Pakistani Americans Hail 18 th Amendment, Denounce David Milliband’s Intervention
Washington, DC : Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF), a US-wide grassroots organization, has “enthusiastically welcomed” two major victories in one day: Unanimous adoption of the 18th constitutional amendment by the bicameral parliamentary committee and reopening of corruption cases against the rich and the powerful including PPP co-chair Asif Ali Zardari.
“From now onwards, March 31 will be remembered as day of great national reckoning and will be celebrated along with March 23 and August 14,” PADF founder Dr. Agha Saeed said.
Reportedly, there are nearly 100 clauses in the draft amendment, which among other things, repeal 58 (2) B and transfer a variety of powers, including the ability to fire an elected government and appoint military chiefs, from the office of the president to the prime minister.
This draft amendment also removes one more colonial vestige by renaming NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
On the same day, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) lawyer Abid Zuberi told the Supreme Court that letter has been sent to Switzerland’s Attorney-General to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
PAK-Americans, however, remain wary of foreign interventions in Pakistan’s internal affairs, most recently by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband who had earlier this month phoned both Asif Ali Zardari Nawaz Sharif to discuss the constitutional reforms package.
“We denounce all foreign intervention in Pakistan’s internal affairs,” PADF Chair Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Toor said. “Western imperialism remains a major obstacle to establishment of a genuine democracy in Pakistan.”
The PADF statement, in part, reads:
“As we join our Pakistani brothers and sisters in celebrating these twin victories, we also recall PADF statement issued on 2/1/10 which is detailed below:
“Pakistani Americans anticipate a historic victory for values cherished by Pakistani middle classes, most notably values pertaining to rule of law, due process, equal justice, transparency, and accountability.
“We see the present tug-of-war between the independent judiciary and the non-compliant Zardari presidency as the semi-final phase of a 62-year long struggle between the middle class and the feudal lords,” PADF founder Dr. Agha Saeed said. “For the first time the middle class values are ascendant and the whole nation is beginning to buy into them. If democracy is the best revenge against dictators, then the rule of law and accountability are the best revenge against the feudals.
PM Gillani, scion of a major feudal family, recently told the parliament “I have an obligation to defend my class. It is quite revealing that he did not say “my government”, “my parliament” or even “my party”; instead he asserted his loyalty to his class. Many feudals, including the highly respected lawyer Aitzaz Ahsen, now face the same dilemma: Should they be faithful to their professed ideology or their class?
It is important to note that even an alliance between Gen Musharraf and Mr. Zardari could not save the 17 th Amendment. Pakistani civil society has defeated the combined forces of both camps.