20 Ex-Generals Ready to Join Fight for Democracy By Ansar Abbasi
The News, November 09, 2007
DUBAI: A considerable number of prominent ex-servicemen including many retired generals are all set to join the civil society and the legal fraternity to fight for the country's return to democracy and for the restoration of the deposed Supreme Court judges who rejected the new PCO.
More than one dozen retired Generals, including the former colleagues and seniors of General Pervez Musharraf, would even court arrest to resist the brutal suppression of the civil society, lawyers and political parties.
Things are being kept secret right now to avoid any pre-emptive crackdown by the government that is showing zero tolerance to any protest against the second martial law, named emergency by the government. Some senior lawyers are in contact with retired generals, who are enthusiastic to play their role to save the country's future at this crucial juncture.
A leading lawyer, who is in contact with a group of retired generals, told The News from Islamabad on phone that he was expecting some 20 retired Generals to join the lawyers' movement in the days to come. "They (ex-servicemen) have assured us that they would even be ready to court arrest," said the lawyer, who has requested not to be named to avoid the government's possible "pre-emptive strike".
The lawyers community, which is presently facing the worst state-brutality that includes arrest of hundreds of lawyers all over Pakistan, would remain focused on the restoration of the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and all other judges of the apex court and the high courts who did not take fresh oath under Musharraf's latest PCO.
Although, during the initial days of the recently promulgated emergency-cum-martial law the general demand has been for the lifting of the emergency and holding of early elections, the restoration of the deposed CJ and others and revival of the pre-November 3 judiciary has not been in the focus.
However, the situation has now changed. The lawyers' struggle to revive the pre-November 3 judiciary has now been joined by the two leading political voices – Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. Nawaz Sharif was the first politician to insist that the likes of honourable Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry be reinstated to their positions that they were holding before the imposition of the renewed military rule. Benazir Bhutto, who had not previously talked of the deposed judges' restoration, on Wednesday demanded that the revival of the Constitution and lifting of emergency should come along with the restoration of the deposed judges.
Without the revival of the independent judiciary, it is believed, the cause of sustainable democracy and moderation in Pakistan would remain a far cry.
It is generally believed that the November 3 unconstitutional action was mainly targeted against the "defiant" judges, whose removal and incarceration is believed to be due to their upholding the rule of law, constitutionalism, and the rights of the downtrodden people of Pakistan.
These judges were considered by the masses as the last bulwark against executive excesses in Pakistan. They were involved in enforcing habeas corpus petitions, hearing cases against the missing persons many of whom were recovered from intelligence agencies, hearing petitions against illegal land grab by the mighty and the powerful. In numerous cases, these judges were responsible for hearing petitions regarding violence against women and providing relief.