Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Letter to Chinese Ambassador

(The Emergency Times Eds- The following is an open call by the PAACS to get various civil society organizations to endorse a letter to the Chinese ambassador in the States protesting the meeting of the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan with the illegally appointed Chief Justice, Abdul Hameed Dogar, and his subsequent comments. We strongly urge any such organizations who may read this and agree with the contents of the letter to follow through on the instructions given below to record their disapproval of the Chinese ambassador's statement )

I just wanted to assure you that you are not alone in your struggle for the restoration of the Constitution and the reinstatement of the deposed judiciary. On behalf of Pakistani American Attorneys for Constitutional Supremacy (PAACS), I commend your dedication for a just cause. We all know very well that we cannot achieve the objective of having an independent judiciary unless the deposed judges are reinstated. Furthermore, we cannot expect to have fair elections without an independent judiciary. I am forwarding to you a draft letter which we plan to forward to the Chinese ambassador to the US. A number of organizations have committed to endorse this letter. I would highly appreciate if you can place this letter on your emergency email list so that other interested organizations may endorse it. We will be needing the names of the organizations, addresses and contact persons' information. The interested organizations may email the information to me at We have a long and uphill battle ahead of us, but eventually justice will prevail.
Best regards,
Saleem S. RizviOrganizer -PAACS

His Excellency,
Mr. Zhou Wenzhong Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United States of America
The Chinese Embassy2201 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Suite 110Washington, DC 20007

Your Excellency,

We, the listed below organizations , reflecting the overwhelming consensus among majority of the people of Pakistan, the Pakistani- American community, and Pakistani Diaspora overseas forward this letter to you to express our deep concerns regarding the visit of the Ambassador of China to Pakistan, His Excellency Mr. Luo Zhaohui to the current (unconstitutionally nominated) Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Abdul Hameed Dogar, at his chamber in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

According to the report issued by your government, "The Chinese Ambassador conveyed his good wishes to the Chief Justice of Pakistan on assuming the highest judicial office of the country".

"We would respectfully like you to know that the above-mentioned visit and the official statement about it convey a wrong message to the Musharraf government. The visit extends an equally wrong message to the people of Pakistan who are struggling to reclaim their democratic rights, in the face of a grave situation where the Constitution is held in abeyance, the state structure is being destroyed, civil rights are suspended, the media is gagged, judges and eminent lawyers are under house arrests, political activists are on the run, and the police and intelligence agencies are fully deployed to commit violent acts against the civil society by the Musharraf government in Pakistan.

The people of Pakistan find this visit highly troubling, especially in view of a long history of unwavering friendship with the people of China. Their friendship is legendry, and so is their struggle against injustice, inequality and their fight for the uplifting of ordinary people. Therefore, the people of Pakistan and Pakistanis around the world do not understand the meaning and timing of this untimely" visit of good will". However, what they clearly understand is that this visit has the potential for damaging the perception of the government of China in the minds of the millions who are fighting for a constitutional and democratic system in Pakistan. It is crucial to note that the current chief justice did not take the oath under the Constitution of Pakistan to defend and preserve it. He took the loyally oath under an illegal Order called “PCO” issued by the then army chief, General Musharraf.
In response to a Gallup Poll in June 2007, when asked how important it is to them personally to have a democratically elected government in Pakistan, about half of Pakistanis (49%) say it is “very important,” and an additional 20% say it is “essential” and something they cannot live without. On the other hand, only 6% said it was not important. Please also note that more than 70% believe that the imposition of Martial Law is not in the national interest

We are also sure that you know very well that there is an overwhelming consensus among domestic and international political observers that the principal reason that General Musharraf imposed Martial Law was to silence the higher judiciary. It was the first time in the history of Pakistan that the judiciary began to exhibit a considerable degree of maturity, independence, and assertiveness, which was seen by General Musarraf as a threat to his personal ambition. He therefore imposed Martial law and deposed the judiciary in the name of public interest,. It is also the first time in the history of Pakistan that the entire higher judiciary has been dismantled and judges were placed under “ house arrest”, at the whim of one person.

The Musharraf regime claims that it is not a martial law, rather it is a state emergency. Please keep in mind that a state emergency can be declared only under the Constitution. Please also note that it can be declared only by the President. Now the question is whether General Musharraf has imposed what he termed as a state of emergency rule on the people of Pakistan, as the President. The answer is NO, because he declared it as the army chief. Another question in this context is whether he has declared it under the Constitution. Again the answer is No because he has held the Constitution in abeyance. Simply said, he has suspended, or even worse, abrogated the Constitution. Therefore it is not an emergency - rather it is martial law declared by the army chief. One could also ask what is the army chief’s source of power to declare either martial law or an emergency?

General Musharraf did not stop there. In order to keep power in his own hands, he made an amendment in the PCO as the army chief giving the President (which he is now) the power to lift what he called an emergency, depriving the current army chief the power to lift it.

At this critical juncture, we express our outrage at prolonged and illegal house arrest of eminent lawyers and deposed judges in Pakistan and demand their immediate release. According to confirmed reports, their homes have been turned into “sub-jails” by the Musharraf government. Consequently, their entire families, including children in certain instances, are suffering immensely.

We also strongly and unequivocally condemn the imposition of Martial Law; the suspension of the Constitution; the dismantling, uprooting and manipulation of the judiciary; the arrest, detention and beating of lawyers, political and human rights activists and other members of the civil society; the unconstitutional infringement of freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of association, and the incommunicado detention of the deposed Chief Justice and other judges of the apex and high courts by the Musharraf government.

In view of the above, we respectfully request you to be on the right side of the struggle of the people of Pakistan by supporting their just demands that General Musharraf must undo his illegal and unconstitutional actions and take the following steps immediately:

1. Lift the Martial Law/State of Emergency,

2. Restore the constitution and reinstate the deposed Chief Justice and all other judges of the apex and high courts by reviving the pre-November 3 judiciary,

3. Release all political prisoners currently rounded up and detained, including lawyers, judges, journalists, students, artists, human rights activists and other members of the civil society,

4. Restore freedom of the press and freedom of expression by lifting all illegal and unconstitutional restrictions on the media,

5. Allow political activities and participation at all levels and all stages of the election/electoral process for the emergence of a free and open political environment, in which free elections could be held through independent caretaker arrangements, and under a transparent and accountable election commission.

We also urge the government of the Chinese Republic to exert its utmost influence on the Musharraf government to take immediate steps to release detained lawyers and judges and meet the above demands. It must be recognized that the people of Pakistan are moderate in thought and action. By keeping the moderate and progressive political and democratic forces out of power forcibly, the present Pakistani government has created a political vacuum in which extremism is quickly taking root and affecting the civil society at large. Only by restoring to an open, transparent and accountable democratic system will Pakistan and its people have the opportunity to play their due role in the global community.Respectfully submitted by the following organizations:

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