Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Emergency in Pakistan
What’s on their minds?
Pervez Musharraf: I know what is good for the nation. And I feel very secure doing what I wish to do. The Army is with me and I don’t face an internal coup. Americans are with me because they need me to fight a war against extremism in Pakistan. Other players and 160 million idiots don’t count.
General Kayani: I can see it is time for my promotion, but how should I do it? I wish someone could give me a Powerpoint presentation explaining the step-by-step process of staging a coup.
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry: What kind of people these Pakistanis are? This dictator has suppressed their basic rights and they don't care! Can't they see it is not only the lawyers he is arresting? He is after anyone who does not wiggle his tail like Shaukat Aziz does: political activists, media people, and dish-antenna sellers. Only the lawyers are interested in upholding supremacy of law, in saving the country? Why are political parties and common Pakistanis not coming to help?
Shaukat Aziz: Thanks God I still have my US citizenship. Where would I settle, New York or Hawaii? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Benazir Bhutto: If I can scare Pervez Musharraf and the US with my street power, I can get the General negotiate on my terms. Let me see how Musharraf and the US react to my call for long march on November 13.
Shujaat Hussain, Pervez Elahi and other PML-QA leaders: Can only that part of supremacy of law be restored that would keep BB out of the game?
Maulana Fazl ur-Rahman: I am with Musharraf, or whoever is in power, on anything, as long as I get my cut.
Qazi Hussain Ahmed: Historically every opposition has used my party to create unrest in the country. But this time I want to be assured I would get something out of this.
Altaf Hussain: I control Pakistan’s biggest city. The situation is too fluid for me to say anything to the media. I am monitoring the developments and would decide if the party I rule needs to ditch the General.
Imran Khan: The General has raised the temperature. It is time for a meltdown. I wish there were more people ready to come out on the streets.
Nawaz Sharif: I wish I were in Pakistan, but since I am not, can someone pass me another plate of murgh-musallam, please?
Monday, November 05, 2007
FOSA's 2007 Eid-Diwali celebration held on Sunday, November 4 turned into a brainstorming session to work with other organizations and people in Pakistan to resist emergency rule. The following media advisory sent to various publications was read in the meeting.
FOSA Demands the Restoration of Democracy in Pakistan
The military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, has imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan, aborting the long-awaited return to democracy. With the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), Mr. Musharraf has authorized himself to rule by decree, suspended fundamental rights in Pakistan, and granted himself unlimited powers. The PCO also prohibits the Supreme Court of Pakistan from passing a judgment against Mr. Musharraf. When the Supreme Courtrefused to ratify Mr. Musharraf's declaration of the state of emergency, eight SC judges, including Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhary, the Chief Justice, were taken into custody and Mr. Musharraf appointed a new Chief Justice. Other judges from lower courts and many lawyers, including Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, have been detained. Regular news broadcasts have been suspended, independent TV news channels forced off the air and curbs imposed on the media.
Friends of South Asia (www.friendsofsouthasia.org), a San Francisco bay area based organization, strongly condemns the declaration of emergency rule in Pakistan. It is an illegal and unconstitutional decision and an attempt by a military dictator to continue his illegal and unconstitutional rule. This declaration of a state of emergency must be universally condemned and the generals in Pakistan must end their stranglehold on the country.
FOSA expresses its solidarity with the people of Pakistan in their demand for an end to dictatorship and for free fair and elections. We are heartened by the courage shown by the Justices of the Supreme Court who have declared the PCO and the imposition of the state of emergency illegal and unconstitutional. The Court has declared that no judge of the Supreme Court or any of the high courts including the chief justices would take oath under new PCO. We also commend civil society organizations such as various human rights groups, lawyers groups, independent news and blogger sites in Pakistan who continue to organize and inform the public in defiance of the government orders.
FOSA rejects President Musharraf's defence of emergency rule as a necessary step to combat extremism and terrorism. We disagree that suspending the rights and liberties of its own citizens would in any way help Pakistan fight extremists and terrorists. This is a transparent ploy by Mr. Musharraf and his military junta to crush the nascent movement towards democracy.
FOSA joins with all citizens of Pakistan in demanding an immediate end to the emergency rule and a speedy restoration of the constitution and the rule of law. To ensure working of an independent judiciary, all Supreme Court judges deposed on November 3 by Mr. Musharraf should be restored to their positions. FOSA demands that all political workers and members of the legal fraternity arrested in the wake of declaration of emergency rule be immediately released.
