Pakistan Elections 2008: The Judiciary Remains a Defining Issue in Pakistan Politics

Posted on March 9, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Politics
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Pakistan Lawyer's Call for a Black Flag WeekAdil Najam

The judiciary issue remains an irritant to the mainstream political forces in Pakistan – including not just the current establishment but the current opposition forces struggling to become part of the new establishment.

The announcement from Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif that they intend to restore the judiciary within 30 days of the formation of the parliament is good news. But given the constitutional shenanigans that we have all become used to it remains unclear (a) whether they will be ‘allowed’ to do so, and (b) if so just what form a ‘restoration’ might take.

Aitzaz Ahsan's call for a Black Flag Week

More importantly, this announcement is a recognition of the political reality that the judiciary issue has become. Thanks, in part, to the tenacity and sagacity of Aitzaz Ahsan – who has not emerged as the key leader not only of the “Justice Movement” but of a larger civil society rising – the issue not only survives, but thrives. It never really was just about the Chief Justice, and is now clearly about much more – especially including the independence of the judiciary as an institution, about the rule of law, and about the sanctity of the constitution.

The call for the Lawyer’s Black Flag Week comes from Aitizaz Ahsan in his capacity as the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, but it is clearly a call that he makes in his stature as a now national leader of a national civil movement. It is a passionate call. A well-worded call. A heart-felt call. A non-partisan call. A call to support constitutionalism. A call that asks no one to break the law, but everyone to register their calling. It is a call that is compelling.

We have admired Aitizaz’s political acumen as well as his poetic instincts in previous posts. He rises above the fray once again in how he words this call for “Black Flag Week.”

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35 responses to “Pakistan Elections 2008: The Judiciary Remains a Defining Issue in Pakistan Politics”

  1. Irfan Mirza says:

    Very inspiring call at a defining moment in Pakistan.

  2. Wukla says:

    Zinda hain Wukla Zinda Hain
    Zinda hain Adliya Zinda Hain

  3. temporal says:


    i disagree with this call by aitezaz ahsan

    only yesterday i wrote on this issue on my blog. this is what i wrote:

    FIR Against Lawyers

    If there is a loss of a single life
    If public property is damaged
    If there is violence

    because of this protest week by the lawyers

    then an FIR should be lodged in that city holding Aitezaz Ahsan and that city’s Lawyers’ Association responsible


    because the new parliament is about to be sworn in in a few days and all this protest against Musharraf and the caretakers government is so senseless and futile. If educated lawyers resort to these plebeian measures than what can we expect of the more uncouth ?

  4. We must paint the country black and show solidarity with our judges, my post below says it all and is worth a read:

    Feimanallah Pakistan


  5. Sarmad says:

    Time for a final n decisive push
    Time for showing door to Mush
    Mush may not like to see
    But our eyes are open and we do see
    Time for a final n decisive push
    Time for showing door to Mush

    For wuklas:
    Awakening never should be local but global. Judiciary may be the beginning but the road ahead is littered with debris of many an institution. Never forget the rules of engagement and norms of graceful victors.

  6. Rizwan says:

    People like Atzaz Hasan play with the emotions of the people of Pakistan. They are the cancer of Pakistan. How can you trust these people who call Zardari their leader and Musharraf criminal. With great sorrow, this sounds true also as it was part of the (late) BB deal to allow her in again and now the amnesty has been transferred to Zardari who is declaring not to have any intention to become a prime minister ( because he suits better for Crime Minister)but in fact, he is dreaming every day to become the PM and he is coming out talking nicely about going hand in hand with all the political parties trying to undo the bad image he carries due to his notorious past. And even, once he becomes Prime Minister, our great GEO TV commentator Hamid Mir ( or rather Meer Jafer) will make a super hero out of Zardari again. After all Zardari and his party has been chosen to rule our country by the dumb A$$eS call “THE MASSES”.
    The media is well paid for it- they are unfortunate to have no morals at all and are selling themselves at the expense of our nation!
    Check out this link guyz: _blackout.html –Will our media ever learn to behave so responsibly in the geater interests of this nation?
    Atzaz Hasan’s Long march calls for only one issue. If he starts long march on the issues below I will support him in those even if they go against Musharraf. But the Agenda of Atzaz Hasan is different not the interest of Pakistan but personal grudges against Musharraf.
    Below are the issues for whom long march is due since the birth of Pakistan.May be now opposition should start those long marches?
    No Long March for Atta Issue
    No Long March on Mahngai Issue
    No Long March on abuse to women in Pakistan
    No Long March on electricity issues
    No Long March on terrorism and extremism.
    No Long March on kids bagging on the streets of Pakistan.
    No Long March against child labor.
    No Long March health coverage for all Pakistanis. No Long March on education for all in Pakistan.
    No Long March on domestic violence.
    No Long March on corruption in Police.
    No Long March on corruption in Government.
    No Long March on Clean water and clean food for all.
    No Long March on the fact that Pakistan is under attack and suicide bombers.

