A Historic Meeting of Iftikhar Chaudhary with Ramsey Clark
By Muhammad Salim Akhtar
New York: A meeting of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry of Pakistan with the former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark on Tuesday, November 25 at an event organized by the Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) at the Manhattan Hilton Hotel, was something that personal memoirs, political biographies, and social histories are made of.
The following is a brief overview of that historic meeting. A comprehensive report including a video will be issued early next month.
The PADF, a grassroots organization founded in 1982 to support the democracy movement in Pakistan, chose to honor deposed CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry by organizing a seminar on “Pakistan’s Pursuit of Justice and Role of the international Civil Society.
The New York seminar was moderated by Salim Akhtar. Introductions being the first order of business included two noteworthy elements: The enthusiasm bordering at pride with which the deposed Chief Justice introduced Aitzaz Ahsan to Ramsey Clark and expressed his complete confidence in Aitzaz Ahsan; the high regard shown by Ramsey Clark for late Justice Safdar, whom he had met during Z. A. Bhutto’s trial.
The deposed Chief Justice thanked Mr. Clark for his support and internationally-acknowledged role in support of just causes.
Pictures above: Glimpses of the historic meeting of deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary with Mr. Ramsey Clark
After welcoming remarks by PADF Chair Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Toor, Dr. Agha Saeed inaugurated the seminar by reciting the stanza from Nobel-Laureate Czeslaw Milosz’s poem “Dedication”.
What is poetry which does not save
Nations or people?
A connivance with official lies,
A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment,
Readings for sophomore girls.
That I wanted good poetry without knowing it,
That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,
In this and only this I find salvation.
Ramsey Clark’s Presentation
In essence, Mr. Clark reaffirmed what he hold the deposed Chief Justice during a PADF-organized tele-conference a few months earlier: “Sir, it is an honor to talk to you. It is a historic occasion. What you and your colleagues have done has never been in the history of the world. The whole world is indebted to you. You are an inspiration to all of us. Please let us know whatever service we may be able to provide.”
He also applauded Pakistani lawyers for their valiant struggle.
Aitzaz Ahsan’s Presentation
Mr. Ahsan told the audience that “when Agha Sahib had asked me to talk about the role of the International Civil Society, I couldn’t think of anyone in the whole world whose life history and services could fit that vision better than that of Mr. Clark.”
FAIZ AHMED FAIZ AWARD
At the end, Dr. Agha Saeed read and Mr. Aitzaz Ahsen presented the FAIZ AHMED FAIZ AWARD 2009 which read:
Pakistan American Democratic Forum
Faiz Ahmed Faiz Peace Award
Presented in Appreciation To
Honorable William Ramsey Clark
For embodying the finest American values and principles; for building peace by working for justice, for opposing imperialism in all its manifestations, for being a major voice of the international civil society in sustaining and nurturing sovereign equality among nations; and for the indefatigable spirit, unflinching dedication, inspiring optimism, illuminating insight, and profound humility manifest in his service to humanity.
Presented by Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan
President, Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (2007-08)
November 25, 2008