Silencing the Chaudhries: Iftikhar and Aitizaz

Posted on January 26, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

Much has happened in Pakistan over the last many weeks. Too much.

Iftikhar Chaudhry and Chaudhry Aitizaz Ahsan

Amidst all the chaos and tragedy it has become difficult to keep track of just all that is happening, let alone make sense of it. It is clear that the dust has not settled yet. Far from it one can be sure that more turmoil and uncertainty is in the offing.

Yet, this we know. Gen. Musharraf sits firm in control; for now. A major national leader has been assassinated; and whether the elections are held or what might happen in them remains shrouded in doubt and speculation. The assault on the nation by extremists and terrorists have intensified. And the economy is taking a spin for the ordinary Pakistan. Despair is thick in the air and neither the military government, nor the political parties, nor the market forces seem to generate broad confidence or enthusiasm.

Adding to the despair is the fact that the two institutions of society that had begun to assert themselves and generate public support and confidence have been clipped violently. The media has been told what its “place” is and what can happen to its profits if it steps out of line. The judiciary has been revamped and the message sent out to newcomers to “learn” from the fate of their predecessors. These are classic authoritarian tactics: Increase the pressure, demonstrate the pain you can inflict, and highlight the fact that you are willing to inflict the pain if needed.

Illustration by Abro @ FlickrWhatever one might think of the quality of the media before the clampdown or about the individual quality and character of individual judges is irrelevant to the fact that the descent of blatant authoritarian excess cannot but be bad for the country in both the short- and the long-term. Violence has a tendency to destroy not only those upon whom violence is inflict but also those who inflict violence. The las many weeks have not only weakened the institutions of the judiciary and the press, it has also – and, maybe, more so – damaged (further) the credibility of the military as an institution and of those in government.

These much more blatant authoritarian tactics have, indeed, allowed Gen. Musharraf to maintain his hold in power. The cost, however, is that to prolong his stay in power he will now find himself compelled to be ever more blatant and obvious in the use of such tactics. Ultimately, and this we know from history in Pakistan and elsewhere, either his ability to apply ever-more stringent pressure or the people’s ability to withstand it will give way and the house of cards will implode.

In the short term, however, one of the impacts of the turmoil and despair that has resulted, especially, from Benazir Bhutto’s assassination is that some news has suddenly gone off our radars. This is not a matter of conspiracy. It is a matter of “despair overload.” But the result is striking. The sentiment for an end of authoritarianism has not extinguished, but the fledgling movement for the restoration for the judiciary and media has been silenced; or, at least, quietened. One has been hearing less and less about Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry or about Chaudhry Aitizaz Ahsan and given the fickleness of public attention and support one fears that the government might be succeeding in its attempts to have them fade away from the public imagination.

The cynics can say that this is because the supporters have themselves become silent, the support rallies have fizzled, the flowers are no longer going to the judges, and that the courts and the media are themselves now functioning again and the emergency has been lifted. All of this is true but none of this is conclusive.

It is quite clear, in fact, that Gen. Musharraf considers these two Chaudhries – Iftikhar and Aitizaz – to be the biggest threat to his power. Here is how:

Even though the exiled leaders Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto (now assassinated) have been allowed back into the country, even though the emergency has been lifted, even though the media curbs have been lifted, even though Gen. Musharraf has given up his uniform… despite all of this and more, the government is still not confident enough in their own power to release Iftikhar Chaudhry and Aitizaz Ahsan from detention. Everything else the General can manage. But these two Chaudhries are seen as having enough public support and credibility to be seen to be a threat to the General’s rule if allowed out in the open.

This is an extremely telling fact. It demonstrates who the military government thinks they can “manage” and who are considered to be “unmanageable.” The urge felt by the military government to suppress the voice of the two Chaudhries demonstrates how seriously the military government takes these two and the potential support they could muster.

