Thursday, February 7, 2008

Details of Hum Logge Solidarity Rally on the 9th

Today Pakistan stands at the crossroads of chaos and instability. The events of November 3rd, and December 27, 2007, have had a devastating affect on our nation, the Balkanization of which is now a very likely future scenario. The gravity of the situation demands that we, the people of Pakistan, stay united and work for the restoration of our judiciary, which can restore order to our nation. In the wake of rising provincial disharmony and the judicial crisis, Hum Logge has organized a plan to rally under the flag of Pakistanfor solidarity on February 9th, 2008 from Lahore to the capital, Islamabad, via the G.T. road.

"Hum Logge" consists of organizers, in consultation with the Leaders of the Bars and major political parties, who are advocates of civil rights, the independence of judiciary, and a restoration of democracy. The parties will participate in the rally for a national cause since they too stand as a symbol of the Federation. We will rally with full support and enthusiasm from all classes of people (awam: the real people), the Leaders of the Bars and other participants including WAF (Women Action Forum), HRCP (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan), CCP (Concerned Citizens of Pakistan), the members of various NGOs, local civil society groups, SAC (Student Action Committee), and most importantly, the most marginalized citizens of this nation, who are the real voters.

Hum Logge- We, the people, ARE the government. United we stand to make our voice heard.

The rally aims to reiterate the people's demands for the restoration of the judiciary, free and fair elections for democracy, and to show solidarity amongst the four provinces in order to move the country away from the prevailing, vulnerable situation. It's time to work together for the solidarity of our country.

We will join our brethren in Islamabad and together march towards the Supreme Court so that we can influence the present regime to meet our demands. We aim to show solidarity with judicial leaders who are acting players for the suppressed of the country, and who are fighting for the independence of the judiciary, civil liberties, freedom of democracy, a free media, and a society rid of atrocities and tyranny.

We anticipate everyone's involvement and request that all individuals and organizations send their delegations as representatives in large numbers to show strength, power and the struggle of the people of Pakistan for their rights and for democracy.

This is for PAKISTAN and for ALL Pakistanis. It does not matter who you are and what your affiliations are. We ONLY want the Pakistani flag here, be it in the form of the flag itself, stickers, banners, etc. We want to focus on unity instead of the minor differences in agenda that we may have. Now is the time to unite.

We would also be obliged if people can donate cars for transportation to Islamabad. Please do register your cars with us and confirm the number of people you will be bringing along with Bina Qureshi.

Please contact Bina Qureshi and Nabiha Meher in Lahore, and Kamil Hamid in Islamabad for any details and information.


Looking forward,

Bina Qureshi
Team leader
Phone number: 0300-8412435

Nabiha Meher
Phone #: 0308-4579807

Kamil Hamid
Phone#: 0345-5104892

Inspirational Meeting with Justice (R) Wajeehuddin

Yesterday some of us had the honour of meeting Justice (Retd) Wajeehuddin, fondly known as the Real President of Pakistan, at Hamid Zaman's home. We thank Mustafa Ramday - Justice Khalil Ramday's son - for arranging the meeting.
For the benefit of all, I would like to recap some of his comments:

1. The movement for the restoration of the judiciary is historic, and *will* succeed.
2. Contrary to what a certain thug has been saying, it will *not* require two-thirds majority in both houses for his actions to be undone. They can be reversed by executive order backed up by even a simple majority in parliament.
3. After the elections, the lawyer's movement will give a certain deadline (backed up by civil society) for the new parliament to reverse the unconstitutional orders passed by musharraf. if need be, the entire nation will be asked, at a predetermined date and time, to come out of their houses, offices and factories briefly to show their unity and solidarity with the movement.
4. If the incoming government fails to restore the judiciary within the proposed time period, we will start a peaceful movement for civil disobedience.
5. At no time, not for a moment, must we allow for another dictator to come and replace the current one. Pervez Musharraf is a symptom of the disease - he is not the disease itself. The disease has been the army's string of forays into governance, administration and politics, directly through military coups and indirectly through behind-the-scenes manipulation of political governments through the ISI.
6. This disease has to be eliminated. If today Kyani is asking for army personnel to not meet politicians - he is only doing his job. Do we commend or put on a pedestal every Pakistani for doing what they are supposed to do anyway? Do not give any army chief the room to feel he is anything more than a servant of the state, as the Founder of our Nation told a complaining colonel once.
7. He also urged members of civil society, to look for amongst themselves, people who possess the qualities of sincerity, selflessness, competence, and above all, compassion for the common man, who could become candidates for the future from different political parties. The political process has never been allowed to mature in Pakistan- and the corruption we see in the political arena is also another symptom of the disease - but we must not give up on this process, nor lose sight of the disease behind these symptoms.

