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Category Archives: Justice System

Want to protest against attacks on minorities; then meet them


[With about 80 people dead in the attack on Church and resent earthquake (in which it is feared deaths to reach 1000) both indicate how ineffective our govt. has been in protecting and serving it’s citizens. A deafening silence for the earthquake victims on social level shows how much we have just accepted that our govt. cannot do anything for us.]

[note: a friend pointed out that what I wrote feels like I am saying only minorities are being targeted. No they are not the only ones, there have been consistent attacks on masajids, bazars and security forces. Ones who are attacking minorities are attacking all Pakistanis (Daata Darbar attack is not so distant event). However it does not mean our society does not need more open communication among religious groups living in it.  We all might not be spilling hate about them, but we do get criminally silent whenever someone is killed in the name of blasphemy. Putting a friend’s face to group might reduce our biases. ]

Let me start by saying I don’t believe in protesting against terrorists. No I don’t believe that holding banners and marching while shouting slogans on the Mall road (Lahore) is going to deter terrorists from attacking another mall or church or school or masjid; brutally and cowardly killing innocent people. So all those questions about shame of being Muslim and protesting against terrorist just indicate how naive are we.

I am not talking about not protesting against government, we can protest against lack of security, unequipped and poorly armed police and poorly functioning security net that should have predicted such event.  We can protest against all this but against terrorists such protests loose their meaning. Why? because they are cancer. One does not protest against cancer that plagues ones body. One takes action against it, medical procedures aside, one changes his/her life style, throws away tobacco, adds more greens in diet, starts running a bit. One takes stock of everything he/she has been doing till now and changes it.

If we are  really serious in fighting this menace, if we really want to remove cancer from our bodies we should change what we have been doing till now. We have been living in monolithic society in a non monolithic population. We have been ignoring all that is different to us, like they don’t exist. Lets change that, lets allow us to get familiar with who live among us.

Lets go to Church on weekend with our families,  invite members of Hindu community to our masajids, learn basics of Sikh religion, let scholars of different religions come and give lectures in our universities. Let them explain what they believe in and let us tell them what we stand for. Lets have a picnic where our kids can play together.  Lets make it difficult for this cancer to spread to our next generation.

Let our kids know people with other faith are not some strangers but part of our society; it’s OK to be different, it alright to believe in something other than what you believe in. But most importantly let us teach them what other beliefs are. Lets burst the bubble we have been living and accept there is more than just what we have been told. And we do that by listening to people of different faith, let them tell what their religion is not what our imagination has cooked up. 

All the goals of removing hate from our books are great, but they will not be solved by some govt. they will be solved when majority of us will have one friend who is not from our religion. When our friends will not shy in telling they are Ahmedi or Shia or Christian or Sunni or atheist or agnostic, that will makes us question all the hate we have unconsciously living with.

If we want to protest, lets protest by action and do something that will last long. Lets take a first step and meet each other, lets make one friend this week who is not in agreement with our belief system.

 

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Religion, gays and marriage


On the wall of a friend of mine, there was discussion going around. Gay marriage being in the court, every one has it’s opinion. A friend’s friend’s opinion was laws have been previously derived from the religion (for that being the Christian religion). I divide my answer in two portions, one is just religion and country’s laws.

As for respect of religion in making laws. Today many unfortunately are little quick in dismissing anything that comes from the religion. Almost all the religions are great source of information and knowledge (at least some parts of all of them). Both religious and anti-religious people ignore the fact that all the religions have changed with the time. They might be divine but their current shapes are due to human reasoning.

Scholars and philosophers have debated what is the meaning of the message of revelations. Why certain interpretation is more correct than other, why one should be more beneficial to society and what view will be more helpful to a person . In the process they have defined and refined it. Their debates and explanations are education for us. Religions being the books of constitution for so many centuries will always be referenced.Ignoring them is will be ignoring efforts and works of great minds.

Question is should “All” the laws be continued to be derived from religion or not. I am not American so my point of view might not matter what American society needs, but I am sharing my point of view because this issue is going to become big issue in the countries which have not legally accepted this.

