Americans should ask why Musharraf has little respect for civil society

December 24th, 2007 - 4:23 pm ICT by admin  

Pervez Musharraf
Islamabad, Dec 24 (ANI): Pakistans Supreme Court Bar Association President Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan writes in the New York Times that people in the US wonder why militants in Pakistan are winning.
Instead, Ahasan writes, Americans should ask why does President Pervez Musharraf have so little respect for civil society and why does he essentially have the backing of American officials?
The White House and the State Department briefings on Pakistan ignore the removal of the justices and all illegal detentions.
Meanwhile, lawyers, bar associations and institutes of law around the world have taken note of this brave movement for due process and constitutionalism. They have displayed their solidarity for the lawyers of Pakistan.
These include, in the US alone, the American Bar Association, state and local bars stretching from New York and New Jersey to Louisiana, Ohio and California, and citadels of legal education like Harvard and Yale Law Schools.
The detained Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry continues to receive enormous recognition and acknowledgement.
Harvard Law School has conferred on him its highest award, placing him on the same pedestal as Nelson Mandela and the legal team that argued Brown v. Board of Education, the NYT reported.
The National Law Journal has anointed him its lawyer of the year. The New York City Bar Association has admitted him as a rare honorary member. Despite all this, the Musharraf regime shows no sign of relenting, the paper added.
But for how long? How long can the chief justice and his colleagues be kept in confinement? How long can the leaders of the lawyers movement be detained? They will all be out one day. And they will neither be silent nor still, Ahsan said.
They will recount the brutal treatment meted out to them for seeking the establishment of a tolerant, democratic, liberal and plural political system in Pakistan, he writes.
They will state how the writ of habeas corpus was denied to them by the arbitrary and unconstitutional firing of Supreme and High Court justices. They will spell out precisely how one man set aside a Constitution under the pretext of an “emergency,” arrested the judges, packed the judiciary, “amended” the Constitution by a personal decree and then “restored” it to the acclaim of London and Washington, he added.
“They will, of course, speak then. But others are speaking now. The parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8 have already been rigged, they are saying. The Election Commission and the caretaker cabinet are overtly partisan,” Aitzaz said.
The judiciary is entirely hand-picked. State resources are being spent on preselected candidates. There is a deafening uproar even though the independent news media in Pakistan are completely gagged. Can there even be an election in this environment?
Are they being heard? Im afraid not, he concludes. (ANI)

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