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HELMET vs WIG: ROUND X........456
FORGOTTEN FRONTS..................................531
TALIBAN OR PASHTUNS.................................645

HELMET vs WIG: ECSTASY AND AGONY..................................767

HELMET vs WIG: AFTERSHOCKS II.....................................889

The Crusades launched on 7th October 2001, now in seventh month of
the sixth year, have resulted in occupation of two Muslim countries;
Afghanistan and Iraq. Occupation of Somalia, which is devoid of natural
resources but has strategically important location, has been arranged through
regional crusaders from Ethiopia.
Lebanon has been partly occupied under UN umbrella. Pressure on
Sudan is maintained to arrange similar occupation. Palestinians have been
starved for dictating peace on Israeli terms. All freedom movements of the
oppressed Muslims have been crushed or nearly crushed. Even East Timor,
not a Muslim state, has been occupied by Australia to achieve the goal for
which it had been separated from Indonesia.
The strategy of divide and rule has worked well for the Crusaders.
They have been fanning the existing divisions within Islamic World
continuously and are now busy in creating more divisions. One of these, the
Shia-Sunni divide, will perpetuate the disunity of Islamic World.
But signs of exhaustion in the ranks of the Crusaders are becoming
visible. Steady flow of body-bags from the occupied lands has started
affecting the resolve of the people of civilized world to continue the holy
war for conquering Muslim lands. They had hoped to accomplish that with
almost zero casualties using their high-tech killing machines. That did not
happen. The urge for waging holy war against Muslims, however, has not
died down.
The rulers in Muslim World, with some odd exceptions, have sided
with the Crusaders right at the outset after war gaming and concluding that
they cannot win against the might of the Crusaders. They accepted defeat
without fighting, or surrendered without resistance.
They borrowed the pretext to wage war against their own people from
the Crusaders: any armed resistance against suppression is terrorism and
terrorism threatens the world peace. Muslim rulers further refined this
pretext; terrorism is against the teachings of Islam. State-controlled media is
used to propagate this argument and the westernized intellectuals and
analysts willingly support it. These forces constitute the axis of moderate

forces, which not only condemn terrorism vehemently, but also use all the
means at their disposal to annihilate terrorists.
Rulers sole aim is perpetuation of their rule in respective Muslim
countries, but occasionally they do talk about the need for settlement of
political disputes afflicting the Muslims. This is merely a lip service. They
fully understand that begging for just solution from those who dispensed
injustice is quite futile.
Lip service is, however, considered necessary to create an impression
that they are working for the resolution the issues faced by Muslims. The
Crusaders are fully aware on the hollowness of Muslim rulers demands;
therefore they have not even bothered to take notice of these.
The axis of moderates having seen the signs of exhaustion in the
Crusades, find themselves facing a dilemma. They are terrified by the
prospects of the victory of the Islamic fascists; therefore, they want the
Crusaders to continue the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ironically, some elements within this axis seem to enjoy talking about
prospects of US losing the war, but they avoid mentioning the reason behind
this possible outcome of the war. They are shy of accepting that the same lot
which has been demonized by them as evil forces of terrorism, has done it
by resorting to un-Islamic tactics of suicide bombing; yet they cannot resist
sharing the pride of a possible victory.
But it is too early to talk about victory and defeat as the war against
Muslims is still going on. The rulers of Muslim World despise such a
victory. They seemed to have reconciled with the ongoing bloodletting in
which Muslim blood is spilt ever hour of the day, seven days a week.
Pakistan had joined the war as partner of the Crusaders in its own
interest according to its military ruler. Its contribution to the cause of the
Crusaders has been commendable at least in words of the rulers. Apart
from bombing mosques and madrass and rampant killings, it captured 4,000
terrorists half of which have been exported or deported. The Crusaders still
continue demanding more from Pakistan.
The rulers have been rewarded for their obedience to the Crusaders
with some green-backs; the story of rewards, however, ends there. Even
about this solitary reward, no Pakistani can ever feel proud of, because this

is no more than remunerations paid for the services rendered as mercenaries

of the Crusaders.
The consequences of this holy war have been dire and far-reaching;
some of those stand out conspicuously. Surely, Pakistan had problems in the
context of national cohesion and unity before 9/11 in the form of sectarian,
nationalistic, and linguistic tensions. Pakistans pre-occupation in Americas
war on terror has allowed all these problems to further aggravate.
Sectarian killings have been rampant as was recently seen in Curran
Agency and Bare area. Nationalists have become more militant as
experienced and still being felt in Baluchistan. The most prominent
linguistic group, despite being part of the ruling coalition has been dictating
its terms to the majority; courtesy their Bhai holding two top offices.
The war has also caused some new divisions in Pakistani nation. Right
at the outset, majority of the people disapproved Musharrafs decision to
fight along the Crusaders; therefore the rulers and the masses have been
alienated on this issue. Ruthless conduct of war with indiscriminate use of
military means has further accentuated this division.
Apart from the above division, which is general in nature, the war has
caused a very hostile division in terms of the aggressor and the victims. The
victims of the brutal war nourish burning desire for revenge and thus; a
significant increase in suicide bombings across the country.
Another division has been caused by Musharrafs brain-child; the cult
of enlightened moderation. The followers of this cult are more militant than
the so-called terrorists. They frequently urge crackdowns on mulla, mosque
and madrassa. This division could prove more dangerous than any other
division in the society.
Externally, the war on terror has resulted in two-front scenario. The
neighbours on either side have become unreasonably demanding and
continuously coerce Pakistan to do more in terms of killing and capturing
Kashmiris and Pushtoons fighting for liberation of their respective
homelands. The neighbours want the same for Pakistanis who support the
cross border terrorists.
Pakistan has been able to circumvent the situation on day to day basis
through peace process and semblance of bilateral or through third party

dialogue. Despite these efforts Pakistan has been constantly losing ground,
particularly on all fronts, including the core issue.
The most damaging impact of the ongoing Crusades has been in terms
of lingering military rule in Pakistan. Musharraf has been rewarded for his
services to the Crusaders by allowing him to use the pretext of controlled
democracy for practicing uncontrolled dictatorship. This has delivered
serious blow to the evolution of democracy in Pakistan.
The dictator, however, in his endeavour to extend and legitimize his
rule for another term, committed a blunder on 9 th March, while tightening
the nuts and bolts for smooth functioning of the machine he has invented. He
inadvertently dropped the spanner while tightening a rusty nut and hurt his
toe. This self-inflicted injury could end up in either of the two possibilities;
he may proceed on sick leave or replace the machine of controlled
democracy with well-oiled military machine.
17th April 2007

Mulla, Masjid and Madrassa have been in the line of fire of the
Crusaders since the invasion of Afghanistan. They are being targeted for the
reason that all of them are guilty of producing an enemy of the civilized
world; called Taliban.
The Western media has portrayed masjid and madrassa as training
camps of militants and terrorists. Mulla is accused of using these training
camps for indoctrination and motivation of terrorists before launching them
to wage jihad to cause harm to the hegemonic designs of the civilized world.
Thus, the Western powers have been constantly demanding crackdowns
from Pakistan to dismantle this infrastructure of terrorism.
The ruling elite in Pakistan, led by General Musharraf, were
intimidated to step on the side of the Crusaders; thus Pakistan became the
front-line state in war against terror, or Islamic fascism. To launch a war
against three Ms, which have been symbols of Islam for centuries, was not
easy to be justified.
The coerced elite resorted to brain-storming to justify or legitimize the
killing, capturing, extraditing and harassing the enemies of the civilized
world. First of all, Mulla and his institutions had to be alienated from Islam.
These thekedars of Islam had to be ousted by revoking their thekas and
awarding those to the firm of multi-national thekedars; the Enlightened
Moderate Enterprise.
To this end, they concocted phrases like obscurantist and blamed
uneducated and illiterate Mulla for misinterpreting Islam. They accused
Mulla of tarnishing the image of Islam in general and Pakistan in particular.
This provided a pretext to wield guns against Mulla and his seminaries and
thereby winning favours of the West.
Lal Masjid and its madrassas came into the news in 2004 when
security forces raided it over suspected links of Maulana Abdul Aziz and
Maulana Abdul Rashid with Osama bin Laden, the most wanted man by the
Crusaders. The raid was carried out to capture a man hiding in its premises
who was claimed to have worked as driver of Osama bin Laden.

The mission failed but the resolve of the enlightened moderates

remained intact. Lal Masjid was kept on the hit list. In January, the CDA
provided a new pretext for crackdown; the Masjid and its seminaries were
constructed on encroached land. This resulted in demolition of seven
mosques in Islamabad.
Musharraf claimed that mosques were not being razed but relocated.
In fact, it was part of the crackdown through means other than the use of
gun. One must recall the remarks of Nirupama Subramanian from across the
eastern border, which were quoted in review of the events of period ending
25th February.
She had said that in pursuit of the soft image the Musharraf regime
was spending big money to restore Hindu temples. The same regime was
not prepared to spare a single penny for the largest NGO in the world, what
to talk of giving rights of ownership of a precious piece of land. Therefore;
seven mosques were demolished for the same purpose for Hindu temple was
On 9th March, the rulers triggered a new crisis by initiating a reference
against the CJP. The reaction to this crackdown on the judiciary was far
more than the rulers had visualized. The gravity of the situation demanded
war-gaming to formulate strategy afresh.
Musharraf made two moves to draw attention away from the reference
against the CJP. In one move, he unveiled some aspects of the dialogue for
striking a deal with Benazir. This was aimed at sowing mistrust in disarrayed
opposition parties which seemed to be rallying behind the issue of
independence of the judiciary.
In second move he reactivated the issue of Lal Masjid. This was
aimed at scaring the West of Islamic fascism so that they keep supporting
his rule. The General tried to use the instrument of intimidation which was
quite effectively used against him. But, he did not fully anticipate the
implications of this move; which could be far graver than those resulting
from the reference against the CJP; hence, the need for exclusive discussion
on the issue.

Police party raided Jamia Hafsa and arrested four lady teachers and
students on 28th March. Girl students retaliated and captured three policemen
along with their vehicle. The trouble started when students and teachers
undertook the task of community correction in their hands and had
kidnapped three women alleged to be indulging in immoral activities. By
late at night the two sides swapped over some captives. Next day, Jamia
Hafsa students released Aunty Shamim after she had repented.
On 5th April, Maulana Aziz invited ten Muftis to a conference on
Enforcement of Sharia and Azmat-e-Jihad to be held on Friday. PML-Q
and PPP separately held rallies against Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad. Hafsa
supporters held protest rally against prostitution, gambling and obscenity.
President and Prime Minister expressed concern over Jamia Hafsa issue.
Interior ministry said use of force is the last option.
Next day, President and Prime Minister discussed Lal Masjid issue.
PPP rejected Sharia courts. MMA alleged that Jamia Hafsa issue is a plot
engineered by the government. Maulana Aziz and Maulana Musharraf
preached their respective versions of Islam; former talked of enforcement of
Sharia and the latter stressed upon enlightenment. Both vowed not to resort
to confrontation but both threatened each other; one talked of gun and the
other of suicide attacks. Aziz set up Sharia Court and gave one month
deadline to the government to enforce Sharia.
Muhammad Anis reported that large number of faithful had to offer
Juma prayers on road outside due to large gathering. Banners were displayed
with slogans of Jihad and Allahs system in Allahs land. Aziz said there was
lawlessness everywhere in the country; women were being raped, children
being kidnapped for ransom and innocent people being killed. There were
500,000 brothels in the country.
He accused NGOs and media of spreading disinformation about
seminaries. He asked for donations to compensate owners of video shops
who voluntarily consented to burn the video tapes and to help women who
give up immoral business. He denied that his students had threatened of
throwing acid on the faces of women without veil.
He said we have not forced any video shop to close down. The owner
of Bilal Video Center, Muhammad Younis said that he did not have any


regret on giving up his business. I let my business close on my own free

will and serve my rest of life in the light of the golden principles of Islam.
On 7th April, Amir Muqam said the government is capable enough to
contain female students of Jamia Hafsa who have challenged the writ of the
government. Ijazul Haq said Khateeb brothers of Lal Masjid were taking
their mosque and madrassa towards destruction. Some students of Jamia
Hafsa had left for different reasons, confirmed Maulana Abdul Aziz.
Next day, Ijazul Haq said our heads bowed in shame because of
teachers and students of Jamia Hafsa. Imam of MQM accused mullas of Lal
Masjid of conspiring against Pakistan, Musharraf, ruling parties and the
people of Pakistan. He termed it Kalashnikov Shariah though on ground so
far it has been a danda Shariah.
Shujaat met administration of Lal Masjid to end impasse. Maulana
Aziz denied allegation of establishing state within a state. Fazl accused the
government of hatching conspiracies for operation against seminaries but
refused to mediate for resolution of the crisis.
Lal Masjid issued a decree against Nilofar Bakhtiar and demanded of
the government to punish and sack her for being photographed with Para
gliders of Paris in obscene manner. Lal Masjid crisis is a case of losing faith
in the system, reported Salman Masood.
Noreen Haider described the latest situation including viewpoint of
Lal Masjid, though she rejected the views of mulla brothers in her remarks.
The list of four demands reads as: Immediate reconstruction of the
demolished mosques in Islamabad; immediate declaration of Islamic Shariat
in Pakistan by the government; immediate promulgation of Quraan and
Sunnah in the courts of law and removal of the Women Protection Bill;
immediate discontinuation to declaring Jihad as Terrorism by the
government as it is great sacred religious duty of Muslims.
Ghazi Abdul Rashid Khatib Lal Masjid said: Somebody had to do it.
Vulgarity and obscenity is destroying the fabric of our society but nobody
had the guts to get up and do something. When asked if kidnapping women
from the alleged brothel was justified, he said: By all means. If the police
was not doing anything, we decided to do it ourselves


When asked about the justification for encroachment, Rashid said:

According to the Islamic law of Haq Shufa (law of preemption) we had the
first right to buy the land next to the mosque. When we wanted to buy it the
Capital Development Authority (CDA) did not allow us so we had no choice
but to grab it. It is our right.
It is interesting to note that both the Khatibswere government
employees in the mosque and they were both sacked by the government one
and a half year ago. Going by the rules, a government employee cannot
claim private ownership on a building owned by the government.
The total area encroached in the name of Jamia Hafsa stands at 7,439
sq yards out of which 3,389 sq yards belong to Gymnasium plot, 450 sq
yards belong to Children Library, 400 sq yards belong to Authors Corner
and 3200 sq yards belong the CDA. According to a very conservative
estimate, the total worth of the land encroached by the madrassa authorities
is Rs 400 million. What a waste of prime land! The enlightened moderates
in power must be having plans to put this precious piece of land to better
use; like purchasing loyalties of some politicians.
There is no audit of its accounts done by any of the government
agencies. Ghazi Abdur Rashid told that they get up to Rs 10 million a month
in funds from various sources for the madaris We receive funds from
people who give out of their own volition but we do not take conditional
money. As a rule we decide how that money is going to be spent. We also
have audits done but we cannot share its report. Is there no message in this?
It is the same nation which evades paying taxes but voluntarily gives one
crore every month to one madrassa out of thousands.
Noreen then gave governments version. They are using the female
students as human shields and exploiting the name of Islam for their own
vested interests. It is not difficult to carry out an operation for the demolition
of the illegally built structure but we respect the presence of girls in the
premises and do not want any harm to come to them, said I G Police.
The Lal Masjid people are aware of the national and international
political developments and are exploiting the situation. Everybody knows
they are raising these demands because the government stopped the illegal
construction of their madrassa, said Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao.


She added, the problem is not new and so is the phenomenon of land
grabbing. It happened a long time before the present government assumed
office. But it has certainly mutated to a point where we are seeing the
emergence of powerful mafias in the premises of the government-owned
mosques who have declared themselves authorized to interpret and
implement their brand of Sharia.
In the particular case of Lal Masjid, it is interesting to note that they
have no support from the Wafaq-ul-Madaris or any other religious group in
the country. They also have no support from political parties like Jamiat
Ulma-e-Islam or Jamaat Islami.
Shujaat met administrators on Lal Masjid on 9 th April. After the
meeting, he told journalists that the government would take action against
brothels or some of the so-called aunties of enlightened moderates. He
briefed the high-level meeting chaired by Musharraf about the outcome of
negotiations with obscurantist mullas of Lal Masjid.
Ijazul Haq said crackdown against Lal Masjid would be carried out
only if talks fail. Nilofar said peoples court will decide about the decree
against her. Lal Masjid denied issuing any Fatwa against Nilofar. An
individual moved the Supreme Court on Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa.
Next day, Shujaat held second round of talks with administrators of
Lal Mosque. He asked clerics to vacate the library and stop pressurizing
owners of video shops; and assured them that no law against the teachings of
Islam would be enacted in the country. Ijaz claimed that he had helped
Maulana Ghazi in terror cases. Maulana Aziz sought support of Ulema and
students of other seminaries.
Lubna Khalid in her report gave some additional details of the dispute.
It all started when Islamabads Capital Development Authority directed the
management of Lal Mosque to demolish the building of Jamia Hafsa, a
seminary for female students, because the seminary is built on encroached
public land. In the subsequent infamous library imbroglio, the women from
Jamia Hafsa occupied a childrens library to protest against the governments
decision to demolish the illegally constructed mosque and madrassa. The
government had to back off Emboldened by this victory, they went on to
commit a penal offence: kidnapping.


Aunty Shamim was allegedly involved in immoral activities.

According to Islamabad police, four years back they had apprehended this
woman on verbal complaints from her neighbours. However, when the case
went to court, it was thrown out due to lack of evidence. Not a single
witness from the neighbourhood ventured forth to record this evidence. This
state of affairs is not surprising, as respectable people prefer not to get
involved in matters pertaining to police and court.
The spokeswoman of Jamia Hafsa also claimed that people had
approached them to ask for their help in curbing the activities of Shamim
Akhtar. She stated that since the government was not doing anything in this
regard, they had to take matters into their hands. We will continue helping
people who come to us. People go to doctor when they are sick, but when it
is a religious issue, they come to the ulema for guidance, announced this
lady All said and done, the government is really in a fix. Cracking down
on these extremists in the capital itself is tantamount to a Herculean labour.
Is there any one daring enough to tackle these modern day Amazons?
On 11th April, Shaukat Aziz threatened to be tough with law-breaker
mullas of Lal Masjid and students of Jamia Hafsa. Musharraf termed
religious militancy a real threat, but wanted to resolve Jamia Hafsa issue
peacefully. Shujaat continued talks with mosque administration. Islamabad
police presented a list of 56 students of Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Faridia to the
Interior Ministry for their alleged involvement in acts of violence.
Maulana Ghazi also resorted to threats by saying that Lal Masjid has
the guns to defend itself. Qazi supported the stance of Lal Masjid and Jamia
Hafsa. Imran Khan accused the government of enacting drama over Jamia
Hafsa. Maulana Abdul Aziz in his Juma sermon on 13 th April announced that
the doors of Lal Masjid were open for talks with government but there
would be no compromise on the stance of Shariat court.
Next day, a video shop was burnt in Bhara Kahu; officials suspected
the involvement of local Taliban. Maulana Rashid told Shujaat that Lal
Masjid was not involved in the incident and suspected that someone was
trying to sabotage the ongoing dialogue on the issue. Nilofar feared for her
life. Addressing passing-out parade in PMA, Musharraf warned against
enemy within. Jamia Hafsa students and teachers invited Musharraf to visit
their madrassa.


On 15th April, MQM held a rally in Karachi to protest danda Shariat.

Its Imam addressed the rally from London and demanded demolition of Lal
Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, but did not demand construction of a temple at the
site. Maulana Ghazi accused Altaf of fooling the public. Prime Minister
vowed not to compromise on government writ over Lal Masjid.

The exuberance of Lal Masjid and its seminaries about
implementation of Islam in Islamabad invited the wrath of the enlightened
moderates. The media, with hardly any exception, spearheaded the assault.
The reason behind confronting the religious forces squarely has a lot to do
with commercial interests.
Business of private TV channels is very closely linked to
enlightenment, particularly the one related to cultural emancipation; the
obscurantist mullas oppose this too vocally. Criticism by media has a
justification, but its intensity doesnt. This could be judged from the outrage
of Jang Group.
On 30th March, The News coaxed the government for action against
Lal Masjid. The initial raid they conducted on one of the capitals busiest
bazaars amazingly went unnoticed by the police and local administration,
again making one wonder whether some elements in either or both
organizations were perhaps sympathetic to the cause of these extremists.
One would like to ask the government what it plans to do in the case
of the minister, whose, breakthrough emboldened these extremists so much
that they believed they could go about dispensing their own warped
interpretation of religion and law on everybody else, holding even policemen
hostage in the process.
The government and civil society have themselves to blame for this
increase in Talibanization. As for the government, it fails on several
counts. Foremost among them is its remarkable and sadly enduring
inability to take a stand against extremists forces such as in Tank and Jamia
Hafsa students, deeming such matters sensitive and then burying its head in
the sand like an ostrich, pretending everything is all right, and continuing to


think that a way of having leverage with our regional neighbours means
supping with the extremists and jihadis.
The future is only going to get bleaker unless madrassah and
national curriculum reforms are carried out and the overt display of
religion in national life is curtailed, to levels normally found in other
Muslim countries such as Malaysia or the Gulf states.
Next day, the editor indulged in demonizing its adversary. Peaceful
protests are something no sane person will object to, even if they think those
protesting are wrong. But what the Hafsa students have been doing is an
affront to just about anything a civilized society should hold dear. One
thing is for sure: if these students and their patrons are not hauled up for
this blatant violation of the law, then incidents of such moral policing will
take place in other parts of the country as well.
Those behind these extremist acts need to be sent a strong message
that it is the responsibility of the government and its law-enforcing agencies
to ensure that legal action, including a search, is taken against any brothel or
gambling den. However, that can only take place if there is credible evidence
and a warrant authorized by a court of law. It seems that the students of
Jamia Hafsa think that if men visit a house, that house is a brothel. The
editor meant that houses of aunties cannot be taken as brothels merely on
complaints of the residents in neighbourhood.
Those who act in this way are clearly outside the pale of the law as
well as civil society. If they feel that they cannot obey the laws of the state
because they are bound only to a higher law then clearly there is going to
be a problem because when one lives in a society or community, one does so
with the understanding that all rules and regulations in such a society or
community will have to be followed there is no room for exceptions. One
only hopes that the government has the courage and the wisdom to see
how important it is that these vigilantes are hauled up and prosecuted
for all their illegal acts.
The same day, Mir Jamilur Rahman stood by the side of editor. Given
this situation in Islamabad, the governments claim that it will not allow a
government within the government appears to be quite hollow. In
practice, it has tacitly given the chiefs of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid the
status of a government. It negotiates with them as if they are a sovereign


body and usually accepts their demands to keep them in good humour and to
keep itself out of trouble.
The Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid administrators do not hide their
closeness to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Umme Hassan, principal of Hafsa,
told a reporter of this newspaper (The News) that the Jamia Hafsa was for
President Musharraf what Osama bin Laden was to President Bush The
principal did not rule out the use of suicide bombers to advance her cause
when she said that the students were mentally prepared to sacrifice their
lives any time.
The government better take serious notice of the threat to civil
society and democracy that has been unleashed by Hafsa. The so-called
cleansing movements are mushrooming everywhere in Pakistan. The Taliban
and pro-Osama elements would continue gaining strength if the movement
of establishing a government within the government was not disbanded
Two days later, The News coaxed the brave commando. Its most
unfortunate that the government is being duplicitous in dealing with these
female extremists. The president ironically told the seerat conference that
there was much that can be done to curb extremism. However, he said his
reasons for the government coming across as being reluctant in dealing with
the Jamia Hafsa issue were that it involved women and the sanctity of
mosques. This argument is not exactly very right, given the government has
often shown an iron fist to demonstrations in which female lawyers, female
journalists or female political workers or members of parliament have
In such a situation, one is constrained to wonder whether some
elements in the government are in favour or tacitly approve of what the
Jamia Hafsa students are doing. The damage by these vigilantes has already
been incalculable. The government needs to stop dithering on this
important matter and match its words with appropriate action before the
situation gets completely out of hand.
Mir Jamilur Rahman indulged in coaxing by exaggerating the threat
posed by mulla brothers. The inhabitants of Islamabad are bewildered and
getting a queer feeling that their city is being seized bit by bit by two
brothers It has been reported, but not yet confirmed, that Faridia and


Hafsa between them have about 10,000 resident pupils, 2,500 males and
7,500 females.
Is Islamabad part of FATA or Waziristan Agency? Or is it an
extension of an NWFP town where some fanatics are burning video outlets
and closing down barbershops so men cannot get a shave; all in the name of
Islam? The Lal Masjid has warned President Musharraf that if he took action
against its pupils, it would be the start of civil war.
It is unbelievable that right in the heart of the capital of the
country two maulvis have raised the flag of rebellion and are inciting
other maulvis and religious seminaries to join them in the greatest jihad.
They are taking government leniency as its weakness. They are acting
foolishly and will have to pay heavily for this if they do not abandon their
rebellious course immediately.
The announcement of Qazi court by Lal Masjid provided new pretext
for instigating the government for crackdown. The Constitution does not
allow individuals or groups to set up their own courts to dispense their
form of justice for the simple reason that it does not tolerate any parallel
judicial system doing so would undermine the judicature as sanctioned by
the Constitution itself.
No country in the world and for absolutely the right reasons lets
its citizens take the law into their hands and become accusers, judgers and
dispensers of justice. That used to happen in primitive societies or in
Americas Wild West, where it was every man for himself and with no
perceivable writ of the government present.
As for civil society, at least some of its representatives (including
some members of parliament) have had the moral courage to come out and
protest against this wanton Talibanization taking place in the heart of the
federal capital. Whether this will actually achieve anything remains to be
seen, because it is these very liberal and progressive elements who have
often borne the brunt of the polices lathi-happy tendencies. As usual and
quite regrettably so the government has been on the back foot, saying
much and doing nothing.
Had the government acted promptly and with conviction to
apprehend all those who had illegally violated the law by illegally occupying
the childrens library, and had the CDA and the various other government


agencies concerned acted to prevent the madressah from being built on the
ministry of educations land in the first place, things would not have come to
thisthe only way forward to stop this Talibanization is for the
government to exercise its writ; something it has never been afraid of
doing in Baluchistan and Sindh or in the case of liberals, lawyers and
political activists protesting on the streets. How do you violate a law
legally? Perhaps, the editor believes that when the rulers violate a law that is
legal and when people do so that is illegal.
Attempted negotiations with the seminary annoyed the editor just as
suggestion of talks with Taliban had annoyed Bush before invasion of
Afghanistan. He wrote, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussains second meeting in the
space of less than a week with the administration of Lal Masjid seems to
suggest that we may be seeing yet another stance of the federal
government caving into extremists
From the various reports that have detailed these meetings, it can be
safely believed that the illegality of the actions of the Jamia Hafsa
students is not the issue, although the PML-Q chief is said to have asked
the Lal Masjid administration to get the childrens library vacated. Second,
the extremists have been asked, according to one report, to select seven
locations in the federal capital where the government will build mosques in
exchange of those that the CDA demolished because they were built on
illegally encroached land.
As for those advocating a soft approach to resolving this crisis, the
argument being given is that launching an operation could lead to casualties
and create a law and order problem in the federal capital. One would like to
ask these illustrious government functionaries what the police and the
Islamabad administration were doing when the Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid
students went on their raids in one of the Islamabads main markets and
when these fanatics abducted three women (and a boy) and two policemen?
Had not the law and order situation developed then, with the capital of
the country in the grip of lathi-wielding extremists
Also, one would like to ask the PML-Q chief whether he has raised
the issue with the Lal Masjid clerics on the setting up of a parallel court,
which may amount to high treason if clause 1 of Article 6 is read carefully.
It is quite incredible that the government has taken the view that those
responsible for keeping Islamabad hostage for so many weeks should
not be proceeded against under the law for their wholly illegal and

vigilante actions and is instead planning to meet all their demands. It also
seems inconceivable that an entity no less than the government of Pakistan is
unable to establish its writ and negotiate from a position of strength against a
bunch of self-styled guardians of morality and vigilantes. One can only hope
that better sense prevails and this caving in does not materialize.
Most analysts, who can write and speak English fluently, belong to
the class of enlightened moderates or at least prefer to be identified as such.
They were also outraged, not alone by the acts and utterances of Khatib
brothers, but also by the very existence of religious seminaries in Islamabad.
M S Hasan from Karachi coaxed the government for action equating
Khatib brothers with the monster called Taliban. The nation should not
be surprised at all, if Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi is proclaimed and
installed as the ameer-ul-momineen of Pakistan and his brother, Maulana
Abdul Aziz, as the naib ameer-ul-momineen. The first recognition of the
new government is likely to come from the Taliban, and the al-Qaeda
administration of Waziristan and subsequent endorsement from the
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
To be honest, considering the current state of affairs of the country,
non-existence of the writ of the central government absence of any federal
authority, the will to confront and fight Talibanization, extremism and
lawlessness, this doomsday scenario neither seems all that far-fetched,
nor does a figment of wild imagination any more.
Raza Khan observed that the incident related with the women
seminary, Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad, suggests that there are strong signs of
Talibanization in the country. Recently, the female students of Jamia Hafsa
have indulged in criminal acts. Due to the activities of these females one is
reluctant to call them students.
The ignorance of the students of Jamia Hafsa was vividly evident
from the argument they presented on various TV channels while discussing
the events. It seemed that they were simply following orders. They argued
that they were just reacting to the use of force by the authorities on Jamia
Hafsa and Lal Masjid by kidnapping the police officials. The involvement
of females provides no justification to the act, as the law is same for


Reportedly, the principal of Jamia Hafsa, Umme Hassan, told the

media that her students were maintaining a crime register of their own,
and keeping an eye on all the illegal activities in Islamabad. She didnt even
deny the presence of female suicide bombers by saying that her students
were risking their lives for a great cause. The manifestation of
Talibanization in the most modern city of the country, Islamabad, which
happens to be our capital city, strongly indicates the threat confronting
The manifestation of Talibanization in Islamabad is a brand which
can be called total Talibanization. The term was coined in an article
about the use of FM radio stations in instructing the women of the Frontier
of the dogma of clerics. Total Talibanization means to inculcate in the minds
of the female population with the propaganda of clerics in order to use it
instrumentally for achieving the aim of clerical dictatorship. This is indeed a
very serious threat and authorities may not have grasped the profundity of
the menace. Unfortunately, they have never tried to take the bull by the
horns and in turn have given a great spur to extremism.
Lubna Jarar Naqvi coaxed all and sundry. The increase in extremism
in Pakistan cannot only be blamed on the situation in Afghanistan. Our
society and all our governments are equally to blame for making
circumstances inside the country that has allowed manipulators from within
and from outside to use our own people and our own religion against us.
The Jamia Hafsa theorem has proved that the government doesnt
have the will or muscle to support the rhetoric spewed by our dear
information minister and his cronies, especially when confronted by
religious zealots. Instead, use a little force in the name of religion and you
are free to do as you will. President Musharraf boldly declares that an
iron hand will be used to stop extremists in country, what has he done so
far to stop the Jamia Hafsa girls and their partners from all but taking over
the capital?
Religious leaders like Qazi Hussain and his like should do their
Islamic duty to find out who has disfigured Islam, instead of supporting such
extreme behaviour If the religious leaders are nervous to take a step
against the Hafsa girls, this vacuum should be filled by ever vigilant
NGOs and human rights activists. But not a murmur has been heard from
these quarters.


