‘Generals-judges coalition pushing country to civil war’
* Speakers at PPPP-sponsored seminar say political victimisation and HR violations high during Musharraf’s rule
By Abid Butt
LAHORE: The acts of army generals and injustices of the superior courts are pushing Pakistan to civil war, said speakers at a Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) seminar on Wednesday.
The Human Rights Committee of the PPPP arranged the seminar titled Political victimisation and human rights violations in Pakistan at Karachi Hall of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA).
Speakers were unanimous that generals and judges were responsible for the mess in the country and judges had become ‘puppets’ in the hands of army generals, who were working to please United States President George Bush. The seminar also passed a resolution demanding that these generals and judges be tried for high treason.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Punjab President Sardar Zulfiqar Khan Khosa complained that politicians in government had a habit of victimising the opposition. But all opposition parties were now working together under the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and they should prepare a code of conduct for the ruling and opposition parties for a better political future of the country, said the PML-N Punjab president.
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan accused all civil and military rulers of subjecting their rivals to political victimisation and said everyone had contributed to curbing the independence of the judiciary.
The PTI chairman said there were two sets of laws in Pakistan, a lenient for the government and a stringent set for the opposition. This had strengthened the feudal system in which all rulers, including army generals and bureaucrats, had their origin, said Mr Khan.
An independent judiciary was the solution to all these problems, but the courts, under the threat of army generals, were not hearing the cases of the opposition parties, he said.
PPPP Secretary General Jehangir Bader called for a joint framework to handle political victimisations by the military rulers so that no Bhutto can be hanged and no Zardari or Hashmi can be put behind bars.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Chairperson Asma Jehangir said Pakistani generals were in fact “lieutenants of the US president” while superior court judges were merely “toys playing in the hands of the dictators”.
Ms Jehangir said the judiciary had always played an anti-Pakistan role by supporting and strengthening army generals who violated the Constitution.
The HRCP chairperson said the disassociation of the army from civil powers was in the best interest of Pakistan. She said President Bush had shamed Americans and all independent countries had distanced themselves from the “tarnished” US president, though Pakistan’s rulers were proud of calling themselves frontline allies of Mr Bush.
The HRCP chairperson said Shaukat Aziz had come from New York “to mint money”. Ms Jehangir said she would go to Tharparkar to witness and record views about rigging at the by-polls on August 18.
Former LHCBA secretary Abid Saqi called Mr Aziz a recovery officer of the International Monetary Fund. He said armed struggle against the generals was the only way to make Pakistan a law-abiding nation.
PML-N Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Maimoona Hashmi said those who supported the army have been given power under the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) while “men of truth” like Javed Hashmi, her father, and Asif Ali Zardari had been put behind bars.
Former National Assembly speaker Yousaf Raza Gillani criticised the Supreme Court for allowing General Pervez Musharraf to be the chief executive for three years and to amend the Constitution, saying this has resulted in a system that will take the nation “nowhere but to chaos”. He said Zafarullah Jamali was the first victim of the “undemocratic” National Security Council. LHCBA President Ahmed Awais said lawyers were with the ARD. He said lawlessness could only be end if the idea that the law and the Constitution are supreme is institutionalised, which would be impossible unless those who violate the Constitution are given deterrent punishment.
Urdu Digest Editor Altaf Hassan Qureshi urged all political parties to unite on the one-point agendum of removing generals from politics.
Khawar Mahmood Khattana called the hanging of former prime minister Zulifqar Ali Bhutto and eight year imprisonment of Mr Zardari the “worst examples of political victimisation and human rights violation”.
PPPP Human Rights Committee Chairman Senator Latif Khan Khosa said the present government was a continuation of General Pervez Musharraf’s military rule, which had set horrible examples of human rights violation and political victimisation through the judges working for him.
He criticised the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal for supporting General Musharraf, who would never shed his military uniform. He also criticised the PML for not finding a single MNA worthy of becoming prime minister and selecting an “outsider” and staging a “drama” of by-elections. This was nothing but a mockery of democracy, said Mr Khosa.
Awami National Party Secretary General Ehsan Wain and LHCBA Secretary Azam Nazir Tarar also spoke. The seminar also passed a unanimous resolution demanding that generals, especially General Musharraf, and judges who supported the violations of the Constitution be prosecuted for high treason.
The resolution rejected an amendment to the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973 giving powers to judges to control lawyers.
It demanded Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif be allowed to return and also demanded that Pakistani troops should not be sent to Iraq. The resolution condemned the target killing of leaders and activists of the opposition parties and demanded that the culprits be arrested immediately. It also demanded that Javed Hashmi and Asif Ali Zardari should be released immediately. The resolution called the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) a body made to achieve “filthy political ends”. It demanded a probe into the wealth and assets of generals and judges.