Aitzaz Ahsan on the move
Aitzaz Ahsan addresses LHCBA: ‘Arrests, detentions cannot mar lawyers’ movement’
* Stresses need for UN probe into Benazir’s assassination
* Says Musharraf made wrong allegations on Iftikhar Chaudhry
Staff Report; Daily Times, February 2, 2008
LAHORE: Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Aitzaz Ahsan said on Friday that detentions and arrests could not mar the lawyers’ movement for the restoration of sacked judges.
Addressing the general house meeting of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) after his 90-day house arrest, Ahsan said the nation had been downcast after the assassination of late Pakistan People’s Party chief Benazir Bhutto. However, he said, there was still a ray of hope and the lawyers would succeed in restoring the independent judiciary of the country.
Stressing the need for a UN probe into the assassination Benazir Bhutto, he asked why President General (r) Pervez Musharraf was hesitating in allowing the UN probe, when he (Musharraf) had also expressed dissatisfaction with the way the current investigation was going on. He said, “If the government can call a team from Scotland Yard, why not from the UN.”
He said the government had failed in controlling terrorism which was causing a great loss to the country. He said Musharraf’s ouster itself would bring terrorism down 80 percent.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) was President Musharraf’s party and “if the party does not secure more than 30 seats, he (Musharraf) should quit immediately”. He said, “Musharraf has been campaigning for the PML-Q and he will try to rig the elections for his allies’ success.”
Ahsan said only an independent judiciary could ensure fair elections. He said if the PML-Q failed in the coming elections, the people would hit the roads to force Musharraf out of power. However, he said, rigged elections would call for the lawyers and the public to join hands for an even stronger movement for the restoration of independent judiciary and democracy.
Ahsan criticised US Under Secretary of State Richard Boucher’s statement in which he said that an independent parliament would ensure the judiciary’s independence. The SCBA president said an independent parliament was not possible if there was no independent judiciary to ensure fair elections. Ahsan said history was witness to the fact that lasting democracy came wherever there was an independent and strong judiciary.
Ahsan said sacked chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and his family had been kept in detention for three months without warrants and legal authority. He also criticised Musharraf for using “highly humiliating and indecent remarks” against Justice (r) Chaudhry during his (Musharraf’s) trip to Europe. He said Musharraf had made the same allegations on Justice (r) Chaudhry, which a 13-member Supreme Court bench had dismissed. He said three members of the bench were currently holding offices. He said the 340-page document that the government’s lawyers had presented in the SC contained 48 pages with nothing but handbills with abuses and objectionable remarks on them against the members on the bench though they had no relevance to the reference. Ahsan said President Musharraf had shown that document to the heads of European states to defame Justice (r) Chaudhry.
He said Justice (r) Chaudhry had written to the European Union and various European heads of state telling them that the truth was contrary to the document shown to them by Gen (r) Musharraf.