Come to think of it, we should all salute the Jamia Hafsa students
for they have managed to expose the inability of our leaders to do more
than give speeches. Their hollow words ring clearer in our ears as we see
that the state will fight against anyone demanding the whereabouts of
missing relatives or the restoration of the CJ.
M Ismail Khan wrote: What worries people is the thought that in case
things get nastier, the Lal Masjid administrator who owns and operates 19
more madaris in different parts of Islamabad and its suburbs, are in position
to mobilize Taliban forces faster than President Musharraf can deploy
his units stationed in Rawalpindi.
Whatever may be the idea and the game plan, there is an opportunity
cast of the affairs. Already the diplomats, donors and development
community in Islamabad, who have been holding their collective breath
waiting for the government to figure out a situation, has started to review
security plans, some of them going to the length and breadth of drawing
eviction strategies in case things go completely haywire.
The media savvy mullahs have also started to publish a regular
size newspaper. But unlike regular newspaper, it does not carry the name of
the publisher neither that of the editor, apparently there is no need to get
formal accreditation from a non-Shariat government. Earlier, the government
managed to block FM radio transmission from the mosque without involving
PEMRA, which certainly is a singular achievement of the capital territory
police thus far.
People of Pakistan must stand up and fight against repressive forces
is the mantra people keep hearing from the high and mighty in the country.
To me, this is an open invitation to civil war. There is no way law-abiding
citizens of a country can fight a well trained, highly motivated and heavily
armed groups. It is and has always been the job of the government to fight
such forces.
Many people argue that this is not the country that Iqbal dreamt of
and the Quaid worked to achieve. Nowhere in their speeches, writings and
sermons do we see a theocratic regime enforcing a particular brand of Islam,
many other insist that the idea behind Pakistan was well-being, mainly
economic well being of the Muslims of the subcontinent, and to ensure that
they do not face socio-economic exploitation from the powerful Hindu

He went on to elaborate the argument: If Pakistan was achieved for

Islam, they argue, today it would have not been hunting Uzbek Muslim
refugees in Waziristan like wild goats, yes, refugees who fled oppression in
their respective countries and granted asylum according to tribal Islamic
traditions, and refugees who fought alongside Taliban to bring Taliban in
power in Kabul. If it was not for Islam, they say, some of the Taliban
elements would not have been selling Arab Islamists to the Americans.
On the other hand, arguments put forth by Lal Masjid
administrators are equally powerful, and perhaps correct in principle.
How dare an Islamic Republic, a country that operates under a constitution
which starts with the objective resolution reiterating Islam as the basic
framework, with an Islamic Ideology Council to make sure that all the laws
of the state are in line with Islamic injunction, can possibly object to a public
campaign to enforce Shariat in the society.
Huma Yusuf accused the government of complicity. Jamia Hafsa
students have already intimidated video store owners and staged a sit-in to
prevent the demolition of an illegally constructed mosque. For this part,
Jamia Hafsas head honcho Maulana Abdul Aziz is publicly threatening to
enforce Shariat law throughout Pakistan, starting Friday April 6. Scarier than
his foreshadowing is the authorities response to the student raid. By letting
the women wage their crusade with little interference, law-enforcing
personnel have made it clear that extremist behaviour will be tolerated.
Even after two of their own were held by the vigilante students, police
officials were content to play a game of quid pro quo with Jamia Hafsa
Shakir Husain opined: The general at the helm of affairs for us poor
160 million should realize that he is playing with fire and that too with a
completely inadequate battalion of sycophants who just want to please him.
If General Musharraf looks at the past seven years he will see that his
vision of enlightened moderation is nothing but a buzzword and has
little to do with the reality of the country. Just because there are fashion
shows in the country and five thousand people can spend ridiculous amounts
of money on so-called designer wear doesnt account for anything.
Today the writ of the state is being pushed in the capital and the
government wants to do nothing because they dont want collateral
damage. Does this mean that if anyone wants to grab land or break the law
they better have a beard or wear a burqa?

Salman Masood opposed dialogue with extremist mullas. The Lal

Masjid clerics are emulating the Taliban. Their interpretation of Islam is
limited to myopic. But such tunnel-vision leadership can wreak havoc in the
country when it has access to weapons and use of force on their mind.
One cannot help but wonder why the government is so much
concerned about restraint and resolution through dialogue when its
law enforcing officials had no inhibition or shame in publicly manhandling
Asma Jahangir and her lot a few years back in Lahore in that (in) famous
marathon episode. It is acceptable to publicly humiliate liberal woman of the
country who talk about upholding law and liberal values but the stickwielding and veiled in black women from Jamia Hafsa are given a free hand
to take law into their own hands.
Irrespective of the perceptions and hushed insinuations doing the
rounds here that the government itself is fanning such elements, using
them to show to the West that a frightening alternate is at the doors, the
problem of religious extremism cannot be ignored or trivialized in Pakistan.
The poisonous seeds sown in the aftermath of the Afghan war are now ready
for bitter harvest.
Musharraf has been indulging in rhetoric against extremism and
religious fanaticism for long. It used to sound pleasing to the ears but is
disappointing when put to test of action on ground. People are increasingly
getting tired of this bluff and bluster. Enlightened Moderation now
sounds trite and an expedient excuse to stay in power.
Some analysts looked at the issue dispassionately. The message
being sent to the rest of civil society is be armed or be harmed. That is
indeed what seems to be happening today as a recent incident in PIMS
shows, wrote Shireen M Mazari.
While the story has come out in the papers, what has not come out is
what reflects the malaise prevailing within the domestic polity today. An
SHO abuses a nurse and doctor, then calls his thana people while the doctor
calls Rescue 15 and fisticuffs follow with the cop bringing out his gun.
When the Director Emergency tries to sort things out, he gets slapped by the
police and a brawl follows between the doctors present and the cops. This is
what police does regularly with unarmed civilians even as they kowtow
before danda-wielding lawbreakers.


It is unfortunate that even a person like Mazari still prefers to call

students of Hafsa as lawbreakers and the cops slapping a doctor as law
enforcers. Doesnt she think that the staff of the PIMS should from now
onward possess dandas to prevent the law enforcers from degenerating to
lawbreakers; after all doctors preach that prevention is better than cure?
There is something inherently absurd with this state of affairs, where
the rage of frustration within the silent majority is surfacing fast as it
gets caught between threats from police on one hand and armed vigilantes
on the other. In this shameful state of affairs, how long will it be before all of
civil society descends into a state of armed anarchy a la Jamia Hafsa style?
In a subsequent article she opined, to a large extent the malaise
afflicting us presently is a result of our own internal dynamics
especially where the state is seen to also be paying scant regard to the law.
Be it the cops manhandling the non-functional chief justice or beating up
unarmed protesters or attacking the offices of a television channel; or state
institutions disregarding environmental and other laws; or local elected
nazims misusing funds or harassing political rivals; or municipal
organizations violating articles of the Constitution in a most brazen fashion
the message being conveyed to the public at large is that the law can be
violated if there is force to back up this violation.
Shafqat Mahmood was of the view that this marked the advent of
cultural clash. Some have described it as creeping Talibanization of the
country. If after seven years of enlightened moderation we have reached this
sorry pass, what lies ahead? Perhaps, as someone said, a few more years of
Musharraf and all the women will be in shuttlecock burkas and the men with
a lot more hair on their face.
Quite seriously, we are in a terrible mess. The impact on the ground
is quite the opposite of what Musharraf has been proclaiming since his time
in office. The mullahs, who were never more than a marginal force in
politics earlier, now dominate it. Any political equation without factoring in
their role is meaningless.
Islamabad itself cannot be seen as an aberration. There are a large
number of seminaries in the city, often on encroached land, that are breeding
grounds for vigilante action. In almost eight years, Musharraf has done
nothing to check their growing number or bring them within the folds of
mainstream education.

There are reports of madrassah students visiting girls schools and

NGO offices telling the women to dress modestly. Even on the street, young
girls wearing jeans or pants have been accosted and threatened. The time is
not far off when vigilante groups will start targeting parties and diplomatic
receptions on the pretext that alcohol and obscenity is thriving there. If we
fear a clash of cultures, the place where it has the greatest potential of
becoming overtly visible is Islamabad.
The smaller towns of Punjab and Sindh are spared the worst
aspects of this culture clash because conservation is already the norm
there. But, it is only the size of the larger cities of Lahore and Karachi that
has prevented open culture warfare. The elite are ensconced in their enclaves
and going about their liberal lifestyle because the vigilantes are physically
removed from the action.
But, that is not likely to last. Religious conservatism or even vigilante
radicalism is not an economic divide. It is by definition a cultural divide
and equally visible among the rich and the poor. The success of many
proselytizing groups, such as al-Huda, among the well-off is an indication of
that the liberal lifestyle is on the wane.
Many a former party animal is now for want of another term a born
again Muslim and the number of socialite women now turning to hijab is no
longer an oddity. The country is poised to lurch towards conservatism as
the governing societal norm.
Nasim Zehra opined: The use of force could be very risky. It would
involve bloodshed and bitter fragmentation within the public and even
important sections of the forces. It could trigger a non-winnable battle.
Already the state is engaged with fighting private militias in Tank,
Parachinar and Waziristan.
However, the fear of a disastrous outcome of the use of force means
inaction by the state. The writ of the state has to be enforced to deter other
groups from following such an approach which undermines writ of the state
and citizens freedoms.
The PML president and the secretary-general, supported by
uniformed men from key agencies, were able to convince the president to
abandon the plan to launch an immediate operation. The prime minister and
the cabinet would, as always, merely go along with the presidents decision.


The situation in the heart of Islamabad still remains precarious, but

there is hope now that an explosive situation will be prevented. What
follows will depend on how state institutions and the government deal with
the larger issue of rule of law and politics in the country. Significantly, these
developments signal a dual and overlapping crisis confronting the
Pakistani state, politics and society.
One, it reinforces the crisis of the Pakistani state. Nothing conveys
more starkly the near paralysis of state institutions than the fact that
Pakistans men in uniform have at regular intervals intervened to control the
state and have also arrested, in fact distorted Pakistans natural political
evolution. The state patronized ethnicity and religion-based politics as its
tools to battle internal and external enemies. Even democratically elected
politicians have used religious groups to legitimize themselves in times of
crisis. The inept and blundering state, controlled primarily by the
establishment and to a lesser extent by politicians in power, has therefore
generated this crisis.
Two, the other dimension of this crisis is that the action taken by the
seminaries in defiance of the state has captured the imagination of many
within society. Those fated to be lesser Pakistanis with lesser private
privileges and with little scope of benefiting from the services that a state
must ensure to its citizens justice, basic amenities, physical security and
personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are experiencing times
of extraordinary deprivation. All these failures of the state reinforce the
internal apartheid between the haves and have-notspeople inevitably will
look for extraordinary solutions. For hundreds of thousands in Pakistan the
Lal Masjid and Hafsa Madrassah phenomenon presents one such
extraordinary solution.
In Pakistan the core problem does not flow from religion. It is of
the inept state. It is primarily the crisis of the state and its inability to ensure
that an average citizen has a stake in the existing system of law and
governance. This creates a context for the citizens to look for extraordinary
solutions. No section of the state seeks to reform itself. That will require
time and also a return to democracy.
There is still silver lining underlying todays turbulent Pakistan; that
Pakistan is not irreconcilably fragmented; that underlying most of the
anguish and torment is the rejection of injustice. Hence the only the
unifying call that can take us out of this mess is the call to rule of law.

Babar Sattar wrote, the audacity of the mullahs to try and enforce
their obscurantist and retrogressive moral code on the citizens of Islamabad
has been shocking Equally alarming has been the Musharraf regimes
inaction to such lawlessness, which has caused people to ponder anew the
reasons for religion-inspired hooliganism in the country. Those who believe
in conspiracy theories are convinced that these events have been
orchestrated on the governments behest to reignite western fears of
Pakistans impending radicalization and to project General Musharraf as
the last man standing between the Taliban and Pakistan.
There are three issues related to the fear of Pakistans
radicalization that need to be raised. One, how effective has General
Musharrafs madressah reform programme been and does its failure suggest
that the government is in bed with the mullah? Two, is it less dangerous if
the trend of radicalization is not indigenous but actually inspired and
supported by elements within the establishment? And three, is Pakistan
becoming more fanatical or are worries of Talibanization overblown?
The conspiracy theory is that episodes such as those in Islamabad
and Tank make General Musharraf seemingly indispensable for the West.
The US and its allies would mot risk a regime change in Pakistan if
Talibanization could be a likely consequence.
Given the state of world politics, Muslim societies resemble timberyards capable of being engulfed by flames of fundamentalism if due care
is not exercised. This is what makes one dread the veracity of conspiracy
theories in Pakistan.
It is hard to deny that over the last two decades Pakistani society has
moved right off the centre. The change has been subtle but is unmistakable.
There is nothing wrong with being religious or inspired by faith. What is
disturbing is the propagation of a brand of religion that is intolerant and
driven primarily by the desire to perpetuate primitive gender roles and
concepts of chastity in the twenty-first century. Such enlightened
moderates believe in modern concept in which it is my right to use my body
the way I want.
He added, a cynical intellectual once explained the difference created
by the Islamic revolution in Iran as follows: Before the revolution we drank
in public and prayed in private. Now we pray in public and drink in private.


This variety of enlightened moderates wants the return of that era in Pakistan
in which one can drink in public and pray in private.
It is dangerous for the state to entertain a delusional belief that
ideologically charged youth can be tamed when required. It is also
dangerous for citizens who value their liberties to remain complacent
toward intolerance, bigotry and obscurantism just because it is being
practiced in a different province or a different neighbourhood. He went on
to urge liberal forces to confront the challenge now and in force.
Dr Masooda Bano cautioned: General Musharraf must realize that
this will have very dangerous consequences for Pakistan. Things can be
controlled only to a limited extent, beyond that they take a momentum of
their own. Artificially promoted militancy today can become a reality
tomorrow. The world has seen this in the rise of the Taliban. It is therefore
critical that the government stop playing the fundamentalism card to retain
international support for General Musharrafs rule. The current policies, if
continued unchecked, will dangerously widen the gulf between the religious
and the secular.
It is not easy to say anything in definite terms about public
sentiment, because the majority of Pakistanis are unable to communicate in
English. Even in that minority which can do so the opinion on the issue of
Lal Masjid was clearly split.
Hamza Hashmi from Islamabad wrote, I fail to understand why these
clerics focus only on the so-called uriani and fahashi alone and dont see
so many other social and moral evils in the country. They seem to be too
obsessed with issues related to women. For example, can these gentlemen
tell us the number of dacoits, smugglers, murderers, kidnappers, black
marketers and so on? If they know of half a million brothels, do they also
know how many kharkar camps are operating in the country where
hundreds of kidnapped children are languishing, or how many private jails
are there? Why is it that Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa, and indeed many other
so-called guardians of morality, only find issues related to women so
Observation of Maria is quite valid. These maulvis should indeed
know about other social evils as well. But it would be more appropriate to
address all these questions to authorities responsible for establishment of
rule of law in the country. Why do the enlightened moderates focus only on

Mulla and Madrassa? They know exact number of madrassas and students
therein but are quite ignorant about social evils enumerated by Maria.
H Hayat from Rawalpindi opined: I like many others believe that
Talibanization has taken birth in Pakistan and if necessary measures are not
taken the society will gradually have to bid farewell to enlightened
moderation. These extremists are fast becoming a source of inspiration
for other fanatical groups in the country. I strongly urge the authorities to
get rid of these trouble makers immediately.
Asfandyar Khattak from Islamabad observed that the action of the
Jamia Hafsa students is being condemned across the board by our so-called
modern educated community, spearheaded by our enlightened media. I
would like readers to dispassionately evaluate the entire saga in the light
of following: Is operating brothel a legal affair? If not, what has the
government done so far for their closure? Are there not groups operating in
the entire world like Greenpeace and so on? If the action of the moral
brigade is not justified, then will the government take necessary steps to
restore law and order including closure of brothels?
Zulfiqar Gul from Swat opined that democracy is a means of
expression and gelling in, when it is perfectly placed, making extreme
behaviours exit from the society. In case of continued military rule,
religious fanatics will step in to fill the gap. Jamia Hafsa and Tank
incidents are just a beginning of what could be a disaster in the making if the
lesson is not learnt quickly.
Rabia Hirani from Karachi observed: How very convenient, now
that there is nothing else left to blame lets blame extreme religious
practices for everything including our teams lack of ability and serious
attitude towards the game. Whom are we fooling here anyway? Was it not
enough for Bush to blame everything on Islam that we have started doing it
as well?
M Afzal Sadiq from Attock was of the view that all this has been
timed and appears to be a pre-planned and calculated move coming
during the midst of a judicial turmoil, deteriorating law and order
situation in Waziristan, Balochistan and an overall tense political situation in
the country. Maulana Abdul Aziz and his brother had promised the religious
affairs minister that they will not create any law and order situation. Yet they


did, and set up a shariat court in the process as well. There appears to be a
force behind the scene. Perhaps some foreign hands are involved.
Burhanuddin Hasan cribbed against politicians. Amazingly
religious as well as progressive political parties have hardly said a word to
condemn this travesty of the laws of the land and challenge to governments
writ. MQM, PPP and PML-Q from London to Islamabad have been crying
hoarse about this but Hasan thought that was not enough.
Mrs Tanvir Khalid, ex-Senator opined: The whole show has been
masterminded and planned by the cleric Abdul Aziz who runs the mosque.
The people of this country are extremely angry to see that the government
that does not seem to have any control over these rogue elements. With
this lenient approach fanaticism is being encouraged. This will only serve to
damage (if that has not already been done considerably) the image of
Two aspects of the issue merit exclusive consideration; one pertains to
land grabbing of which the Lal Masjid has been blamed. People of
Pakistan are well aware of the activities of land mafias across the country.
On 8th April, The News on Sunday published two reports on this most
profitable occupation.
In one report, by Adnan Mahmood, a victim of the land grabbers said:
It is quite unfortunate but the courts here are not responsible for ensuring
justice, but only to ensure that the person with the more concrete evidence
has his way. The people involved in land grabbing for a living have a perfect
mechanism in place to play out the entire scheme. They have the means and
resources to ensure that they have the evidence to retain the property. The
real and genuine owner of the land is usually a harmless individual
incapable of dealing with the land grabbers on all fronts, including the
legal front. This becomes even more difficult for the victims when the land
grabbers have blood relationship with the ruling elite.
Shakir Ahmed Siddiqi from Islamabad wrote: There have been news
reports that the CDA has sold the Covered Bazaar building to a very
influential man who intends to demolish it and construct a multi-storied,
multi-purpose plaza in its place. The building was constructed in the 1960s
as part of the Islamabad master plan. The sale of it and the approval of the
other building plans are in violation of the master plan and will lead to a


serious traffic problem, destroying the peace of mind of the residents The
CDA has acted in exactly the same manner as when it approved a mini-golf
It is the same Capital development Authority which has demolished
seven mosques in no time and it would be worth probing that who would be
the possible beneficiaries of land reclaimed by demolishing the mosques.
One could also suggest to the CDA an easy way of expelling such mosques
and seminaries out of the capital: Sell or allot the land occupied by Lal
Masjid to some influential land mafia, the rest will be done by the
Ghondas on its pay-roll and thus the CDA can be saved from lot of
unpleasant work and embarrassment.
The second aspect relates to Nilofar Bakhtiars hugging her French
instructor in excitement. Imtiaz Alam did not like Lal Masjids
condemnation of the enlightened lady. Now the first victim of their edict is
Federal Tourism Minister Nilofar Bakhtiar for parachute jumping.
Encouraged by the success of their otherwise most provocative
occupation of a childrens library and benefiting from the exposure of
lawlessness of state in the dismissal of its chief justice, the two maulanas
have gone on an offensive by putting the state on notice: Enforce Sharia or
be bombed by the suicide bombers.
Typical of uncultured, intolerant and ignorant Taliban, the attack of
these mullas is also on culture and liberty. Imagine, if the mullahs of all
seminaries follow the example set by the Lal Mosque and Hafsa? There
will be no freedom, no culture, no modern technologies, no rule of law no
computer, no CD, no media, no healthcare, no economy, no judiciary, no
army, no civilization but the rule of cavemen infuriated by the glare of the
cities which they will bring down to the level of their cave life.
It would require superhuman attempt to paint a gloomier picture than
what Imtiaz Alam has painted. For him the only way to avoid the gloom
described above is to encourage our women to visit Paris on public expense,
undergo paragliding training and hug the instructor after each gliding.
The News issued an edict in favour of Nilofar. When one goes
parachuting, it is standard operating procedure to have a trained person sit
behind the individual who is readying him/her for the jump. There is nothing
obscene about this since in fact it is the norm. It seems that those who


have found this vulgar and have gone to the ludicrous extent of demanding
her ouster from the cabinet (and issuing a fatwa in the process) will find
even a woman talking to a man vulgar.
The reaction is reflective of the narrow-mindedness and humbug
that has come to dominate many segments of Pakistani society. It is
unfortunate and alarming that trivial issues such as these seem to draw so
much attention, especially from self-righteous and self-professed guardians
of morality while blatant cases of social injustice are conveniently brushed
under the carpet. The accused mullas have not brushed other social issues
under the carpet; and that is why they are accused of challenging the writ of
the government.
Ansar Abbasi did not agree with the editor of his newspaper. He
observed that there are two extremes that grab attention in todays Pakistan.
He was pointing at Maulanas of Lal Masjid and Nilofar Bakhtiar. How can
a sitting minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan hug a stranger? Is
it in the line with the Constitution of Pakistan, which envisages Islamic way
of life as the principles of policy? Steps shall be taken to enable the
Muslims of Pakistan, individually and collectively, to order their lives in
accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam, and
to provide facilities whereby they may be enabled to understand the meaning
of life according to Holy Quraan and Sunnah, reads Article 31 (1) of the
Article 29 of the Constitution says: It is the responsibility of each
organ and authority of the State, and of each person performing functions on
behalf of an organ or authority of the State, to act in accordance with those
principles in so far as they relate to the functions of the organ or authority.
No one questions the ministers courage to jump from the aircraft.
But what has hurt many here is that, a woman federal minister has been
caught behaving in the foreign land in a manner that is neither part of our
culture nor fits into the teachings of Islam by even any liberal
interpretation of Quraan and Sunnah. Rather this is what the so-called
western world takes pride of.
Nilofar is reported to have said: I am the role model for Pakistani
women. Whatever I did was not easy, I jumped for the national interest. For
Gods sake (Ms Role Model), give us a break! Ideally, political leaders


should be role models, but, Madam Minister, you are not. You have rather
our heads hung in shame.
Nilofar might be propagating the soft image of Pakistan or be
endorsing the vaguely defined theory of President Musharrafs enlightened
moderation through her bold action, but the fact remains, she did not
represent the Pakistani women.
A saying of the Prophet (SAW): Each religion has a morality, and
the morality of Islam is haya (Bashfulness) says it all. To the likes of
Nilofar, please do not mutilate our only pride that makes us different
from the West.
M A Khan Jadoon from Abbottabad also did not agree with editor of
The News. According to you it is the standard operation procedure, to have
a trained person sit behind the individual who is readying himself/herself for
the jump and there is nothing obscene about this since in fact it is the norm.
But our federal minister for culture and tourism crossed this limit and
hugged her trainer publicly. She has rightly shown the world that
Pakistan is being governed by people who are enlightened and

Every enlightened person in Pakistan has found some pretexts to curse
and condemn teachers and students of Lal Masjid seminaries. They rushed to
bury the obscurantist under the heap of accusations. The pile so created has
made it somewhat difficult to sift the real issue behind the ongoing row.
The issue is not the illegal occupation of land or a library. There are
thousands, perhaps millions, of cases of illegal grabbing or encroachment of
public and private property in the country. No one, including the government
and the media, has bothered to raise the voice against those crimes.
Shaikh Rashid alone can provide a list of thousands of encroachers
and grabbers of railway property. He, however, wont be able to find the
exact number of these grabbers even if he requests the Chief Minister of
Punjab for facilitation and devotes rest of his life in tracing them out.


It is true that construction of mosques on illegally occupied land is unIslamic and the enlightened moderates seemed to be quite aware of this
Islamic injunction. But, illegal grabbing of public and private property by
enterprises like Monis $ Co is absolutely Islamic for followers of the new
sect of Enlightened Moderates.
By the way, what does the political stunt of awarding the malkana
haqooq (ownership rights) to kachi abadis mean? Does it not amount to
dishing out the state owned land to encroacher and grabbers? If these
thousands of illegal land grabbers can be given the ownership rights then
why not some houses of Allah could be favoured similarly; simply because
the name of Real Owner does not appear on voters list?
The issue is not that danda-wielding burqa-clad students of Jamia
Hafsa pose a serious threat of occupation of presidency or parliament. Those
are already in illegal occupation of much stronger grabbers of power and
The issue is not that men and women of Lal Masjid seminaries are
different from others housed in thousands of madrassas across the country.
They are in millions, according governments own estimates, and yet they
are referred to as a small minority.
This so-called minority has been vehemently blamed for trying to
impose their version of misinterpreted Islam on people of Pakistan.
Contrarily, the fact is that even much smaller minority of enlightened
moderates have already taken the conservative people of Pakistan as their
The critics have vehemently condemned the female students of Hafsa
for carrying dandas. They say that there is no justification for the
involvement of female students in this row. Inadvertently, these enlightened
critics have negated their own values by indulging in gender
In fact, this is absolutely in line with the much hyped doctrine of the
Musharraf regime which boasts of having opened doors for women to all
kinds of professions and activities in life. If use of lethal weapons by women
who have joined the armed forces is justified, the girls of Jamia Hafsa
cannot be criticized for trespassing into masculine domain by possessing
bamboo sticks for self-defence. The logic demands, if there is any room for


logic in the so-called doctrine of enlightened moderation, that these girls

must be appreciated for promoting Musharrafs cause.
The issue is not the establishment of the writ of the government or
enforcement of law of the land. The laws of the land, including the supreme
law called Constitution, are violated every minute and mostly by those who
are responsible for its enforcement; starting from the man in illegal
occupation of two highest offices simultaneously down to the foot constable
posted at the Zero Point.
Lal Masjid clerics are accused of emulating the Taliban. Who are the
ruling elite and a minority of enlightened moderates emulating? Of course,
they are emulating the West. Most of them are advocating ruthless use of
force (eint se eint baja do) exactly in manner in which the Crusaders are
dealing with Islamic fascism with complete disregard to the collateral
damage. This is how the writ of the government can be established; one
should not worry about the price to be paid in the process.
The issue is not the kidnapping of aunty Shamim. Her captivity
for couple of days has caused no irreparable damage to cause of the seekers
of soft image. There are thousands of aunties still operating through the
length and breadth of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Kidnapping and detention of aunty Shamim should not be a matter of
great concern for law enforcers, because there are thousands of people,
including women and children, who have been kidnapped and kept captives
for a variety of motives like forced labour and prostitution. Enlightened
moderates have shown no concern for those victims.
The critics made it convenient to ignore the fact residents of the aunty
Shamims neighbourhood had complained to authorities about her business
activities but no action was taken. Police took action only once, but the court
let her scot-free due to lack of incriminating evidence, or perhaps on receipt
of a call from one of the consumers of her products.
These residents rightly concluded that the government of enlightened
moderates was not interested in enforcing laws based on primitive concept
of social decorum and decency. Perforce, they went to the mullas who still
continue preaching these out-dated values. The obscurantist had the courage
to help the helpless residents and they did, using much less force than that


used by law enforcers to handle the CJP who wanted to walk up to the
Supreme Court to appear before the SJC.
The converts to the latest sect of enlightened moderation blamed
mullas and their students for violating law of the land. They, with devotion
familiar to new converts, rushed to blame obscurantist mullas who in fact
had enforced the law. Enlightened moderates also ignored the fact that even
in the civilized world the residents of a neighbourhood would have reacted
similarly to an aunty indulging in commercial activity in residential area.
The government has already decided in favour of the aunties. It has
planned to shift all madrassas out of Islamabad, without even bothering to
make a mention of the aunty houses. This decision amounts to telling that
you mullas take your madrassa out of the city, but business of aunties will go
on in the city so fondly named Islamabad.
Some sections of the media have volunteered to act as the megaphone
of the enlightened moderates. For example, the News which has been
vigorously criticizing burqa-clad girls of Jamia Hafsa for carrying dandas,
but exonerated Nilofar of wrong doing by issuing a fatwa that the lady had
crossed no limits.
Of course, the editor was not talking of the limits laid down by Allah,
not even of socio-cultural limits in a conservative society of Pakistan. He
was referring to the civilized world which has no concept of limits in the
context of personal freedoms, of which the enlightened moderates are quite
fond of. When one is in Paris on government expense, these limits
completely disappear; therefore, if for anything Nilofar can be blamed for is
that she fell well short of the limits, at least in public.
The media also portrayed aunty Shamim as the victim, not as
violator of the law and instead; launched a campaign against students and
teachers of madrassa for taking law into their hands. Media never contacted
any neighbour of the aunty to know their viewpoint on the entire episode.
The decency, even the enlightened decency, demanded that before
cursing the students and teachers of the Jamia the government should have
been urged to use its law enforcing personnel, of whom there is no dearth in
the capital now-a-days, for crackdown on prostitution and business of vulgar
videos; both of which are illegal according to the law of the land; far more
illegal than carrying sticks.