Problem with the religion is there are huge number of versions of every single religion (Catholic, Protestants  Suni, Shia, Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews, Hindus who believe in one Veda and not others). One might say they are all (all versions of Ibrahimic religions) are together on this issue of gays, they don’t accept it (there is still debate whether they ask society to punish them). Accepting one law just because some religion tell you, will create logical fallacy  Like any mathematician or law professor will tell you once you accept the one law just because it is coming from XYZ-religion, we set precedence that could be used to add more laws belonging to religion XYZ. It breaks the rules, is muddles the axioms.

Either religion should be used to make all the laws or it should not be, if we want  a system that accepts part of religion to be made into law but not the other part, we end up with complex set of rules. Such rules will always be pushed to be changed and that’s what is going around right now. Let me give you example we don’t have now the punishment for infidelity or adultery and I don’t believe anyone wants that to become one, but what’s the logic behind it if we are accepting marriage should be defined by religion then what about infidelity? Or what about the people belonging to other religions? should they be burned on stakes?

I am fine with any nation saying they want XYZ to be national religion, thinking we can have non-religious state where XYZ is major religion is just wrong. But sir, if it is not (which quite clearly today’s America is not) then instead enforcing religion through laws and courts you have to go back to people and make them believe in what you believe in. Same goes with the civil rights, you cannot get civil rights by laws, you get them by having size able population believing in what you believe.
In terms of , My point has always being “marriage” as a word has been something that has been derived from the religion. I don’t want government to do anything with “marriage”, in the least that word should be removed from the law books. Government should issue some nicer version of “civil union” and declare we don’t do marriages. If you want to marry, go to Churche, Masjid, Synagogue, Gurdwara or any other religious entity you want to and which ever version of it you want to. if they want benefits they can register with government and government will not discriminate against people regardless of gender, cast, belief, orientation, etc. ….
 

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Pakistan’s PM to be arrested.


Interesting and serious situation has developed in Pakistan. One of the province is now being run by governor with provincial govt. resigned. Hundreds of protesters are being led in capital Islamabad by “suddenly appearing” cleric demanding assemblies be dissolved. And now the Supreme Court has ordered that PM be arrested and presented in front of court.

I have been little away from the situation so don’t know why is he being arrested. I know in what case he is being arrested, but “why” is big question. Has he being charged? if yes, then by whom? Attorney General of his own govt.? Or the court is just asking him for the appearance? Is he being arrested for the questioning and investigation?

With it the KSE has plunged 500 points, things are going from serious to worse quite quickly. With the court time already ended (or near the end) getting a pre-arrest bail will be impossible. So how the police handles this situation? Will PM has to be arrested? or he can just present himself to the court in the morning?

To me question is What was court thinking????? Without indictment  you are arresting PM??? under what rule and for what purpose? just for questioning? He is PM, he is there, he could be ordered to appear for the questioning.

 

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Salman Taseer’s Murder: Belt up to fight the intolerance


You must have heard the Parent example for rationalizing violence, The Parent example goes like this, with little variations; “If a shopkeeper curses your father and uses —- words for your mother, will you beat the heck out of him or not?”  This is most used example to justify violence especially in the cases related to Blasphemy. Well I can beat the heck out of that guy but then I will spend years in the jail.  Most importantly from when the Emotional Responses become basis for actions, judge might reduce my punishment but punishment I will get.  Question should not be what I will do, question should be what Law says.

Why I am telling you about this?

When I heard about Salman Taseer’s murder I was thinking it will result in huge change in Pakistan

After just few hours I know what direction we are going. In all the media not one religious scholar has clearly condemned the killing. Fazl-ur-Rehman have included the phrases, that hint that they hold Salman Taseer to be responsible for his murder.  Some other religious and non-religious leaders were clearly saying that he should have been more careful in presenting his views.

Fan page has been setup on the Facebook for that murderer,  he is being called Ghazi by some religious group openly, a guy on twitter is sending salutes to the killer, Adil Najam of Pakistaniat.com is getting threatening comments on his blog, the people on the news channels are rationalizing actions of Malik Mumtaz, some religious leaders are advising against offering funeral prayers, and list continuous.

It’s time to belt up and stand up against the intolerance; it’s time to start telling “No it is not Ok for some one to be whacked up for what he/she has said”

No, no one should be declared Non-Muslim for their views, it’s only their right to declare their faiths.

