Saturday, 15 December 2007

Blogger’s Take on COAS Remarks

What exactly did Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kiyani had on his mind when he recently said, “Ultimately, it is the will of the people and their support that is decisive”?

Here is one interesting take.

End of Martial Law, Tyranny Continues

Forty-two days after he unleashed his second martial law, Tyrant Musharraf has ‘issued a presidential order to lift the emergency and to restore the constitution by ending the PCO’, the New International says in this newsflash.

The state-run APP reporting the development said Musharraf “will address the nation at 8.00 pm today” over radio and television.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Justice Chaudhry Named Lawyer of the Year

Awarded the Howard Law School ‘Medal of Freedom’ last month, Our Lord the Chief Justice has now been named ‘Lawyer of the Year’ by the prestigious National Law Journal.

“Chaudhry, the chief justice of Pakistan ...has been a strong voice for the preservation of the rule of law in Pakistan”, says Rex Bossert, the Editor-in-Chief, in the leader of the Journal's 17 December issue.

He concedes nomination of Justice Chaurdhry “is a bit of a departure, since normally our sights are set on the American legal community”, but justifies the choice saying, “The unusual choice of Chaudhry was prompted by the rare instance of a judge taking such a bold and influential stand against a government in defense of judicial independence and the rule of law.”

Bossert pays rich tributes to Justice Chaudhry, saying, “He has become an international symbol of an independent judiciary and of resistance to the excesses of military rule.... Chaudhry’s example reminds us that no government or person — whether ally or enemy — is above the law.”

A United States periodical founded in 1978, the weekly National Law Journal reports legal information of national importance to attorneys, including federal circuit court decisions, verdicts, practitioners' columns, coverage of legislative issues, and legal news for the business and private sectors.

Published by ALM, the publishers of the American Lawyer magazine, the Journal claims the highest paid circulation of any weekly periodical serving the legal community in the United States.

The ALM press release announcing Justice Chaudhry's nomination can be read here.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

True Blue Aitizaz Stays True to Cause

Barrister Chaudhry Aitizaz Ahsan threw his lot with the people of Pakistan Wednesday by withdrawing his electoral candidacy, parting ways with Pakistan People’s Party leader Benazir Bhutto.

Bhutto, who is in cahoots with Musharraf since her return from self-imposed exile earlier this year, has been noticeably cool about the President of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, who has pressed all concerned to boycott the polls Bhutto is so eager to contest.

Some reports have suggested she is jealous – or perhaps insecure – about the popularity Aitizaz Ahsan, a key leader of Bhutto’s party, has won by championing the cause of independence of judiciary.

The ace lawyer who lead the legal charge that defeated Musharraf’s first attempt (9 March 2007) to remove the Chief Justice of Pakistan from office, Barrister Chaudhry also spearheaded the street battle rallying the people of Pakistan to the cause Our Lord the Chief Justice.

Small wonder he was among the first to be detained on 3 November when Musharraf unleashed his second martial law in his second attempt to unseat the His Lordship. He was first detained at Adyala Jail Rawalpindi but later brought to Zaman Park residence, where he has remained under house arrest.

Barrister Chaudhry’s wife Bushra Aitizaz, confirmed to Geo News today her husband had instructed his lawyers in writing to withdraw his nomination papers, the New International says in this newsflash.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Activists Bear Brunt as Harassment of Judiciary Continues

The Musharraf regime’s pressure tactics to harass the independent judges continue, while activists who rose to support the justices are facing brutalities.

Ten activists, among them lawyers and students, men and women, have been arrested for keeping vigil outside the official residence of Justice Shahid Siddiqui, who had been threatened with forced eviction, the Post says in this report.

Justice Siddiqui, who was hospitalised Tuesday night, is said to be in a stable condition. His condition had deteriorated due to the regime’s pressure tactics. Meanwhile, the police is putting pressure on his family to vacate the residence, the Daily Times says.