It is interesting to ponder upon why the government would be more threatened by these two than by the mainstream political parties. It is not because these two are super-heroes. They are not. Both are flawed as all of us are. The threat they embody comes from the fact that, unlike the political parties, they have become spearheads (maybe reluctant spearheads) for a nascent movement whose goal is not as much to get a “share of the power” as it is to just see a real “restoration of democracy” and an “end to military rule.” Certainly Iftikhar Chaudhry did not set out to achieve this goal. He was for quite a while quite happy with how things were. Aitizaz Ahsan also did not set out to launch such a movement. But over the last half-year or more, the followers who have gathered around them have thrust this mission on them. It is a mission they now seem to embrace; or at least not shun. It is the nature of this goal that makes accommodation with them much more difficult for the government than with those who, in fact, want to be accommodated. This is exactly why it is important for the government to “control” these two much more than all others.

The unfortunate fact is that on this issue the government’s tactics may be working. Public interest is fickle. Public memory is short. And the overdose of other calamities is strong. Between all of this, the public attention is, and maybe has, been diverted elsewhere. One is reminded of the sheyr:

Reh gaya Mushtaq dil meiN rang-e-yaad-raftagaaN
Phool mehngay ho gaye, qubraiN purani ho gaeeN

Even if one does not agree with or like these two Chaudhries, it would be sad if, in fact, this is the case. The movement they embody is no longer about them. They are quite incidental to it. The movement and the moment that they came to symbolize was a movement and moment for civil society’s desire for democracy. In an environment where every institution of society was collapsing, they seemed to suggest that the democratic spirit – with its most idealistic aspirations – was still alive in Pakistan. The squashing of a judge and a lawyer is bad, but it is not catastrophic in societal terms. However, the squashing of a nation’s democratic spirit is monumental calamity. One fears that what we are seeing here is an attempt to do the latter much more than the former.

36 Comments on “Silencing the Chaudhries: Iftikhar and Aitizaz”

  1. Bhindigosht says:
    January 26th, 2008 12:13 pm

    I agree with you Adil, but no sane person/nation can keep up with the relentless pace of “breaking news” that has been thrust on us. In fact, it will be quite boring, though welcome, when we finally (and hopefully) go back to the days of mundane news in Pakistan.
    I don’t think all is lost yet. There was another rally in Isloo on Thursday complete with tear gas and batons.
    I think what is more omnious is the cracks that have started to appear within the lwayer ranks. No doubt the “agencies” are at work.

  2. umar says:
    January 26th, 2008 12:46 pm

    as they say: power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    Go Musharraf Go!
    long live the 2 Chaudhries, the champions of Rule of Law!

  3. January 26th, 2008 12:50 pm

    I felt had PPP nominated Aitzaz to some notable role, either as their PM candidate or their Chairperson even though he had boycotted elections and was demanded an explanation from the late BB, he cud have taken all of us to something new.

    When all is falling, i say, lets try out something totally unseen before, let the fauji boots scratch heads on that..

    well written article

  4. Saad says:
    January 26th, 2008 12:54 pm

    Cracks or no cracks – the very fact that Government still feels the need to keep these people under house arrest tells a great deal about the morally pathetic stance of Government of Pakistan.

    Anyways, short of ordering the police to shoot at unarmed protesters, this is the best the General (retired and skinned) could come up with. This is the pinnacle of his power, and from here it can go only one way – down.

  5. Mutazalzaluzzaman Tarar says:
    January 26th, 2008 2:27 pm

    I long for the day when Pakistani generals and their families will be put under indefinite house arrest like the honorable judges and their families, when their children will be denied the right to go to school, when the water to their houses is cut off, when they are dragged by their hair by policewallas, when they will lose their jobs without rhyme or reason, when the assets which they have stolen from the country they are supposed to defend are rightly taken back. Most importantly I long for the day when Article 6 is applied and these traitors who prance around in frilly uniforms, with batons up their asses are hanged. That will be sweet justice and more importantly, revenge.

  6. January 26th, 2008 2:31 pm

    Excellent post.
    I keep referring to Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” , that it is the people who shape the history, and heros are only incidental. Unfortunately at the moment our people are not strong enough to shape the history , however they have shown resilience and courage to go farther. I always agree with General (R) Musharraf that the democracy that west and other nations achieved after so much struggle and sacrifices how can the “bloody” Pakistani civilians can get it without ten times more sacrifices than the west. Our dictators are several times more ruthless , tyrant and barbaric , than Hitlers, Napoleans , King Charles of the west.
    This nation has to suffer a lot , time has not yet come. Let me quote Faiz here , he knew too well how much this nation need to suffer:
    Kabhi yeh farman-e-josh-e-wahshat
    kay nooch kar iskoo phaink daloon
    Kabhi yeh israr-e-harf–e-ulfat
    kay choom kar phir galay laga loon

    So for a long time we need to just keep our “Parhan Dareedah” in between hope and despair.

