“November 3, 2007 martial law was directed against judiciary and media only. However, no assembly has endorsed it. Judiciary was ambushed on my nodding head in “No”, he said this while addressing a mammoth lawyers convention in District Bar Rawalpindi on the occasion of Black Day.
He went on to say martial law was once again imposed on November, 3, 2007.Rulers and their cronies could name it emergency plus or emergency but it was a virtual martial law for all the segments of society, he added. There was awful difference between this and previous marital laws as no assembly had endorsed it so far, he held.
“I hope the sitting assembly will also not approve it “, he remarked.
February 18 polls were inevitable and former President Musharraf had no role in holding these elections, he said adding, these elections were to take place at every cost on completion of 5 years of assemblies.
“I am custodian of several things. But I can not make public these things being Chief justice. But I will bring before the people non-classified things”, he declared.
The deposed Chief Justice said it is very unfortunate that out of total 61 years, democracy remained in the country for only 24 years and unluckily all the martial laws enforced by different dictators were validated by the court due to certain reasons. “The court had to validate 1992 Martial law as the Assembly also accepted it”, he added. “Musharraf imposed martial law second time on 3rd November 2007 in the name of emergency just to save his skin but this was a very unique kind of martial law targeting judiciary and media. The entire government, Parliament and provincial assemblies were allowed to function”, he added.
Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary revealed that during the period of 20th July 2007 to November 3, 2007 regular efforts were made by the President’s camp for revival of good working relations between CJP and President as well as to pressure the apex judiciary to get the desired verdicts on important national issues but then he (Iftikhar Chaudhary) refused to compromise on independence of judiciary. “During that time he received a number of massages that President wanted to meet him but he refused for any kind of meeting”, he revealed.
He said that the decision against government in the case of privatization of Steel Mills became the bone of contention in 2006. Supreme Court gave its verdict on merit after listening to all the concerned parties in the case and did not accept any gratitude or pressure.
He told the audience that after the decision of Steel Mills the then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz conveyed him a message that President Musharraf is much annoyed on the matter. “ I replied him that the courts always work according to constitution and not for the pleasure of any personality. After that our ways were beginning to depart from each other and the gulf was more widened after the decision of my restoration on July 20, 2007”, he revealed.
He was of the view that the stage was set for November 3 much earlier. He revealed that three personalities were involved in this episode but did not mention the name of other two persons except Musharraf.
He said that some people think that by touching November 3 emergency, the questions about the authenticity of general elections could also be raised but as a matter of fact, the imposition of emergency has not any linkage with the national polls as the elections were to be held in any case after completion of five years tenure. The deposed Chief Justice also disclosed that four cases of crucial nature were under hearing in the Supreme Court. One was about return of exiled leadership, another petition was filed by Benazir Bhutto for including the names of some three million people in the voters’ list. The two cases were about keeping dual offices by President Musharraf and his candidature in uniform and Musharraf desired to get the decisions in favour of government in all these cases.
He said that as the reference sent by President Musharraf was rejected by apex court on July 20 last year so I did not sit in the benches hearing the two cases regarding Musharraf as the judicial norms do not allow him to do so.
He said that some of close friends informed him on the morning of November 3 that emergency would be imposed and Justice Dogar would take oath as next Chief Justice. He after consultation with other Judges of Supreme Court issued a restrain order on the same date in which he forbade President, Prime Minister, Governors and Chief Ministers to take any illegal steps.
He said that restoration is not the matter of job for him but it is the question of rule of law, independence of judiciary and supremacy of constitution. He could earn more money than his salary in the cases of Steel Mills and other cases by giving the verdict according to government’s wish but he did not sell his conscience. On the occasion the leader of lawyers’ movement Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan also addressed the gathering. He said that the participation of public, media, political workers and civil society has provided a new soul to the lawyers’ movement.
He said that the terrorism could be eradicated only by means of strong economy. The investors put their money to only those countries where their investment is safe and judiciary is independent.
He said that due to struggle of lawyers, Pervez Musharraf was compelled to doff his uniform. This movement also became the cause of return of exiled leadership and free and fair elections were also made possible by virtue of the pressure developed by this movement.
President Supreme Court Bar Association Ali Ahmed Kurd reiterated his resolve that the movement of lawyers would be continued till the restoration of Iftikhar Chaudhary as Chief Justice of Pakistan.
On the occasion the famous poem of Barrister Aitzaz Chaudhary, which became the hallmark of lawyers’ movement and fiery chanting of slogans by a lady advocate from Lahore Bar, Rubab charged the mob.
The MNAs and MPAs from PML (N) including Leader of the Opposition Chaudhary Nisar, Hanif Abbasi, Haji Pervez Khan, Justice (R) Ghous Ali Shah, leaders and office bearers of different bar associations gathered from through out the country and thousands of lawyers, workers of PML (N), Jamat-e-Islami, Tehrik-e-Insaf, Pakistan Labour Party, representatives of civil society and people from every walk of life also participated. After the convention the lawyers along with deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary and their lawyers hold a long rally comprised of thousand of vehicles from district court Rawalpindi to Parliament House Islamabad via Murree Road.
The court was decorated with hundreds of colourful banners and posters. When deposed Chief Justice arrived alongwith Barrister Aitzaz, Ali Ahmed Kurd, Muneer A. Khan, Hamid Khan maunds of rose petals were showered on him by the lawyers. They warmly welcomed him and the atmosphere became emotional with the enthusiastically raised slogans.