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, April 5, 2008

PPP - A strong advocate of democracy progressing undemocratically

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has issued a long charge-sheet against the deposed superior court judges, saying they never came to his rescue and were responsible for his eight years in jail.

In the clearest indication that the PPP may not stand by the Murree Declaration to restore the judges, the PPP leader told his central executive committee in Naudero that he was not interested in the restoration of personalities but wanted a judicial reforms package.

Analysts said things were getting complicated for Zardari, both within the PPP and outside, as he was moving closer to allies of President Musharraf and drifting away from his coalition partner Nawaz Sharif.

As Zardari issued his charge-sheet against the judges, Makhdoom Amin Fahim demanded the disbandment of the Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarians which he heads. Others in the PPP blasted the party leadership's decision to join hands with the MQM.

On the other hand, the PML-N is determined not to compromise on the issue of restoration of the deposed judges through a resolution in the National Assembly. The party says it seeks strict adherence to the Murree Declaration and would not accept any formula or constitutional amendment that restores all the deposed judges minus chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

"After gaining so much because of the political initiative that Zardari has taken in the recent weeks, the PPP co-chairperson is on the verge of losing all," a senior PPP leader told this correspondent from Naudero, revealing the situation in the interior Sindh was extremely tense after Zardari's visit to the MQM headquarters popularly known as Nine Zero.

In a post-dinner gathering of the PPP's central executive committee, the source said, many PPP leaders minced no words in criticising Zardari's decision to woo the MQM. PPP MNA Shugufta Jamani and Sethi Ishaq were among those who expressed strong resentment and wondered how the PPP could join hands with the MQM, which was responsible for the killing of PPP workers.

"The Sindhi people have not given a mandate to Zardari to thrust upon them his personal agenda of humiliation in the name of reconciliation," a PPP leader told The News, adding, "We strongly oppose and condemn the PPP-MQM coalition in Sindh."

The leader asked: "Who caused the May 12th incident? Who was behind the Oct 18 blast? Who killed Murad Baloch and Munawar Suhrawardy? But you still went to the Nine Zero to express solidarity with the MQM against the wishes of the nation. Now it's time for us to rethink our support for you, Mr Zardari," said the source, who sounded quite disturbed.

"There is a wave of anger," a PPP leader said. The likes of Raja Pervez Ashraf, Shah Mehmud Qureshi, Jahangir Badr, however, showered Zardari with praises and called him a great leader. Badr even crossed all limits by saying that the PPP had become more popular under Zardari.

Zardari, however, defended his party's rapprochement with the MQM and termed it a sensible political move having far-reaching impact. He said he wanted to open all political avenues for his son, Bilawal, and never liked to see the doors of Nine Zero closed for him. He said the MQM would be forming a government with the PPP.

Aitzaz Ahsan, who sought the restoration of the deposed judges, told the meeting that it would be in the interest of the party to get the judges restored.

Zardari, according to sources, came hard on the issue of the judges� restoration. According to one source, Zardari snubbed the widely-respected lawyer leader and said he knew the worth of the judges whose restoration was being sought by the lawyers' community.

Zardari said these were the same judges who had earlier taken oath under the PCO and validated the military rule. Referring to his jail life, a source quoted him as saying that he was let down by these judges, who had even refused to release him on parole to attend the funeral of his nephew. He said he was allowed only a two-hour parole despite Farooq H Naek's pleading before the same judges.

He said the then Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed had also refused him a parole. He termed the same judiciary biased, which he said was responsible for his eight years in jail. Party sources reported that Asif Ali Zardari was quite emotional while speaking on the judges' issue. One source said he talked of the restoration of the judges but linked it to a constitutional package. He said the party was interested in the independence of the judiciary and not in personalities.

A party leader said he was disappointed to hear what he termed the charge-sheet issued by the PPP co-chairperson against the deposed judges. According to him, almost 60 per cent of the co-chairman's speech was on Aitzaz Ahsan and the judges.

While the PPP is clearly seen connecting the judges restoration issue with a constitutional package, the PML-N is determined not to budge from what had been agreed between the two parties in Murree on March 9, 2008.