Previously, a bolder plan of action was under consideration. Here is the draft.
With the imposition of Emergency on November 3, 2007
General Pervez Musharraf has plunged Pakistan into
great uncertainty. Whereas General Pervez Musharraf
says he took the precarious step to save Pakistan, no
one doubts the only thing Musharraf is interested in
saving is his own grip on power.
We condemn Pervez Musharraf’s latest authoritarian
decree and want Pakistanis and well-wishers of
Pakistan to build pressure on him to take back the
emergency measures. But having witnessed Pervez
Musharraf’s propensity to sacrifice anything for his
own personal gain we doubt if Musharraf under any
cogent force would backtrack.
Considering Pakistanis desire for democracy, the
recent struggle for the restoration of a Chief Justice
illegally removed by the dictator, the ongoing
pro-civil society debates in the erstwhile independent
Pakistani media, and the pro-democracy sentiments
within the Pakistan army we wish to humbly suggest a
shorter path towards restoring order in Pakistan.
In order to facilitate removal of Pervez Musharraf and
to avoid further chaos in the country by keeping its
institutions intact we urge Pakistanis in general and
Pakistan’s political parties in particular to quickly
form an interim government. The interim government
and events related to its enactment should have the
1. The interim government should be headed by an
interim president who would hold free and fair general
elections in the shortest span of time.
2. To ensure working of an independent judiciary all
Supreme Court judges deposed on November 3 by Pervez
Musharraf should be restored to their positions.
3. Pakistan Army should stop taking orders from Pervez
Musharraf and current Vice Chief of Army Staff,
General Kayani should immediately take charge of the
forces. General Kayani should work under the interim
4. All political workers and members of legal
fraternity arrested in the wake of emergency should be
5. All bureaucratic institutions with their current
officers should keep functioning under the interim
We urge Pakistani political parties to quickly consent
to an interim president. One choice obvious to many
would be Retired Chief Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed who as
a public servant not only had a spotless career, but
who gained considerable public support while recently
running for President against Pervez Musharraf
Till an interim government through the wishes of
Pakistanis and Pakistan’s political parties takes
command we ask all citizens to commence an indefinite
strike starting from Monday, November 5.
Abrar Hasan Advocate, President, Sindh High Court Bar Association
Is it all coming to a grand finale?
Munir, Abrar arrested, raids to arrest more
By AR Qureshi
KARACHI: Munir A. Malik, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Pakistan (SCBAP) and Abrar Hassan, the president of the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) have been taken into custody and removed to Central Prison Karachi (CPK).
Malik was arrested a few hours after the emergency was declared by Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday evening. Hassan was arrested on Sunday afternoon from his residence and was immediately taken to jail.
Salahuddin Gandapur, senior member of the Sindh Bar Council (SBC), was also taken into custody and raids are being conducted to arrest Rasheed A. Razvi, a former judge and frontline lawyer leader, said Shaikh Munir-ur-Rahman, the SHCBA’s honorary secretary, while talking to Daily Times.
When asked about the leaders of the Karachi Bar Association (KBA), Rahman said that the cell phones of both the KBA secretary Naeem Qureshi and President Iftikhar Javed Kazi were off and they might have gone underground under the circumstances.
When asked about a strategy, Rahman, while speaking from an undisclosed location, said that lawyers would boycott court proceedings on Monday and would hold general-body meetings to decide what to do.
Police start rounding up lawyers?: The names of more than two dozen lawyers are on a list for arrests ordered by the Sindh Home Department, sources said. But this has been denied so far by the chief of police.
Sources said that the police have started conducting raids to round up Justice (retd) Rasheed A Rizvi, advocates Abrar Hassan, Noor Nas Agha, Shahadat Awan, Arshad Judoon, Nehal Hashmi, Iftikhar Javaid Qazi, Naeem Qureshi, Aqil Lodhi and others.
There were reports that Advocate Noor Naz Agha was in the custody of Jamshed Quarters police. Supervisory Police Officer (SPO) of Jamshed Quarters DSP Anwar Zaib confirmed Agha’s detention. “We don’t know yet where Agha has been kept,” he said adding that it was the work of the women police. However, SHO Women Police Station Ghazala Pervain denied this. “We don’t have Agha in our custody yet.” According to some reports, the police raided the residence of advocate Munir A Malik and others lawyers.