Police have erected barricades on all the roads leading to the residence of Justice Shahid Siddiqui who had refused to take oath under Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), the News International said in this newsflash.

“Local people are not allowed to use these roads where heavy police contingents have been deployed”, the paper said. “The restriction has been imposed in government employees’ residential colony, GOR One on the order of Lahore High Court. The police blocked the roads leading to GOR last night and prevented common citizens to from entering the area....”

In a related development, Justice (Retd.) Wajihuddin Ahmed was arrested Friday from Gujrat as he was leading a rally for restoration of judiciary. He has been flown under duress to Karachi, the News International says.

Barrister Chaudhry Proposes Oath for Polls’ Candidates

Barrister Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan has devised a strategy to make restoration of judiciary the primary electoral issue, should the political opposition fail to boycott the election.

The centrepiece of his strategy is an oath he proposes to be administered to every candidate by districts bar councils across Pakistan to be prequalified to run for the elections.

The text of the oath:


I, ___________________ s/o ____________________ candidate in Constituency No. ______ to the ________________________ Assembly do hereby solemnly take oath and swear in this ______ day of __________, 2007(8) that in case I am elected in the forthcoming elections I will devote all my energies, powers privileges, rights and authority, (including the privilege to move and initiate legislation/amendments/motions/ resolutions and the right to vote and/or to speak) and exercise them at once from the first available opportunity after taking oath so as to ensure that the Supreme Court and the High Courts revert completely to their status as on November 2, 2007 and that none of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the High Courts of the provinces are in any way impeded from performing the functions of their respective offices by any person, authority or any purported law in the shape of any PCO or any other Proclamation by whatever name called and for that purpose to do all in my power and authority till such time as I am member of the Assembly.


VERIFIED: Office-bearer DBA _______.

‘Parties rushing to polls sans independent judiciary to regret’

“Political parties who rush to elections without first securing the restoration of an independent judiciary to supervise the electoral process will regret their haste”, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Munir A Malik has said.

“Every stage of the election process is conducted and supervised by the judiciary”, argues the top lawyer in this Dawn op-ed. “Given our electoral system, it is naive to say that the issue of restoration of judges can be taken up after the elections.”

Malik, a senior lawyer who faced inhuman conditions in detention before being hospitalised a few days ago, also asserts that “the legal fraternity does not and will not recognise PCO judges and their judgments”.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Fresh Move to Oust Dissenting Judges

In its latest draconian move against the superior judiciary, Musharraf’s illegal ‘interim’ government has purported to retire some of the dissenting judges, The News International said Tuesday.

“Federal ministry of Law has issued the notification for retirement of 24 High Court judges who did not take oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO)”, says the newsflash.

“Those judges who stand retired as per the notification included 12 judges of Sindh High Court (SHC), 10 judges of the Lahore High Court (LHC) and two judges of Peshawar High Court (PHC).”

Human Shield to Prevent Eviction of Dissenting Judge

Civil society activists, lawyers and retired judges picketed Monday night outside the house of a dissenting judge following attempts to forcibly evict him from his official residence.

Leading activists Asma Jahangir, Hina Jilani, and Asad Jamal were among those who kept the nightlong vigil outside the official residence of Justice Shahid Siddiqui in the bitter December cold were.

Activists are taking turns to keep an uninterrupted vigil, 40-50 at a time, forming a human shield to prevent the Punjab government from forcibly evicting the judge who declined to take oath under Musharraf’s martial law regulations, said Hamid Khan, a former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

The vigil was prompted by reports Monday evening that Justice Siddiqui may be evicted from his official residence. As the word got out at about 10:30 pm, scores of lawyers and civil society activists are gathered outside Justice Siddiqui's residence to show solidarity with him.

Speaking on the occasion, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chair Asma Jahangir said if the police came they would have to hit her first.

