Pakistani Americans Anticipate Historic Victory for Civil Society, Rule of Law
Washington, DC: In a recent statement, Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF) has highlighted impressive victories scored by the Pakistani civil society propelled by a free media and an independent judiciary. In terms of class struggle, however, PADF sees the current phase as the semi-final round between the feudals and middle, lower middle, and working classes, says a PADF press release. It adds:
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?
The PADF Statement, in part, reads:
We join our Pakistani brothers and sisters in celebrating five major victories: 1) restoration of an independent judiciary, 2) repeal of NRO, 3) repeal of 270AAA, 4) vigorous Supreme Court probe into the missing persons cases, and 5) almost certain, albeit partial, repeal of the 17the amendment, specially, Article 58 (2) B.
Each of these victories contains seeds of many more victories.
It is important to note that even an ideological-cum-structural alliance between Gen Musharraf and Mr. Zardari could not save 270AAA. Pakistani civil society has defeated the combined forces of both camps. Here is the documentary evidence:
First, Article 6 of the Constitution (Amendment) Order, 2007 issued by Gen Musharraf on November 21, 2007, sought to indemnify "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” and declares them “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.”
Then, the Pakistan Peoples Party sought to indemnify Gen Musharraf’s above-referenced actions in Article 73 of the Draft Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2008, which read: “In the Constitution, after Article 270AA the following new Article shall be inserted, namely: “270AAA. Validation of Ordinances etc.- (1) The Islamabad High Court (Establishment) Order, 2007 (P.O. No. 7 of 2007) and the Ordinance, except those specified in the Sixth Schedule, made between the 12th day of July, 2007 and the 15th day of December, 2007 (both days inclusive) and actions taken thereunder shall be deemed to have been validly made and taken by the competent authority notwithstanding the expiry of period of four months specified in Article 89 and notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution shall not be called in question in any court or forum on any ground whatsoever.”
Yet, they could not get 270AAA approved by either the parliament or the Supreme Court. In the end, as witnessed by the whole world, the apparently invincible military-feudal complex was both legally and morally defeated by the civil society. They were defeated by history.
We also applaud those journalists who, despite being personally threatened and vilified, have refused to give in or give up.