Monday, February 25, 2008

People's Resistance Judicial Bus Rally: Videos and Account

1. Reception given at Hyderabad
2. Excerpt from speech by CJ Sabihuddin Ahmed
Accompanying the "Judicial Bus" there were over 60 cars in the caravan, several motor-cycles, one bus and two Suzuki vans packed with those who could not bring cars. Chief Justice Sabeehuddin Ahmed, 13 non-PCO judges of Sind High Court, Justice Ghulam Rabbani of Supreme Court, Mr. Munir Malik and Mr. Rasheed Razvi were in the judicial bus.Several cars which were not part of the caravan joined it along the way on Super Highway and raised pro-judiciary slogans and victory signs. It was also pleasant to see the spirit on the streets of Hyderabad where many bystanders joined in. On one intersection in Hyderabad, traffic policemen smiled and nodded their heads to the slogans as they stopped traffic to let the rally pass through.
Earlier, the rally started with an upbeat mood. People's Resistance members reached the High Court at Karachi to join the lawyers around 9 in the morning. The previous night, thanks to Riaz, Sophia and Samina messages for new banners were decided. Couple of them were "Awaam ka mandate, Adlia ki Bahali", "Awaam ka Mandate, Musharraf ko Chelta Kero". The caravan left the High Court around 945. Tahmasp and Salahuddin were kind enough to ask the rally to wait for some PR members who joined late.Everyone re-assembled on Sharae Faisal near Awami Centre to allow others to join in and put up banners and posters on the cars and buses. The cars lined up on the side of the road and traffic flow was not disturbed. Traffic and Karachi police were present to guide the flow as well. Sophia arrived with the new banners and literally shocked everyone by the size and quality of the banners she printed !! There were 12 of them and one each was fixed on the back of the "Judicial Bus" and the other Coaster. The rest were put up on the larger cars in the caravan. Posters from "International Socialists" were taken by Pasban members and fixed on their cars :) !! A sort of coming together of two ends of the right-left spectrum for a common cause. Women's wing of Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf joined the caravan near Drigh Road Railway station. Speaking to them later, they told us that when they were waiting for us to arrive, the police had asked them to leave the road as "VIP movement" was expected !! When they asked further, they were told that the Prime Minister was arriving :) !! Of course, there was no "VIP movement" (of the government kind) and only the judicial bus rally passing through.Some PR members went as far as Malir Bar Association and lined up on the roadside to see off the rally which continued the journey. There were 3 stops on the way where locals including peasants, truck drivers and shopowners joined the traveling group and greeted them.
The venue at Hyderabad had to be changed as the administration of PCO'ed High Court of Sind had sealed the original venue at Circuit Bench in Hyderabad. In sharp contrast to the tear gassing of lawyers rally at city courts in Karachi few days ago, police throughout was very cooperative and even raised victory signs along the way (picture in one of the sets attached).Hyderabad was tremendous. Local lawyers and Awami Tehreek had organized a befitting reception at the District Courts. Song and dance with very catchy Sindhi slogans were raised. The entrance was flooded with flower petals.Chief Justice Sabihuddin, in his measured and emphatic manner, made two significant points. One was that the people had given their verdict through elections and have proven that "we are not terrorists" but "peaceful people" who "believe in the building of institutions to strengthen our society and country".He also said that an institution can only be strong if the people in it have an unwavering commitment to make that happen.After the event, on the way back in evening, some PR members stopped at a roadside "dhaba" for tea and snacks - but could not resist Dal fry :) prepared rural style - on coal.

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