But this did not happen, because aunty houses are like fast-food
outlets for the privileged class of the enlightened society, whereas masjid
and madrassa attempt to provide solitude to the down-trodden. The
privileged class tolerates no disruption of social service outlets. They expect
that students of the Jamia should at best sell material for preventing spread
of AIDS. This is the decent way in a civilized society.
The minister of religious affairs of Islamic Republic and son of
General Zia-ul-Haque when asked about Maulana Rashids demand for
closing of prostitution and gambling dens in the country, showed ignorance
about the very existence of such dens; he asked Maulana to point those out.
He could have acquired this information from the presidency where
the data is available as is evident from the letter written to Punjab
government about such dens being run in Lahore under the able guidance of
some ministers and MPAs and for further details he should have contacted
those ministers and MPAs.
Ijazul Haqs attitude amply proved that as minister of religious affairs
he was not bothered about brothels; the institutions of enlightenment. On the
other hand, he was deeply concerned about masjid and madrassa which are
not seen approvingly by the civilized world. With such a support from the
government and media the aunties face no problem of protection.
A possibly issue is that the sight of burqa-clad danda-wielding
students present a sight too primitive which does not go well with the
modern age of daisy-cutters. They should have at least carried some
automatic guns like bodyguards of political leaders.
Another possible issue is that these obscurantist mullas and their
pupils talk of social values like chastity, which are in direct clash with those
enshrined in the doctrine of Enlightenment. Therefore, the Talibanized
students and teachers are misfits in a civilized society. They must be shunted
out of Islamabad to areas they belong to. Aunties and their concubines
must stay as they are integral to the soft image of Pakistan. They serve vital
national interest and must be owned and supported by ministers and MPAs.
The issue is that Lal Masjid and its seminaries are located in the
capital of Pakistan which is in occupation of enlightened moderates. These
are also located too close to diplomatic enclave and are frequently seen by


diplomats from the civilized world; thus polluting their minds in the context
of the image of Pakistan.
Had these been in Awal Killi of NWFP, in Chicho-ki-Mallian of
Punjab, or in Pir-jo-Goth of Sindh, these would have gone unnoticed by
media and the government. In old cities like Lahore, too, these would not
have drawn much attention had some Pehlwans, instead of mullas, cracked
down on some aunty operating in their street. Unfortunately, Lal Masjid and
Jamia Hafsa happen to be in one of the few enclaves in the country inhabited
by followers of cult called enlightened moderation.
What is wrong so drastically with what students of Jamia did to the
aunty, as compared to gang rape of a girl every month or so in interior Sindh
or Punjab? In fact, the very sight of a mulla supporting a bushy beard and
religious students clad in black burqas is quite frightening for the moderate
residents of these localities.
The real issue emerged after 9/11; before that the West generally used
some derogatory phrases for their enemies in Muslim World. After 9/11
there has been a spate of concoctions to express their hatred for Islam and its
In fact, the Crusaders have ordered their ally in Islamabad and
reiterated time and again to deal with religious forces sternly, particularly
with mulla and madrassa. In compliance of the orders, the pro-West
elements show great fondness for phrases like Talibanization.
They place personal freedoms above any religious, social or moral
bindings on the pretext of human rights. Anything that does not go well with
their likings is demonized and rejected by simply calling it Talibanized.
Anyone who talks of Sharia or Islamic laws, prohibition of prostitution or
pornography, wearing a burqa or veil is considered emulating and preaching
Once the word Talibanization is used, no more arguments are needed
to reject unwanted parts of a faith fourteen centuries old. They reject
Talibanization to discard some of the Islamic teachings which clash with
their personal freedoms. This class when given a choice would prefer to live
in land or locality which is brothelized rather than Talibanized.


The Lal Masjid episode started two days after Blair had desired
crackdown against religious seminaries. In that raid in 2004, the partners of
the Crusaders got nothing to incriminate mullas and their seminary.
Therefore, masjid and its madrassas escaped the wrath of enlightened
moderates, but the latter kept looking for an excuse to harass the former
At last they found one; these masjid and madrassas were constructed
on encroached land. The demolition squads came into action and seven
mosques were razed to ground. The foundation of one of these mosques had
been laid by the father of the incumbent minister for religious affairs;
General Zia-ul-Haque. Father constructed and the son demolished.
The obscurantist mullas are accused of misinterpreting Islam, and in
doing that the enlightened moderates often misinterpret the word
misinterpretation. If someone tells that free sex or sex on payment is wrong
and punishable in Islam, where is the misinterpretation? The same can be
said about gambling and other social evils which the enlightened moderates
somehow tend to accept or tolerate in the name of enlightenment.
The Enlightenment has embraced secularism to throw the religion out
of the affairs of State. They have started questioning the very basis of the
ideology of Pakistan. No doubt Iqbal and Quaid had never meant
enforcement of a particular brand of Islam, but it is grossly wrong to say
that they never wanted that people in Pakistan, Muslims in overwhelming
majority, should not guide their lives in accordance with the teachings of
That is why it has been incorporated in the Constitution of Pakistan. If
it was all about economics, as some analysts argue, then the name of this
country would have been Economic Republic of Pakistan or Enlightened
Republic of Pakistan, not Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Other arguments, like Muslims killing Muslims, have no relevance to
the ideology of Pakistan, because most of what is happening today in
Pakistan is the consequence of the ongoing biased war on terror in which
the rulers have been connived with the Crusaders to save themselves from
getting pushed back to the Stone Age.
To conclude it can be said that the current confrontation marks the
advent of overt clash between those who submit or want to submit to the
Will of Allah by following un-tampered injunctions of Islam and those who


want to reinterpret Quraan in a manner which imposes no restriction on their

freedom and liberties, rather than unqualified submission to unseen God.
The Crusaders earnestly want to trigger a clash within Pakistan
without physically invading it. This would result in bloodletting like the one
in Iraq. The ruling elite have lost sight of this dire consequence. They are
misled by the immediate benefit of diverting the attention away from its
unwise and unjust assault on the judiciary.
17th April 2007



This round began with Shujaats declaration that anyone who speaks
against army should be shot dead. The Team-Helmet also made some
calculated moves to divert attention away from the reference against the CJP.
The moves had its impact but not to the desired extent.
In one move, Musharraf instructed his team members to disclose some
facts about the dialogue with Benazir. Rashid said deal with PPP was matter
of days. This move aimed at sowing distrust in already disarrayed opposition
parties which seemed to be rallying behind the issue of the reference.
In second move the row with Lal Masjid was reactivated. This was
aimed at scaring the West of Islamic fascism so that they keep supporting
the Team-Helmet. This was quite a risky move, yet it succeeded in diverting
the attention of the media. This has been discussed in the preceding article.
In the hearing on 13th April, Aitzaz argued on the issue of bias. On the
next hearing on 18th April the defence counsel completed argument and
prayed for decision on the issue of the bias, the SJC rejected the prayer. The
SJC made a counter-move and submitted a petition in the Supreme Court
challenging the very validity of the SJC.

On return from abroad, Shujaat declared on 4th April that those
speaking against the army should be shot dead. The government abolished
Special Operations Division within NAB which had the exclusive
responsibility to probe cases of corruption against Benazir and Zardari.
Lahore office was closed, files were shifted to Islamabad. PPP welcomed the
decision and demanded abolition of entire NAB set-up. The US State
Department asked the government to stay within law in the CJP row.
Seven government officials were indicted in the case of manhandling
the CJP. The Supreme Court started inquiry on Khalid Ranjhas complaint.
The government brought on PTV, the man who was beaten by protesters to
prove that he was a genuine practicing lawyer. A government probe into
attack on Geo TV ruled out any conspiracy.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah wanted early disposal of the reference;
delay is not in the interest of nation. Qazi Hussain thanked the CJP for


setting stage against the president. Benazir said the CJP is symbol of
independent judiciary.
On 5th April, Wasi blamed the militants within lawyer community for
threatening Khalid Ranjha. Presidency ruled out sacking of the prime
minister. Prime Minister said the government would accept verdict of the
SJC. Judges of the Supreme Court held a meeting to review the situation.
The government representative in a TV show said that the special cell
in NAB was closed because it had been set up by Nawaz Sharif against
Benazir. Shujaat and Durrani said PPP has been given Dheel not deal. Sherry
rejected any possibility of deal with the government. PML-N also expressed
similar views.
Next day, Supreme Court clarified that judges meeting did not
consider the situation in the country arising from the reference. The Supreme
Court directed the Registrar to provide copy of the complaint of Ranjha to
the lawyers.
Durrani and Rashid were out of tune on government-PPP deal.
Nadeem Shah reported that a deal with Benazir and Nawaz Sharif brokered
by some generals and senior politicians was finalized. Assemblies and the
government will complete the tenure, vowed Musharraf on 7 th April while
addressing an election rally in Taxila in the company of Pervaiz Elahi.
Musharraf stressed upon the delegation of Congressmen to help broaden
Pak-US ties.
Lawyers, doctors and journalists criticized government action against
chief justice in a gathering in Garrison Club in Peshawar, reported Yousaf
Ali. Doctors of Pakistani descent in the US and Canada decided to launch
campaign for the rule of law in Pakistan. Benazir and Nawaz met in Dubai.
Umar Cheema reported that Musharraf advised his team not get upset
about the reported deal with PPP and told them to adopt wait and see
policy over the outcome of deal efforts and ongoing judicial crisis. By the
time SJC submits its findings, which may take at least six months, the
government hoped that Musharraf would be re-elected as president.
Musharraf reportedly told his political allies that deal was yet to be
brokered and the need for patch up was being felt on both sides. And if it is
finally done, his aide Tariq Aziz would brief Chaudhries in detail on what


terms and conditions the deal has been finalized. He assured that Chaudhries
of Gujrat wont be sidelined.
Ansar Abbasi reported that sources revealed that the regime was still
finding it hard to swallow its March 9 initiative and was clueless as what to
do to get out of the present quagmire. A source said that the rulers were of
the view that the media had overplayed the issue and was unnecessarily
focusing on it too much. The source did not believe that the lawyers were
united; one group of law practitioners was drumming up the situation
whereas there were many who were with government.
Independent sources and even some of the ministers in their tte-tte admit that the issue of Justice Iftikhar is the most serious crisis, faced by
General Musharraf during his seven years rule. Though the recent
speculations about deals are seen as smart moves, yet they have not helped
to divert the masses attention from the CJPs issue.
Next day, Shaukat Aziz ruled out any deal with plunderers of national
wealth. Spokesman of presidency ruled out any change in the government.
Lt Col Raja Ali Muhammad Janjua refuted Sherpaos claim that his
missing son had links with a jihadi group.
On 9th April, Pervaiz Elahi blamed opposition leaders for misleading
lawyers and influencing SJC verdict. He was addressing Muslim League
Lawyers Convention in Lahore, which he claimed was a proof of lawyers
support to the governments action against the CJP.
The Supreme Court issued notices to President Secretariat and other
respondents on two petitions challenging suspension of the CJP. Benazir
denied that she was seeking a deal with Musharraf but acknowledged having
contacts with Musharraf regime since long.
A district judge in Bhakkar resigned on 10 th April in protest over
judicial crisis. Petition against forced leave of the CJP was filed in Supreme
Court. Peoples Lawyers Forum Punjab asked Musharraf to doff uniform
before elections.
Deputy Attorney General expressed helplessness before the Supreme
Court on the progress in recovery of missing persons. He accused the
Ministry of Interior of not complying with directives of the court in this


context. The petitioners expressed grief and helplessness over stereotype

replies from the government on successive hearings.
On 11th April, The Supreme Court framed the charge against police
and district administration officials for interfering with the course of
administration of justice by acting in contemptuous and disrespectful
manner to the CJP. The News reported that the Chief Justice of SHC could
withdraw from the membership of the SJC.
Musharraf once again told a public gathering that he would disclose
facts after the verdict of the SJC. Shakil Shaikh reported that the CJP had got
his Quetta based vehicles registered with number plates bearing the word
CIA. A number of lawyers were booked under criminal charges of
thrashing Ranjha and other lawyers.
Over 200 political activists were arrested in Rawalpindi-Islamabad
area on the eve of the hearing by the SJC. The government declared that no
protests would be allowed in front of the Supreme Court building. Political
parties and lawyers vowed to continue their protest.
Ansar Abbasi reported that a re-employed federal secretary, Tariq Ali
Bokhari would be the prime government witness against the CJP. Bokhari
was completing his two-year contract on March 4, five days before the
reference was moved, but he was allowed to continue for another year
without mandatory consultation with Federal Public Service Commission.
On 13th April, lawyers and politicians staged countrywide boycott of
courts and protest rallies. Turnout of activists of political parties was better
than previous protests. Nawaz Sharif addressed the rally of his party on
telephone. PPPs participation lacked the luster familiar to its jialas. PMLN mulled deferment of APC till the verdict by SJC.
A man carrying a gun was arrested while entering the Supreme Court
premises. A small group of lawyers in Karachi picked up a brawl with
journalists and thrashed some journalists and camera-men. During the
incident the law enforcers present at the scene stayed away showing no
concern. This was the third attempt to draw a wedge between journalists and
the lawyers. The incident was suspected as an attempt to sabotage the
present campaign by the lawyers.


Minister Durrani gleefully condemned manhandling of the journalists.

He urged suspension of membership of those involved to set an example so
that no one could dare attacking journalists in future. He also asked PPP to
suspend membership of its MNA who manhandled Shakir Solangi.
Durrani went on to claim, I have always stood by the journalists
through thick and thin. My ministry has taken note of the incident. He
added, there would be no change in the present set-up, because at the
moment any change that is required is the change in opposition parties
Ansar Abbasis report pricked the conscience of Tariq Ali Bokhari and
he resigned. Prime Minister rejected his resignation because he found no
need to be a prisoner of conscience. A spokesman of PMs Secretariat termed
Ansars report slanderous and defamatory.
Hearing by the SJC lasted for about two hours in which Aitzaz Ahsan
argued on the question of bias against three of the five members on the
bench. The issue of open court will be taken up after the ruling on bias, but
Aitzaz had reiterated that proceedings on bias should also be open. The SJC
adjourned till 18th April.
Police hunt for PML-N activists continued on 14 th April; PPP also
reported arrest of its workers in connection with forthcoming protest. MMA
called for grand opposition alliance to intensify the movement against
Musharraf. The CJP addressed bar council at Sukkur in which judges were
also present. A lawyer of Chiniot threatened to commit suicide over
suspension of the CJP.
Next day, the CJP traveled from Sukkur to Hyderabad by road and
received rousing welcome enroute. He was received outside the city of
Hyderabad and escorted to the site of the reception arranged by lawyers, in
which judges were also present. In his address, the CJP said concentration of
power results in anarchy.
Muhammad Saleh Zaafir reported that the government would take
decision in couple of days to check ongoing protests over suspension of the
CJP. Shakil Shaikh reported that agencies were still busy in collecting more
incriminating evidence against the CJP. Prime Minister urged the Leaguers
to watch truth on PTV. Media decided to cover the lawyers protest on 18 th
April wearing black arm-bands.


On 16th April, Musharraf informed the formation commanders that

Pakistan was passing through difficult phase. Commenting on Benazirs
interview, Durrani said she was now begging for a deal. Shaikh Rashid said
the contacts with Benazir were in advance stage. Benazir denied offering
support to Musharraf.
The law enforcement agencies, during a crackdown on political
leaders and activists in Rawalpindi-Islamabad area, arrested more than 60
persons including MNA Mian Aslam. The Supreme Court adjourned till
April 24 hearing of three identical constitutional petitions challenging
making the CJP non-functional. The CJP suspected hand of brother judges in
his suspension, reported Ansar Abbasi.
Next day, more than 250 political activists were detained in
Islamabad-Rawalpindi area on the eve of case hearing. Women lawyers held
a peaceful protest rally in Rawalpindi in favour of non-functional CJP.
Defence counsel decided to focus on constitutionality of the SJC. Hearing on
Ranjha case was put off till 28th April.
The rumoured deal caused worries to ministers. Ijazul Haq said
Benazir was trying to trap Musharraf. Minister Durrani said contacts with
Benazir are in national interest. Fazl said BB-Musharraf deal would
disintegrate the country. As Musharraf planned to embrace self-exiled BB,
Bangladesh exiled two of its Bibis.
On 24th April, Aitzaz Ahsan completed his arguments. He prayed to
the SJC that on completion of the arguments on the question of bias the
Council should announce its decision and only then proceed with the legal
objections vis--vis constitutionality of the Council to hear the reference.
The SJC rejected the prayer and withheld the ruling on the plea of bias to
avoid any possible complications arising out of fragmentary decisions and
expression of opinion in piecemeal.
The CJP filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court carrying
132 points of law challenging the presidential reference against him. The
petitioner challenged his suspension, sending him on forced leave,
competence of the SJC as well as mode and manner of the proceedings;
President of Pakistan, Federation of Pakistan, SJC and registrars of SHC and
LHC were made respondents in the petition.


Aitzaz Ahsan in a hurriedly called press conference said the writ in the
Supreme Court was filed because we dont trust the SCJ. Wasi Zafar
announced the verdict on the petition before the SJC could see it; the
Constitution lays down the accountability of the CJP.
Protest rallies were held across the country. Lawyers turned out in
greater number than the past particularly in Lahore and Islamabad, despite
complete blockade of the capital. Political parties turnout was on the decline
particularly in case of PPP. Thirteen activists of PML-N, including 11
women were booked for thrashing workers of PML-Q. Retired soldiers and
families of missing persons also participated. Nawaz Sharif was disturbed
over PPP-government deal.

Nobody liked Shujaats unflinching loyalty to the uniform. Maria
Jamshaid from Islamabad wrote, gang rapists and murderers should not be
shot. Kidnappers and torturers should not be shot. Corrupt politicians and
bureaucrats who have grossly abused the trust of the people and looted this
country should not be shot
But innocent people crying out for democracy to be restored and
army to retreat to its rightful place, yes they should be shot. Innocent
civilians frustrated and utterly despondent at the state of affairs in this
beautiful country, yes, they should be shot. People exercising the same
freedoms and rights which are promised to them in every election, yes, they
should be shot.
Shame on you Chaudhry sahib for setting such a gross example for
the people of this country. Shame on you for publicly endorsing violence.
And shame on you for once again tarnishing the image of this country in the
Talking to party activists in Islamabad, Pakistan Muslim League
president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has said that all those people raising
slogans against the army in the name of freedom, of expression and the
freedom of the press should be shot; without due process. Will that not be
another example of extremism? Farooq Zaman from Lahore questioned.


Shafqat Mahmood commented: In times of national crisis, the

messages that circulate widely also become reflective of public mood. One
such message has truly captured the ironic dilemma we face: In Pakistan
the chief justice of the Supreme Court seeks justice and the army chief seeks
This of course is not the only irony. In a week when the political
elite, the lawyers community and civil society were out in force fighting for
justice and rule of law General Musharraf is now reported to have
taken direct charge of all tactical decisions regarding the lawyers
M Najam Jadoon from London opined that the strategy that was
wrong from the outset wont be easy to mend. According to the law, a
reference is submitted to the president by the prime minister and the
president is bound to submit it to the Supreme Judicial Council. Even if the
president had been satisfied by the CJ, he still could not withhold a
sensitive reference against the top judge of the country. He has no
qualifications in law and therefore not competent to take a sensitive legal
decision of withholding the reference.
On the other hand, if by not satisfied he means he failed to
persuade the CJ to resign, then hats off to CJ Chaudhry. May God bless
Pakistan with a few more people like Justice Chaudhry and Pakistan will
become a respectable state in the world, in every sense.
M B Naqvi observed that Musharraf regime has already lost ground
on the issue of missing persons. The disappearances and the brutal way
the regime reacts to popular expressions of dissent has recently been
demonstrated, including its tolerance deficit over freedom of the media and
also other freedoms of the people. The president claims, against all the
allegations of the relatives of the disappeared that they have gone to join the
Taliban, as if Taliban existed as a separate state somewhere else. Why cant
the omni-present secret agencies find them?
Nadeem Iqbal mentioned one of the features of revised strategy of the
man at the helm of affairs. After President Musharrafs briefing, they have
come up with a consolidated counter-strategy. The strategy is to keep
Jamaat-i-Islami and other political parties away from protesting lawyers and
to isolate the protesting lawyers so that the issue may not turn into a popular
anti-government movement.

The media is being tamed by opening of some of the popular Indian

channels that attract advertisement revenue from Pakistan. The message is
that in case of defiance the space to earn advertisement revenue can be
curtailed The media is still accusing the government of curbing freedom
of press. The Dawn group has claimed for some time now that it is being
pressured through the withholding of government ads, which are a
significant part of any newspapers revenue (and survival).
Tariq Butt commented on another feature of the strategy of the TeamHelmet; the deal with PPP. Is it a genuine bid for a grand reconciliation
or a political gimmick to bail the government out from the profound
morass it is deep down due to the judicial crisis?
The governments sincerity becomes doubtless given the timing of its
gestures towards both Nawaz and Benazir. Never before, President General
Pervez Musharraf was so mired in a tight spot that could have been easily
avoided by resorting to other means vis--vis Chief Justice Iftikhar
Muhammad Chaudhry instead of filing a reference against him.
Since the judicial crisis hit the length and breadth of Pakistan,
gritty efforts have been made to divide the legal community and put on
frontline the government supporters among thousands of lawyers, but
whatever number it could shore up has failed to make an impact or present a
good show that could impinge on the force, relevance and influence of the
backers of the reference. Rather, a band of the black coat wearing lot,
siding with the government that was made to mingle among the lawyers,
was served an immense beating.
This frightening scenario coaxed the government and its different
arms into coming out with innovations to push it out of the sticky
situation before it was too late. But these lacked genuineness simply because
of the fashion in which these were made public. Negotiations with diehard
opponents are not conducted this way.
However, had the present gestures been real and sincere, these
would have been announced or confirmed by a person no less than the
president himself because he, it goes without saying, is the sole master of the
present applecart. The way these have come out in public, noticeably
bespeak the intention behind them.


Opposition leaders too share the general perception and have no

qualms that the closure of the NAB cell and Khalid Maqbools reported
meeting carry no weight and consider the two moves misleading the public
opinion that is single-mindedly concentrated against the government on the
question of the presidential reference.
However, notwithstanding the cynical view that disbelieves the
official sincerity, it is desired since long by a predominant majority of people
of Pakistan that Musharraf should take lead in burying the hatchet and listen
to crying saner voices that call for allowing both Nawaz and Benazir to
return home and take part in the forthcoming general elections unhindered.
The News opined: If a deal is eventually worked out, the biggest
gainer will plausibly be Ms Bhutto and her beleaguered husband Asif Ali
Zardari, since one of the compromises will be on the many cases registered
against the couple. However, this may well be a purely personal gain and
only time will tell whether it pays dividends for the party as a whole. For
instance, there is one view that says a party which has through much of its
existence rallied against military dictatorships should not be supping with
generals, and certainly not in exchange for benefits that will accrue only to
its top leadership.
The president and Ms Bhuttos party have much in common,
especially when important issues such as terrorism, fighting extremism,
protection of minorities and ending discriminatory laws against women are
considered (in the last matter, the PPP actually voted in favour of a
government-sponsored bill in parliament). Of course, the president and his
government have often been at the receiving end (and with some
justification) on not coming good on the otherwise worthy intention of
fighting extremism with actual deeds. Perhaps, having the support of a
liberal and a secular party like the PPP, which incidentally received the
highest number of votes in the 2002 general elections, will allow the
president to do just that.
Dr Tariq Hassan was of the view that the president has gone too far
this time. The autobiography has turned out to be a self-fulfilling
prophecy for the general who has now actually landed himself in the line
of fire not under false pretences anymore of protecting the US president in
his war against terror but because of his vain effort to subvert the judiciary
by first wrongly suspending the chief justice of Pakistan and later trying to
correct his manifest mistake by sending him on forced leave.

The general has started the war within to perpetuate his self-rule. By
doing so he has not only denigrated the highest judicial institution in the
country but unfortunately also caused harm to his own constituency the
army. Not since the aftermath of the break-up of Pakistan in 1971 have the
people of Pakistan held the army in such disdain as now.
This is not the first time that the government has sought the removal
of the head of an institution illegally Brute force may have worked
earlier but the move against the chief justice has turned out to be a
miscalculation. The effort to remove the chief justice seems to be the last
straw that has broken the legal communitys back.
There is a general perception among the public that the chief justice
has done the nation proud by showing boldness in not giving in to the
pressure placed on him to resign. Consequently, not only the legal fraternity
but also the public at large stands behind him in this ordeal.
What are the legal options available to lawyers against the
general? Some Pakistani jurists suggest impeachment for gross misconduct
based on constitutional and legal contraventions and abuse of power. Others
advocate that he should be persecuted internationally for gross violation of
human rights. Still others go further to recommend that the president be tried
for usurping power in 1999.
The government has, among other things, taken a number of
purported actions whose seriousness would even warrant notice and
action by superior courts on their own. It could be responsible for: (i)
unleashing state terrorism by allowing the surreptitious abduction of people;
(ii) handing over Pakistani citizens and foreign nationals in Pakistan to
foreign powers without following the due process of law; (iii) waging
internal war on its own people in tribal areas against the basic mandate of
the armed forces; and (iv) eliminating and exiling political opponents in
clear violation of fundamental rights guaranteed not only by the Constitution
but protected also by international human rights conventions.
It is quite likely that judicial conscience may prompt judges to
take advantage of this opportunity to redeem institutional honour lost
repeatedly by the judiciarys sublime submission to power after each
successive military coup in Pakistan. The Supreme Court would do well to
consider adopting a sacrosanct judicial policy aimed at preventing
usurpation of political power by generals in the future by declaring

validations of martial laws as being the fruit of the poisonous tree. Although
there is uncertainty in the minds of people as to how this is going to end,
there is, nevertheless, the realization that the president has gone too far this
Rahimullah Yusufzai opined, the president and his prime minister
took on the chief justice of Pakistan in a bid to remove one last hurdle to
absolute power. It showed that the rulers werent ready to tolerate any
opposition to their plans to rule forever. No doubts the decision to render
Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry non-functional provoked
countrywide demonstrations and confronted the president with one of the
biggest challenges to his rule to date. But it also triggered a new crisis and
its outcome will have a bearing on the state of politics in the country. We
would have been better off without another crisis.
Dr Masooda Bano observed that for General Musharraf the
payback time has started. His one-man approach to running the country
and constant reference to establishing the writ of the state has landed him
in a position where both the secular and the religious sections of the society
are saying that enough is enough What the recent developments in
Pakistan show is that street power rather than Constitution is the only means
left to make any voice heard in Pakistan.
Khalid Mustafa from Islamabad opined that the hearing of reference
should be open. Will it be fair or in accordance with the principles of
justice to hold in-camera proceedings or hearing in a court case when
the charges are open to the public through the print media while the replies
to the charges are not?
Ikram Sehgal did not approve the CJPs address to bar councils.
Despite the heat of the moment, the CJ addressed the Rawalpindi Bar
Council. While it is very much his right to do so, and he did scrupulously
avoid mention of his personal predicament, the fact is that in very charged
political environment prevailing, a very politically charged crowd of lawyers
took him in a procession to the location. The theme of the meeting was
anti-government. By his presence the CJ took sides. Unfortunately his
person has thus become political, and made his locus standi controversial.
The CJ will probably win the battle to clear his name but he
could end up losing the war. He can resume his office as the CJ. But as a


man of conscience, can he continue so without tarring permanently as

political the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
The analyst, belonging to the embedded community, went on to add:
The rumours of Musharrafs departure are greatly exaggerated. This man is
at his best when he is in a corner. This soldier may have been politically
wounded, but it is when he is seemingly down when he can be quite lethal.
Musharraf is not going anywhere, at least not yet; and neither is
Shaukat Aziz.
Akbar Jan Khan from Islamabad was not satisfied with the
performance of political parties at this critical juncture. The performance
of our main parties in the ensuing judicial crises has, I am afraid, not
been very impressive. Their call for a general strike on the March 26 was
also not a spectacular success. They need to get their act together and
overcome their mutual bickering to be able to put effective pressure on the
Dr Khalil Ahmad discussed the movement and its aim that ought to
be. After this March 9, Pakistan is patient with the hope of fast recovery. I
say hope, because if this hope dies, the patient will lie dormant for long time
to come. Isnt it a clear silver lining that sixty years history could not cite
an instance of NO to the rulers from the most important institution of
Pakistani society, the judiciary; and now there is a NO, the first NO
from the judiciary of Pakistan As it is beyond the pale of power politics
that is why political parties are in the process of being exposed on this issue
of NO. They know very well they too cannot afford this NO from the
judiciary, and sure they do need a subservient judiuciary.
But there are other lessons also: first of all, people have forsaken
the fear of saying NO; they have come to know that there is a community
clad in black coats and another community with pens and microphones in
hands and cameras on shoulders that can face the powerful elite ruling over
Pakistan exclusively; they have come to realize that it is the emancipation of
the judiciary from where the process of rebirth of a new Pakistan may set in
motion; they have come to feel the importance of the moment as has been
phrased as the defining moment.
So, if the judiciary emerges triumphant out of this battle, it will
have to take up many tasks to help a new and truly free Pakistan to be
reborn. The first task is to ensure rule of law in Pakistan. The second is to

ensure to the people of Pakistan their fundamental rights provided in the

Constitution of Pakistan.
Not only this, people also knowingly want such changes in the
Constitution which will ensure to them their fundamental freedoms such as
freedom to think and express themselves, freedom to earn and spend as they
wish, freedom to pursue happiness as they choose, and freedom to live
In fact, the judiciary will have to show clearly that it is no part of any
theory of knowledge, this one or that one; or it is no accomplice in the
promotion or pursuance of any theory of knowledge whatsoever. If it
happens to be a party to any theory of knowledge, it will be a fatal blow to
the spirit of humanity our society is already short of because since 1947
Pakistan has been a victim of above-discussed dangerous theory of
knowledge that deprived its people of all what was human in human-beings,
and made them a people with no values at all. This means that the judiciary
will have to stick to the theory of conduct instead. It will have to make sure
that this theory is taken and implemented in letter and spirit fairly and
strictly. In other words, it will have to protect the inalienable freedoms of
the people of Pakistan.
M B Naqvi visualized the impact of the final outcome with regard to
the reference against the CJP. The Supreme Judicial Council, apart from the
trenchant and embarrassing (for the government) arguments of Aitzaz
Ahsan, faces a difficult task. Indeed, the dice is now loaded against the
SJC itself: it has no option but to either find Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry guilty or dismiss the reference.
Just think of what happens if the SJC finds him guilty. Political
reaction within the country will be electric, what with vast majority of
lawyers mobilized in favour of the CJ and most political parties joining the
lawyers agitation. And what will happen to Pakistans image abroad when
they hear the Chief Justice of Pakistan was guilty of gross irregularities.
But if the SJC finds the CJ not guilty, where will the regime hide
its face? In normal democracies, in such a case the entire cabinet resigns.
But perhaps the powers that be in this country do not care for such
decencies. Even so, can a reinstated CJP even for a few hours coexist
with the government that wanted him punished?


