By Nasir Iqbal (Courtesy DAWN)
ISLAMABAD, Dec 25: The deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has said that after 60 years of its existence the country has drifted away from the ideals, principles and vision of the Quaid-i-Azam.“Today as a nation, we find ourselves at a crossroads. It is a defining moment,” he said in a statement released by Advocate Athar Minallah here on Tuesday on the birth anniversary of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Christmas.
Justice Iftikhar said the vision of the Quaid was to see Pakistan prosper as a democratic state embodying principles of the rule of law, freedom of speech and expression, equality, tolerance, justice and fair play for all, protection of human rights and civil liberties.He said it was the Quaid’s dream to see all citizens freely practising their religious beliefs and achieving political and economic independence.The statement quoted the Quaid as having said: “Minorities to whichever community they may belong will be safeguarded. Their religion or faith or belief will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life, their culture. They will be, in all respects, the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or creed.”Justice Iftikhar said the Quaid envisaged for Pakistan an independent judiciary which would protect the fundamental rights of all citizens, uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.
“Today I join the Pakistani nation in their prayers and struggle to achieve the ideals of the Quaid’s vision for bringing back the country under the rule of law and the Constitution and to reverse the effects of this current darkest period of our constitutional and political history. It is our resolve and commitment to make the country, the Quaid’s Pakistan where there is supremacy of the constitution and rule of law rather than one-man rule,” the statement said.