From The News
…“However, now when the Zardari-led government has violated the constitution, the lawyers leader who were made heroes by the people of the Pakistan sided with the presidency of Asif Ali Zardari and did not participate in Monday’s historic boycott by the lawyers,” a senior lawyer said.
He added: “These former leaders did not know that they became heroes because of their stance in support of the independent judiciary and because of the people. If they continue to oppose the lawyers’ struggle, not only the public but the new generation of lawyers will not forgive them”.
He said in the garb of saving the democracy, the former lawyers’ leaders are siding with worst ever dictatorship in civil dress. On the other hand four top leaders – Aitzaz Ahsan, Athar Minallah, Justice (R) Tariq Mehmood and Ali Ahmad Kurd – have their own views on the issues.
Despite absence of these leaders, Hamid Khan, Rasheed A Rizvi, Latif Afridi, Mehmoodul Hassan and present president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Qazi Anwar, who are also the leaders of the historic lawyers’ movement in last three years, actively participated in Monday’s lawyers strike by keeping all the interests aside.
Justice (R) Tariq Mehmood was of the view that if the lawyers would have announced staging of protest in front of the Prime Minister House or the Presidency he would have been part of this protest but he is against boycott of the courts. “Now, there is an independent judiciary, so why we are boycotting the courts?”
Justice Tariq gave his reason for not participating in Monday’s lawyers’ protest. When asked that why he did not give this suggestion to the present leadership of the lawyers’ movement, he said whenever he expressed his views to this new leadership they simply listen to it and ignore it.
Ali Ahmad Kurd, when approached by this correspondent was of the view that he will not disclose the reasons for not participating in lawyers’ protest right now and will make his disclosures after three days.
Athar Minallah also said he would record his reasons later, while Aitzaz Ahsan did not respond to many calls and messages sent to him. Aitzaz was also specifically sent some questions, which also remained unanswered….”
Of course two names that must be added to this list of zeros are Munir Malik and Asma Jehangir. Although Munir Malik has been in hiding like Aitzaz, Asma has been so incensed by the use of the term “momin” that she refuses to shut up and continues the justices (Asma’s perceived flaws in the judgement can be found here. Babar Sattar analysis her arguments ‘dispassionately’ here’) and the lawyers fighting for them(she echoes Justice tariq Mehmood’s argument given above).
Side Note: Curiously, Munir A Malik and Aitzaz “jointly” selected by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to receive the Human Rights Defender Award. Of course Asma heads the local chapter — HRCP. Athar Minallah of course is tightly associated with NGOs (I think every member of his family — including himself — runs one. I know Athar has one called Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) (supposedly “an independent think tank), his wife Ghazala runs one called but the name escapes me; his sister Samar of the fake Swat spanking video fame runs one called ““Ethnomedia and Development”; His other sister Fauzia runs an NGO called “Funkor Child Art Center” (what is really funny is she is a cartoonist but having discovered the NGO pie, she is now described as an “activist, artist, photographer, designer” besides being “a political cartoonist”. This ties into “flattering and cultivating emerging leaders…This kind of Negro leader acquires the white man’s contempt for the ordinary Negro” we were discussing earlier.
Might I remind Munir Malik of the words he spoke then? “Munir A. Malik in his speech said Pakistan today stands at the cross roads trying to reclaim its destiny – a destiny hijacked by a coterie of military, industrial, feudal and bureaucratic elites. Concepts such as the rule of law, trichotomy of state powers, an independent pro-people judiciary forming the bedrock of the system of dispensation of justice, and an independent, robust and free press are alien to this coterie.”
“For 60 years this indigenised offspring of our colonial masters has clubbed together to stifle and sabotage populist democratic forces. But a feeling of change in the air and one can sense an opportunity to wrest, or at least weaken, their stranglehold over the nation’s future. It all began with an evolutionary change in our judicial system under the stewardship of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry – the increasing resort to judicial activism even at the risk of being criticized for blurring the lines between the executive and the judiciary and detracting from the principle of separation of powers.
“The level of judicial scrutiny of executive actions maintained in Pakistan might be considered unusual in some countries u for example, England u with a more traditional constitutional jurisprudence. But what is frequently forgotten that such judicial circumspection is the outcome of a long democratic history where governments themselves display a far greater sensitivity to the wishes of the own electorate. On the other end of the spectrum, Indian courts – which operate in a legal and socio-economic framework closer to our own u have adopted an even more interventionist approach.
“Unfortunately in Pakistan the legislature had completely abdicated its role as a watch-dog over the executive and left the judiciary to shoulder the entire burden. In this scenario u where the parliament had become a rubber-stamp for all and any acts of a Chief of Army Staff u it is the view of the legal fraternity that enhanced levels of judicial scrutiny over executive actions was not only desirable but imperative. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was someone who understood this. He was very conscious of his responsibilities and his legacy.”
So what has changed, Munir?