Nasim Zehra wrote, any dream of an upheaval removing the present

government seems like a pipe dream. It would not only create further
cleavages in the power structure it would be more destructive for the
country. Street battles can have bloody consequences; further fragmentation
helps in strengthening those who wield danda power whether the state or
the religious parties further the death of ideas and principles. The battle
must be on principles and processes that strengthen institutions that promote
democracy which hold exercise of power accountable.

With the crackdown against the CJP, the regime came under strong
criticism internally and externally. Musharraf indulged in war gaming and
came out with two brilliant ideas. He made public the ongoing back-door
negotiations with Benazir to counter internal pressure and reactivated Lal
Masjid issue to scare the Western powers of mullas.
The strategy aims at short-term goals and so far it seemed to be
working fine. But the strategy, being reactive in nature, is devoid of any
long-term aims and objectives. For example, in case of a deal with PPP,
Benazir will be the only beneficiary and kings party and its allies, including
the MQM, will be the losers.
The Team-Helmet as well as the Team-Wig seemed to be showing no
urgency with regard to finalization of the legal proceedings. Some legal
experts feared that the prolonging of the issue would have dangerous
consequences with regard to national interests, which both sides seemed of
Which party would benefit from prolonging of the proceedings of the
SJC? This is a tricky question, but most observers believe that delay would
give time to the government in controlling the movement which, contrary to
the general expectations, has still not gathered the desired momentum.
In case tensions persist, the government would expedite the deal with
PPP further undermining the unity of opposition parties; thus prolong the
Musharraf rule. Musharraf-Benazir deal will also mark the merger of the
puppets of the Crusaders, who would welcome the coalition of enlightened
moderates against the evil forces of Islamic fascism.


Bush Administration, however, will prefer to wait and see which way
the movement heads. Bush is neither interested in democracy in Pakistan nor
in independence of judiciary. He himself is facing executive-judiciary
confrontation in America. If the position of Musharraf is threatened, the US
would abandon him despite the services he has rendered to the cause of
Apart from the two brilliant moves mentioned above, the TeamHelmet has been initiating other moves but, these were quite clumsy and
have back-fired in most cases. One of the moves was to show that the
government enjoys the support within lawyers community.
In this move the government resorted to reverse-technology or
reverse-engineering to produce pro-government lawyers. Some of these fake
products were beaten by the genuine lawyers. One of them was produced on
PTV to tell the nation that he was a genuine lawyer. Close ups of his identity
documents were shown by the cameras.
The fact remains that intelligence agent always operate on fake
identity. Forging a licence issued by a bar council is no big deal for
intelligence set-ups. And, surprisingly, the victim lawyer refused to pursue
the case in a court of law; why?
The Team-Helmet covered up its foul play by making low-ranking
officials as scapegoats. In the case of manhandling of the CJP, the Supreme
Court came to the rescue of the government by taking sou moto notice. The
court netted some big fish, but these were docile Dolphins who rendered
apology to the Supreme Court. The Sharks remained elusive to pounce upon
their prey some other day.
Musharraf has been disbursing public funds in election rallies. This
generosity has less to do with the development of particular areas, but
pertains more to winning or buying hearts and minds of the people.
According to him he still has about 500 billions in the kitty.
The scuffle between lawyers and media-men in Karachi could be yet
another move aimed at distancing the latter from the former. It is feared that
lawyers action against media has delivered a serious blow to a national
cause for which the lawyers community is fighting on the forefront.


This blow could have been delivered only in Karachi which is the
strong-hold of Musharraf Bhai. MQM has had held Karachi as hostage since
long and with its patronization by Musharraf for the last seven years, it now
dreams of holding entire Pakistan as hostage.
The only move that has worked well for the Team-Helmet relates to
the use of law enforcing agencies. There is no change in their aggressive
employment, but the scene of aggression has been shifted away from the eye
of the TV cameras. The activists are arrested a day or two prior to the
scheduled rallies and on the day of protests the routes to Islamabad are
blocked miles away from the capital.
The Team-Wig ended this round with a move in legal arena; the area
with which it is far more familiar than the Team-Helmet. The CJP filed a
petition hoping to achieve multiple objectives. The important ones are; the
legality of the manner in which the executive moved against the judiciary
has been challenged, Musharraf has been made a party to the row, open
hearing of the reference has been somewhat ensured, and so on.
19th April 2007


Charge of the Enlightened Brigade on Lal Masjid and its seminaries
did not lose its impetus. They seemed quite determined to rout Islamic
obscurantist out of Islamabad; the capital of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Khateeb brothers also remained steadfast and held on against all odds.


To the utter disappointment of the enlightened moderates, the ruling

elite decided to remain in low profile. Shujaat initiated dialogue with
administration of the Lal Masjid and reached close to amicable resolution of
the crisis. Defusing of the tension was need of the hour as the government
could not afford any more confrontations at any level.
On 28th April, Umar Cheemas report was published in The News
which revealed brighter side of the Musharrafs cult of Enlightenment
Moderation. He reported that following the example set by the founderfather of this new sect, Aunty Shamim intends publishing a book which
could bring many MPs in the line of fire.
This report should be enough to understand as to why the government
had condemned her kidnaping and being kept as hostage in the seminary.
They feared that the Aunty Shamim could divulge state secrets to the
obscurantist mullas.

Three helicopters hovered over Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa on 16 th
April. The administration of seminary alleged that the helicopters sprayed
gas into the Jamia and several young girls fainted. Residents of the area
rushed to assist the students in whatever way they could. Male students
protested against the action.
Army sources said the personnel on board helicopters were only
taking pictures of the madrassa. A Swiss female journalist who was present
inside the Jamia confirmed spraying of the gas. Shujaat promised to
investigate the incident. The same day, Pakistan Embassy in Washington
assured America that the government of Musharraf wont allow
Talibanization of Pakistani society.
Shakeel Anjum reported that the government seemed determined to
control activities of madrassas affiliated with Lal Masjid after receiving
green signal from the highest office. Activities of students and teachers
were being monitored through aerial and ground sources. It has been decided
that cases against students would be registered under Terrorism Act. A list of
students has been finalized by sensitive agencies. Crackdown on Lal Masjid
has not been finalized but arrest of Khatib brothers is under consideration.


Strict action will be taken against shopkeepers who invite seminary students
to set video tapes on fire prepared. Police has already arrested three students
and a shopkeeper over Bhara Kahu incident.
Next day, the authorities declared Lal Masjid surroundings no-go area
to avoid unpleasant situation. Tariq Azeem showed optimism about talks on
Hafsa issue. The convention of Ulema in Peshawar termed suicide attacks
against Shariah, but suspected hidden hand behind the crisis.
On 18th April, Shujaat said Lal Masjid issue would soon reach logical
end. Benazir expressed concern over activities of vigilante groups. She
alleged that Musharraf regime was not taking stern action against Jamia
Hafsa because daughters of many army officers were studying there.
Next day, Shujaat Hussain assured reconstruction of the demolished
mosques. Jamia Hafsa students, however, rejected any change of in sites of
the demolished mosques. NGOs demonstrated against Jamia Hafsa; mostly
the women were in the forefront.
On 20th April, Maulana Abdul Aziz reacted to Altaf Hussains
campaign against Lal Masjid by calling him killer of thousands of people.
He also advised women of NGOs, who chanted in favour of dancing and
singing, to shift to India. He said if demanding enforcement of Shariah was a
crime then they would repeat this crime again and again. Imam Altaf alleged
that Talibanization has put countrys fate at stake. Next day, Umar Cheema
of The News reported that Jaish men had joined the ranks of Lal Masjid.
On 22nd April, Shujaat briefed Prime Minister on Lal Masjid and
Jamia Hafsa. Ijaz said Jamia Hafsa issue would be resolved through
dialogue. The government was hopeful about relocating Jamia Fareedia.
Benazir warned against fuelling religious militancy. Lal Masjid said it was
referring a rape case to the government as a test in which two sisters were
allegedly raped by a police agent. We will be compelled to take action if the
government fails to tackle it urgently.
Next day, MQM released its inquiry report on Lal Masjid. The report
accused Lal Masjid of encroachment of land, occupation of library, using its
seminaries as terror training camps, and storing weapons inside the
premises. Musharraf in his interview to Polish TV was asked about Lal
Masjid. In his reply he accused Khateeb brothers, who demand enforcement


of Sharia, of introducing a cult just as there have been incidents in the West.
Jaish refuted media report that its men had joined ranks of Lal Masjid.
On 24th April, Chaudhry Shujaat said an understanding has been
reached with administration of Lal Masjid and all issues would be resolved
peacefully. He denied presence of any weapons in Lal Masjid which had
been authentically reported by MQM. Benazir asked the government to
contain Islamic militants.
Next day, Shujaat briefed Prime Minister about talks with Lal Masjid
and termed these constructive. Maulana Abdul Aziz said that although there
had been headway in talks with the government, no agreement on paper had
been made as yet. He told that Shujaat Hussain has agreed that as first step
the demolished mosques would be reconstructed while implementation of
Islamic Shariah would be taken up subsequently. Ways to implement Shariah
will be discussed in next meeting. Maulana said that Shujaat had
acknowledged that many of his misperceptions about Lal Masjid have been
removed. Shujaat conceded that children library would remain under the
control of students of Hafsa.
On 27th April, Lal Masjid cleric warned the government against any
action. Hafiz Saeed backed the administration of Lal Masjid. Umar Cheema
reported that Aunty Shamim has put at stake the future of many honorable
MPs who fear there would be a string of divorces in case she publishes a
book carrying the names of her clients.
The gravity of the situation can be imagined from the fact that the
treasury MPs have discussed the issue with the Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.
The Speaker National Assembly was also among the emphatic listeners
when the matter was discussed at the residence of Nasrullah Khan Dareshak
following a dinner reception the other day.
A ruling MP from Sargodha, said the publication of a book could
trigger an all time high divorce rate with majority of the lawmakers would
be separated from their wives. He had feared that Aunty Shamim was
planning to author a book which would be published by Oxford University
Press. The book would contain names of lawmakers, senior army officers
and judges of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He feared 200-300 divorces.
The Speaker requested the lady MPs to leave the place saying there
would be a bit vulgar discussion that appropriately should not take place in


their presence. Surprisingly, even the Enlightened Moderates have some

rules about vulgarity. However, on the pretext of these unwritten rules the
male MPs tried to indulge in gender discrimination.
A journalist-turned-female MP and a spinster from a smaller province
refused to leave the place, not knowing exactly the contents of the agenda.
So the discussion over the issue took place in front of female MPs. The said
treasury lawmaker noted with concern that the fear looms large over the
Parliament Lodges that houses rich clientele of Aunty Shamim.
The exact details of the proceedings of the discussions over the
agenda would never be known and even those reported by Umar are too
vulgar to be mentioned. Umar contacted another MP, who had also attended
the dinner, for comments. The MP said that there was no truth in the contents
of the proposed book. Such attempts are being made by those who were out
to defame members of the Parliament. He added that once the book is
published, we will take the legal course against the author and defend

The enlightened sections of the media, analysts and civil society kept
demanding crackdown against Lal Masjid; despite their claims of being
moderates. Nowhere in the world have the moderates ever indulged in
beating the battle drums so vigorously; such enthusiasm could only be
shown by the fresh converts to the cult of enlightened moderation.
Nosheen Saeed wrote: Civil society must rise to this threat and stand
as warriors of their faith and their country and stop these pseudo imams
from exploiting our religion, our mosques and our children. Its time to wake
up from deep slumber; its time for the silent majority to act; its time for the
progressive and moderate forces to prevail and its time for the government
to act before its too late.
Shafiq Khan from Toronto wrote, I would suggest the government
launch an operation against the Lal Masjid mullahs. Some are saying
such an operation might encourage Lal Masjid mullahs to launch suicide
attacks through madressah students. But those who want to carry out suicide


attacks are already doing so. A few mullahs are pushing thousands of
innocent youths into the abyss.
Fatima Bhutto urged crackdown by ridiculing the mullas of Lal
Masjid. Maulana Abdul Aziz is nothing if not a pious man. He generously
offered to marry prostitutes willing to turn their back on a life of harlotry.
Women of night all across Pakistan must have breathed a loud sigh of relief.
But that is not the full extent of the Maulanas commitment to morality and
rectitude. Last week at the Shariat and Glory of Jihad Conference held in
Islamabad, Maulana Abdul Aziz announced the creation of a Shariat court to
be headed by ten qazis and modeled on the Taliban system of merciful
Islamic Justice.
The chicks with sticks as they are now affectionately referred to and
their Lal Masjid compatriots are not the first citizens of the world to want to
take community justice into their own hands. They are not the first to feel
that the established means of law and order do not meet the needs of the
people nor are they the first to beg participation and agency in the often
exclusive sphere of legal matters. But theyre certainly doing it the wrong
After quoting some right ways of community justice practiced in
various parts of the world Fatima concluded: Maulana Abdul Azizs
Shariat court has nothing to do with community justice. Not in the least.
It has to do with intimidation, fascist morality and mob ethics. The women
who stalk the city of Islamabad sheathed in black and armed with bamboo
sticks have no vision of community and what it actually embodies:
Ziaul Islam Zia from Chitral urged action by blowing up the threat
posed the seminary. We have never seen such behaviour and activities
among female students of colleges. But from the rude behaviour of Jamia
Hafsa students one can easily guess what sort of education is being
provided to them inside the madressah.
Being a theologian, Maulana Abdul Aziz should try to solve this
problem through reconciliation, but he is instigating students to violence
through his suicidal slogans. The government must take firm action against
such self-interested individuals who are responsible for endangering the
peace of Islamabad, and the whole country as well.


Fasi Zaka did it by painting the monster uglier than the ugliest. David
Koresh was a mad man. He led a small cult of Christians in the US, and had
holed himself in a compound in a place called Wacho in Texas. As his story
unfolded, Wacho became touchstone point for the wacho behaviour of the
self-claimed prophetic messiah.
Abdul Rashid Ghazi of Lal Masjid is not David Koresh. Though
frankly, he could become one. The standoff between the government and
the Lal Masjid lot is reaching its pinnacle, young women are being used to
shield the leaders inside, and the brothers Ghazi want to extend their parallel
state to the whole country.
Its a classic dilemma, two opposing evils. One military
dictatorship; the other is the possibility of a theocratic one. But the choice is
easy, the latter will lead to the tyranny of fascism and the first has some
semblance of benevolence. We are between a rock and a hard place, and
thats the sad reality of a country that has to live with pragmatism.
F Azeem from Rawalpindi alleged that its a terror camp, not a
madrassah. There are many students in that situation who are above the age
of 18, but it seems they are doing everything but study. What is the source
of income that is supporting so many people? And what kind of Islam allows
people to be parasites on others, and earn ones bread without working? The
Lal Masjid mullah brothers should first try to mutate themselves according
to Islam and be a role model, and then impose Islam on others.
Noreen Haider coaxed the government by blaming it for passivity. In
their grand design to uphold Islamic law, the Khatib brothers do not think
much about holding peoples or government property, grabbing government
land worth millions of dollars, kidnapping women and children, harassing
civil society or threatening government and people with rebellion and
suicide attacks.
Some people believe the government is being too passive and has
failed to assert its authority. However, because of the waiting game
successfully played by the government, the Lal Masjid administration has
run out of all allies and supporters. Their stubbornness has exposed their true
face and every religious authority in Pakistan today has distanced itself from


The recent negotiations with Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain have failed

because the maulanas refused to show any flexibility. It appears that the
governments patience is running out. Whether it succeeds in putting the
genie back into the bottle remains to be seen.
M S Hasan did it by blaming the government for showing weakness.
How weak the government has become is evident from the fact the
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, as the emissary has been asked to negotiate a
deal with criminals and law breakers, to resolve and end the impasse over
the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa stand off. No government worth its salt
would ever negotiate with criminals and lawbreakers and this sums up
the sorry state of affairs of the State.
There is no law and order in the country, today. There are groups
and individuals who are defiantly taking chances and openly challenging the
writ of the State. The homegrown Taliban have taken virtual charge of the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas. If writ of the State is being challenged
in every nock and corner of the country then why so much hue and cry over
Lal Masjid.
This rampant and unchecked break down of law and order, defying
the writ of the state by various elements and individuals are a sequel to the
running of the government by a coterie of spineless individuals, afflicted
with an acute sense of insecurity and under the influence of devious
remnants of the Ziaul Haque era.
The country is in absolute chaos as the president takes a break for a
week in Europe, preceded by a week of absence by the prime minister. In the
meanwhile, the ostrich syndrome rules supreme and the writ of the State
is in tatters.
Amir Zia urged the government to hurry as time was running out.
Even the late Sultan Rahi one of the biggest icons of Pakistani cinema
who ruled the hearts and minds of filmgoers thanks to his danda and
gandasa could not have imagined that his technique of brash
posturing and theatrical yells of defiance could be used so effectively in
the real world by Lal Mosque clerics and their followers. By equating
Khateebs of Lal Masjid with Sultan Rahi, Amir inadvertently admitted that
the culture of violence has been promoted by the liberals who support
cinema; mullas are definitely against it.


Yes, the sight of violent-women and their ferocious-looking bearded

male counterparts challenging the society and the state with sticks in their
hands seems odd and abnormal even in Islamabad the capital of worlds
Muslim nuclear power. He seemed to be suggesting the use of a nuclear
device against Lal Masjid.
In an ironic chain of events, this might is right philosophy seems
to be working and paying dividends for clerics of Lal Masjid, which
according to security personnel is serving as a den for militants, their
weapons and a possible breeding ground for suicide bombers. Bur still, these
clerics, their patrons, and supporters are getting the space they want to
operate in and allowed to tempt others to follow suit.
A Sunni Tehreek leader waved a sword in Karachi on April 8 in full
media glare and presence of thousands of people as he vowed to avenge the
death of those killed in Nishtar Park bombing last year on the occasion of
Eid Milad-un-Nabi Even lawyers have learned to express themselves with
dandas now. After beating one of their colleagues in Islamabad for his progovernment stance, some lawyers literally attacked journalists with sticks in
The fact remains that the rampant tolerance and polarization is
affecting every segment of the society even our legal fraternity. Only the
manifestations of this intolerance and extremism are different across
Pakistan The signs are ominous from one end of the country to another.
Now we have an organized small groups challenging the state
authority openly and trying to galvanize public support for their actions. If
this is allowed to continue, it would lead to total chaos and anarchy in
the society. The failure of the authorities in establishing the rule of law is
only aggravating the situation and sending wrong signals not just within
Pakistan, but internationally.
The real governments, anywhere in the world, do not negotiate with
law breakers and stick-wielding pressure groups. They take action against
them. All the guns, rockets and bombs hidden behind these sticks would
come into the open if the trend is not curbed now. The clock is ticking, time
is slipping fast. The government should act before it is too late. It should
act to save the country from sliding into anarchy.


Imaan Hazir from Islamabad rejected negotiations with Lal Masjid.

The compromising attitude of the government on the Jamia Hafsa issue is
not good and it is giving a wrong message to everybody The government
should have taken action a long time ago. Even now they are
negotiating. This is absolutely ridiculous. Where is the writ of the state?
Ilhan Niaz from Islamabad wrote, rationally and morally it would be
advisable to reconcile with the legal community, mainstream opposition
parties and civil society, and crack down on religious extremists. Instead, the
government is placating the religious extremists who openly seek the
liquidation of the Pakistani state and is cracking down on the legal
community, mainstream opposition parties and civil society.
The News has been leading the charge of the Enlightened Brigade.
After rally by NGOs, it wrote, if the government doesnt act against
religious extremism in Pakistan after Tuesdays protests, its critics on the
question will be justified in their accusations that it is acquiescing to the
fanatics despite their outrageous behaviour in the very heart of the
countrys capital.
The mass outpouring of indignation is understandable. Lal Masjid
pulls the strings of two violent madressahs, the female pupils of one of
which is in illegal occupation of childrens library since January. Yet, despite
the continuing hooliganism inspired by Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Fareedia, the
government maintains a phlegmatic reluctance to do anything to defeat the
menace The government must effectively tackle the religious extremists
now when the saner, and truer, face of Pakistani society has shown itself
uncompromisingly for enlightenment and against obscurantism.
After the release of a video of an execution by Taliban, the editor
found a Bush-like pretext to demonize Taliban of the Islamabad. The video
acquired by the AP Television News showed execution of US spy. The editor
must have been scared by the hatred shown for Americans and their allies.
He must have seen in the video the fate of those demonizing the Taliban in
concert with the Crusaders.
On 24th April, the editorial column was exclusively devoted to Lal
Masjid. The latest statement by the Lal Masjid clerics seems to contradict
recent reports of a resolution to the stand-off between their students and the
government. However, given the past conduct of the clerics and the
governments spineless behaviour during the whole sordid affair, this was

perhaps only to be expected. Remarks of the khateeb that no understanding

will be reached unless the razed structures (initially built on encroached
land) were reconstructed on their original sites and unless Shariat was
declared in the country mean that the situation is back to square one. Now,
one hopes that the government handles the situation in a more dignified
and courageous manner.
The PML-Q chiefs willingness to take the clerics at their words is
puzzling for good reason. Since the beginning of this sordid episode, which
has now culminated in the federal capital being held hostage by
extremists and on the verge of Talibanization, the Lal Masjid clerics have
said a lot of things and the conveniently denied them. Their demands, in turn
for vacating the childrens library and withdrawing the threat of using the
Jamia Hafsa students as a moral enforcement brigade, have only increased
with governments dilly-dallying. For instance, the demand initially was to
rebuild the structures that had been demolished, which has now become a
demand that the government enforce Sariah in the country.
Before concluding, the editor reproduced some statements broadcast
by the cleric on his FM radio to further instigate the government to launch
crackdown without further delay. What can one say in response to this,
except that this is hardly the time and the place for the government to be
showing leniency in this regard, lest people think that this really is all stagemanaged for the benefit of some people.
MQM had organized a rally against danda shariat. Some critics of the
obscurantist expressed disappointment over turnout. Ghazi Salahuddin
commented, Karachis civil society should have done much better. One
regret was that the crowd had a minimal sprinkling of youth. This is a
serious matter. Our young people in the modern sector, gifted with so many
privileges, behave as aliens when their attention is drawn towards our social
and political conditions. They need to be reminded that this indifference can
ultimately be suicidal because emigration is not assured for all of them and
the surrounding will finally catch up with them.
Ayesha T Haq wrote, in Karachi the so-called silent majority failed
to turn up in any numbers suggesting that this silent majority are really in
the minority. What is that prevents the elite classes from going out to protest
against the forcible imposition of a brand of Islam as interpreted by a couple
of clerics? Perhaps it is that we are so steeped in inertia. The thought of
getting out in Karachis unforgiving afternoon heat and trekking across town

to the Quaids Mazar is daunting for most and definitely not particularly
Some commentators tried to push mullas of Lal Masjid and their
students out of the fraternity of followers of Islam. Shams Zaheer Abbas
from Lahore accused them of sending the wrong message about Islam. The
danger of what is happening in Lal Masjid is that those who want to
come close to Islam may get the wrong message and are likely to be
further alienated. Furthermore, some very religious-minded people who do
not accept extremism may develop feelings of abhorrence for the clergy and
their misguided followers. Neither of these likely outcomes is healthy for the
The fact of the matter is that Lal Masjid does not represent our
cultural values. It does not represent our religious values. It does, however,
represent the views of bigots and uneducated zealots who do not want to be
part of the social mainstream. They want to live a life of isolation and want
everyone else to be similarly cut off.
Islam does not give these misguided mullahs the right to adjudicate
and force their perceptions derived through istkharas on other groups of
people with differing religious, ethical and cultural interpretations
Religious harmony and political stability do not come through extremist
views or actions. History bears testimony to the fact that whenever one
group has tried to impose its vision and religious or political philosophies on
other groups, the result has been chaos, conflict and civil war.
Col Riaz Jafari from Rawalpindi wrote, the hounds smelt the blood
the moment an insipid minister ceremoniously laid the first brick to
restore a mosque. Ever since they are digging their teeth deeper and
deeper Seeing the leniency extended to these females, their male
counterparts from Lal Masjid managed the audacity to hold policemen
Citizens should help the government authority to thwart fissiparous
designs of all those who have opposed the creation of a democratic, modern
and forward looking Pakistan, and who are now bent upon achieving their
nefarious end ironically in the name of Islamization of Islamabad and


Some dared equating the clerics with Bhindranwala. H Hayat from

Rawalpindi wrote, the authorities are not seen taking any measures in the
Lal Masjid issue. The issue is becoming very complicated especially
within the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa compounds where young zealots
can be seen practicing martial moves with bamboos on top of rooftops
barely a mile away from the parliament building and the headquarters of
Inter Services Intelligence Agency.
This situation is a reminder of the situation that prevailed in 1984
when the Golden Temple in Amritsar was in the vice-like grip of the Sikh
radical Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala. In the mid 80s the Golden Temple was
the place where the Indian Governments writ did not work and now in 2007
the two cleric brothers are issuing similar and challenging statements in
complete defiance to the government and constitution.
Siraj Durrani from Mardan wrote, the Golden Temple crisis of 1984
militant Sikhs took over the most sacred place in Amritsar. The Indian
government used force to evict them. There were many casualties, but the
pride and dignity of India was preserved.
In the Lal Masjid saga a cleric armed with sticks has challenged the
writ of an atomic power with the mightiest Islamic army. It has sent troops
to the Congo to preserve peace in that country, but it cannot maintain
law and order in its own capital.
Watching Muslims mud slinging amongst themselves encouraged Dr
Alfred Charles from Karachi to poke his nose. So far no reaction or point
of view has been aired by the parents of the Jamia Hafsa students who
are threatening everyone with sticks and even deadly fire arms. Who is
responsible for using these innocent girls? I think someone should print or
broadcast the parents point of view because certainly they will be more
upset and anxious about the security of their daughters right under the nose
of the federal capital authorities. The message Alferd wanted to convey was
that all the girls in blacks were kept hostages by the mullas; unlike the nuns
who serve the Christianity voluntarily.
Some enlightened moderates reacted to mullas demand for
enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan by re-interpreting the two-nation theory.
Since the founding of the cult of enlightened moderation, its followers have
been trying to prove that the Quaid was a secular and he never intended
imposing Islamic Sharia in Pakistan.

Riaz Jafri had re-interpreted the two-nation theory as follows: The

Quaid distinctly differentiated between an Islamic social democracy and a
theocracy and stated categorically that Pakistan will not be a theocratic
state where the lives of the people could be entrusted to a few
custodians of religion who could impose their own brand of Islam on the
masses. A country to be ruled in accordance with the Islamic injunctions for
the amelioration of the economically and socially downtrodden Muslims,
and not to save Islam or impose Islam of a specific brand and breed,
embroiling the masses in trivialities such as how long should ones beard be,
or at what height the paincha of the shalwar should be, or if a woman could
work along with male co-workers.
Shahid Hamid from Lahore opined, if we suppose that true Sharia is
somehow implemented in Pakistan today, will the plethora of problems
faced by the Pakistanis go away just like that? Are the incidents of violence
and total lawlessness perpetrated by the madressah students in Islamabad a
beginning of the enforcement of Shariah?
That we have played havoc with Pakistan and it has been declared a
failed state is our fault, not the founding father. By the way, it was not the
religion of Islam but the Indian Muslims who needed a free country.
Islam does not need to be confined to a particular territory. In other words,
Muslims needed a free country where they could enjoy all kinds of freedoms
by getting rid of Islam.
Some analysts were of the view that extremism of mullas of Lal
Masjid is no different from extremism in other segments of the society.
Shireen M Mazari observed: At all levels of society in Pakistan, the silent
majority of all shades is being terrorized in one way or another. The
state may feel that negotiating with the Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid
extremists and lawbreakers will result in a peaceful resolution of this
challenge to the writ of the state with an avoidance of collateral damage.
However, for the civil society of Islamabad, the terrorization is already in
full swing so the collateral damage from Jamia Hafsa terror and blackmail
has already happened.
For instance, rumours have been allowed to run amok that young
girls wearing half sleeves shalwar kameez suits have been attacked with acid
in public places including in front of shops in Super Market and Jinnah
Super Market. Other variations on this rumour are that hot coffee has been
thrown on young girls in Abpara and one variant even had it that this scribe

was attacked in Jinnah Market with a needle thrust into my neck or back
depending on the version one heard by a burqa-clad woman. Of course, in
my case the incident definite did not occur
The fear is based on the premise that if the state is unable to protect
the ordinary person from the diktat of the violent extremists then there is a
little choice but to either stay locked up indoors or fall in line with this
extremist diktat. So, effectively the damage to civil society has already
been done and the dye of extremism has been cast.
Enlightenment and moderation are perforce being cast aside in the
wake of the tyranny of an extremist minority that has been unleashed in
Islamabad. Young girls are being kept home and women also fear going out
to the markets in the evenings.
So there we are; a terrorized civil society as a result of mind games
played through rumour mongering and the visible inability of the state to
exercise its writ against an increasingly tyrannical minority. So adamant are
some segments of the state in indulging these extremists that the concerns of
the wider society have been given short shrift. After all, the wider society is
seen as the silent majority non-violently pursuing their micro level
At every level we are being threatened. Here in the capital we are
suffering the tyranny and terror of the Jamia Hafsa, but this is rampant all
across the country. In our rural areas, we are facing the wrath of powerhungry local politicians who terrorize through the DPOs.
Is anybody concerned? There is no one who will listen if the
oppressors are district nazims, government MNAs or MPAs certainly
not the local officials who are now beholden to the local politicians. Clearly,
the law and writ of the state hold little value for the powerful. Whether it is
the danda of the Jamia Hafsa or the political clout of the local politicians,
the security the state must provide and the law and order that it must assert
has all but vanished. Local criminals, including known declared absconders
of the law, are now openly asserting their will through violent terror. Even
local lawbreakers who have been banned from entering their areas continue
to rule through remote control of the local officials. Even while sitting
thousands of miles away from Pakistan.


