Shameful. Distressing. Dangerous.

Posted on March 12, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Politics, Society
124 Comments
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Adil Najam

The way that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was removed was bad enough. But what has happened since then is even more disturbing.

The Chief Justice removed. Media being muzzled. Lawyers protesting beaten up.

One can debate whether Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry should have been removed or not, or even whether the way he was removed was appropriate or not. But there is no question that the way the government is dealing with this issue is shameful, distressing, and dangerous.

The shamefulness is obvious in these pictures; just as it was when a young man’s shalwar was taken off as he protested ‘disappearances’ some months ago. It is distressing because it demonstrates the sanctity of our most important institutions – the judiciary and the media – is under stress. It is dangerous because if one keeps slipping down this road then it is not merely the future of this government but that of the entire country that will be at stake.

Whether the lawyers here instigated the violence or not, I do not know. They very possibly did, and that is itself disturbing. But that is not the point. The question is how a society and a state deals with dissent and protest. Once again, the answer is: “Shamefully.

I do not know who is advising the government on all of this. I just pray that someone is. I hope there is someone who stands up and says:

“Don’t do this.
Please don’t do this.
This is not good for you.
This is not good for the country.
This cannot be good for anyone.
Please – for God’s sake – STOP!”

I wish I had something more profound to say right now. But as I stare at these pictures and this video clip, I hold my head in shame; I am distressed; and I ponder on the dangers before us.

All I can think of right now is: “Allah khair karey!”

Baton Charge by Punjab Police on Lawyers – Geo Tv Report
16:49

(Also see a BBC video report here. All pictures above from BBC website; video from GEO News). 

124 responses to “Shameful. Distressing. Dangerous.”

  1. Imran Bhatt says:

    Rethinking Priorities

    We are at the crossroads. As Mirza Ghalib says in his couplet

    Eeman mujay rokay hai jo khenchay hai mujey kufr
    Kaaba merey peechay hai kaleesa merey aagay

    We are trapped between push of development and pull of traditions. Young generation is confused and bewildered where to get reconciliation. Main stream religious leaders failed to satisfy the post-modern political issues. The situation is further aggravated by the absence of any kind of discussion and dialogue in the society. This absence of dissenting views has led to proliferation of orthodox and violent means to assert ones point of view.

    Recent kidnapping of three residents of Islamabad by female students of an Islamic school is nothing but a ‘vigilante justice’. The way government took a very soft stance against the occupation of children library by female students of the same school emboldened their courage and now they are threatening to establish an Islamic court in their school. This is blessing of having military power in over society. This is exact opposite what Jinnah had dreamt for, a tolerant, secular society, where everyone would be identified as Pakistani.

    But I think one should not to be surprised by these events as a cursory look at the evolution of political economy will reveal the true picture of Pakistani society. It is a society where one can do whatever he wants as long as he has the monopoly of violence. A constitutionally elected prime minister dismisses his Army Chief, but as Army Chief rejects his orders and topples his democratically elected government. Why? Here gun power is more powerful then peoples power in Pakistan.

    Have we ever entertained a thought, what if Chief Justice rejects his authority and establishes his own government just like the way General Musharif did to Nawaz Sharif? I know we can not even imagine about it because army as an institution holds the monopoly over violence in our society. By the use of their coercive power they have managed to twist laws in their favour. Why the managed to do this because of our silence. They willfully have twisted the political history of Pakistan under the guise of indispensableness. They are not the guardian of national interest; people of Pakistan are the guardian of national interest. Armed forces in every civilized society are one instrument among many at the disposal of the people to achieve their national interests. Nations are indispensable not the institutions.

    Just like in Animal Farm, in our society all institutions are equal but some institutions are more equal then others. Pakistan Army since the inception of Pakistan has been ‘the most equal institution’ of Pakistan. Now the time has come to put everything in its right order. A place where it belongs

    In order to have a balance institutional structure power must to be handed over to the people of Pakistan. This can only be achieved by the way of establishing a tradition of scrutinizing each and every action no matter how sensitive it is. This can only be achieved by revisiting our history and questioning all the values and dogmas. We need to stand up and as Soraya Shahpour-Ulrich writes,” we must defend justice with our lives lest we need justice to defend our lives.”

  2. Jernail says:

    The theater of the absurd continues in Pakistan. The lawyers are continuing the protest in greater number and in more cities. And teh info minister says this is a sign of trust in government. If this is trust, what does distrust look like!

  3. USMAN says:

    This charge sheet is a joke and a mockery of all governance

  4. Ashraf says:

    Did anyone see the interview of Mush on GEO. He is clearly under stress and knows that this is big. This time his public tactics will not work.

  5. Jabir Khan says:

    Thank you Disciple. Voilence is the last reort, but I think this illegal Govt has left no other option. Do you think Musharraf will concede power back to people without struggle? This man is a proven liar. Who in his right man can trust him?
    Justice system is the last resort for anyone. Now they are saying enough and I salute them for this.
    If lawyers can give us Pakistan, surely they can give us a nation as well. These are the first steps in the right direction.
    As for Musharraf, he can go stay with his Rhode’s scholar brother in the USA.

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