Tuesday, December 25, 2007

APDM Boycott campaign started

Thousands of people attend today on 24th December, the first national rally held at Pesheen in Baluchistan. Mehmood Achakzai convener APDM declared that there are only two camps in Pakistan one of those who are contesting elections and those who are appealing for boycott. Those contesting the elections are in the camp of General Musharaf who is eager to legitimize all his dictatorial actions through elections. People will boycott and side with the lawyers movement which has become a symbol of struggle, he declared.

More such national public meetings are planned at Quetta, Hyderabad, Karachi Lahore and Islamabad during the next 10 days. The Punjab APDM met here today in Lahore to finalize the arrangements of the public meeting of 5 th January that is to held at Minar_I-Pakistan. The Karachi meeting will be held on 30th December at Nishter Park.

The Punjab APDM decided to set up boycott camps at all divisional headquarters of Punjab and public meetings at all the cities of Punjab till 5 th of January. It has also planned several corner public meetings in Lahore.

It also decided to participate in all the rallies of the advocates and civil society organizations whenever it is been called by them. It also announced to join the advocates call on 3 rd January as a day of action for the boycott campaign.

Labour Party Pakistan is producing its own literature for the boycott campaign alongside with APDM. Posters, stickers and leaflets are being printed to be distributed all over Pakistan during the campaign.

SAC boycott leaflet

Black day rally at Aiwan-e-Aadal

Tomorrow, 26th December 2007, there is a black day procession at the Aiwan e Aadal at 10 30 am.

This call has been made by the lawyers.
Students and other civil society groups should display solidarity by taking part in this procession. The situation is Pakistan has taken such a turn that with urgency, with thought and with clarity, we need to proceed at a pace that should not be stopped, cannot be stopped.

Veto the ballot box; Vote in the judiciary

Asma Qadir
Just a month and a half earlier, a few days after the proclamation of emergency, standing in front of the Vice chancellor in lieu of sporting the black band for just those three days, I proclaimed that there was no way that we would miss out on our very first chance to vote as he challenged the maturity of our political consciousness, consistently trying to associate us with those who squander their chance to express even their misgivings while busy sniveling and complaining about the political situation of the country in the comfort of their drawing rooms. That was before the election schedule had been announced; before the emergency and PCO and the dismissal of judges had settled down as a reality.

Today the excitement of that first vote has been replaced by a genuine gloom. Who do we vote for? The NRO-bequeathed, the deal-acquitted, the “anti establishment” establishment party, for BB? Or for the billi of a sher who kept lying about this deal with the Saudi Messiahs after having fled in fear of a death sentence (which was never to be-once being enough for every nation) or worse, a life sentence-a LIFE SENTENCE??? Pity the nation whose leaders bask in the illusions of invincibility-theirs or their detractors’. And now having dumped the civil society movement and the judges and the lawyers for the expedient of all expediencies, should we be trusting this Kashmiri/Lahori “tiger” to stand up to the uniformed lords? Or more interestingly restore the judges who stand much taller than his dwarfed esteem? Not to forget, the orange clad sage of all political turn arounds, Fazlur Rehman. Should we be voting for his cheekiness or his sickly smart no-confidence motion take-on or the delayed resignations that he can splash around to adorn himself with some cheap imitation of the martyr’s halo? Mention of the Surrey Palace and the Swiss accounts and the Ittefaq Mills and the Diesel of a Maulana being too repetitive for any piece on today’s politics, I’d spare the readers of the effort which brings me to the abandoned Kings’ party. Hah, who’s interested, anyways? Snubbed! High time we learnt that art, of bringing sycophants to their actual fit, of ignoring the inconsequential-courtesy Kamran Shafi from Centre Point, Dawn News.

And then, should we be voting at all? The above mentioned reasons alone should not deter people from voting in the polls-alas, if it were just a genuine democracy with some prospect of the choice between the bad and the worse improving to one between good and the better. But when the judiciary stands deposed, when civil society leaders like Munir A. malik are mistreated into Kidney failures or the likes of Aitzaz Ahsan and Iftikhar Chaudhry denied a hearty eid celebration, when lawyers are forced to test all their guts on the streets? When the last guarantee to a just dispensation in this country, the transformed judiciary is treated like trash, should we be going to the polls? All that as one individual twists and distorts the law of the land on his own dictates, eying longevity in mortality-when one man becomes the nation and the nation becomes one man. The elections would just be a distraction, another dead end, pretend-to-be-merry, time pass activity as the usurper runs away with this country and its actual interests, another jewel besides the presidential referendum, the 2002 elections, 17th amendment and the 2007 presidential elections, in his crown. No one will talk about the sacked judiciary once the air gets thick with the political wrangling of a hung parliament which it will be as of elections 2008. One visit by Negroponte was enough to turn Benazir on her heels, to realize the importance of institutions versus personalities, the institution obviously being just the judiciary, as she continues insisting on an amendment to the third time premiership legislation which also happened to be one of the major bargaining chips in the NRO deal talks.