It is not so much the extremist perspective that is worrying after all,

a stubborn liberalism still compels one to accept and tolerate diversity as
long as this tolerance is mutual but the inability of the state to assert its
writ effectively and the hijacking of the state authority by individuals and
groups. Unless the state can exercise its writ effectively on the domestic
front, it will constantly face both internal and external pressures as
seems to be happening presently.
Being no religious bigot, Dr Mazari could not resist mulla-bashing. In
a subsequent analysis she appeared to have contradicted her views expressed
as above. The latest in this connection was the horrific news that members
of a banned extremist organization, specializing suicide attacks, have sent
some of their leaders to Lal Masjid to abet those holding the state to ransom.
Worse still, if the news item is to be believed, one of the leaders on being
arrested was ordered to be released by some powerful quarters.
The Jamia Hafsa crisis has long term damaging consequences for
the civil society at all levels far worse than any political crisis in that it
touches the very essence of our and our future generations social, moral and
political fibre. In any event, as we see the crisis unfold, what is visible is the
lack of the states writ rather than any cleverly engineered government or
agency plot.
While the drift may be merely a perception and an incorrect one at
that perceptions become as important as the reality and the state needs to
the show civil society that its writ is strong across the land and it will not
succumb to violent blackmail from within and pressure from outside.
Equally important, institutional records must be there, accompanying
institutional inputs into policy-making. Most important, though, the
leadership must never allow itself to be isolated to an encircling coterie of
So far, everyone seemed ready to throw stones at Lal Masjid, but there
were odd exceptions. Babar Sattar expressed saner views and dared
throwing the first stone where it should have thrown long time back. The
Lal Masjid brigade has refused to stand down till the government shuts
down all brothels and clamps down on prostitution, consumption of alcohol,
music and pornography, and true Islam is enforced in practice. The
argument is that while our Constitution states that Pakistan is to be an
Islamic Republic where the teachings of Quran and Sunnah shall reign
supreme and laws have been promulgated to shun sex and vice, the appetite

for and indulgence in prostitution, drinking, pornography and promiscuous

behaviour has exacerbated. The maulvi might have a point there.
The issue of what role religion should play in the state is only
being addressed by the maulvi, who consequently is defining the nature of
the debate. The government, political parties and civil society are steering
clear of a meaningful conversation on Islam, as the substantive issues
underlying the demands of the maulvi are considered too divisive.
The opposition parties are also mum on issues of substance. While
they point fingers at the Musharraf regime for contriving the Lal Masjid
imbroglio to scare the West, for failing to maintain law and order and for
having an axe to grind in prolonging the issue and diverting attention from
the judicial crisis, they fail to present an alternate vision for how religion
should interact with the state and society that will rid Pakistan of
intolerance and extremism.
There is a fundamental conflict of visions when it comes to the role
of Islam in Pakistan that is polarizing the society and yet political parties
seem unwilling to address the issue There are genuine differences
between alternate approaches to religion that must be debated to
generate a social consensus within the country regarding the brand of
religion a majority of Pakistanis support and the role they wish the state to
play facilitating or enforcing religion. So long as political parties and
moderates avoid a serious, extensive and open debate and continue to
smugly recite platitude when it comes to religion, the Lal Masjid-type will
continue to define what Islam should mean to Pakistan.
First of all there is the question of whether the state should enforce or
facilitate religion and what does creating Pakistan in the name of Islam
mean Then there is the more contentious issue of how the state should
balance individual rights versus collective rights.
It might be possible to regulate profligacy in public parks, but not
necessarily in homes. All citizens also have a fundamental right to the
privacy of their home. Likewise, all citizens have an established right to be
protected against nuisance caused by a neighbourhood brothel. These can
become competing rights and thus sensible line drawing needs to be done
before even the state can consider going on a morality enforcement
binge, let alone allow maulvis to do so.


The question is what kind of legal regime should the state fashion?
One approach is for religion to determine the law thereby making all sins
crimes as well. This is one extreme. The other is one followed by the West
wherein sex and vice were decriminalized toward the end of the 20 th century
when the trend of wiping off victimless crimes from statute books gained
strength. This was a big change from the early 20 th century when even the
US had moral courts to deal with adultery, fornication and other moral
In theory Pakistans legal system is closer to the former approach.
For example, Pakistani law requires that the hand of a thief be chopped off.
However, the reality of the society is somewhere between the two extreme
approaches and no hands are actually hacked in Pakistan There is a
diversity of views on these issues which need to be brought out and
considered before assuming that the maulvi or the liberal knows what
Pakistanis want.
For example, according to Lal Masjid fatwa, Minister of Tourism
Nilofar Bakhtiar is an infidel for hugging her fellow skydiver after a tandem
parachute jump. There are others who believe that as a representative of the
Pakistani government and nation Ms Bakhtiars conduct and pictures were
unbecoming and distasteful. Some argue that the pictures captured a private
activity and should not have been made public as they can hurt the
sentiments of some in this Muslim country. And there are still others who
believe that the pictures reflect a celebratory hug after an adrenaline filled
athletic activity with no sexual undertones, and no ones religion need be
threatened by their publication.
The role of religion in the state and society and who has the right to
determine it have become polarizing issue in Pakistan that cannot just be
wished away. They affect our public and public lives and need to be widely
debated to develop a consensus on the basis of which our nation can develop
a shared vision for Pakistans future. It is time for our political and
thought leaders to relinquish smugness, consider these issues and take
Ghafir A Pirzada agreed with Babar Sattar. Since neither the
politicians nor the intellectuals have ever bothered to deliberate on the
subject, the former because of the fear that some segment of their voters may
not approve of their views and the latter because they couldnt care less, it
was the Lal Masjid khateeb and the black burqa brigade that laid down their

own standard of Islam. They will have done Pakistan a great service if
their stance jerks the country out of its slumber.
Moez Mobeen from Karachi wrote, fornication in Islam is not
allowed, as is in the case in most religions. However, Islam does not just
term fornication as an immoral act; it also proscribes a punishment for
it as well. It does not just give morals; it gives laws to protect them.
Similarly, Islam has not just given opinions about morality in society
which is only one aspect of the societys collective life it also defined
economics and politics. And again, on these aspects we dont just have
opinions, we have laws guarding and implementing those opinions. So Mr
Sattars comment that Jamia Hafsa students want sins punished and virtues
rewarded in accordance with the law is correct. However, it is wrong to
assume that this is the interpretation of Jamia Hafsa students only. A
common Muslim does not differ from them in this belief.
This is not the first time that we have heard calls for
implementation of Sharia in Pakistan, neither is this the first movement or
effort in this regard. In fact the call for implementing Sharia was the basis of
the Pakistan Movement Thousands of people want to offer the Friday
prayers at Lal Masjid is proof enough that the present crisis is not a result of
the inability of the government to separate state and religion. Rather it is the
result of its effort to ensure it against the public mood.

No one can deny that Mulla, Masjid and Madrassa are symbols of
Islam, irrespective of the sect they belong to. The Crusaders have targeted
these ever since the start of the ongoing holy war. They coined lot many
phrases in last few years to demonize these and other symbols of Islam.
Unfortunately, the allies of the Crusaders in Islamic World have also joined
this campaign.
Fasi Zakas ingenuity concocted yet another phrase. He equated
religious assertions of the clerics of Lal Masjid with the cult of David
Koresh. However, from the photo of Fasi, whose name sounds like Wasi,
published along with his article, one could make out as to who is more
cultish; the critic or the criticized.


The cult of Enlightened Moderation in Pakistan has been founded

by Musharraf and is supported and propagated by persons like Altaf and
Benazir. This cult seemed like the Perveziat of which Pakistanis heard
some decades ago. Pakistan is now blessed with two Pervez with slight
variation of their names spelled in their matric certificates. They seemed to
have excelled the earlier Perveziat. This cult also has some similarities
with DEEN-E-ELAHI concocted by Emperor Akbar.
The difference between the two cults; the one despised by Fasi and the
one he follows, can be made out from the untidy mushroom growth of hair
over his scalp and the mullas well maintained growth of hair around their
chins. Apart from the physical appearance, there are some other differences.
The followers of the cult of enlightened moderation pose as authority
on correct interpretation of Islam. They accuse mullas of misinterpreting
Islam and projecting incorrect image of this great religion. Whenever mullas
talk about Islamic Sharia they accused of obscurantism and in doing that the
enlightened moderates excel their adversary in extremism and belligerence.
When mullas demand enforcement of Islamic law, the Sharia is
dubbed as danda-Shariat. The enlightened moderates believe that Islamic
Sharia is quite fine and acceptable as long as no one talks about its
enforcement. Those who demand its enforcement are Islamic fascists. The
result is that founder of one cult is dismantling the courts and the other is
establishing courts, may it be a Qazi court.
This small minority of enlightened moderates ignores the reality
altogether that a vast majority of Pakistani society is conservative, including
non-Muslims. Women in Pakistan are definitely more conservative as is the
case with most societies in the world.
Average modest woman in a conservative society wont like to hug
her husband in public or even in the presence of other family members. The
minority of enlightened moderates tend to follow the values of the civilized
world wherein lovers get a kick, not only by hugging but doing much
more in full public view.
The followers of this brand new cult aim at the emancipation of
Muslim women to a degree where a woman could accrue favours from a
stingy man like Wolfowitz using her soft image. Obviously, the women
wrapped in black burqa from head to toe can never seduce a Wolfowitz.


During the period, an Indian Court accused Gere and Shetty of

obscenity and ordered their arrest. The court said their act was against the
cultural values of India. This is the sentiment in Indian society about their
social values, the society which is considered far more liberal as compared
to Pakistani society.
The violation of cultural values by Nilofar Bakhtiar, who represented
Islamic Republic of Pakistan, was far graver as compared to Shetty-Gere
incident, as they represented the profession of performing arts. Geres soft
kiss cannot be compared with Nilofars hard hug while sitting in the lap of a
man. Yet the former regretted but the latter insisted on the righteousness of
her action. She should thank her stars that Pakistan is ruled by enlightened
moderates no court can dare issue orders like the Indian court.
The enlightened moderates charged on to the students and teachers of
Lal Masjids seminaries with ferocity familiar to the beasts growling at their
prey with their canines protruding ready to tear the prey apart. The manner,
in which the followers of this cult have been urging the government for
crackdown, indicated that they are more extremist, militant and blood-thirsty
than the obscurantist mulllas.
The reason behind the charge of the Enlightened Brigade against
obscurantist was amply revealed by Umar Cheemas report. He reported
that one of the aunties of enlightened moderates the famous Aunty Shamim
intended publishing a book.
In view of her social status and services she has rendered to the cause
of enlightened moderation, a commoner in Pakistan can dare not call her
notorious. Such phrases are reserved for girls of Hafsa, who challenged the
writ of the State and kidnapped her along with her daughter and
daughter-in-law and forced her to repent. The obscurantist teachers and
students of Jamia Hafsa did it with complete disregard to Auntys services to
the cause of soft image.
Cheema has provided only a glimpse of only one aunty of the
enlightened moderates. His single column report can in no way encompass
the contents of bulky book of Aunty Shamim. The glimpse or the tip of the
iceberg as some enlightened moderates would call it in style; however, is
enough to guess the size of the iceberg.


The media and analysts had sympathized with Aunty Shamim after
she was made to repent and she wished to be Christian rather than being a
Muslim. God knows how many citizens of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
would now have similar wish out of shame.
This is the aunty for whom the enlightened moderates raised hue and
cry from London to Islamabad and held a rally in Karachi which were
referred to by Musharraf with pride in one of the interviews abroad. He also
condemned the cult propagated by the obscurantist mullas of Lal Masjid.
Will the media, analysts, commentators and others now spare some
time and energy to condemn the acts of the Aunty Shamim? If their
commitment to the cause of enlightened moderation does not permit them to
condemn these activities, they should at least carry out a survey as to how
many aunties are there in Pakistan and how many more would be required to
spread enlightened moderation through the length and breadth of Islamic
Republic of Pakistan.
This would be great service to retrieve this backward nation from the
clutches of the obscurantist who misinterpret Islam and speak against
fahashi and uriani; which are important ingredients for promotion of
enlightenment and acquisition of soft image.
Most likely, the ruling elite would hush up the issue to save their
marriages. This speaks of their hypocrisy; lack of commitment to the cause
of enlightened moderation about which they talk so much. The logic
demands that instead of worrying about saving their marriages, they should
encourage their spouses to run some clinics like Aunty Shamim to promote
soft image of Pakistan. This would also help in winning favours of the
founder-father of this cult and of the White House and 10 Downing Street.
Aunty Shamim should now take back her remarks against the ladies of
Jamia Hafsa, and instead she should express her gratitude to them for
bringing her to the limelight. She is now in position to blackmail a hoard of
enlightened rulers and earn millions, perhaps billions, in Pakistani and
foreign currency.
The indulgence of media in rumour mongering about Lal Masjid and
its seminaries was unprecedented. Media saw a direct and grave threat to
their commercial interest emanating from religious seminaries, as was
pointed out in earlier article; therefore, it went all out to demonize mullas.


Dr Shireen Mazari voiced concerns over spreading of rumours. Some

of these rumours, which were hyped by the media, were like throwing of
acid on a girl, preparation of lists of women driving cars. Whereas,
according to Maulana Ghazi his wife drives the car. Ghazi also criticized
blowing up of the issue of danda-wielding girls. He argued that this was a
reaction to a particular action; unfortunately no one talks of the action
whereas reaction is criticized frequently.
Analysts took these rumours about Lal Masjid as authentic evidence
to urge government for crackdown. Even Dr Mazari, who had previously
acknowledged the existence of rumours, chose the rumour about Jaish-Lal
Masjid terror link to comment upon; whereas the report (rumour) had been
refuted the very next day.
The media tirelessly accused mullas of running a state within the
State. This is not something new. Every tribal agency in Pakistan is virtually
a mini sate governed through jirga system and the government encourages
that. Akbar Bugti ran an effective state within the state and this very media,
which is crying hoarse for crackdown, vehemently supported dialogue with
Bugti over military action. Most significantly, MQMs Imam Khomenei has
established the most effective state in lower Sindh.
To conclude one must acknowledge that Musharraf firmly believes in
righteousness of his cult, short of claiming it as Divine revelation. In an
interview abroad he equated assertions of clerics of Lal Masjid with cults
which sometimes emerge in the West. Somehow, he believed that the
interviewer must have bought the equation drawn by him.
He should be mindful that such statements definitely annoyed the
religious extremists. He should also bear in mind that his usefulness for the
Crusaders is diminishing fast. The Crusaders are looking for an opportunity
to accomplish some tasks in the context of Pakistan for which his
elimination from the scene would be essential.
He should not create a situation which could be used by the Crusaders
to manufacture an opportunity: eliminate him and blame the Islamic
terrorists and then proceed propagating that Islamic bomb has to be saved
from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Musharraf was asked by al-Jazeera about what legacy he would be
leaving or how would he like him to be remembered. He replied that he


would like to be remembered as a reformist. How would he be remembered

by the generations to come; only the time would decide.
At this stage it can be said that he would be leaving his legacy of a
new sect of enlightened moderates in Pakistan and in Karachi it would be
MQM, just as JI is remembered as a legacy of Zia-ul-Haque. MQM would
prove quite harmful to national harmony as compared to Jamaat-i-Islami.
28th April 2007


Musharraf and Karzai, in a meeting held in Ankara on 30th April, made
a new beginning to resolve old issues. They vowed to defeat terrorism
together by denying sanctuary, training and financing to terrorists in both
countries. Musharraf hoped that accord will help end blame game.

The same day, Sherpao sought a grand unity within Pakistan against
terrorism. The need for such unity dawned upon him after a suicide attack in
which he was targeted. The bloodshed going on for years had failed to make
the rulers realize this necessity.
On 4th April, Shaukat Aziz had an audience with Manmohan Singh to
complain about Indian involvement in Baluchistan and request for
information on probe into Samjhota Express. The issues raised clearly
indicated that the tables on cross-border terrorism have been turned.
On home front, the venue of political activities has shifted to the arena
of judiciary. Low-key insurgency continued in Baluchistan. There was
nothing much worth men boast about the soft image; on the contrary, the
clashes in Kurram Agency and Bara area further scarred the image.

The fight for Afghan peace continued in Pakistan. Following
incidents were reported during the period ending 30th April:
Three people, including a police inspector, were killed in a clash in
Tank on 26th March. Tribal leaders in South Waziristan vowed to evict
Uzbeks. Bajaur jirga assured the government of its support after a deal
with pro-Taliban militants was signed. ANP leader was among three
people injured in a blast outside a hotel in Peshawar.
Four intelligence agents were killed in an ambush in Bajaur on 27 th
March. Principal of the school, where clash with militants had taken
place, was kidnapped along with his brother. Four persons were killed
near Bannu. Several people were killed or wounded in a clash in
Khyber Agency. Wall of ICRC workshop in Peshawar was damaged in
a blast.
Curfew was imposed in Tank on 28 th March after 25 people were
killed in several attacks.
A suicide bomber attacked troops in a training area at Guliana near
Kharian on 29th March; four people, including one soldier, were killed


and seven soldiers were wounded. Fresh fighting in South Waziristan

resulted in killing of two people and wounding eight others.
At least 55 people, including 35 Uzbeks, were killed on 30 th March in
renewed fighting.
On 31st March, five more people were killed as tribesmen attacked
bunkers of al-Qaeda fighters; 35 foreign fighters were held. Clashes
between two religious groups in Tirah Valley forced residents to leave
their houses. UNHCR stopped repatriation following killing of a
Ten more people were killed in South Waziristan on 2 nd April. MMA
suggested settling Waziristan issue through jirga. Next day, six
Uzbeks were killed and two were captured in South Waziristan.
Intense fighting was reported from South Waziristan on 4th April; sixty
people, mostly foreigners, were killed and 40 were captured by the
tribal lashkar. Tribesmen were urged to launch jihad against foreign
On 5th April, tribal elders met a brigadier and political agent and
sought support from the army and government in their final push
against foreigners as death toll in two-day fighting reached 70.
Twenty more people were killed in South Waziristan on 6 th April and
army moved in to support tribesmen. Four persons were killed when a
police patrol was ambushed near Mingora.
Army took control of more bunkers as tribal lashkar advanced in
South Waziristan on 7th April.
Next day, three more tribesmen were killed in South Waziristan. Four
FC men were injured in roadside blast near Tank. Dead body of a
white South African was found near Peshawar.
Eight dead bodies of foreign fighters were found as tribesmen
succeeded in evicting them from Wana sub-division on 9 th April. An
alleged terrorist was killed and his accomplice arrested in Karak.


On 11th April, General Gul told the foreign journalists that Wana
Valley has been cleared of foreigners.
A tribesman was killed on 12th April in North Waziristan by a shell
fired from inside Afghanistan. A rocket fired at an airplane flying on
Chitral-Peshawar route missed the target narrowly.
A subedar of Khassadar force was killed in Dara Adam Khel on 16 th
April. Tribal Taliban set up office in Mirali to punish criminals.
Lashkar-e-Islami took control of Bara.
Pakistan and Afghan troops clashed on 19th April over border-fencing
near Angoor Adda.
Barber shops were blasted in Dir on 25th April. Two days later, three
villagers were killed and nine wounded in air strike in Saidgai;
tribesmen blamed US for the air attack.
At least 29 people were killed and 45 wounded in suicide bombing
which targeted Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao near Charsadda on 28 th
April. Reportedly, officials had warned about attack a day earlier.
Peshawar Airport was rocked by a bomb blast.
A soldier was killed in attack on army post in North Waziristan on 29 th
April. Death toll of suicide attack on Sherpao rose to 57.
Recitation of do more mantra by the Crusaders and their puppets,
despite the fact that Pakistan had inducted two more brigades in Waziristan.
On 30th March, Commander Centcom William Fallen arrived in Islamabad
on an unannounced visit. Next day, he hailed the role of Pakistan in war
against terror.
On 2nd April, Governor NWFP informed the US Congressmen, who
had called on him, that roots of unrest in tribal areas lie in Afghanistan. Next
day, Musharraf (reportedly) told the US Congressional delegation the
security of Pak-Afghan border is not the responsibility of Pakistan alone.
Canadian team visited Pak-Afghan border on 5 th April. Shaukat Aziz
cautioned the United States against anti-Pakistan law. Musharraf rejected
joint US-Pakistan operations in tribal areas. Addressing a symposium in
NDU on 12th April, Musharraf said anti terror coalition is meaningless if

coalition partners lack trust. If Pakistan, myself, ISI and the coalition forces
across the border are all bluffing each other, then it is better to end the
On 16th April, the chief of US naval operations while in Islamabad
hailed Musharrafs role in war on terror. Foreign Office clarified that
Pakistan is fighting terror on its own. Next day, Aftab Sherpao informed a
seminar in London that Pakistan had arrested more than 4,000 militants out
of which 2,000 were handed over to different countries. The same day,
puppets in Afghanistan asked Pakistan to do more.
On 21st April, Kasuri vowed fencing Pak-Afghan border at all costs.
Next day, Musharraf asked Karzai to stop blame game. Kabul vowed to go
all out to stop fencing of the border. Four days later, Maleeha Lodhi tried to
deny a ground reality by saying that Pakistan cant be a partner and a target
in drive against terrorism.
On 26th April, Musharraf said Karzai was losing war against Taliban;
Karzai shrugged off criticism by Musharraf. Next day, Rauf Klasra reported
that fresh dossier about Khans link with Iran would be made public in a
week or so that might unleash a new storm for Pakistan.
Musharraf and Karzai met informally in Ankara on 29th April. Next
day, they had formal discussions and made a new beginning to fight
terrorism and set up a Joint Working Group to monitor the progress on
bilateral issues. They identified poppy cultivation as the main source of
terror financing. Foreign Office reiterated that Pakistan would go ahead with
border fencing.
After tribesmen took up arms to throw foreign fighters out of Wana,
South Waziristan, the rulers in Pakistan started boasting that their strategy is
working. Prime Minister claimed that accord with tribesmen has helped in
improving law and order. At the start of the week a similar claim was made
by the spokesperson of foreign office saying that the current uprising of the
tribesmen has validated Pakistans strategy of peace deals.
On 15th April, a jirga held in Wana announced five-point accord. It
was decided that it is against the law to protect or give sanctuary to any alien
warrior and anybody defying the law would face demolition of his home and
fine up to one million rupees besides banishing him from the region.


Anybody found involved or implicated in lawlessness or acts of

sabotage, theft, dacoity, abductions for ransom, and restraining any
development in the region would also be subjected to punishment. The
accord deemed that it is the responsibility of the administration to implement
peace and law in the region and also cater for safety of movement of traffic
on roads.
Pakistan and Britain discussed extradition treaty. On 28th April,
Prime Minister said that extradition treaty would be signed soon. Next day,
Rauf Klasra reported that Pak-UK extradition deal is aimed at swap over of
7/7 suspects for BLA men.
The issue of Afghan refugees remained unresolved. Repatriation
centre for unregistered Afghans opened on 29 th March and four refugee
camps around Peshawar were to be closed. During first week of April it was
reported that repatriation of refugees had slowed down.
The News commented on the mantra of do more with reference to
Musharrafs remarks. Musharrafs observation that the anti-terror
coalition is meaningless unless all the partners are onboard and trust
each other is one that needs to be taken close note of by all parties involved.
This is especially important in the context of setting aside egos and taking a
moment to step back and consider the task in hand, which seems to have
been lost amid the seemingly perpetual exchange of accusations between
Islamabad, Washington and Kabul. One-way flow of accusations cannot be
called exchange of accusations.
As to the specific charge (repeated ad nauseam in some western
capitals and western newspapers) that Pakistan is not doing enough, one can
only say that if indeed Pakistan has not done everything it can possibly
do, it has still, by far done and suffered the most.
The US should read the writing on the wall in the Pakistani case and
not allow itself to be (mis)guided by Kabul or other partners. Islamabads
constraints and compulsions as a frontline participant in the war against
terror are not imagined but very real and Washington needs to recognize
them if the campaign is to bear fruit.
The News commented on US threat of aid cut in another editorial.
Prime Minister Shaukat Azizs comment that the US should avoid any
action that may adversely impact its relationship with Pakistan is not only


accurate but also a much-needed reassertion of Islamabads refusal to

dance to Washingtons tune. The desire is there but it has been overcome
by the fatigue.
The tone and rhetoric disseminating from the US is
uncomfortably similar to those of the time just before the US left Pakistan
in the lurch in 1988 after a cozy relationship under circumstances very
similar to todays. This, in turn, has prompted analysts to call this period of
lukewarm relations between Islamabad and Washington the beginning of the
end It shows spine and self-belief, saying that Pakistan is unafraid of
political and economic threats, chiefly because its efforts are genuine and
cannot be called into question regardless of whether or not Washington is
contemplating bailing out on Pakistan yet again.
In the end, relationship is on an even keel the US is not the
patron and Pakistan is not the mercenary. The US helps Pakistan
financially to tackle terrorism that is not only a threat to the West but, as has
been amply displayed in the terrorist attacks on Pakistani soil, also a threat
to this country and to the entire world. If the US bails out, it will not only be
abandoning Islamabad, but also its own mission of the war on terror.
Zarrar Khuhro had observed earlier that there would be no end to do
more mantra. Pakistan has gone out of its way to attack pro-Taliban
elements in its tribal areas This has also forced it to open a costly
internal front and risked alienating its Pushtun population, which is
otherwise loyal and patriotic When Pakistan attempted to solve the
Waziristan problem with a peace deal that would have marginalized proTaliban and foreign elements, this was sabotaged by the Americans at
In my opinion, the Pakistan government accepted responsibility for
this action because under the circumstances it may have preferred accepting
the consequences rather than admit to the fact that the US can and does
strike on Pakistani soil. This is despite the fact that the British struck a
similar deal at Musa Qala, and that negotiation, not war, is the ultimate
solution for Afghanistan. The Americans wonder why we do not simply
carpet bomb the entire tribal areas without realizing that it is precisely this
type of disproportionate violence that creates more recruits for the Taliban.
As a reward for our help, the US could have pressured its pet
government in Kabul to accept the Durand Line. It could have prevailed on

India to not open consulates in Afghan areas where they have no legitimate
interests, simply for the purposes of destabilizing Pakistan. We could level
every single madrassah and shave off every beard. We could dismantle
all our nuclear weapons and mothball our entire army, and we would
still be required to do more. We have done enough; unless we wish to risk
our very existence, we should do no more.
Rahimullah Yusufzai opined that while military officers on the
ground and in board-rooms in western capitals are aware of the Pakistan
Armys role in tackling al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters intending to harm US
and NATO troops, their politicians and media continue to heap scorn on
Islamabad. There is still constant criticism of Pakistan for not doing enough
to uproot Taliban hideouts
He (Admiral William Fallon) praised President Musharraf for his
efforts in the ongoing war on terror and disclosed that he had got an
assurance from the General to offer assistance to the US Army in
specific situations. He didnt elaborate the term specific situations but
earlier in his briefing he had said that his forces would do everything to get
to Osama bin Laden even though they didnt have permission to enter
Waziristan or rest of FATA.
In other words, it meant the US would not wait for formal
permission to strike inside Pakistan once it received intelligence that bin
Laden was holed up in the Pakistani tribal areas or elsewhere in the country.
It will not be surprising if the US did something like this considering the
several missile strikes that it undertookduring 2004-2006 to eliminate
suspected al-Qaeda members and those harbouring them.
The offensive by the tribesmen to evict foreign militants out of Wana
Valley was widely commented upon. S M Inaamullah wrote: Clashes
between local tribesmen and foreign militants in Waziristan are perhaps too
recent for considered comments by Washington or NATO at this stage.
Once they are accepted as a part of the Pakistan governments peace
agreements, Islamabads strategy of dealing with militants through local
population would be better appreciated. Perhaps the Afghan President would
also recognize that holding talks with resistance groups could contribute to
lasting peace in his country.
The News commented that as for the motives of the tribesmen, while
government spokesman suggest that they are united in ejecting the Uzbeks,

independent reports suggest that things are not so much in black and white,
with some foreigners either sitting back and watching two other groups fight
it, or some foreigners possibly aligned with the local tribal militant
commander Maulvi Nazir. Also, the ejection of the Uzbeks does not
necessarily mean that the region will be cleansed of the Taliban and their
local sympathizers, particularly since the local commander fighting the
Uzbeks is said to be a Taliban sympathizer himself, appointed to his post
with their blessings. Some reports also suggest that the current fighting may
also have an inter-tribal rivalry behind it with some local tribesmen siding
with the Uzbeks.
The seemingly positive official response to a request by the
tribesmen for air support against the Uzbeks implies that the government is
willing to back the tribesmen in an unprecedented manner. From the
look of things, it seems that the tribesmen seem to be doing for the Pakistan
government what it was unable or in the eyes of some western observers,
unwilling to do.
Clearly, some lessons also need to be learnt with all of this and
the most basic and important one is that there is no need to import or
facilitate the influx of such militant foreigners into ones country because the
only thing that this ends up creating is a law and order situation for citizens.
In the case of Uzbeks, there is also the added embarrassment caused by their
continued presence which obviously can no longer be denied their
refusal to abide by Pakistani laws; and their insistence of imposing their
rigid interpretation of religion on ordinary people by force.
Kamal Matinuddin observed: It is believed that the Uzbeks militants
in the tribal areas belong to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the
aim of which is to establish an Islamic state in the central Asian Republics,
Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are being commanded by Tahir
There are around 10 mobile terrorist groups in the Central Asian
Republics. The two strongest militant organizations are the Islamic
Movement of Uzbekistan, known to be the most extremist group, and the
Hizbut Tahrir (HT) a softer version of the IMU. Tahir Yaldushev and Juma
Namangani first formed the Adolat Party in Uzbekistan. When that was
banned they moved to Chechnya and finally to Afghanistan, where they
formed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan in 1998. The aim of the IMU


and HT is to get rid of their present rulers and establish an Islamic

regime in the whole of Central Asia including Afghanistan.
The reported strength of the IMU was around 2,000 when the US
attacked Afghanistan. US pro-Israeli policies and the killing of civilians by
the coalition forces in Afghanistan have fuelled anti-American feelings
amongst all Muslims including the Uzbek militants. The IMU derived
support from the fact that if the Afghans can force the Soviet troops out of
Afghanistan they too could compel the American and coalition forces to
leave Afghanistan.
When Namangani was killed in Afghanistan in November 2001
during the US attack on that country Yaldushev took over the leadership and
moved into North Waziristan Unfortunately, the legacy of the Afghan
jihad has weakened the sanctity of the international border between
Afghanistan and Pakistan. With the presence of over two million Afghan
refugees still living in Pakistan; with many foreigners who took part in the
struggle to evict the Soviets from Afghanistan present in Pakistan; with
those who fought alongside the Taliban against the Northern Alliance living
in the tribal areas (according to one estimate more than 500 of them are still
in our midst) movement across the Durand Line cannot be totally
stopped certainly not by Pakistan alone.
The presence of militant foreigners has had a negative impact on the
law and order situation not only in the tribal areas but also in the settled
areas as well The foreigners are misusing the hospitality, which was
extended to them when they entered Pakistan after the US invasion of
Afghanistan. They had been asked to surrender but have refused to do so.
The clashes between the Uzbeks and the local tribesmen have
resulted in the loss of several hundred lives. People have had to flee their
homes to avoid being caught in the cross fire. The authority of tribal elders
in their own area is being marginalized as the foreign elements have
taken over control of certain areas. They have reportedly established their
own prisons and administer justice, which has been the prerogative of the
tribal jirgas.
It is because of their actions that Pakistan is being blamed by all those
nations whose troops are battling the Taliban in Afghanistan. By spreading
their interpretation of Islamic values they are contributing to the creeping
Talibanization of some parts of Pakistan. The policy of compelling them

to leave the country should be supported by the government and the tribal
elders in the tribal areas.
Rahimullah Yusufzai opined: This by no means is the end of the story
as the foreigners appear to have made a tactical retreat and could now
indulge in acts of sabotage to keep the areas bordering Afghanistan
insecure and destabilized.
The government was pleased with the performance of the lashkar, or
tribal force, and both civil and military officers took pains to describe it
as an indigenous uprising of the tribes against the Uzbeks due to the
latters excesses against the local people. Arguments were advanced that the
governments peace accords with the tribes had paid dividends and the
tribesmen had organized themselves and taken on the militants under the
terms of the agreement. One of the key points in the peace agreements was
the promise by the tribal elders, and by implication by the militants, not to
harbour foreign militants and refrain from infiltrating the Durand Line
News of the formation of the lashkar in Wana, headquarters of South
Waziristan, was first heard on March 19. It was followed by reports of
intense fighting between the lashkar and the Uzbekistani militants and their
tribal supporters led by brothers Haji Omar and Noor Islam and a proTaliban commander Javed Karmazkhel. Five days later, the combatants
agreed to a shaky ceasefire due to the intervention of a delegation of
Afghan Taliban and two jirgas of Ulema belonging to South Waziristan
and North Waziristan and led by clergymen affiliated to Maulana Fazlur
Rahmans JUI-F.
There was no doubt that the Uzbek militants on account of their
high-handedness had made many enemies in South Waziristan,
particularly in the Wana area where sections of the Ahmadzai Wazir subtribes such as the Yargulkhel offered them hospitality and sanctuaries after
the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in December 2001. The
Mahsud tribe didnt allow the Uzbeks to live in their part of South
Waziristan and it is even now unwilling to give them refuge in the Mahsud
tribal territory.
Mir Ali tehsil in North Waziristan was another area where the
Uzbeks were welcomed. It is likely to become the next battle-ground
between anti-Uzbek tribesmen and the Uzbeks and their local allies It
wont be surprising if the retreating Uzbeks and their local allies open new

frontlines and put up a stand at other places in future. In desperation, these

homeless and stateless fighters could also resort to suicide bombings and
other acts of terrorism after realizing that they have few options left owing to
the growing hostility of their once generous Pashtun hosts.
The Wana fighting also exposed the rift in the ranks of the
militants and created a split that would become evident in due course of
time in North Waziristan and rest of NWFP and beyond. The strife was so
acute that a militant commander, Haji Sharif, challenged the power of his
brothers Haji Omar and Noor Islam, who are still siding with the Uzbeks,
and pitted Maulvi Nazeer, Malik Khannan and Meetha Khan against their
former comrades.
The fighting in Wana was also a bad news for the Afghan Taliban,
who sent their top military commanders Mulla Dadullah and Sirajuddin
Haqqani to work for ceasefire and effect reconciliation between the two
groups of militants. They even offered the Uzbeks to relocate them to
Baghran district in Afghanistans Helmand province or other Talibancontrolled areas and take part in jihad against the US-led foreign forces. But
Tahir Yuldashev turned down the offer The anti-Uzbek militants
commanded by Maulvi Nazeer also voiced their allegiance and loyalty to
Taliban leader Mulla Muhammad Omar and pledged to continue waging
Jihad against the US and its allies.
It was a complex situation but the military sided with the antiUzbek militants, at least for the time-being, in a bid to rid South Waziristan
of the unwanted Uzbeks. This was a risky policy because the victorious antiUzbek militants, who have gained in power and stature, share the world
view of Mulla Omars Taliban It is thus clear that only half the job of
stabilizing Waziristan and ridding it of foreign militants has been done.
Ikram Hoti wrote, the fresh turn the situation took a couple of months
ago is now becoming central to the Talibanization issue. The Taliban and
the local youths are taking over the entire sub-region, and are taking
sides that are up in arms against the foreigners that are being treated the
same way as the Palestinians treat Israeli settlers.