"We don't accept the 'Minus-One Formula' or any such solution that excludes Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry," PML-N minister Ahsan Iqbal told this correspondent, adding the "Minus-One Formula" would mean accepting March 9, 2007 Gen Musharraf's action of suspending chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as legitimate.

Ahsan said as per the Murree Declaration, the deposed judges would be restored through a resolution. Ahsan categorically said that the question of any constitutional amendment for the judges' restoration did not arise.

Ahsan said the coalition was committed to the Murree Declaration and clarified that the PML-N was not averse to a mutually-agreed constitutional package having no link with the restoration of the judges.

(Courtesy The News)
The Emergency Times

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Lawyers for unconditional reinstatement of judges

Lawyers will not accept any constitutional package and amendment that affects reinstatement of the deposed judges including deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

If any steps are taken against the Murree Declaration, the lawyers will relaunch their movement, said Supreme Court Bar Association member Sheikh Ahsanuddin here on Friday.

He said conspiracies were being hatched against the Murree Declaration, whereby the coalition partners had made a commitment to have the deposed judges reinstated within 30 days of the formation of a new government.

The conspiracy is aimed to sabotage the plan of the new government about the reinstatement of all the deposed judges, he added.

The deposed judges are a beacon for the people and nothing short of their unconditional and complete restoration would satisfy them, he said.

He said lawyers’ struggle was aimed at strengthening national institutions including parliament and the judiciary. He paid tribute to the deposed judges for not bowing before the rulers.

Agencies adds: Lawyers have said they will announce their future strategy if deposed judges were not reinstated within the period as promised under the Murree Declaration.

“Lawyers community supports the decision of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, president Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), giving a timeframe to the government for reinstatement of the deposed judges,” this was stated by Sardar Asmatullah Niazi, president Rawalpindi High Court Bar Association, and Athar Minallah, member Pakistan Bar Council, while talking to journalists outside the residence of the deposed chief justice in Islamabad on Friday.

They said lawyers would not create any problem or difficulty for the government during these 30 days.
Lawyers for unconditional reinstatement of judges -DAWN - National; April 05, 2008

lawyers clearly oppose the method being adopted by PPP... so do I... n so should everyone of us... unconditional reinstatement would make future vioators think that their orders can be reversed, they r not the ultimate power... adopting any other means for reinstatement would strengthen their belief that they own the country n can do whtever they want to do with it, nobody wiil b able to challenge their decision
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Aitzaz, Zardari stick to their positions on judges

There was "no agreement, no disagreement" on the issue of restoration of deposed judges in the Thursday night meeting of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Aitzaz Ahsan with PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari.

The two stuck to their respective stand on the question of sacked superior court judges, an informed PPP leader told The News. Aitzaz Ahsan wants instant reinstatement of the deposed justices, saying the talk of amending the Constitution to restore them, amounts to accepting as legitimate unconstitutional actions taken by the then chief of the Army staff (Pervez Musharraf) on Nov 3 last. It would open a Pandora's box for the future, he believes.

Instead of restoration of these judges, Zardari wants to cautiously move for the "independence of the judiciary". He is not inclined to reinstating the deposed judges. However, lawyers, supporting deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, say it would not be possible for the new PPP-led government to keep him and other judges under house arrest and they have to be freed immediately.

"Once the top judge is released he will be addressing bar associations all over Pakistan and will be visiting different cities in processions," a senior lawyer, aligned with the SCBA and the PPP, told this correspondent.

He admitted that this would throw up a grave challenge to the new government, which would face street trouble from day one. He conceded that this would also lead to an intense clash between the government and the lawyers' community.

In the Punjab, the provincial government to be led by the PML-N would not be opposed to the lawyers' movement and would, in fact, encourage it because of this party's unambiguous stand on deposed judges' restoration.

Another lawyer said the attitude of the federal, Sindh and NWFP governments to the lawyers' renewed movement would be different because these would not be backing it in any way. He said pressure would be kept on the PPP government to restore the judges but it would be given some time, enabling it to act in the right direction without much delay.

As far as Aitzaz Ahsan is concerned, lawyers said, it would be difficult for Zardari to tolerate him in the party if he continued to embarrass and put pressure on the PPP through his powerful street campaign.