  7. Daktar says:
    January 26th, 2008 2:33 pm

    I am sorry Mr. Tarrar, but I hope your wish never comes true. I am a strong supporters of the lawyers movement, but your remarks are petty and vengeful. That would make “you” no better than “them.”

    The day you are wishing for would be no more unjust that the day we live in today, it will just be unjust to a different set of families and children.

    I long for the day when we will have a real democracy, when the military will be made to stay away from politics totally, when all will be treated with fairness, when no one’s families will be denied water or education, when all Pakistanis everywhere will have all their rights restored.

    I hope I never live to see your vengeful vision come true because that will only force me to loose faith even in those few who I have faith in now.

  8. Abid says:
    January 26th, 2008 2:50 pm
  9. Rahim Khan says:
    January 26th, 2008 2:53 pm

    Munhoos Musharraf is going down fighting, his separation from army was good, but we await his removal from power soon.

    Impeach Musharraf !!!

  10. January 26th, 2008 3:26 pm

    Adil Bhai,

    An excellent post and about time too!

    Both these men plus the real President Wajihuddin and other giants such as Munir A Malik, Justice Tariq Mehmood, Hamid Khan, Ali Ahmed Kurd are our heroes. Like you said they do not crave power, far from it, they just want to see a better Pakistan and their sacrifice thus far is commendable and history will record their work for the nation in golden letters.

    I salute them all with every bone of my body, they have set about a movement that seeks to create an ‘other’ Pakistan and I support them entirely in that noble deed. I urge others to support them too, let us create a more just Pakistan guys, enough is enough.

    Feimanallah

    Wasim

  11. Umar Akbar says:
    January 26th, 2008 3:29 pm

    The contrast is amazing between the Chaudhries Iftikhar and Aitzaz and the Chaudhries Shujat and Pervez Elahi.

    The first time I heard Chaudhry Shujaat (the ‘King-maker’ of Pakistani politics, and Master Negotiator of the Lal Masjid and other Stand-offs) give an interview on BBC (during the twilight of the Government of the 3 Ganjaas of Mirinda- Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, and Sartaj Aziz), I thought someone had asked a ‘Rehri Wallah’ from Raja Bazaar to fill-in for His Royal Highness.

    There was a time when Kings would surround themselves by dwarves and idiots so that their royal presence would seem majestic and wise in comparison. I think Musharraf has been trying to do the same.

  12. KAREEM says:
    January 26th, 2008 4:07 pm

    I really don’t think that Ch. Iftikhar and Aitizaz are heroes at all. Both have too much to answer for in their own past. They have become heroes just because Musharraf has become so unpopular that anyone who stands against him becomes hero.

  13. Ali says:
    January 26th, 2008 4:31 pm

    Kareem,

    What are the things that Ifthikar chaudhry and Aitzaz Ahsan have to answer for?

    As far as Ifthikhar chaudhry, he has already faced all the ridiculous charges against him, and been absolved by a 13 member full court (not of his choosing, and a court that had to actually rule against the sitting government and military ruler, so clearly CJ Ifthikar was vindicated).

    As for Aitzaz, what do want him to answer for? 40 years in politics and not an allegation of corruption against him. Most of his life spent in opposition. 15 stints in jail, including several years during Zia’s Martial law. A resignation fdrom Bhutto’s cabinet when Bhutto declared martial law in lahore and fired on Aitzaz’s community of lawyers. He was expelled from the party for this act of conscience, but still spent the entire zia era either defending his MRD colleagues (inclduing PPP ones) in military and civilian courts, or in jail himself.

    Yes, Aitzaz and Ifthikhar may not be heroes, but they are men of integrity and conscience, who do not need to answer to scurrilous innenduendo that you bandy.

    Do you ever ask yourself why the regime is so scared of the two. Perhaps its because these are people with no skeletons in their closet, thus thay cannot be pressurized by NAB or agencies. And these are people who cannot be bought with inducements of money or high office.

    It’s your right to be cynic, but not your right to smear honest and honorable people.