The composite dialogue with India failed to resolve any dispute, but
it provided considerable relief to Indian troops in IHK. On 30 th March it was
reported that encouraged by the reduction in insurgent attacks, India set up a
panel for troop reduction in the Valley. On 3 rd April, Shaukat Aziz told the
senior journalists in New Delhi; trade with India is linked to settlement of
Kashmir issue.
Talks on Siachen began in Islamabad with high hopes on 6 th April, but
failed in making any breakthrough. Three days later, Foreign Office said
Pakistan has given proposals to India on Siachen issue. On 10th April,
Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting on troop withdrawal from IHK.
On 17th April, Musharraf informed formation commanders about
growth in Indo-Pak ties. He must not have told them that some growths
could be malignant. Six days later, he urged rapid progress on Kashmir, but
on 25th April during his visit to Spain, he hinted at early solution of Kashmir
Next day, The BJP reacted to Musharrafs statement in which he had
claimed progress in dialogue on core issue. It demanded that the government
must inform the nation about the progress being made for solution of
Kashmir dispute through backdoor diplomacy.
Statements and actions negative to confidence-building were in
plenty. On 31st March, before the start of SAARC meeting, Pakistan and
India blamed each other over implementation of SAFTA. The same day
Pakistan test-fired Abdali missile.
India test-fired long range missile on 12 th April. Three days later,
Indiras grandson, Rahul boasted of his partys achievements, mentioning
specifically the disintegration of Pakistan in 1971. Foreign Office
spokesperson said Rahuls statement proved that India has been destabilizing
Pakistan. Mushahid praised Rahul for speaking truth.
India test-fired supersonic cruise missile on 22 nd April. Two days later,
addressing the pro-Indian Kashmiri leaders, Singh asked Pakistan to halt
terror activities in IHK. On 29 th April, Nicholas Burns said the US wanted to
step up military ties with India.
Perpetration of state terrorism and armed struggle by freedom fighters
continued in IHK. Following incidents were reported during the period:


Five people were killed and four wounded in attacks by freedom

fighters on 30th March.
Two persons, including a Congress leader, were killed on 2 nd April. An
Indian general said cross-border infiltration has reached almost zero
level. Next day, six people were injured in grenade attack in Srinagar.
One Kashmiris was killed in custody in Doda on 5 th April. Next day,
five fighters and three soldiers were killed in violence. Police claimed
killing three men of al-Badr on 7th April.
Indian troops shot dead 5 Kashmiris in on 15 th April. Authorities
sacked 140 workers over links with freedom fighters.
Three persons were killed on 22nd April in shootout in the Valley. Next
day, four freedom fighters were killed by occupation forces. Gilani
and Shabbir were placed under house arrest in IHK on 27th April.
Eight freedom fighters were killed in IHK on 29 th April in two
incidents; one civilian was shot dead by militants in Kolgam. Next
day, four people were arrested for holding anti-government rally.
Kashmiri leaders started expressing their disappointment quite vocally
over composite dialogue. On 7th April, Yasin wanted to make dialogue
process time bound and inclusion of Salahuddin and Gilani in the dialogue
process. Nine days later, Mirwaiz said India is not sincere in resolving the
Kashmir issue.
APHC boycotted roundtable conference of Indian Prime Minister and
pro-India Kashmiris. Mujahid-e-Awwal, however, was an exception. Sardar
Abdul Qayyum visited New Delhi and termed the armed struggle of
Kashmiris as an impediment in peace process. United Jihad Council strongly
condemned his statement and equated him with Sheikh Abdullah.
The News commented on the outcome of talks on Siachen issue. The
main point of conflict seems to be Indias insistence on the
authentication of the two armies actual ground positions. Quite
understandably, Pakistan does not wish to do this since it feels that doing so
would allow India to confirm its territorial claim over the part of the glacier
where it has its forces deployed.


If the objective is to have a permanent and lasting peace, India should

at least be seen to do something on Siachen, just like Islamabad seems ready
for some kind of compromise on a much larger area of conflict namely,
This argument also implies that if Pakistan is ready to compromise
on Kashmir then why not Siachen if it is so interested in lasting peace.
India has been changing the status of the line dividing two Kashmiris and
forcing Pakistan to swallow it. India now wants the same in case of Siachen.
Indian hardline on the glacier is also indicative as to what it would like to
have in settlement of the core issue.

The political activities shifted to the arena of the judicial crisis. The
events in that arena are discussed in detail in a series of articles. The most
important event was the revelations about Benazir-Musharraf deal. On 15 th
April, Benazir told Sunday Times categorically that she wanted a deal with
Musharraf continued his election campaign. He addressed a rally in
Sialkot on 11th April and distributed public funds as advance payment of
extension in his tenure by four years. Four days later, Pakistan Railways
Employees Union demanded of the Election Commission to take notice on
the involvement of some officials and employees of railways for
participating in the election campaign. How could ECP take notice when the
COAS indulges in such activities? On 20th April, probably as part of the
election campaign, a rocket was fired at Fazlur Rahmans house in D I Khan.
Low-key insurgency in Baluchistan continued. US-backed militants
availed the opportunity to operate against Iran from Pakistan. Following
incidents were reported during the period:
Four explosions rocked Quetta on 27th March. An electric tower was
blown up in Bolan Pass disrupting electric supply to Quetta and
surrounding areas; rail track was also blown up.
Gas pipeline and power pylon were blown up near Mastung on 29 th
March. Next day, FC fort in Arawan came under rocket attack.


On 1st April electric supply to Quetta and surrounding areas remained

suspended after three pylons in Bolan Pass were damaged in by
Power supply to 18 districts remained suspended on 2nd April because
damaged pylons could not be replaced. Next day, a watchman of
electric supply company was killed in landmine blast in Bolan Pass.
One person was injured in landmine blast in Dera Bugti on 4 th April.
Reuters reported that the US has advised and encouraged Jundullah
group, which operates from Baluchistan, to stage raids inside Iran.
Next day, a girl was wounded in landmine blast in Dera Bugti.
Four soldiers were killed and two injured in landmine blast in Tartani
town of Kohlu District on 9th April. Next day, four people were injured
in landmine blast in Nasirabad.
Four soldiers of FC and a civilian were killed on 12th April in Mand
tehsil of Turbat in an encounter with militants. Next day, two soldiers
were killed in landmine blast in Tartani area.
Rockets were fired at FC check post in Kohlu area on 16 th April. Four
days later, one person was killed in landmine blast near Dera Bugti.
Three children were killed in a blast in Mastung on 22 nd April. Next
day, two bombs exploded in Kalat.
The rulers pursuit of soft image continued suffering setbacks.
Mystery of Nishtar Park bombing remained unresolved a year after the
incident. Prime Minister said that the government was exploring depth of
the case.
There was significant increase in militancy across the country. The
clashes in Kurram and Bara were quite significant, which will be discussed a
little later. Two persons were injured in bomb blast in Peshawar on 5 th April.
Sixteen people were injured in a blast in D I Khan on 9 th April. ARD
submitted an adjournment motion on 21st April over attack on Fazls house a
day earlier. Four days later, three persons were shot dead in D I Khan.
On 19th April, a Spanish court decreed against the Pakistani mission
for exploiting a local woman employee and made the embassy to pay 20,380

euros as compensation. Foreign Office spokesperson was satisfied that it

wasnt against the head of the mission as was the case in New York.
Contrary to assertion of the Foreign Office, the Spanish court named the
ambassador for the misconduct.
The government banned the drama burqavaganza on 25th April which
was staged by Ajoka Indo-Pak Panj Pani Festival. Ministry of Culture said
the burqa is part of our culture. We cannot allow any one to ridicule our
culture. Next day, it was reported that Sindh High Court lifted ban on alRashid Trust imposed by the government in February. Interior Ministry
denied the report.
The News commented on banning of the drama burqavaganza. For
starters, the job of the culture ministry should be to promote and encourage
all manifestations of Pakistani culture and to facilitate the arts. And the best
way to do the latter is to allow creative people to come forward and
produce plays, music, sculpture, paintings and so on. Furthermore, it is
the nature of artists to be creative, rebellious and critical of what they see
happening around them in their immediate surroundings in particular and
society in general.
It is more than likely that the play in question was a response (as its
director has herself said) to the countrys rapidly increasing
Talibanization, and this is best encapsulated by the governments
appeasement of the Lal Masjid clerics and the Jamia Hafsa vigilantes The
statement that the burqa is part of Pakistans culture to the extent that any
artistic performance on it must be banned is something that will be seen as
debatable by many rational Pakistanis.
The other problem, as manifested by the words of the culture minister
before the National Assembly, is that very often those who sit at the helm of
culture ministry take it upon themselves to become the guardians and
arbiters of public morality and national culture. They assume the role of
chief censors deciding what the general public should and shouldnt see.
From what the culture minister said on Thursday, his ministry
should be rechristened the ministry of moral virtue and elimination of
vice. It seems the government is not about to reverse any time soon its
myopic policy of appeasing the religious right. And then it has the gall to tell
ordinary Pakistanis to resist extremism and Talibanization.


The remarks of blaming religion for cricket teams defeat continued to

be commented upon. Shakir Lakhani from Karachi supported Pervez Jamil
Mirs observation. This streak of religiosity is not only seen in cricket
but other quarters as well especially in business. When we employed
someone before the present wave of fundamentalism started, we assumed
that he would be a normal human who would require not more than twenty
five days a year for personal work or health reasons. But now it is common
for employees to disappear for forty days without permission, and demand to
be re-employed when they return.
Saeed Iqbal from Peshawar wrote, the statement of Miron the
religious inclination of the teams members being a primary reason for their
failure in the World Cup in the West Indies is ridiculous. After all, cricket is
a game and should be taken as such. There must surely be other more
important and relevant things that need to be addressed than picking on the
fact that the team members were devout followers of their faith.
When Yousuf attributed his world record to prayers five times a day it
was accepted quietly and when the team lost to Ireland, the media liaison
officer accused the team of lack of focus due to prayers. He only fell short of
saying that the team should have instead attended some dress shows or other
shows to remain focused.
The sectarian fighting in Kurram and Bara areas delivered a major
blow to the seekers of soft image. Following incidents were reported:
Curfew was imposed in Parachinar on 6th April after 3 people were
killed in apparently sectarian clashes, which some thought was a spillover the fighting in Waziristan.
Next day, at least 40 persons were killed in the ongoing clash as
troops entered Parachinar. One person was killed in Bara in clashes
between two religious groups.
At least 16 more people were killed in Parachinar area on 8 th April.
Next day, five more people were killed in Kurram Agency.
On 10th April, eight more people were killed in Kurram Agency. Next
day, 45 more people were killed in clashes; two villages were burnt by
the militants and army shelled positions of the fighters. Governor
moved to the area to negotiate a truce.

Joint jirga negotiated a ceasefire on 12th April. Next day, 8 more

people were killed in remote areas of Kurram Agency, but ceasefire
held on in major towns.
Situation returned to normal in Kurram Agency on 14 th April and
death toll was revised to 63.
Security forces were moved into Bara on 18th April. Next day,
headquarters of Lashkar-e-Islam in Bara was dynamited.
On 22nd April, protesters ransacked five security posts in Bara forcing
security personnel to run for safety. Shops were also damaged and
Five students were killed and nine others wounded when FC opened
fire on angry protesters in Bara on 23 rd April. The conflict between
supporters of Pir Saifur Rahman and Mufti Munir Shakir continued
even after expulsion of the former from the area and arrest of the latter
by the authorities.
Javed Aziz Khan reported on sectarian clashes in Kurram Agency.
People belonging to both the sects had their own point of view regarding
what was happening in Parachinar and other parts of Kurram. The
miscreants set on fire more than 200 houses during the first two days
but the government failed to stop them. A number of people were killed
when they were stranded in isolated places, remarked the president of
Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, Haji Sherin Mangal.
10 helicopter gunships had fired at local population and people in
uniforms of FC had killed innocent people in different parts of Parachinar,
alleged Shafiq Bangash, a central leader of the Imamia Students
Organization. He was of the opinion that all this was being done by the
black sheep in the administration at the behest of America.
Politicians associated with opposition parties lashed out at the
government and administration for the poor law and order situation, alleging
the authorities have failed to stop fighting in Kurram Agency despite
thousands of troops having been deployed
With the situation in Kurram, it is feared that something will
happen in Mohmand Agency very soon as it is now the only agency where

people are living in relatively peaceful life A sectarian issue has resulted
in the death of over 300 people in Khyber Agency during the past one year
while a large number of people were killed over a similar issue in Orakzai
some months back. The government had to sign a Peace Pact with the local
militants in Bajaur to stop everyday blasts and ambushing of government
Apart from tribal agencies, the situation is worsening in Tank, Dera
Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat, Bannu and Swat which needs immediate
attention and action on the part of all those concerned for the security of
The News observed: Although Parachinar is no stranger to sectarian
trouble, the latest clashes take on a grim aspect since they occurred while the
sectarian situation in parts of the neighbouring Northern Areas is still far
from settled. Like the spasmodic sectarian violence of recent years, the
Parachinar clashes are but a fallout of the virulent strain of
sectarianism that the country finds itself a victim of.
There is a fresh lesson to be learnt from what is happening in
Parachinar, that if religious extremism is not countered with sufficient
measures that are able to de-fang it in the long run, it is bound to rear its
head, particularly in vulnerable areas like Parachinar or Gilgit.
This means moving forward of much-delayed initiatives that have to
do with madressah and curriculum reform, proscribing of hate literature and
arresting those behind its publication and distribution, and strict monitoring
of sermons in mosques to ensure that they are not sectarian in nature.
Rahimullah Yusufzai opined that there is need for soul-searching
with regard to the causes of the latest round of sectarian strife. The
Afghan refugees, almost all Sunnis, who in the past were blamed for
changing the demography of Kurram Agency and siding with local Sunnis in
sectarian battles, have mostly gone back to Afghanistan. This means there
must be certain local reasons for eruption of sectarian riots even if the cause
is barely worth a fight.
The disputes over ownership of forests, hills, land and water sources
between Sunni and Shia villagers easily trigger sectarian conflicts. These
disputes ought to be settled through traditional methods involving jirgas


backed by the government. The flow of heavy and sophisticated weapons to

Kurram Agency from Afghanistan and elsewhere also needs to be halted.
Going by tradition, one could hope the Sunnis and Shias of Kurram
Agency, arguably the greenest and most beautiful part of FATA with its
snow-clad Spinghar mountain range, sparkling streams and fruit orchards,
would not fight for the next 10 years. This period could be used to resolve
all those disputes that threaten the Kurram Valleys peace and
The News commented on clashes in Bara. Its not incidental that
three of the five persons reported killed in the clash were students. It is clear,
the students served as a human shield, in that they spearheaded the attack,
with regular members of the Laskar following them. Both Abdul Aziz and
Mangal Bagh appear to be using children for emotional mileage in case
the authorities act in response to their provocations. This is scandalous and
tantamount to willful child abuse since those participating clearly are not
given a choice.
In fact, Mangal Baghs mostly youthful followers went on the
rampage on Sunday as well, attacking music shops selling audiocassettes
and videocassettes even in the adjacent settled areas. Such vigilante actions
have to be effectively dealt with by the government, lest such elements get
further emboldened. The events of Bara are clearly linked with those
occurring in Lal Masjid, which is precisely why both need to be tackled on
priority by the government, and without caving in to the demands of the
vigilantes. The editor usually concludes his comments with mention of Lal

Musharraf and Karzai have vowed to make new beginning to resolve
an old issue. This wont be possible unless the two presidents bear in their
minds that Americans may stay hundred years in Afghanistan but they have
to leave ultimately. They must realize that the Crusaders from the West are
not interested in the well-being of Afghanis or Pakistanis and cordial ties
between two Islamic countries.


They must remember that two nations have no other option but to live
as neighbours; warmer the relations, better it would be. Therefore, they must
not place their personal egos and ambitions ahead of the well-being of their
respective people.
As regards the peace process with India, before its initiation the nation
was very clear about the nature of the Kashmir dispute and its solution
through plebiscite as approved by the UN. The keenness of the brave
commando for peace and his ingenuity produced an array of possible
solutions. Now the nation is totally confused, not about the solution, but
about the very nature of the dispute.
Internally, Pakistan is in complete turmoil. The widespread militancy
in various parts of the country can be attributed, one way or the other, to
Musharrafs decision to act as front-man of the Crusaders. On March 9, he
added to his and his nations woes by self-inflicted injury.
1st May 2007

This round started with the acceptance of the CJPs petition for
hearing by the Supreme Court despite objections raised by the Registrar.
Rana Bhagwandas constituted five-member bench to hear the petition on
daily basis starting 7th May.

Visit of the CJP to Peshawar on 21st May gave a great boast to the
ongoing movement for independence of judiciary. People of NWFP turned
out in great numbers to accord warm welcome to the CJP. In their speeches
in premises of the bar council senior lawyers directly challenged Musharraf.
On 24th April, the government put aside all its assertion about not
politicizing the issue of reference. The ever loyal servant from Gujrat led a
rally in Islamabad in support of Musharraf. This was an unscrupulous move
by the ruling junta, because it could have led to clashes on streets of the
capital and elsewhere.
The government continued pre-emptive strikes by arresting lawyers
and political activists on the eve of each hearing of the reference. The roads
leading to Islamabad were also blocked on each day of hearing. Police,
however stayed away from protesters, but it lost patience on 2 nd April when
MNA Asad Ullah was injured in a scuffle with them. The government served
show-cause notice to Aaj TV for live coverage of the CJPs visit to
The SJC turned down the request of defence counsel on 2 nd May, in
which the defence had prayed for stopping the hearing till decision of the
Supreme Court on petition of the CJP. The panel of lawyers for the
government objected to the constitution of the five-member bench and asked
for full court. This was a U-turn from its initial stand.

On 19th April, the Supreme Court set aside the objections by the
Registrar and accepted the petition of the CJP and issued notices to the
President of Pakistan and others for April 24. The Registrar had raised three
objections: the matter is sub judice before the SJC, the petition is aimed at
victimizing two judges of the Supreme Court and multiple reliefs were
sought in the petition. Astonishingly, three similar petitions filed by different
senior lawyers had been accepted earlier.
Talking to the newsmen Justice Bhagwandas said the nation will hear
good news after completion of all constitutional stages in the given situation,
but he declined to give any specific timeframe.


Aitzaz Ahsan and Hamid Khan disclosed receiving of calls urging

them not to pursue the case and receiving threats of kidnapping of their
children in case of non-compliance.
Wasi Zafar blamed media for labeling the CJP as non-functional. Five
more petitions were filed challenging the reference and the SJC. Nawaz
Sharif accepted the mistake of promoting Musharraf.
Next day, the Supreme Court summoned defence and interior
secretaries in missing persons case after deputy attorney general complained
of non provision of information required by the court. Wasi Zafar said the
petition of the CJP is intended at stifling the inquiry by the SJC. Khar met
Nawaz Sharif to clear his doubts about the deal. Musharraf rejected the
impression of any deal with PPP.
On 21st April, the people of NWFP accorded unprecedented welcome
to the CJP. He was received at Attock Bridge and activists of almost all the
major political parties had established camps along the GT Road. The people
chanted slogans against the government and in favour of judiciary and the
Chief Justice.
In their speeches Munir A Malik termed the reference as fraud upon
the Constitution; Ali Ahmad Kurd accused Musharraf of holding the whole
nation hostage; Hamid Khan called generals paper tigers and vowed to send
them home; and Aitzaz accused the government of assaulting judiciary. The
CJP restricted his speech to Constitution and good governance and the role
of the judiciary in this context.
Rauf Klasra reported from London that the US and UK were playing
role in bringing moderates closer. Benazir would accept Musharraf both as
president and army chief. Leghari and ex-Patriots wanted that Musharraf
should not trust Benazir. No deal with dictator, said Benazir. Shujaat also
denied any deal with PPP. After high-level consultative meeting chaired by
Musharraf, the government said the reference against the CJP would stay.
Next day, Prime Minister announced that there would be no change in
the present set-up. The Newsweek magazine claimed that Musharraf had
himself telephoned Benazir thrice to strike secret deal. The lawyers decided
in a convention held in Karachi to unfold real story of the reference against
the CJP. They planned to disclose the facts and names of persons who
detained and threatened the CJP in the Camp Office.


On 23rd April, the government demanded more time to explain its

position on the petition of the CJP filed in the Supreme Court. The
government had at last succeeded in inducting its favourite gladiator into the
arena; Sharifuddin Pirzada was contracted to lead the panel of lawyers as
counsel for the President.
The Team-Helmet decided to carry out tit-for-tat protest. Opposition
feared disruption of its rally. The clash between lawyers and the elements
hired by the government was apprehended. Wasi Zafar informed the
delegation of International Commission of Justice that independence of
judiciary does not mean absence of accountability.
PEMRA issued show-cause notice to Aaj TV over its coverage of the
CJPs visit to Peshawar. Law bodies planned to move court on notice to the
TV channel. Hundreds of political workers were detained by police across
Punjab. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court asking the court to declare
that Justice Iftikhar has ceased to be the chief justice. The agencies gathered
more information on misuse of official cars by the CJP.
Sherpao directed IGPs of provinces to locate missing persons. Nawaz
urged Ansar Burni to search for missing persons. Opposition members in
National Assembly stressed on discussing the reference against the CJP; the
Speaker objected the issue being sub-judice. Additional Judge Advocate
General of Punjab resigned in protest.
Next day, lawyers boycotted courts across the country and held rallies
in big cities. The opposition political parties continued their protests for
independence of the judiciary and demanded resignation from Musharraf.
Over 400 political activists were arrested in Rawalpindi area alone.
PML-Q staged pro-Musharraf rally to counter the opposition rallies in
which political activists and some lawyers participated. Shujaat led the rally
and vowed not to tolerate anything against army. Law enforcing personnel
provided protection to keep the opposition and lawyers at bay. The rally
ended without any untoward incident.
After Wasi, Durrani also briefed the delegation of International
Commission of Jurists on the reference against the CJP. The government had
reportedly made some progress on missing persons. Rauf Klasra reported
from London that MI5 agents were secretly meeting Pakistani politicians in


order to find out likely reaction and implications in Pakistan in case

Musharraf and Benazir strike a deal.
Justice Muhammad Raza Khan, who was heading the three-member
bench, declined to hear petition of the CJP because he was a signatory to the
order suspending the CJP and he referred the matter to Justice Rana
Bhagwandas. He took this decision despite Aitzaz Ahsan had said that the
counsel had no objection if Justice would hear the case. He also called for
composition of full court or a larger bench.
Arguments of the defence counsel continued in the SJC and the court
expected that the defence arguments would be completed on next hearing.
The court refused to suspend hearing when the defence counsel drew its
attention to the recommendation of the bench of the Supreme Court in which
composition of full court or larger bench had been proposed. The SJC
adjourned the hearing till 2nd May.
The DIG Police, who was targeted by Chief Minister Sindh, appeared
in uniform to explain his case. DIG had obeyed orders of the Supreme Court
after the CJP had taken suo moto notice of the cases in which Chief
Ministers party men were involved. He narrated the actions taken against
him which were quite similar to those taken against the CJP after 9/11.
On 25th April, Sindh High Court asked PEMRA to cancel its show
cause notice issued to Aaj TV. Wasi Zafar moved a resolution in the National
Assembly to debate opposition parties role in judicial crisis; opposition
parties strongly opposed it. Shujaat replying to a question about the absence
of some ministers from the rally on 24th April said it was due to weather;
however, I am observing the situation and will talk about it on an appropriate
Ansar Abbasi reported that the government would produce highprofile witnesses, including chief ministers and ministers, before the SJC.
The Supreme Court gave another week to seven officials to submit their
replies to charges formed against them for manhandling the CJP.
Benazir conceded that her political credibility would suffer if she
joined military-led government but she justified that it would be good for
Pakistans democratic, constitutional and development interests.


McKinnon said Commonwealth leaders were watching reforms in

Pakistan and had earmarked an end-2007 deadline for Musharraf to stop
holding dual posts as president and army chief. BBC reported that the CJP
was detained on refusal to quit.
Next day, Shujaat again desired death for army critics. Musharraf in
an interview in Bosnia said he would be re-elected by present assemblies
and next elections would be held in November this year. Government
Senators were divided over resolution submitted by Wasi Zafar.
The opposition stressed the need for holding debate on the resolution
moved by law minister wherein he opposition political parties have been
criticized for politicizing the judicial matter of reference against the CJP.
MMA submitted anti-Musharraf resolution in National Assembly.
The International Commission of Jurists warned that if the judicial
crisis in Pakistan was not resolved immediately, the crisis would deteriorate
and could cause irreversible damage to constitutional order in the country.
On 27th April, three more petitions were filed in the Supreme Court
against presidents reference. Ministry of Interior in response to the Supreme
Courts orders submitted a list of 56 persons who are either free persons or
are under detention for their alleged involvement in one case or the other.
Sher Afgan blamed Cabinet and Establishment Division for not
briefing him over show cause notice issued to a TV channel; members of
Opposition staged a walkout. Opposition pressed for debate on the
resolution of Wasi Zafar.
Next day, Rana Bhagwandas constituted a five-member bench for
hearing the constitutional petition of the CJP. The bench comprising Justice
Nasir-ul-Mulk, Justice Raja Mohammad Fayyaz, Justice Chaudhry
Mohammad Ijaz and Justice Hamid Ali Mirza will be headed by Justice M
Javed Buttar. The court will start the hearing on daily basis starting May 7
along with all other similar petitions.
The proceedings of the Ranjha case were adjourned till May 12.
Advocate Ali Ahmad Kurd, a lawyer on the panel of defence counsel of the
CJP, was arrested in Quetta. Police had registered a case against him last
year for his involvement in violent incidents during Akbar Bugtis ghaibana


Minister Durrani said masses have rejected politics of hypocrisy.

Benazir said she was ready to be prime minister with Musharraf as president.
Opposition wanted to debate report of the ICJ on the reference against the
CJP. Ansar Abbasi reported that the government was losing its cool over
medias role in the ongoing judicial crisis.
On 29th April, Shujaat said general elections would be held in January
2008. Tariq Butt reported that the government feared that the crisis may
deepen if the CJP is restored. It may lead to imposition of martial law and
state of emergency.
More nightmarish for the coalition leaders is the fact that the apex
court bench would hold day to day hearing from May 7 and is likely to take
a week or so to conclude the proceedings if all goes well. There will be little
or no chances for the government lawyers to delay the judicial process.
However, they are going to raise objections to the bench.
Next day, Bar invited judges of LHC to the reception in honour of the
CJP. Pervaiz Elahi asked the federal government that the CJP should not be
allowed to travel to Lahore by road because of the security reasons. He
should travel by air.
Just before the arrival of lawyers from Lahore at district courts in
Rawalpindi, there was a bomb alarm. These lawyers, including a woman
lawyer, had marched on foot to show their solidarity with the CJP. Rasool
Bakhsh Paleejo filed a contempt of court petition against Musharraf and
Shaukat Aziz for summoning Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to the camp office on
9th March.
Hundreds of political workers were arrested across Punjab on 1 st May
on the eve of reference hearings. Musharraf decided to address a rally in
Islamabad on 12th May to demonstrate his public support.
Defence counsel of the CJP decided to argue under protest if the SJC
didnt restrain itself from continuing proceedings on the presidential
reference. Our contention to the SJC would be, let the Supreme Court
decide first whether the council has jurisdiction to carry out the inquiry;
whether the three judges whom we have objected should sit on the SJC etc.
Next day, the request of the defence counsel to stop hearing of the
reference pending decision of the Supreme Court was rejected by the SJC.