Lawyers associated with the PPP apprehend that their party would further damage itself if it stood by its non-committal policy on the issue of restoration of judges. They feel that Nawaz Sharif, who came out with a better showing in the Feb 18 elections compared to the PPP, would further gain ground because of his stand on deposed justices.

They said had the PPP matched, if not surpassed the stance taken by Nawaz Sharif on the judges issue, combined with the massive sympathy wave in the wake of assassination of Benazir Bhutto, it would have convincingly won the elections.
Aitzaz, Zardari stick to their positions on judges

zardari is not willing to restore the judges the way ppl want... the constitutional package would assert tht whtever mush did on november 3 is justified... do we want this? atleast I dont.... i want mush to b an example for potential violators n breakers of constitution... a true -ve example so that ppl stop playin with the constitution... n the country progresses in the right direction... but for now it seems that the parliament is also gonna compromise under the logic of 'doctorine of necessity'... among all the major parties I believe only PML-N is respectin the mandate it got... reason for which could be any but its stance is very clear n brave unlike the stance of PPP...
see the following for details on the constitutional package n aitzaz's response

To diffuse the judicial crisis, Mr. Zardari has offered the Chief Justice Iftikar Chaudhry the position of Governor of Baluchistan. Instead of humiliating Mr. Musharraf and the Army, he has also asked the president to create a resolution on restoring the judges. Mr. Zarzari is planning to ask parliament to accept the dismissal of all the judges and then reappoint them under a fresh mandate. This may prclude Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry from the position of the Chief Justice. more...
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US wants coalition to retain local govts

LAHORE, April 4: US Consulate principal officer Bryan D Hunt has said the PPP, PML-N and other allied political parties should revisit their political manifestos and implement them to change the socio-economic condition in Pakistan.

"These political parties should make the changes, what they demanded before elections, in their true letter and spirit," he added.

Mr Hunt was speaking after a special lecture on `Pakistan's Elections 2008: Transition to Democracy’ by Prof Dr Muhammad Waseem, organised by the Pakistan Study Centre, Punjab University, on Friday.

The US Consulate principal officer said the entire election process was credible and now there was a need to strengthen institutions, including parliament.

Mr Hunt also hoped that the new government would strengthen the local government system instead of eliminating it.

He said the US was committed to working with the Pakistan government as well as its all tiers, including provincial and local governments. "The US and Pakistan need to work closely because it is in the interest of both the countries," he added.

During a question and answer session, Mr Hunt said, "I don't think that restoration of judiciary is an issue for the US. It is an internal issue of Pakistan".

He said the US Deputy and Assistant secretaries of State had visited Pakistan to discuss and understand each other's stand.
US wants coalition to retain local govts -DAWN - National; April 05, 2008

who the hell is US to interfere into our state n issue statements about our ways to govern our country?
'restoration of judiciary an internal issue' :) ... as if implementation of menifestos and starting dialogue with alleged trouble makers (in tribal areas) are not pakistan's internal issues... hypocrisy is what they always exhibit... will our leaders ever understand this? will they wake up? will we (the ppl) btw?
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The word Scrutiny invites bars’ ire -DAWN - National; April 05, 2008

LAHORE, April 4: Reacting to the reports about judges’ scrutiny after their restoration, the bar associations have warned parliament of ‘consequences’ in case it links revival of the pre-emergency judiciary to any constitutional package.

At a joint press conference on Friday, the Lahore High Court Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association said they would resist any deviation from the Murree Declaration which sought restoration of the deposed judiciary to what it was on Nov 2.

LHCBA President Anwar Kamal, Lahore Bar Association head Manzoor Qadir, Supreme Court Bar Association Secretary Chaudhry Amin Javed and Vice-President Ghulam Nabi Bhatti and Lahore Tax Bar Association president Mohsin Nadeem were among the participants. Former SCBA chief Hamid Khan also was present at the press conference held on the high court bar premises.

The LHCBA president said lawyers would not accept any step of parliament intending to sabotage the restoration of all the deposed judges. Any attempt to curtail the tenure of the chief justice of Pakistan or provincial chief justices would also be frustrated, he said.


