Pakistani-Americans Welcome Murree Declaration
Washington, DC: The Pakistan-American National Alliance (PANA), a US-wide coalition of Pakistani-American organizations, has welcomed the Murree Declaration jointly issued by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N).
The PANA members have also demanded immediate repeal of the unconstitutional amendments promulgated by Gen Musharraf during last’s year’s emergency.
The PANA statement inter alia reads:
“We welcome and support the Murree Declaration by PPP and PML-N to seek immediate reinstatement of the 66 deposed judges status quo anti November 2, 2007.
“In addition to noted legal scholars and constitutional experts, the legal approach adopted in the Murree Declaration has been endorsed by eight former judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan including three chief justices.
“These ex-judges have affirmed that a resolution in the National Assembly would be “more than sufficient” for the reinstatement of the deposed judges.
“They have further affirmed that the ‘removal of judges, which was admittedly unconstitutional being in defiance of Article 209 of the Constitution, could not be validated by the unilateral act of one individual through the so-called introduction of Article 270-AAA and purported amendments to 270-C in the Constitution nor could it be validated by the Supreme Court.’
“We concur with former chief justice of Pakistan Saiduzzaman Siddiqui: ‘A sovereign parliament is imperative for an independent judiciary’ and vice versa…”
“We also urge the incoming coalition government to seek immediate repeal of the unconstitutional amendments promulgated by Gen Musharraf during last’s year’s emergency. These amendments, many of them containing ex post facto legislation, provide “legal” cover to Gen Musharraf’s illegal acts and perpetuate army’s abuse of state power and resources.
“As noted by the Human Rights Watch, “Under the amended Army Act civilians can now be tried in military courts for acts of treason, sedition and less specific offenses such as “giving statements conducive to public mischief. Shockingly, trials of civilians conducted by special military courts under the amended law will not be public, investigations will be conducted by military officers, and rules of evidence and procedures prescribed by law and the constitution for civilian trials will not apply.”
“Similarly, the Ordinance LXIX of 2007 to amend the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act, 1973 promulgated on November 24, 2007 gives Gen Musharraf vastly enhanced powers to disbar lawyers involved in democratic struggle.
“Above all we demand immediate repeal of newly inserted Article 270AAA which seeks to indemnify Gen Musharraf’s recent acts of High Treason. Article 6 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan stipulates: “Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subvert s or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by another unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.” Article 270AAA, detailed below, places Gen Musharraf above the law and the constitution.
“Article 270AAA (1) reads: “The proclamation of emergency of November 3, all President’s orders, ordinances, Chief of Army Staff orders, including the Provisional Constitution Order No 1 of 2007, the Oath of Office (Judges) Order 2007, the amendments made in the Constitution through the Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 and all other laws made from November 3, 2007 to the date on which emergency is revoked, are accordingly affirmed, adopted and declared to have been validly made by the competent authority and, notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, shall not be called in question in any court or forum on any ground whatsoever.”
“Article 270AAA (2) reads: “All orders made, proceedings taken, appointments made… and acts done by any authority, or by any person in exercise of powers derived from any proclamation, PCO order No 1 of 2007, president’s orders, ordinances, enactments, including amendments to the Constitution…or sentence passed by any authority in exercise of these powers, notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution or any judgment of any court, be deemed to always to have been validly made, taken or done, and shall not be called in question in any court or forum on any ground whatsoever.
“Article 270AAA (3) reads: “All proclamations, president’s orders, ordinances, Chief of Army Staff orders, laws, regulations, enactments, including amendments to the Constitution, notifications, rules, orders or bye-laws in force immediately before the date on which the emergency was revoked, will continue in force until altered, repealed, or amended by the ‘competent authority’.”
“Any government not seeking immediate repeal of the above illegal amendments will be complicit with Gen Musharraf’s dictatorship.”
Jointly issued by the following organizations:
- Coalition of Pakistani Organization of Chicago (COPOC)
- Indus Society (IS)
- Pakistan American Council of Texas (PACT)
- Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF)
- Pakistani-American Democratic Dialogue (PADD)
- Pakistan Association of Riverside (PAR)
- Pakistan Cultural Association of New Orleans (PCANO)
- Pakistan League of America (PLA)
- Pakistan-US Freedom Forum (PUFF)