On request of Aitzaz Ahsan the SJC granted him more time asking him to
conclude his arguments by 11 a.m. on 3rd May.
The government sought full court hearing of the constitutional petition
of the CJP; initially the petitioner had requested the same but the
government had objected. Deputy Attorney General Afrasayab resigned in
protest. Secretary information hosted dinner for the journalists.
Thousands of political workers from towns and cities along GT Road
were arrested in preparation for the CJP traveling on 5 th May. President and
Prime Minister discussed law and order situation. Prime Minister ordered
full security for the CJP for his trip to Lahore.
Country-wide protests were held against the presidential reference and
lawyers boycotted the courts. All routes leading to Islamabad were blocked
by police starting from hundreds of miles away to stop political workers and
lawyers. Some lawyers in Peshawar rallied in support of Musharraf; the
provincial government blamed them for violence.
MNA Maulana Asad Ullah Khan was injured in scuffle with police
resulting when police tried to stop tractor trolley carrying water for
protesters. Similarly, a vehicle carrying food for lawyers was stopped by
police. The opposition walked out from the National Assembly after the
Speaker reserved the ruling on a privilege motion over injury to Maulana
On 3rd May, defence counsels request for adjournment for two weeks
was turned down. Aitzaz completed his arguments as ordered by the SJC,
but reserved the right to argue once the government panel completes its
arguments. Ranjha started his argument starting from the point of bias and
said defence counsels stand on this point amounted to contempt of court.
The SJC adjourned till 9th May.
The CJP submitted an application to the Supreme Court challenging
governments request for constitution of full bench saying that it maligns the
exercise of power by the acting chief justice and is inconsistent with
governments earlier stand.
Wasi Zafar in reply to a question about request for constitution of full
bench said, it is not a U-turn or W-turn or straight-turn; it is permitted under


the law. The government requested the CJP to travel by air to Lahore on 5 th
May for security considerations.
Protests continued on second consecutive day. Ten people, including
eight policemen were injured in a scuffle which took place when the lawyers
opened a closed gate for the CJP to enter the Supreme Court premises. The
police registered FIR against 14 lawyers. Deputy Attorney General of NWFP
resigned in protest over the reference against the CJP.

The protests of lawyers have certainly turned into a movement for
independence of judiciary and rule of law. Shafqat Mahmood analyzed some
aspects of the ongoing movement. The protests are refusing to die down. If
the government was hoping that the onset of summer and spread out
hearings of the reference would dampen the enthusiasm, it has once again
been proven wrong. Midnight raids and extensive arrests in all the major
cities have also had no impact. Not only have the demonstrations continued,
more people are participating in them than ever before.
The political parties have also begun to get their act together.
Though still divided by mutual suspicion, they are becoming more adept at
mobilizing their supportersthe surprise is the turnout of Imran Khans
Tehrik-e-Insaf. This party while still small has now placed itself on the
countrys political map thanks to the efforts of its leader.
The lawyers are of course at the forefront of this struggle led ably by
presidents of the bar associations and in particular by Muneer Malik of the
Supreme Court Bar. They have been joined by a number of civil society
groups and non-governmental organizations. Given their diverse interests
and varied membership base, one is tempted to call it a rainbow coalition.
Other nations have had their orange or purple revolution. Ours may well turn
out to be a rainbow revolution.
The lawyers of the chief justice have also distinguished themselves
with the dynamic and erudite Aitzaz Ahsan leading the defence. Through
their legal acumen, they have tied the Supreme Judicial Council in knots.
Now they have drafted an unprecedented petition in which the chief justice
has sought justice from his own court. Whatever the outcome of the


reference, this team has won a glorious place for itself in the struggle for
judicial independence.
It is obvious that the spark that lit the prairie fire has become a point
of convergence for a range of issues that gurgled within the national body
politic. The treatment meted out to the chief justice is the coalescing point
but the movement is sustained by impulses more intricate than that.
While an important motivation is a desire for General Musharraf to go, the
more deep-rooted stimulus is the reaction against militarys dominance of
the Pakistani state.
This visible in almost all the rallies spread out across the length and
breadth of the land. It is important to emphasize the widespread nature of the
movement because while the demonstrations are more visible in the
larger urban centres, they are no less robust in the smaller towns and
rural backwaters of the country.
The slogans that pepper these marches are indicative of the mood
that the people are in. While predictably they are in favour of Iftikhar
Mohammad Chaudhry and against Pervez Musharraf, the surprise is the
offensive invectives and colourful slogans reserved for the military.
The movement has become more pervasive and with a broader
agenda than just the restoration of a wronged chief justice. Even if by some
miracle or stark good sense, the government decides to withdraw the
reference against Justice Chaudhry, I dont see the movement dying
The issues being raised now are of far greater importance than
just judicial independence. The very fundamentals of our states power
structure are being questioned. This struggle has begun to emerge as the
most vital challenge to the arrangement that has governed the Pakistani state
since the late fifties.
The dictatorial action against the chief justice has become
catalyst for the release of pent up emotions. The reaction against
Musharraf and military rule is deeply felt and spontaneous. No one could
have planned these rallies and no one can sustain them without a deep sense
of hurt and alienation among a cross section of the people.


I dont think our military establishment is fully cognizant of what is

going on. There is a tendency within it to see the movement as a reaction to
tactical mishandling of the situation. The reality of adventurous might even
see it as a reaction to Pervez Musharrafs style of rule. It is unlikely that
there would be any real recognition that the fundamentals of our ruling
arrangements are being questioned Military domination of the state has
become unbearable.
Rahimullah Yusufzai observed that the visit of the CJP to Peshawar
added to the impetus of the movement. One had to be at the Peshawar High
Court premises to feel the kind of raw emotion that was on display the
day Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry came on a visit. Those present were
all fired up and ready to applaud anyone critical of the present set of rulers.
The mood was rebellious and for the first time in years one got the feeling
that frustration was giving way to hope.
Such a huge and spontaneous welcome could be the envy of any
politicians. Political parties and politicians in recent years have seen the
crowds dwindling at their public rallies and processions due to host of
reasons. Even popular parties and their leadership find it difficult to bring
people out of their homes and workplaces and the fear of getting exposed
forces them to hold public gatherings in crowded bazaars and squares rather
than in open spaces and parks.
Those who came to welcome Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry at
Taxila, Hasanabad, Attock, Jehangira and Nowshera on the way to Peshawar
or listen to him at the Peshawar High Court premises were on their own. It
wasnt a state or stage-managed show.
The lawyers-led protest campaign until now has highlighted
certain important issues. One is the growing support for the chief justice
from members of the judiciary. Initially, he was backed mostly by judges
from the lower judiciary Then judges of the superior courts started to
express their quiet support for him by welcoming him
The unprecedented unity in the ranks of the lawyers is another
noticeable aspect of the campaign to restore the dignity of the judiciary and
the rule of law in Pakistan. Since March 9, lawyers all over the country have
braved curbs and suffered physical discomfort and financial losses while
protesting the presidential action against the Chief Justice of Pakistan. Their
agitation is still going strong even though the weather is becoming

unbearably hot and the government has struck back by undertaking a

determined effort to lure lawyers to its side.
The government-sponsored lawyers rally in Islamabad in support of
the presidential reference has neutralized the argument hitherto advanced by
President Musharraf and his allies that the issue should not be politicized.
The issue was always a political in nature and has been further politicized by
both the opponents and supporters of the president one could, therefore,
expect lot of fireworks as the summer heats up.
Dr Farrukh Saleem was concerned over the apathy of judges of
superior courts. On March 9, the Chief Justice of Pakistan was made nonfunctional. On March 19, Justice Jawad Khawja of the Lahore High Court
resigned. The other ninety-eight judges of Pakistans superior courts stayed
out. Obviously, the system designed by the masters of our state is working
just fine; only one of the ninety-nine slipped through the filter. Surely, this
isnt a judicial crisis because ninety-eight judges havent moved, not
even an inch.
Babar Sattar urged Punjabi judges to show their guts. The
unanimous position taken by the superior judiciary of Sindh and NWFP
is an extremely powerful statement in favour of the principle of judicial
independence and against Musharraf regimes treatment of the CJ, for it
reflects the shared agony of the vanguards of our Constitution on how the
elementary principles of our fundamental law are being mutilated.
The CJ is now scheduled to visit Lahore and the position taken by
justices of the Lahore High Court will determine whether the legal
fraternitys movement for judicial independence is unanimous countrywide
or if Punjab continues to suffer the curse of appeasement. The response of
the Punjabi judiciary generates anxiety for various reasons. As a matter
of historical record members of the Punjabi judiciary are blamed for
complicity in authoring the doctrine of necessity, for exhibiting the
disturbing propensity to appease rulers of the day and succumbing to the
diktat of expediency.
Further, it is now public knowledge that the chief justice of Lahore
High Court is at daggers drawn with the chief justice of Pakistan.
Consequently a civil judge who dared to attend the CJs talk at the Lahore
High Court Rawalpindi bench building was suspended for her audacity to
take a public position in support of the CJ.

The argument that members of the superior judiciary should not take
position on the issue of suspension of the chief justice is disingenuous. The
weaker counter-argument is that all institutions show solidarity toward their
members: generals protect their officers and bureaucrats support their
colleagues, so why should judges remain neutral in face of an intrigue to
throw out their heads? The stronger argument however is that the fight of the
legal fraternity and the civil society is not just for the rights of one
The bottom line is that acquiescing in the treatment meted out to
the CJ by the Musharraf regime will do serious harm to the rule of law
and independence of judiciary in Pakistan. It is not that the CJ is
indispensable as an individual, but upholding the values and principles that
he stands for today is absolutely essential for the health of our nation and
polity and that is why the stakes of citizens in this judicial crisis are so high.
Propriety demands that justices of the Lahore High Court receive the
CJ when he visits Lahore, for he is still the Chief Justice of Pakistan. By not
extending him the courtesy due to a chief justice they will only reinforce the
cynical view that once the powers-that-be pronounce the fate of an
individual, it is carved in stone and cannot be undone
The question that many raise is this: why is Punjab always more
likely to falter when there is need to take a stand on matters of
principle? Is expediency a compulsion of power and given that Punjab has
larger share of such power necessarily makes the politics of Punjabis selfserving? Is there something about our sociological make-up that explains our
historical aversion to resist tyranny and bow to the whims of force? But then
in the present context how do you explain the unflinching position of
Punjabi lawyers?
We suffer from an inexplicable urge to appease those in positions of
authority. What is it that the Musharraf regime can do to persecute justices
who refuse to acquiesce and take silent positions to demonstrate their
support for the CJ? Can the general move presidential references against all
such judges to steal their robes? Is fear of reprisal not overstated?
If a majority of the Punjabi justices decide to grace the CJs talk in
Lahore with their presence, the support of the entire legal fraternity to the
cause of judicial independence will be complete and unequivocal It is
time our judges in Punjab suspend fear or considerations of favour and

free themselves and the rest of us from the shackles of expediency and
Adnan Rehmat identified promises for and perils of political parties
in the context of the movement. Promises: Revitalizes bigger parties ahead
of elections; recharges party workers; reconnects parties with voters; smaller
parties share the cake; and hits Musharraf where hurts the most. Perils:
Building a new hero at the expense of their leaders; takes away attention
from party-centric election issues; and the risk of making judiciary a bigger
pillar of the state.
Kamila Hyat discussed the lack of peoples participation in the
movement. Certainly, leaders of political parties expressed support, and
turned out outside the Supreme Court building in Islamabad as the first,
controversial hearings were held. But since then, the involvement of parties
has declinednotably the Pakistan Peoples Party, who could potentially
spearhead a campaign, appear though to have ventured away from the
epicenter of the crisis This is not a coincidence. The phenomenon has far
wider dimensions and goes to highlight the nature of the deep-rooted
political crisis the country faces today.
People gathered for rallies often stare out with eyes that seem dead.
In many cases they have simply complied with orders to attend the
gathering, or simply been herded into trucks and brought to the venue.
This as true for the PPP as for other parties, and a sad reminder of how much
the party has lost over the past two-and-a-half decades.
The reasons for this seem to form a vicious cycle. As leaders of the
party engaged in the deadening process of deal-making with the
establishment, people were left by the wayside. The fact that the real
power can come only through mass support, a fact that Bhutto
recognized, seems to have been lost A display of the tragic depths to
which a party that once inspired millions of people has sunk came recently
in Lahore, during the demonstration organized by the WAF.
People then, for political parties, seem to have lost relevance. The
veteran PPP workers who sometimes remind leaders of this have, on many
occasions, been turned away from meetings by armed guards. In the cafes of
Mozang and other areas with a strong PPP support-base, many gather to tell
tales of the past, and lament the decline that has taken place today.


With the PPP unwilling to lead people, it is perhaps not surprising

that lawyers have remained the focal point of the anti-government campaign
in the latest crisis. The MPL-N has been badly weakened by the
manipulations of the years since 1999; MMA is said to be suffering severe
internal friction and, at any rate, can never be relied on while Imran Khans
PTI can obviously provide only limited person power
This drifting away of people from political parties, and the resultant
sense of distance of people from national events, is possibly the most
grave crisis the nation faces today. While the methodical undermining of
parties, the sidelining of the leaders, the bars on allowing them freedom to
operate are factors in this, the parties too must be held accountable.
Ultimately, it is only by involving people that parties can gain any
real power. Otherwise they remain puppets in the hands of the establishment
unable to function until the stage is set, the correct scene built and the
strings pulled to play out a pre-written script.
The campaign initiated by lawyers against the ouster of the CJ and
the widespread sense of outrage this generated presented the perfect trigger
to ignite a larger movement. The fact that this has not happened
underscores the growing weakness of political forces not allied with the
government, and the consequent helplessness of a people who continue to
search for someone to show them the path out of their present state.
Sardar Ali Aman from Chitral made similar observation and
tauntingly suggested: The impoverished masses avoid such rallies
because they feel that unprincipled political parties would not bring
about any change in their lives. Nonetheless, ruling party, as well as the
religious parties has an edge over other organizations. It can force
government servants and the police and militia personnel to attend the
political meetings in civvies. Also, it has a free hand to spend millions of
rupees on its public meetings from the public exchequer
In order to overcome this problem of dwindling attendance at public
meetings, entrepreneurs skilled in political wheeling and dealing should
establish rent a crowd organizations across the country to provide
slogan-raising mobs to political parties on payment.
Ayesha Siddiqa pondered over the likely impact of the movement.
Many in Pakistan now imagine that winds of change have started to blow


which will alter the political scene. The expectation is that the military
general-president will finally have to concede power to some civilian
dispensation and allow the restoration of democracy.
A couple of years ago while doing interviews for my book, Military
Inc, I met a former army chief who is considered a great proponent of
democracy. During our discussion of civilian institutions the gentlemen
pointed towards the judiciary and basically suggested that the country had
been let down by the judiciary and that it has shown no gumption or strength
of character, which, can be found in the military. A couple years hence the
agitation on the streets seems to have proved the general wrong.
A glance at the political map shows that one might not expect too
many changes. What is certain that if the crisis continues at this pace and
the number of protestors grows, the ruling elite might decide to replace the
current regime with a new entity that would have come to power through
elections and is more acceptable to the players inside and outside the
Pakistans geo-political realities make it important for the world
which would not want a prolonged political and economic crisis in a state
with nuclear arms. This not to suggest that external powers will have a direct
hand in a political change in Pakistan, but that the elite will be more
sensitive of what the states external partners would prefer.
Nasim Zehra discussed wrote: The tendency of state power to rough
up its opponents is a common element in societies where state power is
exercised without reference to any legal, constitutional or moral framework.
Over the decades Pakistani rulers, whether military or civilian, have often
tended to use state power against opponents in a high-handed and
unconstitutional manner. State power has been used with no fear of
This high-handed use of state power has gone unchecked.
Pakistans political forces have not only been violators themselves but the
overall power scene in Pakistan has taught them that pragmatism is their
ultimate survival tool. Confronted by the armys perpetually threatening
presence as a self-appointed political godfather, Pakistans weak and
blundering mainstream political class has mostly forgotten movement
politics needed to promote principles, processes and institutions, as
enshrined in the countrys constitution.

Ironically, it was the high-handed and unconstitutional exercise of

state power by men in the presidents inner power circle that has led to a
movement that is questioning the fundamentals of how a state power is
abused in Pakistan. While it zooms in on the case of the CJ and related
issues, there is a broader canvas that this movement is bringing into
public focus. The inevitable corollary of this is the rolling back of all extraconstitutional power currently enjoyed by different institutions.
The broad canvas is focusing on the role of two institutions, the
judiciary and the army. For the first time in Pakistans history a nationwide movement of lawyers is building up seeking independence of the
judiciary and for upholding the Constitution. The movement is proving to be
a call to duty to Pakistans judiciary whose decades long history of acts of
submission laid the foundations of a mostly unrestrained, ad hoc, and selfserving Pakistani power culture.
The lawyers movement is also increasingly demanding that the army
quit Pakistani politics. Such a direct and growing challenge to Pakistan
Armys involvement in politics has perhaps never before been posed
This lawyers movement is now soberly seeking a return to constitutional
rule, the rule of law, in Pakistan. In doing, one of its key demands is to end
the rule of a uniformed president.
The lawyers movement is snowballing into a political movement.
The government may still be thinking it is a situation it can control. Instead
of having its multiple spokespersons argue why the CJs trial should not be
an open trial, why the reference was important, why President Musharraf
should be supported, why the politicians are taking advantage of this
movement etc, the government should have simply said it committed a
mistake in handling the reference against the CJ.
But this was not to be. There is hopeless poverty in Pakistans
power scene; poverty of wisdom or sobriety and of humility. The April
22 show-cause notice to a television channel for casting aspersions against
the judiciary and integrity of the armed forces of Pakistan and for running
programs that incite violence is yet another sign of this grave poverty In
yet another display of this poverty the government seems to have taken a
decision to enter the political fray on the issue of the chief justice. On April
24 the ruling party led a procession to the Supreme Court in support of
General Musharraf.


Increased pressure on the government may translate into increased

pressure on the media. But any move to muzzle media freedom will
backfire. The public including the professional classes and the political
classes all recognize the media as the source of the complete picture and of
the facts of the many explosive issues that Pakistans state, society and
politics face. The power of a responsible media is here to stay.
Ghazi Salahuddin observed: The edifice that President General
Pervez Musharraf had fabricated with generous foreign assistance and
dishonourable domestic transactions of a political kind is finally cracking
up. Irrespective of how the leading political parties play their cards, this
process appears to be irreversible.
I gathered a substantial load of information and speculation, with
some useful insights into what is happening at different levels. But it is still
very difficult to make sense of the national drift. This is how it should be
when the rulers begin to lose control and derelictions of the recent past
begin to come home to roost.
It goes to Shujaats credit that he led a stick-wielding crowd of
lawyers and supporters of the ruling Muslim League in front of the
Supreme Court on Tuesday. According to reports, he did this under orders
from Musharraf. There is so much noise about the media, particularly
electronic media, being free and highly critical of the government. A great
story was missed by our channels when they did not trace the antecedents of
the pro-government protesters.
Irrespective of these political shenanigans of the officialdom, the
irony of the ruling party staging a protest rally after accusing the
opposition of politicizing the judicial crisis is ominous. Does it predict an
eventual violent confrontation in the streets? Or was it merely a quixotic
attempt to repair their own confidence in the face of so many obvious
The continuation of the present crisis can be disastrous for the
country, is present to all thinking Pakistanis. But they may have serious
doubts about the ability of the present rulers to think and to take the
necessary corrective steps. Pakistan at present is placed in a very critical
situation. The president, however, can greatly contribute to the resolution of
the crisis by reading the writing on the wall.


There is still a lot of 2007 to go. We are in the initial days of a long,
hot summer. We have this adage that in politics a lot can happen in a week.
Such is the pace of events that we may have to wait until the end of
December to find at least some answers to our flaming political questions.
Nasim Zehra opined: The establishment appears to have lost
management and control of the situation. No scripts are being accepted
and obeyed. For example, reports indicate that names of three judges that
were suggested for inclusion in the expanded Supreme Court bench that has
been constituted to hear the Chief Justice of Pakistans (CJP) petition against
the presidential reference have been excluded.
The three opportunities that existed for damage limitation were
botched. The first was of not interfering in the peacemaking mission that
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain led to the CJPs residence on March 9, instead
the police arrived to remove the CJPs cars with forklift trucks while Shujaat
was requesting the CJP to agree to some settlement.
The second was that the president could have publicly apologized for
the polices misbehaviour with the Chief Justice. And the third was that the
governments representatives could have openly stated that the government
has no objection to an open trial.
Now it is a slippery path on which the Musharraf government
treads with regard to the CJP case. Alongside this crisis there are of course
other broader questions of Pakistans politics that are also seeking answers.
For example, what is the transition process from this army-engineered
democracy to credible democracy? If and who will elect General Musharraf
for another term as president? Will there be a deal between PPP and the
The lawyers movement faces many risks. And there are two risks
that will especially threaten the original cause of establishing the
independence of the judiciary and rolling back of all influence that other
institutions, including the executive or the army, has attempted to exert on
the judiciary. The first one is being hijacked by politicians pushing for
Musharrafs removal at all costsThe second risk is of the lawyers growing
passion and weakened reasoning, which is calling for the withdrawal of the


While the lawyers are within their constitutional rights to hold

peaceful rallies calling for a fair trial, their impassioned demands calling
for withdrawal of the reference etc are illogical. They defeat the purpose
of ensuring the functioning of an independent judiciary and of rule of law.
If the lawyers movement proceeds responsibly it will be the first
time that we will witness within Pakistan the limits of state power, of danda
power and of manipulation. Most importantly it will be the setting of limits
to these unconstitutional, covert and unaccountable powers not by
violent politics but indeed by a movement that is pushing for that powerful
and intangible phenomenon upon which the foundations of compassionate
and humane societies are built. This is the phenomenon of the rule of law as
embedded in the Constitution of Pakistan.
Imtiaz Alam observed: Strangely enough, the government decided
not to let the lawyers movement for an independent judiciary and rule of
law mingle with the Hafsa students vigilante to enforce Sharia. How nave it
may sound coming from a government dedicated to enlightenment, but in
fact conceding grounds to the extremist clerics of Lal Masjid and stretching
its writ against those demanding strengthening of liberal-constitutional
institutions. The movements of black coat and black burqa present two
diametrically opposed ideological poles of contemporary battle of ideas
in Pakistan.
The bar has, for the first time in the history of democratic
struggle in Pakistan, set a liberal constitutional direction for the
democratic movement to follow. Such is the universal appeal of the bars
struggle for the supremacy of the Constitution and independent judiciary that
even those parties in the opposition, such as the MMA, who do not
ideologically subscribe to the framework of liberal constitutionalism and
fundamental rights have also been forced to jump on the bandwagon.
Why does the liberal Benazir Bhutto refuse to join forces with the
religious right (MMA)? That is the most interesting question. Knowing well
that the mullahs are not committed to democracy and are, rather, committed
to the enforcement of Sharia and support forced Talibanization of society,
she is reluctant to join hands with them.
Paradoxically, the state under General Musharraf is not acting against
those who are forming mini-states within state and is, ironically, fighting
against those who are out on the streets to strengthen the institutions, such as

judiciary, of the very state President Musharraf is presiding. The question is

what has made the state trip on the wrong foot? It is in fact the
authoritarian self-interest of the rulers, not the enlightened self-interest of
the state that has placed the state on the wrong foot.
In its most logical sense, the state should have welcomed the black
coats on the streets demanding the independence of judiciary, which is
important as an arbiter of a law-based state. And in its enlightened selfinterest, the state must have acted against those challenging its writ in every
nook and corner of its sovereign jurisdiction. But things have gone astray,
so has the state.
Fahad Marwat from Islamabad wrote, some say the government is
prolonging the Jamia Hafsa issue deliberately to divert peoples attention
from the crisis surrounding the Chief Justice of Pakistan. From the look of
things, this may well be not far from the truth since the government does not
seem the least bit interested in resolving the issue with clerics, and keeps on
repeating that the matter will be resolved amicably If the government does
so, we will not only feel safe but also acknowledge the credibility of our
rulers who are so eager to solve the Palestine and Kashmir issue.
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar was of the view that a somewhat comfortable
pattern of contained protests and negotiations within ruling circles has
been established, and it would be fair to say that while the government is
far from secure, it is content in the knowledge that the various forces of
opposition to it, including political parties and lawyers, have instigated as
much unrest as they possibly could (or in the case of some parties, as much
as suits them). That is of course, if there is no unexpected twist in the tale.
After all, the government surely did not expect the kind of spontaneous
mobilization it has encountered.
That there is a frenzy of negotiations taking place in the corridors of
power is testament to the highly fluid state of affairs at the present time.
Clearly the internal contradictions of the establishment have yet to be
resolved. Nonetheless, if a deal is concluded, eight weeks of expectations
would be shattered and the disillusionment felt by many ordinary Pakistanis
as regards the political process would be depressingly confirmed.
Lest one believe that the recent developments in the Jamia Hafsa and
Lal Masjid saga in Islamabad are unrelated to the current impasse about the
modalities of sharing power within the upper echelons of the state, all of the

evidence both solid and circumstantial points to a very real connection

between the two issues The standoff in Islamabad simply reflects the
long-standing links that the establishment has cultivated with the religious
Over the past two decades, all mainstream parties in Pakistan have
been complicit in reinforcing the oligarchic power equation that persists
in Pakistan, in refusing to challenge the insidious patronage politics that
pervades society, and in not having the courage to undermine the national
security paradigm that underlies the militarys power. The PPP is scarcely
any different.
In the present climate, with the spectre of the religious rights
growing power and historic links to the establishment continuing to haunt all
progressive forces, there is a case to be made for collective struggle on a
two-point agenda. For better and worse, the PPPs role in coming weeks
will largely determine how effective such a collective struggle may be
If it repeats its past mistakes, which include relying on the largesse, of
American imperialism rather than building a domestic constituency for
change, the Pakistani people and a democratic future will be the biggest
The News commented on Shujaat-led rally on 24the April. One
wonders what could have led the government to stage its own rally in
support of its own actions. This is not usually the norm since rallies and
protests are thought to be the prerogative of the political opposition not
the party in power.
Another interesting thing to note from Tuesdays counter-rally was
the presence of several ministers who spoke in favour of the government and
the president. This is in sharp contrast to the early days of the whole CJ
crisis when, apart from the law minister and the information minister, no
member of the cabinet seemed willing to come forth and speak on public
record on the issue. In fact, it was the PML-Q chief himself who had been
widely quoted several weeks ago as saying that the whole matter was
between the judiciary and the military indicating that this was something
better left for these two respective institutions to deal with.
One wonders what has caused this change of heart and strategy. Does
this have something to do with General Musharrafs purported deal with
Benazir Bhutto? Clearly, the PML-Q chief and his close confidantes may

have the most to lose if this arrangement actually materializes because one
of the demands reportedly made by the PPP is that the establishment allow it
to form a government in Punjab as well. Or is this part of its new approach
to aggressively counter dissent, much like the notice that the governments
electronic media regulator has served on a private television channel. All this
does not bide well for the future because the last thing that the
government needs on its hands is another confrontation.
Shahzada Irfan Ahmed reported on governments attitude towards the
media. Frustration of the government over the judicial crisis and its failure
to prevent its embarrassing coverage on the electronic media must have been
responsible for this drastic measure last week. The notice was served soon
after the channel had given live coverage to the address of the Chief Justice
of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry to Peshawar High Court Bar
This act on the part of PEMRA was condemned widely by media
organizations, lawyers bodies, human rights organizations, politicians and
others. All of them demand PEMRA to withdraw this notice and refrain
from depriving the masses from their right to know the truth. While
PEMRA remained unmoved, came the suspension order by the Sindh High
Though it appears that Aaj TV has survived this assault on media
freedom, rights organizations have increased the pressure on the government
to preempt such acts in future. Media Commission Pakistan Chairman I A
Rehman has termed the charges mentioned in the impinged notice vague
and meaningless.
President Supreme Court Bar Association Munir A Malik tells TNS
that under the Constitution, all laws inconsistent with or in derogation
of fundamental rights are void. He terms PEMRA action violative of the
right of freedom of speech.
Dr Ghayur Ayub from London observed that Musharraf has not
grasped the situation as yet. Two recent headlines merit our attention. The
first was Democrats are politicizing troops issue, says Bush and the second
was the opposition is politicizing CJP issue, says Musharraf. What a
commonality between the two friends. Something else is common between
them the decline in their popularity. The only difference is that the former
knows about his decline and the latter hasnt grasped it yet.

Burhanuddin Hasan wrote, Musharrafs foreign trip at a time

when the country is facing a serious crisis is nothing new in this country.
Several Pakistani heads of state before him took refuge in state visits to
foreign countries whenever they came under intense pressure due to internal
Governments move to throw spanner of deal with PPP succeeded in
distracting the attention away from the crisis as could be ascertained from
the time and space devoted to its coverage by electronic media and press
respectively. Almost every analyst said a few words about this deal and
others specially focused on it. Distraction, however, is a temporary gain.
Mir Jamilur Rahman wrote: What Benazir Bhutto wants from a
deal with President Musharraf? First, clean elections with level playing
field. Second, she would insist for the post of the Prime Minister in case she
gets enough seats to form the government. Third, cases against her and Asif
Zardari be withdrawn or consigned to the cold storage for they were
politically motivated and have been lingered on for over a decade. Fourth,
she would like caretaker governments in centre and provinces with broadest
What President Musharraf expects from a deal with Benazir
Bhutto? First, he will be a winner if the party with the largest vote bank
comes aboard. Second, the PPP could give a great boost to his policies of
enlightenment and modernity. Third, it will greatly enhance his and
Pakistans image if Ms Bhutto is allowed to take part in elections. Fourth, if
he is so much in love with his uniform and wants its public acceptance, Ms
Bhutto possesses the talent and strength to mollify the public sentiments on
this issue.
Nawaz Sharif stands to gain if the deal comes through. If Benazir
Bhutto is allowed to contest elections and lead her partys campaign, then
how could he or his brother Shahbaz Sharif be stopped from coming to
In a subsequent analysis he added to his above observations.
Musharraf would not be the first military dictator to strike a deal with a
political party, and the Pakistan Peoples Party would not be the first
political party to enter into a deal with a military dictator. So what is the big
deal? It has happened before, it may be happening now and God forbid
it will happen in future too.

