Muneer Malik Calls for the Supremacy of Law in Pakistan

By Ras H. Siddiqui

Mr. Muneer Malik addresses the Independence Day gathering in San Francisco

The President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association Muneer Malik was recently in the San Francisco Bay Area. During this brief visit he took the time to visit his Alma Mata, Santa Clara University, and availed the opportunity to address several thousand Pakistani-Americans in front of the Civic Center in San Francisco who were celebrating Pakistan’s 60th Independence Day anniversary.
Mr. Malik was on the rebound, from his role in a historic lawyer’s movement to precipitate the reversal of the sacking of Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Ahmed Chaudhry. Indulging in some rest and relaxation and meeting some old friends in northern California, Mr. Malik who recently shot to fame by reviving the words of Faiz Ahmed Faiz “Hum Dekhain Gey” (We shall See) to the level of a national slogan, was able to communicate his views on an emerging “New Pakistan” which will hold the law supreme. Muneer spent some time in jail under the regime of General Ziaul Haq, fighting for the democratic rights of Pakistanis.
Whether one agrees with him or not, it becomes somewhat necessary to write on his visit here because he also shares a stint at San Jose State University with many prominent members of our local community. Keeping that in mind, presented below are some of his comments to several thousand Pakistanis in San Francisco on August 19, 2007.
Thanking community members, Muneer Malik expressed his happiness at participating in Pakistan’s 60th Independence Anniversary in San Francisco. He said that by all means, we should celebrate our independence day, but we should also make this a day of reflection. He asked that we look back on Pakistan ’s last 60 years and see how independent we really are. He said that Pakistan during the last 60 years has predominantly had Military Rule.
The Pakistani people, according to Muneer, had not understood the concept of justice in its entirety till lately. He said that the Pakistan of the past 60 years belonged to the feudals, military and bureaucracy and other vested interests. He said that a people-dominated New Pakistan had recently been born and that he had high hopes from it.

Mr. Muneer Malik with friends at the San Francisco City Hall

Reflecting back on the recent Chief Justice’s refusal to resign and the lawyers movement that has started in Pakistan since March of this year, Mr. Malik said that this movement has spelled out to the people of Pakistan what justice really means. He said that the movement has explained to Pakistanis that the rights of all people (especially women) are important, as are the protection of all national assets. He added that the protection of both should reign supreme. Above all, he said, that the movement has shown the people of Pakistan who is really qualified to dispense justice to them.
He also spoke of “missing persons” in Pakistan, who need to be located. He said that most of them are secular nationalists and not religious extremists (especially those from Sindh and Baluchistan). He said that the family members of these people need help. He said that when we talk of the New Pakistan, we are talking about changing hearts and minds, since we have neither guns nor cannons. He added that true power lies with the people, and that democratic rule, however problematic, can evolve into a better tomorrow (just like it has done here in the United States with race issues). We have to eliminate VIP culture in Pakistan. We have to let the law prevail.
Muneer Malik’s speech did generate some controversy amongst the Pakistani-Americans present. But since Pakistan Link is a forum which is open to all segments of our community, it was considered important to report on his visit. There are basic value-systems reflected in his thoughts which are difficult to refute.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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