    Atzaz Hasan Plays with the emotions of the people of Pakistan and tells us all about Law. Then He calls Asif Ali Zardari his leader. I challenge TV Media of Pakistan to clear Asif Zardari’s name and bring the accuser in surface as one of them deserves punishment.

  7. syed ali raza says:

    can some one plz explain why is every one so pumped up about re-instating CJP when he himself took the oath on the basis of 2002 PCO ? i am having problem understanding the motif ???

  8. syed ali raza says:

    should i forget the fact that AITIZAZ was part of the PPP govt in which Taliban came into existence & Naserullah Babar the king of extra judicial killings was let loose on the citizens of KARACHI ?? why should i discount all of his past behavior just bcz he is the media darling?? i am sorry i can not jump on this Band Wagon no thanx

  9. Ahsan says:

    Bring down Musharraf!

  10. Baazicha says:

    I disagree with ‘temporal’ regarding timing of this call by Aitzaz Ahsan. It is his pressure and the call of the Civil Society which has brought this 2 corrupt parties to at least agre on something good. It is high time for Pakistan that the road to Rule of Law and good governance be not put to back burner.

    This whole argument about new parliament is itself so senseless knowing that Mushy guy and ISI (and establishment) is still hell bent on doing behind the deals and blackmails.

    I prefer Rule of Law over sham democracy and corrupt politicians.

    Having said that I am developing some sense of respect about Zardari. Since winning the elections he seem to be showing up a very mature politician.

  11. Saad says:

    Time to rock Gen. (r) Musharraf’s boat once and for all.

  12. QASIM says:

    The inconsistencies of arguments are quite annoying.

    So, if someone has sided with a “bad” actor in the past therefore they can never do good again. If you follow that logic, no good can possibly ever come.

    And how come the “bad” things done by the people we do not like are always worse things done by the people we like. Even when those we support are obviously worse, or at least no better.

  13. The parliament is yet to convene and the government yet to form, but the judges are falling over each other trying to clear the corrupt leaders of their past misdeeds. Oh yes, Pakistan will have an independent judiciary. khumbaya, khumbaya

  14. Quit Musharraf Quit!

    Happy Yom-e Adl , We are going to win the fight for the rule of law in Pakistan yet. A Pakistan where NO 22 grade officer will EVER be able to suspend the constitution, fire and illegally abduct judges of the supreme court and make amendments in the constitution in contempt of Supreme Court of Pakistan.

    We Fight On!

  15. Kalsoom says:

    I raised a similar point in my blog today (and of course cited your insightful piece) – Zardari has reportedly made “muddled” statements regarding the restoration of the deposed judges versus the status of the current judges – I am curious to know whether the government’s efforts to “restore the judiciary” (an oft-used statement in the media, but with very ambiguous meaning), will be enough to quell this movement and the subsequent protests that have greatly influenced the political arena so far in Pakistan

  16. Rizwan says:

    Petrol prices are controlled by OPEC and Multinational corporations (oil companies). Even in the US. Petrol has gone from $3.23 to $3.61 per gallon since Feb 18 and still rising. Now tell me how Pakistani elections would affect US oil market? It is hard to see outside your own well. This is where overseas Pakis have advantage. They can look at the whole picture.

    On the other hand, if Musharraf had any say in it, and he did it, let me tell you that he is one of the great politicians.

    Load shedding: I was in Pakistan in last three weeks of February. There was a news on the front page of Jung that by year 2010 ( two more years) Pakistan will be officially considered a country with low water resources and by 2025, it will have very little water available ( may be you can correct me since you are the Jung guy). What can anybody do to avoid loadshedding. Oil and Electricity prices will keep going up in the summer time all over the word. Why don

  17. Aamir says:

    As if Mr. Musharraf’s exit will be the answer to all things! every couple of years we celebrate the exit of a leader…be it elected or not… so nothing new there.
    Until ALL institutions are free of corruption, nothing will be fixed in this country.
    As if the judiciary has always been full of saints!

  18. legaleagle says:

    Perhaps this is the first time that the major decisions in PPP and PMLN are being made by two (corrupt and incompetent, but not in that order) non-elected persons namely Nawaz and Zardari. Shouldn’t the decision making power be with elected representatives from these parties and why does the mantle HAS always to be with the Sharifs (who are more in the ”Mush tau badla lai karr ravan gay!” mindset) and Zardaris (or Bhuttos, I’m confused!)

    First cracks have already appeared with the most deserving candidate in PPP (Makhdom Amin Fahim) being sidelined by self-appointed co-chair.

    The much touted ‘Murree Declaration’ will go down the avenue of the previously touted’ Charter of Democracy’ which had been abandoned by PPP ex-lead BB for the want of power. Keeping this track record in view, I am not too optimistic about the intent & the ability of the PPP or PMLN to have the right credentials to do what they actually say!

  19. Irfan Mirza says:

    With the yesterdays developments in Murree, it has actually given hope to the fellow Pakistanis that the Pride of Pakistani Judiciary will be restored by the political efforts of PML-N who took this issue as their top agenda in the elections, never to be blighted ever again in future.

    Hats off to Pakistani Lawyers, all of them.

  20. Eidee Man says:

    Go Aitzaz!