  14. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 26th, 2008 4:55 pm

    Dear Dr. Adil Najam: I respect your sentiments but are you not overstating the facts here. The Lawyers Movement, of which the two gentlemen have become point men by default, is neither a Movement for Democracy nor a Peoples Movement. It is a form of power struggle going on between two of the multiple power centers within Pakistan. Military has taken full control of all of the political powers of the country and has left none for the lawyers and judges. And that is what the fight is all about. Military has broken the rules of power sharing and lawyers and judges are pissed off about that and hence the demonstrations. We must ask one simple question: Where are the people. Why a shop keeper, a street hawker, a day laborer, a tiler, a tradesman is not demonstrating shoulder by shoulder with these gentlemen. The answer is simple as well. A man on street does not relate to these esquires. His life will be as miserable as before if by some miracle generals are replaced by lawyers. He has been there before. He has seen this before. A Democracy Movement will start in Pakistan the day honest and selfless men will walk from town to town and village to village and speak to, live with and break bread with common man and try to understand his needs and concerns. Until then the power drama will go on and bloggers will keep on blogging in vain.

  15. zia m says:
    January 26th, 2008 6:52 pm

    I am not giving up hope,not yet.Let us hope elections are held on time and they are free and fair.Mush should learn a lesson from the situation in Kenya.
    Peaceful transfer of power is in our best interest.If the elections are rigged we will see a mass movement.People are fed up and they are not going to take it any more.

    Optimist.

  16. Eidee Man says:
    January 26th, 2008 7:16 pm

    I don’t agree with Iftikhar and Aitzaz being involved “incidentally.” The chief justice landed himself into trouble with Musharraf precisely because of the fact that he refused to give in to him; he took the military and the establishment on in many arenas: missing people, privatization, etc, etc.

    Plus, Iftikhar could have followed past examples and settled for healthy compensation instead…but he did not, he took Busharraf head on—at a time when no one anticipated the movement that came about…remember, we were all shocked at how the whole of Pakistan (well, save some people who cant be mentioned on this site apparently) joined in.

    As for Aitzaz, that man has been fighting for the judiciary his entire life! Just read his Indus Saga book and you will be reminded time and again of a very, very strong sense of justice.

    So, I disagree. Aitzaz and Iftikhar’s involvement wasn’t incidental—it was causative.

  17. meengla says:
    January 26th, 2008 7:17 pm

    @Pervez Munir Alvi,
    I disagree. I think it is wrong to paint every move by any player in Pakistan (or elsewhere) in a crass ‘power’ struggle. If that is the philosophical foundation then, logically, even the rise of Islam 1400 years ago and all other ‘revolutions’ or evolution in history were quest for power.
    Now, ‘power’ is sought and acquired but ‘power’ is the power which also keeps a society from total anarchy. When we human decide to live in an organized society then we always submit to the rules of ‘power’. We could opt-out and live in wildnerness and be ‘free’ but so-long as we choose to enjoy the benefits of organized societies the society, through its elected/unelected power wielders make us submit its will.
    The hounarable Chowdries, especially Aitzaz Ahsan, have proved that they want a more fair representation of power to direct the Pakistani populace.

    There will ALWAYS be someone who will dictate rules for the larger population. It might as well be a group of educated, proven people to do so. This ‘going from village to village’ is a fairytale: The Talibans too went from village to village and they too were very modest and were from ‘amongst the people’. That power may have corrupted them should not be a surprise. And so, in case of Pakistan too, the door-to-door reformers will one day become ‘more equal than others’. I suggest reading the ‘Animal Farm’ if one has not already done so!

  18. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    January 27th, 2008 3:57 am

    @Meengla,

    your response to P.M Alvi left me perplexed,
    there is not much difference between Feudals,
    Ummayyads, PPP, Chaudries since Mughals,
    Pakistan’s present Politics
    and your opinion ,
    no wonder why your response ended up with
    ‘ Animal Farm ‘ !!!!

  19. AJ says:
    January 27th, 2008 5:29 am

    Tis is how the dictator now suggests remedies for journalists to a public forum.

