Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Letter to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Right Hon. David Miliband,
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,
Government of the United Kingdom
December 11, 2007

Dear Mr. Miliband,
We write to you in response to statements issued by H.E. David Brinkley, your High Commissioner in Islamabad, as reported in all newspapers of the country.
Mr. Brinkley was quoted as saying that "Britain is not demanding reinstatement of deposed judges, as (this) was not going to happen, .. because unhappiness with the judiciary was the central issue for emergency being imposed." He further added that "Instead of demanding the restoration of the past position, we are asking for independent judiciary for the future." As self-respecting Pakistanis, we find his statements shocking and reprehensible, and their logic inherently flawed. As Mr. Brinkley himself points out, Musharraf's unhappiness with the judges was the central issue to emergency being imposed. Does he expect the people of Pakistan to accept such a ridiculous reason - one man's unhappiness - as a valid cause for the suspension of the Constitution? If such a thing were to happen in your country, would you as a loyal citizen accept or endorse it, Mr. Miliband? Would you not raise your voice, as we do, for this glaring injustice to be reversed? Would you, as an upstanding citizen of a civilized country, accept as fait accompli a situation in which those who are loyal to their sworn oath are treated as common criminals, and those who commit treason are elevated to the highest offices of the State?

Sixty-six judges, all men of great intellect, honor and integrity stand deposed under this illegal emergency. These sixty-six judges are not merely individuals who fought for the independence of the judiciary - they are the independence of the judiciary. The dregs that have been left behind to constitute the present benches merit no comment: their own judgments since taking oath speak for them. Is this the "independent judiciary for the future" that Britain is asking for? What Britain does or does not demand is ultimately not of concern to us. We know that your wishes do not necessarily take into account the aspirations of the people of Pakistan. We are also aware that this is our battle, not yours, nor do we expect any other nation to wage it for us. However, we do expect that as representatives of a civilized nation with a strong tradition of independence of judiciary and rule of law, your government should respect our right to the same.
We sincerely hope that the statements that Mr. Brinkley is alleged to have made represent his individual view or perhaps the mistaken position of the British Government of the day, but not of the British people.
Yours sincerely,
Concerned Citizens of Pakistan
(One of several Civil Society groups fighting for the restoration of the judiciary in Pakistan)

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