    BTW, that picture looks like a screenshot from a video game. :)

  21. Ahsan says:

    We will rock you Musharraf! we, the people of Pakistan, the lawyers and all those who want to see a dawn of justice, peace, harmony and tranquility in beloved country will rock you Musharraf! We will rock you! Inshallah.

  22. MileStone says:

    Amin Fahim was not invited in yesterday’s meeting, which shows the division within the PPP already, and I think Zardari wont nominate him as the leader of the parlianment nor Prime Minister. These dirty politicians have still not learned the lesson, and I am pretty sure they will dicth the lawyer and civil movement once again.

    For PML-N, Musharraf seems to be the biggest threat, but once they get rid of Musharraf ( I hope they will NEVER be able to), these politicians will start fighting with each other.

    I will urge these politicians in the same way Musharraf did, that is, election has been over and the government has almost been made. Its time to stop the politics and start the governance for the betterment of Pakistan.

    I dont want the same to happen, what happened in Musharraf’s administration last year. After his mistake to overthrow the Cheif Justice, he got more busy in saving his chair, rather than working for the betterment of Pakistan, as what he was doing very well in the initial 7 years.

    Historically, we have seen that once these political leaders come into power, they start the politics of revenge ( NS said the same thing during elections) and they get more busy in crushing the opposition rather than working for Pakistan. I hope this would not happen this time and newly elected government would not play the politics of agitation and try to work with Musharraf, as I think that Musharraf should be present in the political arena to keep a check on these political leaders.

  23. Saad says:

    I feel for the retired General, no I really do. He took it upon himself to fight with one of the most determined nations on the face of this planet; Pakistanis. =)

  24. readinglord says:

    It’s no politics, but sheer selfishness and meanness of a person for whom Pakistan is not a homeland for 16 crore people but a hunting ground for his personal aggrandizement. His fiendishness is being exposed day by day. Let us see how low he can go. May God help us!

  25. roy says:

    Support Justice movement!
    Black Flag Week Zindabad!

  26. Pakistani says:

    Aitizaz Ahsan and his principle stand makes all of us proud to be Paksitan

  27. Father of this nation had, in unequivocal terms not once but on many occasions, declared that the military will remain subservient to the civilian government in Pakistan. Unfortunately, right the opposite had been the case no sooner The Quaid closed his eyes. Once again, we have the opportunity to throw up a civilian dispensation, however incompetent and or currupt, let them do their job. Let the judiciary be indpendent and impartial, let the freedom of expression via the meadia or otherwise with responsibity, prevail. Let the Constitution work which has sufficient remedy to rectify the wrong doings, if any, of the government in power. There is no need of any un-authorised third umpire to intervene. The lawyers movement for the restoration and independence of judiciary, rule of law and justice is the only way federation can remain united. God bless our country.

  28. MileStone says:

    I knew this is going to happen. The most deserving candidate for the post of PM (Amin Fahim) has been thrown out by Zardar with the help of Nawaz Sharif (as his party vetoes the decision, so that AminFahim should not be considered for premiership), In return, Zardari agreed to make the government with PML-N and restore the judges and let NS take revenge from a person who kicked him out of the country.

    What’s next??? Mr.10%, the Prime Minister of Pakistan???
    Pakistan ka Allah hi Hafiz, thats why I think something that maybe we deserve these corrupt politicians.

    Jaisay Awam, Waisay Hukmaran.

  29. should we cry or laugh. we will have mr. 10 percent destroy the economy that Shaukat Aziz built and then Nawaz will stab him in the back and come with 2/3 mandate. and the cycle will repeat. luddi hai jamalo, pao luddi ……….

  30. I dont know how the big names like Mr. Etizaz (my favourite man) etc etc are asking for return of CJ Chowdhary Iftikar.
    In one hand they accept CJ who also oath under emergency and in the other hand they dont accept the judges who oath under the 2nd. emergency. why?
    either you accept the both emergencies or nothing. And go back to the judges who were in action before the two emergencies , in my opinion this is the correct decision or the 2nd emgerncy oath judges also legaly. you decide…..

  31. Rizwan says:

    Lahore is hit again.
    Free Media In the Most corrupt Country is not Free Media its sold Media
    Atzaz Hasan who is playing with the emotions of the people of Pakistan Thanks Media for supporting Lawyers Movement.Now ask the people of Pakistan that Lawyers movement is Pakistan

  32. Afzal says:

    I think the lawyers movement is a truly democratic movement and it makes all of us Pakistanis proud.

    Musharraf supporters really hate the people of Pakistan. Read their comments, and every comment will tell you how people of Pakistan cannot be trusted. Unlike Musharraf and his supporters, I am proud of the people of Pakistan and these lawyers demanding democracy.

  33. AUK says:

    Posting from PakPolitics. This clearly outlines the issue.

    Well, I don

  34. Dewana Phir Say says:

    Is this right; opst/m.1.jpg

    CJ meeting someone with serious corruption charges?

  35. Afsa says:

    Great reception given to CJ and Aitizaz in Quetta today shows that they are still a great force.

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