It’s time to start asking our leadership for condemning such actions.

If we will stand up, if we don’t speak up; we might see people been killed for even things smaller that this. I was horrified to see a guy saying those who question Blasphemy Law are hurting feelings of people of Pakistan and then in not so open phrases defending the killer. This all appeared like threat to other people who criticize Blasphemy Law made by Zia-ul-Haq.

Let’s raise the voice so that Mumtaz Qadri does not become hero, we should be strong to disallow creation of other Mumtaz Qadri’s, we should make enough noise so that people should think twice before supporting a murderer.

 

P.S.

I hate terrorists, not only because they kill people. But also because they make Martyr out of those who should not be respected; first Zia should have been hanged he became Shaeed, Benazir should have been tried for all the corruption and mismanagement she was made Shaheeda and now Suleman Taseer who should have been removed from governorship (for bullying the elected govt. of Punjab not on his stance against Blasphemy laws) and spend rest of days thinking about days in governorship has become Shaheed.

But all things aside, his death will play an important role here in which direction Pakistan has to go. He is high profile enough to not let the matter die for weeks. It will be interesting to know what khutbaas are given during Friday prayers; and how people react when Malik Mumtaz is tried in the courts.

 


 

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When our Bloody Sunday report will come?


I first came to know about the Bloody Sunday about 3 years ago, that day I came to know that it is not only we who have their near past dotted with blood of our people; the list is full with developed nations also. Today they have shown the difference between them and us.

Bloody Sunday and Justice

Thirty eight years after the incident, today the report has come telling us that those who were killed were not carrying guns and soldiers were not under threat. British news papers are saying this has given rise to  chance that soldiers might be prosecuted, who knows they will ever be, but atleast Prime Minister has apologized.

And I am sitting here waiting for my Prime Minister to endorse mistakes committed in East Pakistan. I want an apology of putting our troops in a position that they became responsible of killing the ones they were hired to defend. I want them to apologize for delay and prosecute the killers of this nations democracy.

Well I take back what I said, infact I don’t even want an apology, I just want an investigation and acknowledgment that mistakes were done so that process could be changed.

I want details of how Bugti died and how the Lal Masjid were allowed to bunker up in the Capital. I want to know what happened in Swat and what is going around in Baluchistan. I want reports on Karachi Operation, how many people died and how many people went missing, details of their deaths, details of operations, details of arrests, details of conviction. I want to know who placed containers on the roads during Chief Justice’s visit to Karachi?

And don’t throw at me the supporter comment, does British Prime Minister’s apology means he is siding with terrorism? Does this means he is supporting dismemberment of his country?

I look around the Muslim world and find I am not the only one, be any country which proudly calls itself Muslim, it’s hands are busy in suffocating their own people.  When people talk about Extraordinary Rendition, I mostly ask my countrymen why do they think Muslim countries were chosen as destinations? might be because our governments themselves practice the brutality as the form of everyday business?

Don’t you say no! look at your law enforcement agencies. How many of us are comfortable in dealing with them, even when we know we are aggrieved party how many of us want to go and report the crime?

It might change if we get our Bloody Sunday Reports or will it?

 

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Question to Supreme Court Why Saqib Nisar and why Khawaja Sharif ?


Here comes the new mess.

Again in Pakistan, Judges and Executive are face to face.

Ok, for people who don’t know, visit

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/president-elevates-justice-sharif-to-sc,-appoints-justice-saqib-as-lhcs-acting-cj-sc-suspends-notification-govt-claims-it-consulted-cj-legal-fraterni-420

From what I have heard, Chief Justice of Pakistan wants to elevate Justice Saqib Nisar to Supreme Court where as Govt. wants (more specifically it appears President of Pakistan wants) Chief Justice of Lahore Hight Court Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif.

What I have heard that it appears Chief Justice has more say in who’s to be elevated to the Supreme Court.  However what has concerned me more is Why Chief Justice wants a specific person to be in the Supreme Court and not the other one?

Is Justice Khawaja Sharif (Chief Justice of Lahore) less competent than Justice Saqib Nisar? or is it just personal preference?

If it is based on merit that I will be really interested in knowing why a Chief Justice of Lahore is less competent that his junior.