Finally, it is important for all of us in civil society to remember and be prepared for the fact that the the restoration of the judiciary is a key facet (but not the sole one) of our fight for the institution of civil rights, freedom, democracy and rule of law. Our battle will be a long and drawn-out one, and we must not lose energy, nor hope, nor focus.

In Continuing Solidarity,

Concerned Citizens of Pakistan (CCP)

Imran Khan barred from entering Karachi

(Courtesy DAWN)
Pakistani authorities barred opposition politician Imran Khan from entering Karachi on Thursday because he has called for a boycott of upcoming elections, officials said. Former cricket legend Khan was put back on a plane to Islamabad after officials prevented him from entering the southern province of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital, Sindh home minister Akhtar Zamin said. “We do not want anything to disrupt the elections. That is why have sent him back,” Zamin told AFP. “If he does not want to contest elections, it is fine, but he should not incite other people to do so. He will be welcome to visit Sindh after elections.” “It is for the third time that Imran Khan had been externed from Karachi and it is highly condemnable,” Khan's party secretary general Arif Alvi told AFP.

Military Retirees Demand Musharraf’s Resignation

Published: February 6, 2008

(Courtesy The New York Times)

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Several hundred retired generals, admirals and servicemen gathered Tuesday for the third time in two weeks in this military town and demanded the resignation of President Pervez Musharraf.
They had assembled for a seminar, but in an unprecedented public protest, a retired army chief, several retired generals and dozens of former servicemen came out onto the main road chanting and shouting against Mr. Musharraf.
Just two weeks after they first assembled on Jan. 22 and wrote a resolution calling on Mr. Musharraf to resign, the retired officers’ movement is starting to build momentum and appears poised to take over where the lawyers’ movement, with its main leaders under house arrest, has stalled.
The campaign was also to warn the government not to try to interfere in the parliamentary elections on Feb. 18. The retired officers met for a seminar about Kashmir, the territory that Pakistan and India claim, organized by the Pakistan Ex-Servicemen’s Society, which cares for the welfare of retired military personnel, in a hotel near the Army General Headquarters. The speeches soon turned political, taking aim at Mr. Musharraf, blaming him for abandoning Kashmir, stifling an independent judiciary and perpetuating his one-man rule.
“He has messed things up; look at the law and order,” said Lt. Gen. Jamshed Gulzar Kiani, a retiree who was the corps commander of Rawalpindi, one of the most important posts in the army, under Mr. Musharraf when he was commanding general of the armed forces.
The rash of suicide bombings and the fighting raging in two of Pakistan’s four provinces were the main concerns the former generals raised.
Mr. Kiani said that Mr. Musharraf gave an elaborate seven-point order of action when he seized power in 1999, but that after eight years he had not delivered on any of them.
“Where is the interprovincial harmony?” he asked. “Where is the law and order? Even the economy is going down with escalating food prices. The net result of the eight-year rule is a complete mess-up of the country.”
Another former general, Ali Kuli Khan, who was passed over for the top army job when Mr. Musharraf was appointed to it in 1998, expressed his frustration with a cricket term. “We are here to bring the lesson home that you have had enough of an innings,” he said, “and unless you back off it will not be possible for things to calm down.”
The outbursts, by traditionally loyal and discreet men of the armed forces, represent yet another sign of the growing resentment in Pakistan against Mr. Musharraf, whose popularity has plunged since last March, when he dismissed the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
The disaffection has grown sharply since Nov. 3, when Mr. Musharraf imposed martial law to see through his own election to another presidential term and since the Dec. 27 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the opposition leader and former prime minister, as she campaigned.
Last month the former servicemen issued a statement urging Mr. Musharraf to resign and hand over power to Mr. Chaudhry, who has been under house arrest since Nov. 3.
Mr. Musharraf, who was in Europe at the time, attacked his detractors. “They are insignificant personalities,” The Financial Times quoted him as saying in an interview at the Davos World Economic Forum. “Most of them are ones who served under me, and I kicked them out.”
Most of the retired officers at the meeting dismissed his remarks by saying that they considered him a junior officer. Mr. Kiani, who had served under General Musharraf, said the ex-servicemen supporting the movement were now far more than the original 100 who signed a statement last month calling for him to step down.
The generals’ movement is important because Mr. Musharraf is more likely to listen to his peers, several at the meeting said.
“This development, and their involvement, is unprecedented,” said Roedad Khan, a retired senior bureaucrat who was a guest speaker at the seminar. “This is bound to change the course of events, and very soon.” As he arrived he was welcomed by one of the organizers, who exclaimed that the servicemen wanted to draw in representatives of the bureaucracy to their campaign.
Mr. Kiani urged Mr. Musharraf to “please quit” and said his policies were putting the army at the center of controversy. “We don’t want any finger pointing at Pakistan Army,” Mr. Kiani said in his speech.
Asad Durrani, another lieutenant general who led the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, said the protest voiced by the retired military officers was “long overdue.” He denied that the retired generals were being urged by some quarters in the Pakistan Army, which under the leadership of its new chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has shown signs of distancing itself from politics.
“Nobody has been told anything,” Mr. Durrani said.
But one retired general in the audience, who asked not to be identified because of the political nature of his comments, suggested that there was a similar mood among current officers. “If you are getting all of this from people who have been in uniform, it is likely that those still in uniform feel the same way,” he said.

