Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pakistani- Americans Observe Anniversary of Illegal Sacking of Chief Justice of Pakistan

March 9, 2008

SAN JOSE , CA , March 9, 2008—A small crowd gathered outside the Superior Court of Santa Clara County to observe the first anniversary of March 9, 2007. On that day, Pakistan ’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf had illegally removed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry on made-up charges of corruption. Sunday’s rally was organized by Friends of South Asia (FOSA---www.friendsofsouthasia.org), a group of Pakistani and Indian activists of the San Francisco Bay Area. The group commemorating March 9 noted with gratitude that just a day earlier PPP and PML-N leadership had agreed to reinstate judges deposed on November 3, 2007. The participants of the protest held the conviction that an independent judiciary, along with independent media, would ensure continuous accountability of the Pakistani government.

Prominent Pakistani-American attorney Javed Ellahie provided a brief historical background of the Pakistani situation and praised Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry for standing up to the military ruler. Ellahie said that because of the Chief Justice’s principled stance “a new dawn has risen in Pakistan . Pakistan ’s civil society has come forward and said enough is enough.” He showed to the protesters a petition of treason recently filed in Pakistan against General Pervez Musharraf.

Dr. Khawaja Ashraf, President of Pakistani-American Congress (PAC) informed people that PAC had declared 2008 the year of independence of parliament and judiciary in Pakistan . He demanded that General Pervez Musharraf step down and constitution be rolled back to its November 2, 2007 status.

Sabahat Ashraf (iFaqeer), a founding member of FOSA, said that the Pakistani civil society must keep up the pressure on the newly-elected Pakistani government for complete reinstatement of deposed judges. He said that the major political parties of Pakistan including PML, PPP, and MQM did not have a good track record in respecting an independent judiciary.

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