Musharraf’s tall claims of easing emergency falling flat

November 22nd, 2007 - 5:12 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov. 22 (ANI): The tall claims of the Musharraf regime about the emergency rule in Pakistan being relaxed have fallen flat.
The strict orders placed after the activation of the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) remain in place.
The Pakistan Government had announced that Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who was dismissed from the post of the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court and put under house arrest after the proclamation of emergency, was now free to move around.
But when Wajihuddin Ahmed, a former Supreme Court justice, accompanied by lawyer Athar Minallah and a large group of the legal fraternity, turned up at Chaudhry’s residence to see him, they were confronted by a line of police officers and a curtain of barbed wire.
They were turned away, proving, they said, that Chaudhry and other dismissed Supreme Court justices who live in the same area were still captive, the New York Times reported.
Minutes later, as the pair drove down Constitution Avenue, Minallah, a cabinet member in the early years of Musharraf’s presidency, but now an energetic organiser of lawyers’ protests, was reportedly stopped and pulled out of the car by five men in civilian clothes, and arrested.
Today, the most potent critics of Musharraf remain in jail or under house arrest.
These include Chaudhry and the chairman of the Supreme Court bar association, Aitzaz Ahsan, and leaders of some of the main political parties.
Ahmed and Minallah were intent on showing that even though the government announced Tuesday that 3,416 detainees had been released, this was probably not the case, and that Chaudhry, in particular, remained under house arrest.
The government said 2,000 remained in detention.
Human rights groups and Western diplomats said it was not possible to verify how many people had been freed.
Undeterred by Minallah’s arrest, Ahmed, who is considered one of the most principled of Pakistan’s judges and had refused to take the oath of office on the Supreme Court after Musharraf grabbed power in 1999, addressed the bar association in Rawalpindi.
Ahmed told the lawyers that the real purpose of the emergency rule was to “destroy the judiciary.” He urged the lawyers to boycott the four provincial High Courts and the Supreme Court.
He also assailed the procedures announced by the government for parliamentary elections on January 8.
Although the Bush administration has called for free and fair elections, Ahmed accused the Bush administration of being lenient toward Musharraf on the issue of the dismissal of the Supreme Court.
Minallah’s wife, Ghazala Minallah, later, said she had been told that her husband was in the central jail in Rawalpindi.
It was a relief, she said, to know where he was because people arrested by plainclothes officers were often taken to unknown jails.
Meanwhile, Ahmed said that he was not giving up.
Ahmed said that he would return Thursday to the barricades outside the homes of Chaudhry and the other former justices under house arrest.
“We are going to place bouquets to show our solidarity,” Ahmed was quoted, as saying (ANI)

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