Pictures from PR Street Theatre on Tuesday

Chief Justice of Pakistan and Three Prominent Lawyers Declared Political Prisoners

For Immediate Release: Thursday, 7th February, 2008

Lahore, Pakistan - In a briefing paper released today, the LUMS Rule of Law Project concludes that the detention of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and advocates Aitzaz Ahsan, Justice(ret'd) Tariq Mehmood and Ali Ahmed Kurd violates Pakistan's constitution as well as customary international law. The report finds that the four are political prisoners and recommends their immediate release.
The briefing paper addresses the factual and legal bases for the detention of each detainee. Ahsan, Mehmood and Kurd have received detention orders purporting to justify their detention under theMaintenance of Public Order Ordinance. The briefing paper concludes that there is sufficient evidence of mala fide, or bad faith, to render each order subject to legal challenge in Pakistan's high courts under Article 199 of the Constitution.
The Chief Justice and his family have been detained in their official residence since November 3, 2007, without any legal processor detention order. The report notes that this detention violates several provisions of the constitution and is therefore entirely unlawful.
"These detentions are particularly troubling because the detainees have been targeted for the peaceful expression of their political beliefs," stated American lawyer Devin Theriot-Orr, director of the Rule of Law Project. "The detainees are in a double-bind because theyare suffering under an unlawful detention and have no forum where they can seek to enforce their rights following Musharraf's removal of the majority of appellate judges in November."
The briefing paper recommends that Pakistan release the detainees immediately and that international human rights organizations and concerned individuals put pressure on the Pakistani government to protect the fundamental rights of Pakistani citizens. The brief also recommends the reinstatement of all deposed judges and the restoration of the constitution to it's status on November 2, 2007.
This paper follows on the Project's release of a report in January entitled Defending Dictatorship: U.S. Foreign Policy and Pakistan's Struggle for Democracy. The report, co-authored by members of a delegation from the United States National Lawyers Guild, concludedthat U.S. support for President Musharaff and its failure to demand restoration of the deposed judges will have long-term negative impacts on the judiciary and the rule of law in Pakistan and damage regional safety and security.
Professors Roger Normand and Justice (ret'd) Jawwad Khawaja of LUMSestablished the Rule of Law Project to serve as an academic clearing house for documentation and research regarding constitutionalism and the rule of law in Pakistan.

CONTACT: Devin Theriot-Orr, LUMS Rule of Law Project, +92(334)428-9694,