LBA President Manzoor Qadir said the political parties, now in the government, had won a heavy mandate because of the issue of the judges’ restoration. The lawyers now felt that they were not only trying to wriggle out of the declaration, but also betraying their mandate too, he added.

“Let me make it clear that the lawyers will not allow parliament to cast aside its word on the restoration of the judges,” he said. He criticised Federal Law Minister Farooq H Naik for stating that “Musharraf is a national asset”. He said such a statement not only hurt the lawyers, but also lacerated the feelings of the people who had rejected a dictator through the ballot.

Hamid Khan said the lawyers were aware of the conspiracies originating from the presidency to sabotage the process of revival of the pre-emergency judiciary. He added that the restoration of the judges and the constitutional or the so-called reform package were two separate issues which could not be tied to each other. He asked Mr Naik to make public all the steps being taken for the restoration of the judiciary.

Mr Khan said he saw no justification for President Musharraf to stay in the office because he had lost the day his party (PML-Q) faced a humiliating defeat. Parliament, he said, would have to consult the bar associations before introducing any ‘constitutional package’, otherwise, it would have no value.
The word Scrutiny invites bars’ ire -DAWN - National; April 05, 2008
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Iftikhar receives official protocol (for the time being atleast)

QUETTA, April 4: In a surprising development, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry received official protocol when he left his hometown for Islamabad on Friday. His vehicle was escorted by 25 vehicles of police and Anti-Terrorism Force (ATF) contingents headed by SSP Quetta Qazi Abdul Wahid.

Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, senior lawyers, including Balochistan High Court Bar Association (BHCBA) president Baz Mohammad Kakar and Pakistan Bar Council vice-chairman Ali Ahmed Kurd were present at the airport to set off Justice Iftikhar who spent three days in the provincial capital.

Justice Iftikhar was scheduled to leave Queeta on Thursday but because of dusty weather his flight was cancelled.

During his stay in the city, he addressed a lawyers’ convention. He also visited graves of his parents at the Kasi graveyard.

Meanwhile, Justice Iftikhar has scrapped plans to address lawyers’ associations across the country. A lawyer close to him has said that Justice Iftikhar will stay in Islamabad and avoid making speeches.

Ali Ahmad Kurd said the decision was taken amid expectations the new government would restore Justice Iftikhar and other judges axed in November.

“We took this decision on our own because we do not give any impression that we are pressurising the government,” Mr Kurd said. “The chief justice has to remain calm. There will be no statements and no addresses.”

But, Mr Kurd said if the government did not honour its promise to restore the judges ousted by President Pervez Musharraf within 30 days, Justice Iftikhar would address bar associations across the country. He also said that lawyers would hold a huge protest rally in Islamabad.
Iftikhar receives official protocol -DAWN - Top Stories; April 05, 2008
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Over 80pc say America going in wrong direction

NEW YORK, April 4: More than 80 per cent of Americans believe the country is going in the wrong direction, a CBS News-New York Times poll released on Friday revealed.

The poll was first conducted in the early 1990s. Since then the Americans’ opinion regarding the nation’s situation hasn’t been as bad as it is now.

In 2002, just 35 per cent thought the US is on a wrong course. A year ago the percentage of people unconfident with the way America’s leaders lead the way rose to 69 per cent, and this year the poll showed that about 81 per cent citizens believe “things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track”.

The survey comes amid mounting tension over the housing turmoil that rocked the Wall Street. The economic crisis became the most debated issue lately, surpassing the war in Iraq.

The public opinion about America’s situation has changed from good to bad as the war on Iraq began, and from bad to worst as the economic crisis became more and more obvious.

Most Americans polled -- Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school -- consider the country is facing significant problems, the survey published on The New York Times’ website shows.

Seventy-eight per cent of those polled said America was in a worse state than five years ago, while just four per cent said it was better.

About 21 per cent said they believe the overall economy was in good condition. Two in three Americans said they considered the economy was already in recession.

The only figure that didn’t change was that of President George W. Bush’s approval rating, which was just 28 per cent last year.
Over 80pc say America going in wrong direction -DAWN - Top Stories; April 05, 2008
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