Pakistani-Americans See CJ's Reinstatement as Major Step to Independent Judiciary
By Hazem Kira

 

Chicago, Illinois: The Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF), a grassroots organization, has welcomed Supreme Court of Pakistan's decision to reinstate the CJ, declaring it "a major victory for Pakistani civil society in general and the judiciary in particular, and a major defeat for the authoritarian establishment and its foreign sponsors."
The PADF President Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Toor has called for immediate reinstatement of 13 judges of high, civil and session courts that were either fired for supporting the chief justice or had resigned in protest against Gen Musharraf's unconstitutional action.
The PADF has urged the Supreme Court of Pakistan to use its newly-acquired popular mandate to take suo moto cognizance of four key issues: legal framework for the upcoming elections in view of Article 43 of the Constitution of Pakistan to ensure full compliance with the Constitution, free and fair elections and complete neutrality of the election commission, reinstatement of those judges and public officials who either lost or resigned from their respective offices to protest Gen Musharraf's unconstitutional actions, secret kidnappings of Pakistani citizens allegedly by foreign agencies, and the Lal Masjid incident including its antecedents and consequences.
"The unprecedented determination of the people of Pakistan has produced two affirmative results: an independent judiciary and a free press", political scientist Dr. Agha Saeed said. Consequently, the movement for democracy in Pakistan has acquired two backbones."
The PADF statement in part reads:
We Pakistani Americans welcome Supreme Court of Pakistan's recent decision to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary and void Gen Musharraf's unconstitutional actions. The judiciary has taken a much-needed step toward its own independence.
It is a direction-changing victory for the real moderates, the 160 million of people of Pakistan, who oppose Gen Musharraf's arbitrary rule and its support by neocons in the United States.
We also call for the immediate reinstatement of the following thirteen judges who were either fired for supporting the chief Justice or had resigned in protest against Gen Musharraf's unconstitutional action. These include: High Court Judge Justice Jawad S Khawaja; Civil Judges Iram Jehangir, Malik Javed Iqbal, Ashraf Yar Khan, Rajesh Chandra, Sakhi Mustafa, Pir Ali Syed Rashdi, Allah Wachaio, and Ihsam Malik; Additional Sessions and Civil Judge Zulfiqar Ali and Syed Khurshid; Deputy Attorney General Nasir Saeed Sheikh; and Additional Advocate General (Punjab) Qaiser Khalil.
These are the unacknowledged and unsung heroes of the 2007 pro-democracy movement. The nation owes them a debt of gratitude and the time has come to pay that debt.
We urge the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo moto cognizance of the following four items: legal framework for the upcoming elections in view of Article 43 of the Constitution of Pakistan to ensure full compliance with the Constitution, free and fair elections and complete neutrality of the election commission, reinstatement of those judges and public officials who either lost or resigned from their respective offices to protest Gen Musharraf's unconstitutional actions, secret kidnappings of Pakistani citizens allegedly by foreign agencies, and the Lal Masjid incident including its antecedents and consequences.
Hereafter, the judiciary itself will be judged by the quality of justice it will provide to the teeming masses of Pakistan.
The Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) was founded in 1982 to support the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy in Pakistan, popularly known as MRD. In 2003 the PADF played a leading role in the establishment of a US-wide coalition of pro-democracy groups known as the Pakistan-American National Alliance (PANA), which had organized US-wide pro-judiciary movement during the present crisis.
For more information contact Dr. Riaz Ahmed at 248 - 661 – 1115.

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