Though still holding on to the restoration-of-judiciary card, Nawaz Sharif did switch sides just recently when he said that the first casualty of a military coup is the Parliament. Like Duh! As if that’s not apparent enough. The simpletons may fall for just another expression of the obvious. For the keen eyed, the politics-honed it should have been the judiciary to be politically correct/sincere. And no wonder, we have politicians taking turns to remind us of the dirty linen of the sacked judiciary, their first time oaths under the PCO, forgetting that their defiance in front of a military dictator is far more real than the stifle of a sacrifice of self exiles and pretended banishments and en-masse resignations at the end of full five years in power. And as Maulana Fazlur Rehman keeps citing the inevitable participation of the people in the polls as a reason for his parties’ whenever he is cornered into spilling out the beans, a boycott would serve to discredit the deservedly discredited, those who have always used our name to justify their petty politics.

Numerous elections have passed in the tarnished history of this country, most held to pass dictatorships, one-man reigns as the most liberal of democracies, as most inclusive of all governments. All have led back to square one, to leave us bemoaning in vain our unconscious role in the perpetuation of the worst of traditions, those which sprang from Justice Munir’s judgment. That small stint with an independent judiciary has raised our standard of expectations. The lawyers’ movement showed us the possibility of a conscientious judiciary in our country. It raised hopes, it empowered people triggering the civil society movement. For the first time in our history, a movement is aiming at a change of system and not just of the faces. The jargon of ideological divides used to rally people into electioneering, the Benazir-Nawaz divide, the nationalist-religious tussle is not the issue today. Justice is our ideology; independent judiciary being the only hope to securing that right to choose, of heralding an era of constitutionalism.

A boycott would keep alive the hopes of the restoration of an independent judiciary. The boycott will afford us some high ground to shoot off our demands from. Elections are a clowns’ play meant to pull away supporters of this movement. They are just another addition to the morsels thrown our way by the ruling elite and which we are expected to accept graciously only because similar or worse circumstances have existed in this country. But yet another dictator cannot be allowed to get away with the vandalism of the highest order of this land. If at all this movement withers away without any apparent results, it would have at least set some positive precedents for tomorrow.

Vacancies are still available in the ranks of Iftikhar Chaudry and Bhagwandas and Ramday, Munir A. Maliks, Aitzazs and the Kurds. The vote will not settle their cause; a veto may.

Iftikhar, Aitzaz to sue Musharraf for defamation

Deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Supreme Court Bar Association President Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan are suing President Pervez Musharraf to claim damages worth two billion rupees through a defamation suit.

Talking to The Nation on Thursday, Aitzaz made his intentions known when asked to comment on a statement of President Musharraf in which he charged former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Aitzaz Ahsan, senior deposed judge Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday and PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif for hatching a conspiracy to throw him out of the presidency. “A time has come when he will see a controversy behind every curtain”, said Barrister Aitzaz while playing down the allegations levelled by President Musharraf. “We are consulting our lawyers and will soon file a defamation suit of two billion rupees against Musharraf for leveling false allegation and bringing our name into disrepute without any substantial evidence”, said Aitzaz, who was released earlier in the morning for three days.

Defending the credibility of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Aitzaz said the ‘misconduct’ charges against his client were thrown out of the box by a full court. “Any such impression is not only false but also absurd,” he added. “We will sue him for two billion damages through a defamation suit”, he reiterated. Former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is also reported to have said the charges of President Musharraf are actually “his self-created fears”. Athar Minullah, a civil society activist-cum-lawyer, who has a frequent access to the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, informed The Nation that Justice Iftikhar has absolutely dispelled the impression that he, along with Aitzaz and Justice Ramday, were hatching a conspiracy to overthrow the rule of President Musharraf.

“He (Musharraf) was all praise for Supreme Court on September 28 when it dismissed petitions against his qualification to contest presidential polls but now he is talking about conspiracies”, Athar quoted deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, as saying during his latest interaction the other evening with the latter after the statement of President Musharraf was carried by media. “Chief Justice has also said the government lawyers not only had to withdraw corruption charges against him but also sought apologies, besides paying one hundred thousand rupees fine when they brought the corruption charges to the apex court”, Athar Minullah also quoted the former CJP as saying.

Meanwhile, commenting on Pervez Musharraf’s statement that Aitzaz and some judges had plotted a conspiracy against him (Musharraf), Aitzaz said these are the emotions of a ‘defeated gambler’. He said that after consultation with the lawyers he would file a damages suit of Rs 2 billion against Musharraf and the amount will be recovered after selling out his national and international assets.