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.
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.