On the legal grounds, to me atleast it appears Cheif Justice of Pakistan has more firm standing because Govt. has to take the Supreme Court’s recommendation, which it has become evident that they have not taken. But the Supreme Court has to explain what is the criteria in which a person is elevated to this highly prestigious institution.  Just because you are legally right does not make a decision right.

Just because you can do something does not make it a correct decision.

He must explain why he is not picking the senior most judge to the Supreme Court. What is the mechanism of such process?

 

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Should Man have his say in abortion?


Can Man force woman to have the abortion? Or can man stop woman from having abortion?

Increasingly in this world sexual lives are becoming free from the boundaries of religion and are not being governed by the rules of the marriage. Except in the Religious world (mostly Muslim) the concepts of Family are changing are being redefined.  They are married is being replaced with they are living as Partners. Man and Wife is no more the only pair, Man and Man, Wife and Wife are also on the rise. Whether such things are good or bad? this blog-entry is not discussing that.

In the world where religion and culture are not the sole decision makers,  questions that would not have even risen previously require more thorough thoughts.

Question is if both parties have not explicitly decided about having child together and female gets pregnant, is it only her choice if she wants to or dont wants to have children? It does not matter whether both man and woman are married or not. Situation could arrise in the Husband and Wife also. Should legally wife has the say on whether they can keep or not keep child?

What if she wants to have children and male dont wants to? Can she legally force him to provide Family Support? But then this is not about the money only. Can she force him to become dad?
The emotional attachment a parent should feel with his/her child should not be held hostage by the decision of one parent.

And what if the e.g. female wants abortion and male does not wants to due to social, cultural, emotional or religious point of views? Legally his views dont matter,  I know that.

Should it not be other way also?

 

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they told her; She Never Had the Son


And he recalls meeting a woman who told him how she went to the police in the immediate aftermath of the shootings to try to get news of her missing son.Officers told her to go away and not annoy them.

“She hadn’t got a son and never had, they told her. There was no proof of his existence. That story I will remember all my life,” says Mr Trevor.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7646473.stm Robert Trevor on Tlatelolco (Mexico) killings , 2nd Oct.

Reading this story reminded me of many things, fiction works like 1984 by George Orwell, film The Net, stories about the rule of Nazis, Iran before and after revolution,  It made me think about the plight of people in Sudan. It reminded me stories of conditions under the rule of Lenin and Stalin.  Horrors of Bosnian war.

And it made me remember missing people in Pakistan.  It reminded me of people killed in Karachi during the Justice Movement. It reminded me of people listed missing in Kashmir.

People wiped from the face of earth and leaving nothing but few portions in the news papers.

It reminded me that we are nothing but some words and lines on documents. We; who always think about such others as “collateral damages” sometime justified by religion and sometime by political-ambition, it reminded me that have not learned from history.

But what made me shiver was that this was not happening in a war-zone, it was not in the mountains of Frontier, it was not desert of Darfur neither was it inside the area controlled by Surbs…

It happened just 10 days before Olypims were being held in Mexico.

 

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Medea Benjamin


Deported by Pakistani’s and companion arrested in US, Medea Benjamin tells her ordeal of Pakistan’s travel.

The car pulled up to the Race Course Police Station, where more police threw open the gate and dragged us inside. Terrified, we found ourselves in the office of a shady-looking character in a running suit. He had on no badge or ID, but behind his desk was a framed certificate made out to Faizal Gulzar Awan, awarded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Great-he’d been trained by the FBI. That made us even more terrified!

So we have people trained by FBI to harass people of Pakistan. The story is important because if this can happen to the American National in Pakistan whose officials have used the SMS to discuss matters with the PM and President, what could happen to an ordinary citizen

 

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Pakistani civil society’s answers to the governments propaganda Team in USA


I received this message from a friend in US. This was written in the reply of allegations made by the Musharaf’s PR team.