  20. January 27th, 2008 8:44 am

    Musharaff is ruling because he has the support of ARMY and its generals. He had the audacity to travel abroad because he knew he has the full bakcing of the military. Blaming musharaff without blaming his POWER centre shows the ignorance of people.
    Why he considers iftichar choudhry and Ahsan as more dangerious? It means it is the army and ISI which considers them dangerous. Why? Why an independent judiciary and bar is dangerous to the army? If the young of Pakistan do not understand this, they will never learn. If after feb 18, you think the leader elected will have independence to rule, then you all are mistaken.
    Benazir was killed for this very same reason. she overstepped the brief set by the POWER CENTRE because she started believing in ordinary people of Pakistan. She was given the lesson.Democracy is not such an easy meat, that you will get without sacrifice.

  21. Mutazalzaluzzaman Tarar says:
    January 27th, 2008 12:24 pm

    Daktar sahib, what can I say – I’m just not as big a person as you. I want justice and revenge. You will have to forgive me if I choose to not live by all the highest idealistic rules, etc especially as the other side ignores all rules and manners of civilized behavior. It is unfair to expect angelic behavior of a few (us bloody civilians, lawyers, etc) while letting others (generals) behave like the treacherous dogs that they are.

    I stand by everything I stand. I still long for the day when these generals and their families will be put under indefinite house arrest, when the water to their house will be cut off, when their children will be denied education, when their families will be denied medical care. I long for the day when these treacherous generals will be hanged. I have nothing but hatred for this army of uniformed politicians and its generals. And I do not apologize for my wishes or my hatred. I have had enough of expectations of nothing but the highest ideals of us bloody civilians while the military junta overruns all limits required by human rights and human dignity.

  22. meengla says:
    January 27th, 2008 7:26 pm

    @Rafay Kashmiri,
    The mention to ‘Animal Farm’ in my post was to disabuse P.M.Alvi of notions of any ‘fresh’, ‘grassroot’ force in Pakistan which would ‘spring up from the masses’. It was to highlight that eventually all ‘sincere’ people from ‘the masses’ end up like the winners (aka the ‘typical politician’) in Animal Farm and hence there is no point pursuing ideals which will continue to run against the very human drives.

    However, all is not lost to us humans. We take the best we can get so long as it is -we- who decide what to get. As any American with political sense can tell you that in the 2008 race the choices were deliberately shortlisted from day one of political debates. But this blog is not about America, though parallels can be fairly drawn with Pakistan as far as the importance of political process is concerned.

    Political process is inevitably always more inclusive than the rule of one man (and his corps cammanders). A political govt. can be kicked out by the opinion of people expressed through polls. A political govt. usually does not take very long to recognize that it is walking on a thin ice and that certain boundries must not be crossed.

    But in case of Pakistan we have a group of people who literally got away with murder and lost of half of a country in 1971 (and managed to blame ZAB as the sole culprit!). This group of people are the true untouchables of Pakistan, the holy cows who put the fear of India in our ‘security State’ of a country.

    And so, as people correctly point out, any force which can challenge their full control will be taken care of. The honorable Chowdries are a huge threat. I even fear for their lives if they manage to draw crowds like Benazir. Also, let me say, I even fear for Asif Zardari’s life if he manages to cash-in on a lot on the ‘sympathy vote’.

    In the context of I and others have said above, the major source of hope we are left with is the media. Nawaz Sharif alone cannot do much against the establishment (and could well make a real compromise, instead of BB’s deceptive ‘deal’), the judges are sacked, the PPP has thousands of workers under threat of arrest for their alleged role in post Dec. 27 violence.

  23. readinglord says:
    January 27th, 2008 7:59 pm

    Mutazalzaluzzaman Tarar says:

    “I have had enough of expectations of nothing but the highest ideals of us bloody civilians while the military junta overruns all limits required by human rights and human dignity.”

    You are right dear Tarar; the nation is fed up with this monkey whose ruthless antics and manipulations with the constitution know no bounds.

    But the question is how to get rid of this M without destroying ourselves.

    I think the doffing of the uniform by M is a great achievement for the nation as we are now no longer in direct confrontation with the army as also the steps taken by the COS lately distancing the army from politics show. Shorn of the support of the army Mush can rely now only on his Lota and MQM support. Let us hope we can beat them both in the coming election and then revive the constitution and the judiciary by installing Aitizaz as PM and Iftikhar Choudharys the Chief Justice. Let us hope as that is the only hope in an otherwise bleak scenario of the ‘Mushed Pakistan’.

