraf may be losing support in the military following his resignation as army chief in November, a potential blow with parliamentary elections only three weeks away.

"Musharraf is an intellectually dishonest person. He is a clever ruler, who makes the US and the West believe that they can only effectively deal with Al-Qaeda as long as he is in power," Chishti told AFP in an interview."But what is Al-Qaeda and who are Taliban? I will not be surprised if this clever ruler is behind all suicide attacks,"

he said.
Pakistan has been buffetted by more than 50 suicide attacks in the past year, culminating in the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on December 27, which led to planned January 8 general elections being delayed.

The government blames Bhutto's killing on an allegedly Al-Qaeda-linked tribal warlord, Baitullah Mehsud, but many of Bhutto's supporters have accused the government or parts of the military of involvement.

Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, has rejected those claims, and last week he angrily brushed aside the calls for his resignation by Chishti and the other generals.

"They are insignificant personalities," Musharraf told the Financial Times in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Most of them are ones who served under me and I kicked them out... They are insignificant. I am not even bothered by them."

In another interview with the BBC he said that the retired officers had no clout with today's 500,000-strong, nuclear-armed military.

But Chishti -- a former federal minister and the one-time corps commander for Rawalpindi, a key post in the Pakistani army -- urged current and former servicemen to push for change.

"My request as head of the society, is that retired General Pervez Musharraf should also step down as President," Chishti said.

"We request all ex-servicemen and even those, who are in uniform to vote for persons, who are fit to do something for this country and people."

Chishti himself is no stranger to military rulers, having supervised the imposition of martial law in July 1977 in Pakistan. He went on to become a close associate of late dictator General Zia-ul-Haq.But he said that the situation now was different, partly because of Musharraf's close ties to Washington.

"Musharraf is in league with the US and the West for the sake of his own survival. The majority of Pakistanis feel he... has been taking illegal, unconstitutional and unlawful actions for his survival," Chishti said.

He rejected Western "propaganda" about Musharraf being able to safeguard Pakistan's nuclear weapons from Islamic extremists, saying it was the army's job.

"Is he carrying these nuclear weapons in his pocket? The answer is no," he said.

Chishti also accused Musharraf of "taking sides" and campaigning for the former ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party ahead of the elections on February 18.

The government meanwhile has rejected the ex-servicemen's claims. Information Minister Nisar Memon told state media that their demands for Musharraf to resign were unconstitutional, adding that he was "dismayed" by their "lack of understanding of national issues."

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Resistance Movement Against Musharraf

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The route of the Foreign Aid

I must say this one is a very generous bureaucrat. In situations where a couple of generals are involved in the food chain, you can't expect the aid Dollars to fall out of the Military Inc.

so many awards for Pakistani Judges and Lawyers: Another one

Source: New York Law Journal & New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)

Annual Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs presented to the Lawyers and Judges of Pakistan, as represented by Aitzaz Ahsan, in asbentia

Embattled judges and vulnerable children are among the issues to be taken up this week as more than 5,000 lawyers gather at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association.

The International Law and Practice Section tomorrow (Wed. Jan. 29th 2008) gives its annual award for distinction in international law and affairs in absentia to Aitzaz Ahsan, on behalf of the lawyers and judges of Pakistan. Much of that country’s legal and judicial community has been in conflict with Pakistan’s leadership since President Perves Musharraf suspended the constitution and replaced seven of the 11 members of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Ahsan, president of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, has been under frequent arrest for his efforts to restore Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as chief justice.

Earlier this month, the New York City Bar Association granted honorary membership to Justice Chaudhry. In November, the city and state bars, as well as the New York County Lawyers’ Association, organized a rally attended by about 700 people at Manhattan Supreme Court in support of Pakistan’s lawyers and judges.

And still he says 'no flour crisis in Pakistan'

Man dies in ‘fight for flour’

Source: Dawn

A labourer, Muhammad Akbar, was electrocuted to death when he touched a live wire at a flour grinding machine in Libey Badiana, Pasrur, on Sunday night. It is believed that he was trying to break into the unit to steal flour. He is survived by his eight children and a wife.

The family of Akbar says that they had been hungry for the last three days because of non-availability of flour. On Sunday, Akbar, begged flour from different places but failed get anything. At night, he planned to break into the flour grind unit in his village. While stealing the flour, he touched a live wire there and died. Akbar was laid to rest in the presence of the hundreds of the mourners from all walks of life.