Justice Siddiqui is one of te two dissidents among judges living in government housing in Lahore's GOR, the other being Justice Ijaz Ahmed Choudhry. All other dissenting judges live in their own residences.


wake of eviction orders served on both the judges by a new ‘registrar’ brought in by the regime. Justice Siddiqui responded by challenging his authority and serving a contempt of court notice on him.

It may be pertinent to note that the rulebook says a judge will be given at least six months to vacate his official residence even is he is forced to retire. The regime’s attempt clearly violates those rules.

Activists are calling upon anyone in the area to please go and support the cause. The street address of Justice Siddiqui is 14 Tollington road, GOR I, Lahore.

Below is the text of the contemp notice served by Justice Siddiqui on the regime’s registrar.


30. 11. 2007

The Registrar of this Court through letter dated 16th November 2007 has requested me to vacate my official residence i.e. 14 – Tollinton Road, GOR – 1, Lahore. It has been written after the issuance of Proclamation of Emergency and the Provincial Constitution Order 2007. This communication is wholly illegal, totally in defiance to constitutional provisions and even against the normative values of decency.

1. I am clear in my mind that Lahore High Court holds its very existence to the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 which embodies the will of the people. Needless to say that the Constitution of a country is always considered as the supreme and sacred law of the land. It cannot be allowed to be abrogated, held in abeyance or violated under any pretext specially by those who have taken the oath to preserve, protect and defend it.

2. In view of the above, the Proclamation of Emergency and the Provincial Constitutional Order 2007 being in sheer abuse of powers are of no legal consequence as had been declared immediately after its promulgation by the Supreme Court of Pakistan existing under the Constitution. The mandate is binding upon the Judges of all the High Courts and all officials performing their functions under the law. Any infraction, violation or deviation from that order will amount to serious contempt of Court for which a deviant official will be liable and likely to be punished. The issuance of above letter appears to be an attempt to intimidate and overawe the Judges who have not surrendered to the Chief of Army Staff. I, therefore, as a sitting Judge of the Lahore High Court direct the Registrar of this Court to explain as to why and at whose instance he issued this letter asking me to vacate my official residence. The reply shall be submitted within a month.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Barrister Chaudhry Will Not Desert Cause, says Wife

Barrister Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan betray the brave struggle his fellow lawyers are waging for restoration of judiciary and the constitution, his wife has affirmed.

“Surely he will not leave the protesting lawyers in the lurch,” she was quoted as saying in this report by Daily Times.

The president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Barrister Chaudhry was among the first to be picked up after Musharraf’s second martial unfolded on 3 December 2007. First kept incommunicado in Rawalpindi Central Jail, he has since been shifted to his Lahore home, which the regime has declared sub-jail.

His wife Bushra is a human rights activist.

More Jurists Rally to Support Detained Judges

Twenty-five retired judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Lahore High Court have paid tributes to the judges who declined to take oath under the PCO, calling them heroes of the nation, The News International says in this report. This is the latest in a string of shows of support for My Lord the Chief Justice and his associates, being held in detention since the imposition, on 3 November 2007, of martial law.

Prominent retired jurists including Mr Justice (R) Fakhruddin G Ibrahim, Mr Justice (R) Nasir Aslam Zahid, and Mr Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed have already voiced their support to the judges, and demanded their reinstatement.

A signed copy (in pdf) of a joint statement issued a few days ago by eighteen illustrious former judges pressing for restoration of the constitution, reovkation of the proclamation of emergency of 3 November 2007, and release and restoration of the dissenting judges can be downloaded here.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Newsflash: Two Dissenting Judges Hospitalised?

Two dissenting judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan have been taken to a government-run hospital in Islamabad, The News International said in this newsflash Saturday 2:45 pm Pakistan Standard Time.

"Justice Rana Bhagwandas and Justice Ghulam Rabbani who had refused to take oath under [martial law] have been shifted to PIMS hospital in Islamabad for medical tests", the item said quoting sources.