  24. Agadir says:
    January 28th, 2008 3:39 am

    Hi to alls
    In this event I would to say that is three main points are in Pakistan:”
    #1 is power of Presedent who doing all wrong
    #2 is corruption who doing everyone
    #3 is no low in Pakistan
    Chief Justice Mr Iftikhar ch is a right man and he doing very well in his history,so I salam to Chief Justice Iftikhar ch.
    And Musharraf is wrong man because he did not want piece in Pakistan and he want his own low in courts but it is impossible every man says Musharraf is wrong and Iftikhar Ch is right. musharraf did want to came “Jamhoriat” in Pakistan. Secondly he want ending of poors culture because he said I want have to end poors.then all people,s are says “GO MUSHARRAF GO” because he didnot want success in Pakistan.

    #2 Ahtizaz Ahsan is also right because he also want he is loywer of Iftikhar Ch,so he captured to Ahtizaz Ahsan.

    All Pakistani are knows who is right and who is wrong

  25. Jamshed Nazar says:
    January 28th, 2008 8:24 am

    Aitzaz and Justice Chaudary are now only a limited threat to Musharaff after his successful election as President.
    They have only a nuisance value in that if free they would be giving interviews to foreign press and arranging local rallys questioning Musharraf’s election from last year. At this time, Musharraf is presenting himself as the man in charge, so the two guys are held incommunicado atleast until the election is over.

    The real threat to Musharraf and the Army lie in the upcoming US elections and the state of the economy.

    Pakistani Army has prospered and filled up its coffers well in the last few years and has increased its grip on the Pakistani economy all for its dirty work for the “war on terror”.
    This is the sweet spot spot that Pakistan’s Army loves to be in – that the Americans want something done and are willing to spend some for it.
    In the sixties, the dirty work started with joining the American security arrangement for the Middle East as part of the Seato / Cento pacts and peaked with providing the refulelling bases for America’s U2 spy planes that were making sorties over the nuclear soviet union.
    In the eighties, this work was to provide logistics, bases and doctrinated fighters for CIA’s war in Afghanistan.
    In the new millenium, the “war on terror” is what keeps the Pakistan Army going along its missions.

    A democrat president after the US election and a change in US policy towards “terror”, along with its rebalancing of monetary aid to Pakistan and its military , is the real nightmare for Musharraf and his buddy Generals.

    In order to be relevent, Musharraf and buddies will try all they can to keep the threat of OBL and Co as real as they can, so that America’s support and America’s money keeps flowing.

    Becuase the fact is, in the abscence of these injections of fresh cash every other decade by the Americans, Pakistan’s economy and the state of Pakistan face disintegration.

    Pakistan is devoid of any stregic competitive advantages – purely in the economic sense – No Oil, not much Gas for export, major industrial / technology based industries and the quality of human capital – average at best.

    Any cut in money flows from the US, directly or indirectly via the World Bank / IMF, will result in a searious breakdown in Pakistan’s economy and the Generals capacity to manouver.

    This is what keeps Pakistani Generals up at night.

  26. Sunrise says:
    January 28th, 2008 1:19 pm

    Well,the fact that he is not allowing a glimpse of anyone of Chaudries to the outside world is the reason he has failed to “silence” them.

  27. Naseem Islam says:
    January 29th, 2008 11:21 pm

    How do I get info on when demonstrations for support of the judiciary are to be held in Karachi. Any contact number, email address etc.

  28. khosa says:
    January 30th, 2008 7:36 pm

    CHOR BHI KAHE CHOR CHOR.

    Funny but true

    Retired generals to seek apology from nation

    ISLAMABAD: Several high-profile retired generals, air marshals and admirals, who have asked President Musharraf to resign, have announced to seek an unqualified apology from the Pakistani nation for imposing martial laws in the past, abrogating the Constitution several times and not letting democracy flourish in the last 60 years.

    They would make this admission of guilt today (Thursday) at a press conference with a request for forgiveness from the people of Pakistan, who have been suffering at the hands of dictatorship for the role played by them and their successors. They have also invited General (retd) Pervez Musharraf to attend the meeting.

