By Shahzad Shah Jillani
KARACHI: Lawyers, residents of Karachi, the media and leaders and workers of political parties gathered at the backyard of the Karachi Press Club to observe a nationwide black flag day for the freedom of the judiciary and to express solidarity with deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.
The former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCB) Muneer A Malik spoke to the people who gathered there and said that March 9 would be remembered for two reasons: the suspension and the struggle for the restoration of the judiciary. “We salute the media for playing a vital role along with the struggle of the lawyers,” he said.
Malik termed PEMRA and the PCO monsters that were illegal and unconstitutional. “PEMRA and the PCO cannot restrict our struggle for the restoration of the judiciary and the freedom of the press. There has been a major breakthrough in the struggle and we must not give up as we are near the finish line,” he added. Some people were of the view that the lawyers could never challenge Musharraf, but their claims proved wrong. Malik added that Musharraf was disappointed to see such unity among the lawyers, civil society members and the media which is why he imposed an Emergency on November 3.
“Political parties had agreed that they would bring back the November 2 status through the parliament and I hope that they would also address the issue of Article 58(2) B. It is now up to political parties and if they ever fall victim to this article then they have to choose which judiciary they want, the present one or the one headed by [deposed] Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry?”
Former chief justice the Sindh High Court Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim said that about one-and-a-half years back he had said on a talk show that ‘Army rule was a negation of Pakistan’. “Article 5 of the Constitution clearly says that everyone is to obey the Constitution of Pakistan,” he said. On Feb 18, people gave their verdict, the courts already did and Musharraf has been rejected across the board. “It is clear now that Musharraf should quit his office and let democratic forces work in the frame of the Constitution and law of the country,” he demanded.
Other speakers included the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sardar Rahim, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s Subhan Sahil, National Party’s Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Jiye Sindh Qaumi Mahaz’s Ali Hassan Chandio, Ahfiz-ur-Rehman, Rasheed A Rizvi of the Sindh Bar Council and Khursheed Alvi. Workers from NGOs and the PakhtoonKhwa Milli Awami Party, Pakistan FisherFolk Forum, Pasban, Women Action Forum, Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM)-Amir Khan group, labor and trade unions and the Karachi Union of journalists attended.
In the end, they adopted a resolution supporting religious tolerance, condemning all illegal and unconstitutional decisions taken by the president, demanding freedom of movement for the deposed chief justice’s children, demanding the restoration of the judiciary, the release of detained judges, the withdrawal of the PEMRA ordinance. The people organized a peaceful march from the press club to the Sindh High Court’s registry office.
Black flag hoisted at Mazari House: Veteran politician Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari also took part in the protest by hoisting a black flag at his residence. Civil society members and Iqbal Haider of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan joined him.