  • Dr. Nasim Ashraf, Minister of State, Government of Pakistan; Chairman, National Commission for Human Development
  • Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, Minister of Tourism and Youth Affairs, Government of Pakistan
  • Ms. Kashmala Tariq, Former Member, National Assembly of Pakistan

I found this document quite powerful rebuttal of the Govt.’s arguments.
Musharraf PR Team’s Mis-statements at Asia Society in New York on Friday Nov 30, 2007
(listen to the recording at: http://www.asiasociety.org/resources/pakemergency.html)

Background: On November 3rd, 2007, General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan and its Chief of the Army Staff at the time, declared a state of Emergency and issued a “Provisional Constitutional Order” (PCO). Under the PCO, General Musharraf suspended that country’s 1973 Constitution depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights and preventing the actions of his government to be challenged in the Courts. The justices of the Supreme Court of Pakistan were ordered to take a fresh oath to abide by the PCO. The Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and seven other justices issued their own legal order calling General Musharraf’s declaration of Emergency unlawful and urged the military officials not to act on unlawful orders. General Musharraf then dismissed CJ Chaudhry and in his place swore in a pro-Musharraf member of the Supreme Court as the new Chief Justice. It should be noted that CJ Chaudhry was earlier dismissed by General Musharraf in March 2007 but was later reinstated as Chief Justice by a special bench of the Supreme Court.
In late November 2007, President Musharraf sent a Special Delegation to makes its official case in various cities in the
United States including New York and Washington DC. The delegation comprised of Mr. Nasim Ashraf (Minister of State and Chairman of National Commission for Human Development), Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif (Minister of Tourism and Youth Affairs) & Ms. Kashmala Tariq (Former Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan). What follows are rebuttals to some of their mis-statements at an event at Asia Society in New York on Friday November 30, 2007. The event was co-sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and was moderated by Ambassador Nicholas Platt, President Emeritus of Asia Society and US Ambassador to Pakistan from 1991 to 1992. The audio of the event was made available by Asia Society on their website:
http://www.asiasociety.org/resources/pakemergency.html.


While listening to the tape, it becomes quite apparent rather quickly that the main target of this delegation was the Supreme Court of Pakistan and its deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Several mis-statements were made specifically with regards to the person of CJ Chaudhry in order to discredit him. The main objective of the delegation was to make a case that the pre-emergency Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by CJ Chaudhry, does not deserve to be reinstated under any circumstances.


Mis-statement # 1: The Supreme Court of Pakistan was releasing terrorists
Barrister Saif and Mr. Ashraf argued that the Supreme Court was releasing terrorists. Specifically, Barrister Saif stated that “Chaudhry after being reinstated took missing person’s case in which persons were ‘allegedly’ involved in terrorist activities.” (34:05)

Rebuttal: The Supreme Court never ordered the release of any person charged with any crime. Instead, it addressed a petition filed by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) with the names of 485 individuals who had simply disappeared. Barrister Saif acknowledges on the tape that these people were “alleged” terrorists. These people had been picked up by Pakistan‘s intelligence agencies and had never been heard of again. Many of these people have been held without being charged for years. Many apparently have no connection to terrorism, but have no way of proving their innocence since the government does not even acknowledge holding them. At the request of the HRCP, the Supreme Court demanded that the basic right of Habeas Corpus be observed, and that these missing people be produced in court, and properly charged with crimes or offenses. In those instances where the intelligence agencies and the government were unable to provide any charge or supply even the most basic evidence against such individuals, the Courts ordered their release. There is nothing wrong with the Supreme Court demanding that, as per Pakistan‘s Constitution, any person in government custody be charged with a crime, and tried for it.

Mis-statement # 2: The Supreme Court ordered the re-opening of the Red Mosque
Barrister Saif stated that a two member bench of the Supreme Court ordered the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) to be opened.

Rebuttal: The two-member bench of the Supreme Court that ordered the reopening of the Lal Masjid was comprised of two judges who later took the oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) after the emergency was declared by General Musharraf on Nov 3rd. It is clear that those two judges, Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi and Justice Javed Buttar, are loyal to President Musharraf and it is not difficult to conjecture that these two “government judges” were instructed to issue such orders as a way of constructing a charge sheet against the Supreme Court and CJ Chaudhry.

Mis-statement # 3: The necessary military action in NWFP province was not possible without declaring Emergency on Nov 3rd
Mr. Ashraf argued that the Musharraf government needed the NWFP provincial government’s written approval to send military troops into Swat and because such an approval was not provided the Emergency declared on Nov 3rd was necessary for the military to carry on its operations in Swat.