    But surprisingly despite their apology, which would be a welcome and refreshing departure from the norm, these adventurous generals and admirals of the past are not showing enough moral courage. They have given the task of seeking the apology to a retired brigadier, Mehmood Qazi.

  29. izaz Haque says:
    January 30th, 2008 9:48 pm

    I think we all need to speak up more on this. Not only is the CJ humiliated and kept behind the gates of his house, his children and wife are too. What law have they broken (not that the CJ has broken any laws either) according to the government? Are they releasing terrorists? Are they paralyzing the executive? To quote the generals own words (in a different unfortunate setting), “this is Pakistan we’re talking about”. Its the Pakistan of Ayub Khan and General Zia he’s talking about. We can feel sorry for those that have to live with it. I’m glad i don’t have to.

  30. January 31st, 2008 12:30 am

    They make us proud around the world and Pakistani nation consider them as a great leaders.

  31. Meengla says:
    January 31st, 2008 11:53 am

    @Khosa,
    Well, as they say, better late than never. But one point must be stressed is that it is the PPP which has been the prime target of these military officials. Yes, NS also suffered in 1999–a fall out of the Kargil War–but no other force in Pakistan been so constantly hounded and perhaps will continue to be hounded like the PPP has been and will continue to be. As if the might of Pakistan’s military was not enough, the religious forces, beauracracy, LOTA political elements, media AND powerful intelligence ‘agencies’ have been busy cutting the PPP and the Bhuttos to size since 1977.

    To some of us, badly disillusioned with the State of Pakistan after BB’s murder, justice needs to be done and to start out let’s understand how the Pakistani establishment has its used various powerful tools to hound the PPP/Bhuttos since 1977. That may be the beginning of a much needed healing process for Pakistan.

  32. Bhindigosht says:
    January 31st, 2008 6:06 pm

    Aitzaz freed today!

  33. Riaz Haq says:
    January 31st, 2008 9:34 pm

    While I fully support the ideals of the legal community, the media and the civil society in Pakistan for unfettered democracy and absolute rule of law, I think these ideals will just remain ideals until we in Pakistan have a powerful middle class that asserts its democratic rights. The fact is that Pakistan has been and still is ruled by a small elite of feudal lords, military officers, bureaucrats and industrialists. As a general rule, transition to industrialization being an essential component for democracy, the industrialists are a necessary evil to free societies from the clutches of the feudal system and let the average people become educated enough to think and act in their own best interest. While Musharraf has acted in an arbitrary manner as a military dictator, his economic policies have helped enlarge and strengthen the middle class in Pakistan. If this trend toward a larger, more powerful middle class continues, we can look forward to achieving the ideals of a civil society based on democratic institutions and rule of law within the next decade. Let’s not give up the ideals as we look forward to that day.

  34. ganesh says:
    February 4th, 2008 10:43 am

    hai brothers
    i am sorry for commenting about your nation from a opposite side of your world – india. i dont think the problem is with army alone. democracy roots untill the people love for it. i remind you guys that you shared your joy when the army overthrown an legal legistimate goverment in early 2000s. but you havent united to tell the army that you need another democratic government not the army trucks roaring in your streets. though democracy can be argued that it is the one of the evil but it is the least evil with lot of checks and balances which each leader has to answer one or the other day. but it is not the same with the army.
    this will be cyclical unless you show your resolve to show your happy face only when the democratic government takes its stage. we in india, though mostly we too know our politicians are corrupt but the system never taken our basic rights till date. even the emergency imposed by mrs. indira has shortlived and she is more apologistic to her behaviours.

    though we have been in opposite side of your views in most cases please take our example of our matured democratic system.

  35. February 6th, 2008 7:33 am

    We dont belieeve on any personal in pakistan. All are fighting for their self not for the people of pakistan

  36. Rehan says:
    May 5th, 2008 1:45 pm

    While I despise military internvention in civilian affairs, your critique of Mr. Musharraf is off-the-mark unless it takes into the account the destruction the opportnistic and power-hungry Mr. Nawaz Sharif has already caused the nation and the out-and-out crook that Mr. Zardari is. While I would clap at the day Pakistan became a true democracy, these two schmucks have not earned and do not deserve our support.

    The cure is worse than the ailment.

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