Rebuttal: The NWFP provincial government had resigned and the provincial assembly was dissolved prior to Nov 3rd. The central government already had full authority to send the military into Swat before Nov 3rd and it did not need to declare Emergency on Nov 3rd to do so. Even the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) told several representatives of the media at a briefing at Military General Head Quarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi soon after Nov 3rd that the Emergency was not needed for the Swat operation. The GHQ briefing was attended by leading journalists and TV anchors including Ayesha Haroon, Nasim Zehra, Talat Hussain, Zaffar Abbas, Najam Sethi, Ejaz Haider, Kamran Khan and Shafqat Mahmood. It should be noted that President Musharraf and the newly appointed Army Chief General Kiyani both held the DGMO post earlier in their military careers. It should therefore be quite clear that when it comes to military matters, the DMGO has lot more pertinent knowledge compared to a civilian like Mr. Ashraf.

Mis-statement # 4: There was a long list of charges against Chief Justice Chaudhry
Barrister Saif and Mr. Ashraf stated the there was a long list of charges against CJ Chaudhry when he was initially deposed in March 2007.

Rebuttal:
These charges had their day in court, and were dismissed unanimously by an 11 member bench of the Supreme Court. Yet Barrister Saif continues to malign the Chief Justice by bringing them up. Specifically, these charges were the subject of a several months long proceeding before a full bench of the Supreme Court. During the proceedings the bench not only unanimously rejected the charges, but also dismissed them as being filed with mala fide (i.e. malicious) intent, and as being false on face value. Indeed, the government actually tendered a formal apology to the Supreme Court for several of the accusations which were false on their face, and were remarkably fined Rs. 100,000 for making baseless allegations. The credibility of these charges and thus the integrity of the Chief Justice can be judged by the fact that, last month,
Harvard Law School awarded Chief Justice Chaudhry its highest award, the Medal of Freedom. The most immediate past recipients of this award were Nelson Mandela, and the legal team which argued Brown vs. The Board of Education. In addition, the New York City Bar Association, in another vote of confidence in the integrity of the Chief Justice, has awarded him an honorary lifetime membership. This rare honor was last given to the late Chief Justice Rehnquist of the US Supreme Court.

Mis-statement # 5: Chief Justice Chaudhry was making political speeches
Barrister Saif stated that after CJ Chaudhry was first deposed in March 2007, he went around the country making political speeches at Bar Association events. He also stated that those events were political in nature with flags of all political parties flying in one place. (52:00)

Rebuttal:
The Bar Association event organizers only allowed lawyers who were members to attend the events with CJ Chaudhry. Members of political parties were not invited at these events. CJ Chaudhry made all his speeches regarding human rights and did not touch on political matters. There is no evidence whatsoever that CJ Chaudhry made any political speeches.

Mis-statement # 6: Chief Justice Chaudhry was planning on running for President
Barrister Saif alleged that Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, who was CJ Chaudhry’s lawyer after he was first sacked in March 2007, had stated that CJ Chaudhry was planning on starting a “Justice Party” and CJ Chaudhry would be its presidential candidate. (52:30)

Rebuttal
: Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan or CJ Chaudhry never made any comments regarding any new party or about CJ Chaudhry running for President. Like all other public servants, CJ Chaudhry cannot run for public office till two years after his retirement from the Supreme Court, as stated in the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan. President Musharraf broke that law by running for President while still in a military uniform. The legal challenges against his actions were pending in the Supreme Court when he declared the Emergency on Nov 3rd.

Mis-statement # 7: None of the Supreme Court Judges are under house arrest
Barrister Saif stated that CJ Chaudhry and other judges are not under house arrest and there is no written order for their arrest. (38:09)

Rebuttal
: CJ Chaudhry can’t get out of his house which is under heavy police guard and his closest relatives are not allowed to see him. CJ Chaudhry’s daughter was due to take her O-Levels exams and the British High Commission arranged for her to take her exams at CJ Chaudhry’s house as she was not allowed to leave the house by the police. Even the moderator of the Asia Society event, Ambassador Nicholas Platt, told Barrister Saif that the judges were indeed under house arrest. In addition,
US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson was not allowed by the police to meet with Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan who is also under house arrest after two weeks in solitary confinement in a prison. (http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=11535)

Mis-statement # 8: A leading Pakistani journalist said that the Supreme Court was to blame for the declaration of emergency
Mr. Ashraf quoted Mr. Najam Sethi of The Friday Times from an article where Mr. Sethi blamed CJ Chaudhry and the Supreme Court for pushing President Musharraf to a point where he had to declare the Emergency on Nov 3rd.

Rebuttal: Najam Sethi is indeed considered one of the prominent journalists of Pakistan but he is clearly in the very tiny minority among Pakistan‘s influential journalists. The following journalists who are as widely read as Najam Sethi have strongly criticized President Musharraf for his Nov 3rd actions and lay the blame fully at his feet: Ayaz Amir, Tanvir Ahmad Khan, Hasan Askari Rizvi, Nasim Zehra, Shafqat Mahmood, Tariq Fatemi & Zahid Hussain. The overwhelming majority of respected journalists are against President Musharraf’s declaration of the Emergency, including those who were previously somewhat sympathetic to him.

Mis-statement #9: Mr. Saif is a “neutral” member of the caretaker government
Barrister Saif stated in response to a question over the internet that he is a “neutral” member of the caretaker government installed by President Musharraf because he does not belong to a political party.

Rebuttal: Barrister Saif is not neutral. He was an Advisor to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs during the previous PML-Q government supported by President Musharraf. At the Asia Society event, he made the case in defense of the previous PML-Q government and blasted several major political parties in Pakistan as well as the lawyers, Supreme Court and the media. In every country of the world, except under the emergency in Pakistan, such a person is considered “biased”. Barrister Saif should be immediately removed from the “neutral” caretaker government and so should others belonging to the PML-Q party who are considered loyal to President Musharraf.

Mis-statement #10: International observers are welcome to come monitor elections
Ms. Tariq stated that “we welcome western observers to monitor the elections.” (50:58)

Rebuttal: US government has officially raised serious concerns that foreign election observers willing to rush to Pakistan are being denied visas by the Pakistan embassies, a matter which has been raised at the level of President Musharraf and caretaker Prime Minister Muhammed Mian Soomro. US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson held an urgent meeting with the caretaker PM to raise the issue while a delegation of US Congressmen, who called on General Pervez Musharraf on Friday, also informed him that visas were being denied to election observers. (http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=11475)

Mis-statement # 11: President Musharraf would not have to face the death penalty
Mr. Ashraf stated in response to a question that while he agreed that under the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, a military coup or martial law is punishable by death as its considered mutiny, President Musharraf was off the hook because the (hand-picked pro-Musharraf) judiciary post the coup in 1999 had upheld the coup and a 2/3rd majority of parliament (constituted after elections in 2002 which were considered by most to be massively rigged) had also condoned his actions.

Rebuttal: President Musharraf could still face the death penalty if the 1973 Constitution is reinstated. On Oct 12, 1999 the then-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sacked General Musharraf under powers vested in him by the Constitution of 1973 and replaced him with another general. Mr. Musharraf who was no longer the Chief of the Army as a result of the PM’s actions, later that day took the unlawful step of a military coup with the help of other military generals and breached Article 6 of the 1973 Constitution. The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan can indeed be amended by a 2/3rd majority of the Parliament and Provincial Assemblies but Article 6 has not been amended or deleted even by the pro-Musharraf government and it still states that a military coup is punishable by death without any statute of limitations. Therefore, President Musharraf could still face the death penalty for his actions on Oct 12, 1999. In addition, his actions on Nov 3, 2007 when he declared an emergency and revoked the 1973 Constitution (for the second time) are also punishable by death under the 1973 Constitution. As a matter of fact, President Musharraf recently admitted in a BBC interviews that he had in fact violated the 1973 Constitution on Nov 3rd. Since the Constitution cannot be amended until after it is reinstated and only an elected Parliament and Provincial Assemblies with 2/3rds majority have the right to amend it, the question at Asia Society by a member of the audience highlighted the lack of legal protection that President Musharaf would have under a reinstated 1973 Constitution. This could be one reason why President Musharraf does not want the pre-emergency Supreme Court and CJ Chaudhry to be restored.

 

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