Why would Benazir Bhutto want a working arrangement (deal)

with President Musharraf even at the cost of her credibility? First, she
wants an undiluted democracy. Second, she wants to ensure clean elections
and her participation in them full force. Third, she wants peaceful transfer of
power from the army to the people. Fourth, she sees a committed soldier in
President Musharraf who wants to subdue Talibanization. Fifth, she does not
want a violent end to Musharrafs government, which will shrink the
political space for the moderate parties. Sixth, she wants the PPP to claim its
rightful place in the political structure of the country.
Musharraf has his own reasons for finding a working
arrangement with the PPP, which had polled the highest number of votes in
the last elections. He realizes that the PML-Q, the party he has nourished
and sustained for nearly five years, has failed him in his fight against
extremism and Talibanization.
It is still not certain whether the deal would go through. Nevertheless,
it would bode well if President Musharraf and Ms Bhutto come to some
reasonable arrangement. She will not become a collaborator of the enemy
by establishing a working relationship with President Musharraf.
M Saleem Chaudhry from USA wrote, Benazir Bhutto, thinking
herself to be too smart and shrewd, attempted to trigger some positive
response from Musharraf through her interview to Sunday Times saying
that her team mates are looking for confidence-building measures before
concluding some kind of deal, of course in the best interest of the country.
Prompt came the public statement from President Musharraf: No deal, no
alliance, Im not going to don off my uniform till elections, to deflate
Benazirs game plan.
Ms Bhutto and her supporters can put up a smart face by claiming
they are negotiating all the necessary concessions to ensure a healthy
civil/military balance and preconditions for free and fair elections, but they
have to understand that its not pumpkin-headed Nawaz Sharif they are
dealing with but a shrewd commando. But this time the charm of the socalled daughter of the East is not going to work much.
Ibaad Hakim from London wrote, I had the pleasure of listening to
Benazir Bhutto at the London School of economics. It was interesting to see
amongst current students and fellow alumni a coterie of her supporters
applaud everything she said regardless of its content. The speech was

nothing more than a lesson in Islam and history of Pakistan, which, dare I
say, added nothing to my existing knowledge.
It would be interesting to note that she spoke for 45 minutes and
did not even once mention the name of General Pervez Musharraf. I was
shocked that his name was missing from her analysis of The current
political situation in Pakistan. However, not only this but a lot more was
missing from her analysis.
If there was any doubt in my mind about a suspected deal it was
removed yesterday. Ms Bhutto did or said nothing to suggest otherwise and
it seemed obvious that even if there wasnt a deal at that point in time she
was making sure she said nothing that would affect the chances of there
eventually being one. A friend mentioned that the front row was occupied by
half of the next cabinet in Pakistan.
What disappointed me further was her side-stepping of all probing
questions asked her about the impending deal. A person with intellectual
integrity and such brilliant academic credentials would have taken the
questions head on and given straight answers. That is the least we expect of
our leaders. There is no doubt that if there were a deal it would be a
disappointment. I would like to ask her how she would justify letting down
Pakistanis who believe in democracy for the third time.
Bashir Malik from Islamabad viewed it differently. If Benazir Bhutto
speaks for democracy and against military rule she is ignored by the media
wizards. If however she chooses to remain silent she is accused of softening
towards a deal with the rulers. Why is it that some media gurus consider her
silence more newsworthy than her speech? Is it not a willful campaign of
disinformation and media trial of the PPP leader?
B A Malik from Islamabad observed that it is part of the rulers
strategy to divide the opposition. While both sides have clearly denied the
existence of any such deal or understanding at the highest level, the planted
story refuses to go off the front page. In my opinion if a deal means to share
power with the present set of rulers, PPP cannot commit suicide by falling
into trap laid by elements traditionally opposed to the politics of principles.
It is hard to believe that Benazir Bhutto will sacrifice her decades of
democratic struggle by accepting an arrangement wherein she and her party
play the second fiddle. The purpose of the deal story is apparently to


divide the opposition assembled under the banner of the Charter of

Time has come to talk in terms of principles rather than deals
and underhand compromises. The guidelines outlined by the Chief Justice
of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in his addresses before the bar
associations of the country can become the rules or principles of the game.
Instead of confusing the nation our rulers should go for the rule of law
defined by the independence of the judiciary, free and fair elections under a
caretaker government set up by consensus. The army should seriously and
urgently consider leaving politics to politicians who have the right to make
and correct mistakes.
Over indulgence in the debate on a deal which does not exist shows
political bankruptcy of the nations opinion makers. Let us commit ourselves
to the path of democracy and development instead of making mountains out
of molehills. The nation needs a healing touch of values and principles A
country fed on disinformation can survive for a while but it cannot go
on forever, disinformation is a weapon of mass destruction that should be
Dr Masooda Bano discussed deals impact on the movement.
Pakistanis in general have had enough of General Musharrafs government
and are ready for a change the interest with which the lawyers movement
and proceedings of the chief justices case are still being followed in
Pakistani households is a testimony to this. People for sure want change.
After all, what has the current government offered the public?
What is saving the government from tipping is not its own good
deeds, but the fact that no one seems clear as to what will be the ideal
scenario in the post-Musharraf phase. Out of the political parties, which are
actively supporting the lawyers right now, the options are limited.
The PPP continued negotiations with the military government and
Benazirs open admission of it is clearly very damaging to the movement
currently building up to cut the army to size. The united stance of the PTI,
MMA, and the PML-N not to negotiate with the army is critical right now
because it shows a clear vision of not tolerating the continued military
intervention in the running of the state. This spirit is critical because only
this commitment gives the impression to the public that the politicians have

Therefore, when the PPP goes ahead and carries on negotiations

with the military and also shows willingness to strike a deal, it not only risks
damaging its own popularity but that of the entire democratic process.
People are then reminded that these parties are all for opportunistic politics
and are untrustworthy. This is the last thing the country needs.
It is, therefore, difficult to appreciate why a leading party, especially
one which is known and supported for its strong position against militarys
involvement in politics, should negotiate with the government and weaken
the position of the united opposition at a time when public sentiment is ripe
for a change. There are only two logical explanations that seem plausible.
One, Benazir is keen to get the cases against her and her husband
dropped. Two, the party leadership is working to keep the US happy.
What the PPPs leadership needs to realize is that right now building
credibility on the very notion of the political parties is more important
than safeguarding vested interests of ones own party mainly because the
people are so disenchanted with the political system that they will very
quickly lose this newly found faith in the removal of military from the
government. In case of PPP, what is most disappointing is that the senior
PPP leadership seems to be accepting orders from Dubai.
One lesson that the political leaders must learn from Justice
Iftikhar Chaudhrys case is that the public is keen to find credible people,
i.e. people who are willing to take position. Justice Chaudhry was not the
ultimate justice but he did dare to give some relief to people and took some
independent decisions to safeguard public interest All one needs is to
demonstrate some commitment to ones position and the public is keen to
trust. Pakistan right now presents a fertile land for the birth of a real political
Babar Sattar was of the view that the PPP can either work with the
military government in determining the political landscape of the country in
2007 and beyond, or fight against the regime to restore meaningful
democracy and civilian government. If Bhutto decides to go the former
route, she will put the PPP in a position as compromising as the rag-tag
PML-Q, PPP Patriots or other defectors. Infamy doesnt become kosher
when practiced by political parties as opposed to individuals.

It has been suggested that the PPP and the general have an
ideological convergence of interests. Their politics is that of centre-left and


thus liberal, they have a shared vision on the role of religion in the state and
on fighting extremism as also reflected by their voting in unison on the
Woman Rights Law. But the PPP has been crying hoarse for the last eight
years that rise of extremism in Pakistan is not despite the generals
policies, but due to them.
The question is how her jumping onto the generals bandwagon
furthers the cause of moderation, liberalism and tolerance in Pakistan. If the
Musharraf Regime has directly or indirectly instigated forces of
obscurantism, will joining hands with such a regime not legitimize its
politics? Is shared liberal orientation on urban lifestyle an ample basis for a
joint fight against fanaticism and likely to mechanically address the
institutional, political and economic causes of religious intolerance in the
state and the society?
If you are tolerant, you tend to be tolerant in all facets of life i.e. in
your political, social, religious and economic outlook. Selective liberalism
tends to be self-serving, edges closer to bigotry and produces ugly results.
Social and cultural liberalism alone is not an ideological approach, but a
lifestyle choice. Such selective practice has further provoked the fears of
conservatives in Pakistan without offering any benefits to the society at
The other excuse (more of an apology really) for a BhuttoMusharraf deal is that such arrangement will further the cause of
democracy in Pakistan. If working with the general is the preferred approach
to strengthen democracy in the near-term, why did Bhutto ink the muchtrumpeted Charter of Democracy
The affliction of Pakistans democracy has been a lopsided
institutional development and civil military power imbalance. The military
is more powerful and resourceful than all other civilian institutions and
organs of the state put together. This enables the military to control civilian
institutions, political processes and democracy either directly or from behind
the curtain.
Ordinary people of this country stand bewildered watching political
shenanigans unfold and wondering what are the compulsions of power that
disable fellow citizens from functioning as decent people of integrity when
in politics. They also wonder why those exhibiting integrity despite being in
politics are so beholden to their party heads to be inconsequential in

decision-making process. Can Aitzaz Ahsan or Raza Rabbani please

explain to Bhutto that ends dont justify means?
M B Naqvi commented, the first question is: who needs a deal most?
Many assert that it is Benazir Bhutto who is desperate for a deal with
Musharraf. The reasons for this are well-known: she is anxious that
corruption cases against her in the Swiss court should not be pursued, the
sentence pronounced on her in absentia should not be implemented and she
should be allowed to return to participate in politics and run the election
campaign of the Pakistan Peoples Party
From another viewpoint, it is Musharraf who happens to be in
trouble and needs substantial political help in his present predicament.
What is the predicament? It is the judicial crisis he created by taking the
ham-handed actions against the Chief Justice and mistakes committed
Musharraf is lucky that the opposition parties are so badly
divided and that the largest mainstream party, the PPP, is ready to serve
office under the uniformed president and the deformed Constitution as it
stands now. This master statute subordinates the whole elected system to the
pleasure of the president. Even otherwise any ruler would be happy to
receive additional political support that the PPP appears to be supporting.
The real question is what will the deal do? Quite a few assessments
have been made; the first is that it is unlikely to stop the slide in the
presidents popularity; and the incumbency factor is gaining momentum.
Then, it cannot resolve the judicial crisis one way or the other. And this
judicial crisis is the immediate problem for Musharraf The thought
occurs: the dynamics of the legal fraternitys agitation and its inherent
possibilities will not be affected by Ms Bhuttos strengthening the military
controlled regime.
The relations with America have always been a keystone of
Pakistans foreign policy, although there is some recent propaganda that
Pakistan can very well do without American aid and if America is
disillusioned with the Musharraf regime, let it withhold aid if it wants to.
But one cannot help commenting that Pakistan has always found the
aid to have strings attached and has always gone along as much as it could in
the past, including the recent past. But now that a unilateral break from other


side looms, this kind of propaganda may be making a virtue of necessity.

The fact is, and let no politically aware person ignore it, the kind of
American aid is and the way it is disbursed has been manna for Pakistans
elite classes Even the Americans know it.
This is something that the PPP should be concerned with because she
may be joining a ship that is adrift and risks sinking. On her part, she is
the staunchest pro-American politician in Pakistan and she should know
what she is doing by joining Musharraf: Americans may or may not like to
bolster the military regime. But it is quite possible that injection of the PPP
into a seriously amended Musharraf system might make the latter more
acceptable to the Americans in the short run. She can be trusted more than
The fact that Ms Bhutto will be discrediting herself by joining the
Musharraf regime when it is at its weakest is a matter which she should be
the best judge of, whether her political stature will go up or down is what
she has to examine. But, more than that, the PPP would be dealt a heavy
blow by this betrayal of the ordinary worker who has been brought up on
rhetoric of democracy and opposition to dictatorship.
By deserting the opposition ranks in todays conditions, Ms
Bhutto will be leaving the field to the MMA and the PML-N, both of
which have used ambiguous Islamic rhetoric, the former substantially than
the latters rather vacuous slogans. If the agitation of the lawyers and an
anti-dictatorship campaign by the opposition parties goes ahead
simultaneously, the ultimate beneficiary would be the MMA.
Finally a word about the deals possible terms: PPP loyalists still
believe that Ms Bhutto cannot accept this Musharraf Constitution and the
President in uniform being elected by outgoing Assemblies or another 2002like election. She will insist on scrapping the Article 58 (2) (b). Musharraf
can be ready to accept such terms; would he have done what they did on
March 9 in the Army House? He seems still determined to implement his
known programme. The only likely deal is for Benazir to cooperate with the
PML-Q and MQM.
Some people have started talking against the movement initiated by
the lawyers. A R Kazimi from Karachi wrote: If the president had
exonerated done otherwise, these very people who are now out on the streets
would have accused him of favouritism. They would have said that the

election this year would be rigged with full support of the chief justice. The
opposition parties are saying that the government is responsible for the
present crisis. In fact it is the lawyers and political parties who are
responsible for the present situation. The opposition is asking the
president to step down They say theyll give us democracy. Have they
come to the present assemblies and the Senate through undemocratic
Jawaria Samiya Siddiqui from Karachi observed: Lawyers are still
boycotting courts. But this is not affecting the government in anyway. In fact
the people are the only ones suffering, especially those who are waiting for
the hearing of their cases in the courts for days, months and even years. The
government should resolve this issue as soon as possible. One shouldnt
agree with the statement that sufferings of the people do not affect the
government in any way. Only those rulers are not affected who place their
interests before the interests on the people.
Ijaz Tabassam from Kuala Lumpur appealed to lawyers, now please
come to the courts as your absence in the name of strikes is hurting nobody
but common man. Already, our courts are so slow in delivering justice.
Everybody has the right to protest but it should not exceed the limits.
M S Hasan criticized the CJP for addressing the bars. Without getting
into the merits or demerits of the reference against the chief justice, the
wisdom or foolhardiness of the government, it is sad to see the nonfunctional chief justice being willingly hijacked, manipulated and letting
his suspension being exploited by the politicians by playing to the gallery
and traveling from one city to the other in a motorcade, being driven and
spearheaded by an opposition member of the National Assembly sitting next
to him and waving victory signs on his way, while blocking the traffic from
Islamabad to Peshawar; so much for respect of the rule of law and dignity of
the office of the chief justice.
Nosheen Saeed was of the view that the judicial crisis is the result of a
conspiracy by the CJP and PPP. In the process two prestigious institutions
are being openly maligned namely the Judiciary and the Armed Forces. As
a patriotic citizen of Pakistan, I have a duty to perform; the masses must
know the truth and judge for themselves the reality of the situation.
The definition of Conspiracy is activity of a group that by a joint
collaboration seeks to accomplish an unlawful purpose or to accomplish a

lawful purpose by unlawful means. Since they are banded together to

achieve some harmful or illegal purpose, (especially a political plot) they are
in reality working against the interests of the community and the country.
It goes without saying that the PPP-P has been unable to generate a
popular movement against Musharraf because of its past track record of
disappointments, scandals of corruption and misuse and abuse of authority.
To improve her image back home Benazir was desperately seeking a
course of action against Musharrafs leadership. The party had to launch
a movement against him, before the elections to pressurize Musharraf into a
power sharing arrangement.
In an unusual move, Benazir hired a top lobbying firm in
Washington for six months at a cost of $250,000 to nudge the Bush
Administration into backing free elections in Pakistan. Its a $28,500 a
month contract till the end of June 2007 with the PR group
Benazir wrote a Washington Post Op-ed in March promoting her
democracy agenda and questioning the Bush Administrations backing of a
military junta that promoted terrorism. This explains the burgeoning articles
by various US think tanks, the Op-eds targeting Musharraf and presenting a
doomsday scenario in Pakistan and statements emanating from US Senators
and the Commonwealth; all stratagems or means to gain an end.
Since months the judicial over activism of my Lord the Chief
Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry and charges of corruption, misuse and
abuse of power and his display of arrogance towards lawyers and brother
judges was being discussed by all and sundry and what was most interesting
to note was that eminent lawyers linked to PPP-P were in the forefront,
narrating their own experiences and the victimization of government
officials and their colleagues.
Naeem Bokhari was encouraged by many of his colleagues of the
legal profession to write an open letter to Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry. Not surprising was the fact that in the forefront were prominent
lawyers of PPP-P lending support to Naeem Bokhari, who have now
conveniently ditched him and turned into defenders of the Judiciary.
Interestingly, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry who had been a party to a
number of rulings that provided a legal cover to Musharraf including the
Supreme Court decision that legitimized his 1999 take over and another


upholding the 2002 referendum that installed him as President on becoming

the head of Pakistans judiciary in 2005 started issuing a number of
rulings against the government agenda of development such as, New
Murree Project, cancellation of Pakistan Steel Mills privatization All his
judgments were gracefully accepted by the government and complied upon,
upholding the integrity and the independence of the judiciary.
According to a senior law expert it was the inquiry of his son Dr
Arsalan Iftikhar Chaudhry, over charges of corruption and misuse of power
that made the Chief Justice furious enough to lead to actions prejudicial
to the dignity of office of the Chief Justice. He tried to intimidate the
Executive and to undermine its role in spite of the fact that each organ of the
state has constitutionally assigned roles and each must respect the functions
of the other. But it seemed that the Chief Justice was adamant to breach the
thin line dividing the judiciary and the Executive. Nosheen claims that it
was not Musharraf who attacked independence of judiciary but the CJP who
was the first to attack the Executive.
According to BBC, Chaudhry told trainee military officers in
February that, in his opinion, General Musharraf couldnt continue as army
chief beyond his present term as President. Even such remarks were ignored
by the establishment. On another occasion he told a gathering of senior
Pakistan Air Force officials last January that suo moto action in various
cases of poor governance and corruption exposed the level of institutional
failure of the state machinery. When a judge avoids ruling on what is in the
Constitution by ruling on something that isnt, however, you know
something political is afoot.
There will continue to be speculation about what motivated the Chief
Justice to say and do all the things that he did The way the Chief Justice
is now willingly allowing his suspension to be manipulated, politicized
and exploited by the legal fraternity and the political parties by traveling
all over the country portraying himself as a hero and being driven by Aitzaz
Ahsan, member of the opposition PPP-P waving victory signs shows clearly
that he is playing to the galleries, for his own benefit.
The lawyers protesting on the streets are victims of political
manipulation. Our political parasites are misleading them for their own
benefit. Doesnt it surprise them that those who are making a big deal of the
CJs suspension are the politicians; that they are orchestrating the collapse of
Pakistans legal system. The people should be celebrating the fact that

finally someone had the guts to take on someone at the top. With elections
round the corner for Musharraf to send the reference to the SJC must have
been the most difficult decision but he took it to enforce checks and balances
in the system for the common goal of the good of the people. It was Shaukat
Aziz who took the decision; Musharraf was under obligation to send it to the
SJC. Did she mean that Musharraf had ordered Shaukat to prepare a
reference and send it across?
The ones misleading the masses today are the Machiavellians of
the previous government who used the Supreme Courts benches to take
vengeance on opponents, to silence opposition leaders and to uphold their
sitting governments decisions. They have intimidated, undermined and
attacked previous Chief Justices to exercise their independence.
Aitzaz Ahsans condescending attitude towards the judges of the
SJC is shocking, calling them biased and expressing no confidence in three
members of the SJC and telling one of the honourable judges that he has
trust in Allah but not him. Those who are resigning, rioting and protesting
outside the Supreme Court are the ones who have no respect for the law, and
have no trust in Judiciary. A difficult problem requires cool heads and smart
thinking not emotions and hysterics. We need to realize that and make a
course correction.

The unity of the lawyers demonstrated in their movement for
independence of the judiciary has been unprecedented. The bar has remained
actively engaged in pursuing its objective in and outside the court. The
bench, however, remains indecisive and so far it has shown limited solidarity
with the bar which, in fact, is fighting for the cause of the bench.
Unity of the bar has been mainstay of its struggle. The establishment
has been trying hard to break this unity but so far it has not succeeded. As
long as the lawyers remain united their struggle can sustain itself for
indefinite period.


Other segments of the society have preferred to remain silent, despite

disapproving the naked aggression of the Executive against the Judiciary.
The causes of disillusion of the majority are multiple. The experience of the
past tells the people that a change, no matter how bright it was painted, has
ever brought a meaningful change in their lives. Every change has been
continuation of status quo under different name and leadership.
All the leaders of the opposition have been tested in the past more
than once; each one of them has been a complete disappointment for the
masses. This causes hesitation in taking sides even on pressing issues. In
short there is a critical crisis of leadership in Pakistan.
Resultantly, political parties have failed in availing the opportunity of
judicial crisis to turn it into a popular movement for restoration of genuine
democracy. Their failure to do so is because of their own deeds, as said
above: The people no more trust them.
The division within opposition has hampered the presentation of a
united front which could pose a meaningful challenge to the dictatorial
regime. The disunity has been further accentuated by the talk of a deal with
the largest political party in the opposition. The deal talk has also starkly
exposed the selfish motives of the political leaders. Therefore, the chances of
lawyers movement turning into a popular movement are bleak unless the
events take an unexpected turn.
The government seemed to have absorbed the initial shock of its own
folly of attacking the independence of the judiciary. The sanity demanded
that having withstood the shock, which had not been anticipated on 9 th
March, the rulers should have initiated some damage-control measures.
But sanity and dictatorship have very little room to accommodate each
other. Having absorbed the shock, the rulers preferred to launch counteroffensive. On 24th April, Shujaat under orders from the team captain led a
pro-Helmet rally in Islamabad. This was as big a folly as initiating a
reference against the CJP. It could have led to street fighting in the seat of
their power base.
The government also seemed regretting its decision to grant freedom
of speech in the context of electronic media. It continued to harass various
channels, which by mere live coverage of some events, were pulling the
pants of the rulers down. Resultantly, the government committed another


folly by issuing a show-cause notice to Aaj TV. It will only cause more
embarrassment to the government.
The events mentioned above, and those not mentioned, indicate that
Musharraf would go to any extent to perpetuate his rule. The dictators
seldom give up voluntarily because of their lust for power, but in case of
Musharraf it has become a necessity.
He knows that he cannot survive for long without the protection
presently provided to him as the head of the state. He also knows the reason
that by joining the Crusades against Muslims he has created an array of
enemies who have and would attempt to kill him. Once he steps down, his
days will be numbered because even a less meticulously planned attempt on
his life would have more chances of success.
Therefore, he would go to any extent to perpetuate his rule. He turned
back on his words on doffing uniform earlier and would go back on what he
has been saying about Benazir for years. He would strike deal with her if
prolonging of his rule is ensured. Principles have little or no value at all
when it comes to survival, and he as a commando knows it well.
With the passage of time, one has started hearing anti-movement
voices. The embedded analysts and journalists have gradually started
surfacing. They have started mentioning the inconvenience caused to the
people by the strikes of lawyers on each day of the hearing of the reference.
Some of them, like Nosheen Saeed, have come up with conspiracy
theory. She opined that the present judicial crisis is the result of the CJP-PPP
conspiracy. She even accused the CJP of hindering the development of
Pakistan by his decisions in cases like that of Pakistan Steel Mills.
As regards the legal side of this movement, some interesting moves
were made during this round. The CJP filed a constitutional petition in the
Supreme Court which was aimed at turning the tables; or in other words, to
turn the Helmet vs Wig bout into Wig vs Helmet. Hearing of this petition by
five-member bench on daily basis would at least determine some of the
aspects of the reference.
The government has suspected some mischief in composition of the
bench for hearing the petition of the CJP. After smelling the rate, it has


requested for a full court hearings, which it had opposed when the CJP had
requested at the time of filing his petition.
This clearly indicates that there are certain judges who are not trusted
by one party or the other. By implication it means that even the Apex Court
has been politicized to some extent. This also means that according the
governments assessment the majority of wig-wearing personnel in the
Supreme Court are still loyal to the Helmet.
4th May 2007

The road journey of the CJP from Islamabad to Lahore on 5 and 6 th
May dominated all other events of this round. The people thronged GT
Road, despite arrest of thousands of political workers. The turnout surprised
everyone, perhaps including the CJP. Musharraf cried: opposition parties are
using the CJP for political ends.
A day after the rally, five-member bench of the Supreme Court
recommended that constitutional petition of the CJP should be heard by a
full court in view of importance of the matter and stayed the proceedings of


the SJC. The Supreme Court constituted a 14-member full court to hear the
petition of the CJP.
In a team meeting, Musharraf told the participants that he could not be
defeated in the ongoing judicial crisis. The Team-Helmet decided to launch a
two-pronged counter offensive by holding rallies in Islamabad and Karachi
under arrangements of PML-Q and MQM respectively.
Sindh government approached the Supreme Court to advise the CJP to
cancel his visit because of security reasons; the CJP rejected the advice
suggesting that MQM should be asked to cancel its rally. Opposition
political parties alleged that rallies in Islamabad and Karachi are part of the
move to impose emergency in the country.

On 4th May, the CJP refused to travel to Lahore by air and the Punjab
government planned to organize a rally in support of Musharraf to counter
the CJPs reception in Lahore. Chief Minister Punjab presided over meeting
of nazims and councilors for organization of the rally.
Section 144 was imposed on GT Road. Thousands of political workers
were arrested across Punjab and even in NWFP. According to Liaqat Baluch
4,000 workers of his party alone were arrested. Shujaat assured security
cover to the CJP during his visit to Lahore. Musharraf refused to withdraw
reference even after advice from members of ruling elite. Benazir urged
Musharraf to quit army first.
Registrar of the Supreme Court returned the application for
constitution of full bench with some objections. Supreme Court bench
directed the government to submit affidavits giving details about 56 missing
persons. Ansar Abbasi reported that amidst judicial crisis, Sharifuddin
Pirzada and Attorney General had lunch in Islamabad Club with Justice
Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi and Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar of the
Supreme Court.
Saturday, 5th May 2007 was the day of rallies in Pakistan. The CJP set
on a long journey from Islamabad to Lahore and by midnight he had not yet
reached Gujranwala. Meanwhile, the rulers organized some quick counter
rallies. In Naokot Musharraf himself addressed a public meeting and

criticized opposition parties for politicizing a legal issue. In Karachi, MQM

held a rally and accused the CJP of politicizing the issue of reference. In
Lahore, Pervaiz Elahi led a pro-Musharraf rally in which the participants
rejected the CJP of ARD.
The journey of the CJP started with disruption of TV coverage and
mobile phones. Security vehicles sent for providing cover to the convoy of
the CJP were suspected of using radio jammers, which were switched off
after the security personnel were warned of the consequences.
All roads connecting interior Punjab with GT Road were blocked by
police. In Sargodha, police raided district bar offices and drove away the
vehicles meant for conveyance of lawyers to Lahore. Earlier, a similar police
raid was carried out in Sahiwal and nine policemen were later booked for
beating the lawyers. In a clash on Mirpur-Dina road some lawyers were
injured and six were arrested. Reception arrangements at Jehlum were
uprooted by police.
Lawyers, political parties and the public gathered all along the route to
welcome and applaud the CJP. Impressed by the massive turnout of the
people, Aitzaz Ahsan in his speech at Gujrat Bar Council termed it
referendum against the government.
Media asked Pervaiz Elahi to comment on the remarks of Aitzaz
Ahsan and he said that it is not correct to equate turnout of a hundred people
with referendum. He accused the CJP of indulging in politics by traveling to
Lahore via GT Road, which is an unbecoming conduct for a chief justice.
Seventeen sitting judges had arrived in Lahore High Court to join
reception arranged for the CJP. Women Wing of PML-Q vice-president,
Shakeela Rana quit the party to express solidarity with the CJP. The CJP
filed his reply to the concise statement of objections raised by the
government over his petition. He maintained that all law points in his
petition are valid, competent and maintainable.
In the evening, telecast of three TV channels were disrupted in Sindh
through the cable operators who were threatened by MQM. Party spokesman
denied issuing any instructions to cable operators. He claimed that it has
happened due to peoples reaction to medias biased coverage of events.
These TV channels did not cover MQM rally carried out earlier in the day.


Tariq Butt quoted an official saying: The journey turned out to be a

boon to the opposition and bane to the powers that be. But it is going to be a
short-lived phenomenon because Justice Chaudhry is no politician, who
possesses the clout to upset the official applecart on the force of popular
The CJP arrived in Gujranwala at about 1.00 am 6th May, where five
lawyers were injured in fire that broke out due to short-circuiting. The
journey from Gujranwala to Lahore High Court was covered in more than
six hours. The risk-prone journey (according to the Chief Minister of Punjab
and Interior Ministry) was covered without any untoward incident and
without direct involvement of the security agencies.
In his welcome address, Ahsan Bhoon equated Musharraf with
security guard who illegally occupied the house he was employed to protect.
He vowed to continue the movement of lawyers till the end of dictatorship.
He also urged that exiled political leaders should be allowed to return.
The CJP in his speech stressed upon supremacy of constitution, rule of
law and safeguard of basic human rights. He said history proves that states
founded on dictatorship faced destruction, but in Pakistan dictatorship is a
thing of the past now. He also said that fundamental rights cannot be
suspended even in emergency. He stressed upon the lawyers to maintain in
their rank and file.
The impact of the CJPs rally on the government was reflected in the
statements of rulers. Prime Minister said provisions of emergency rule exist
in the Constitution; there is no pressure on government over reference; and
PML-Q will hold a big rally in Islamabad on 12 th May. True to the past
record of the government, he shifted the blame for disruption of TV channels
to technical faults in cable networks to protect MQM.
Musharraf once again blamed opposition parties for using the CJP for
political ends. Shujaat Hussain reiterated that the opposition has adopted
negative tactics to get political benefits from the reference against the CJP.
Minister Durrani said CJP lacked public support.
On 7th May, five-member bench of the Supreme Court ordered that the
hearing of constitutional petition of the CJP and 22 other identical petitions
pertaining to the presidential reference should be carried out by a full court
in view of importance of the matter. The bench issued a temporary


injunction staying proceedings of the SJC in the case till the full court takes
cognizance of the matter.
The court also ordered that three Justices of the Supreme Court now
members of the SJC and Justice Raza Khan will not be the members of the
full bench. The counsel of the CJP later on demanded that Justice Nawaz
Abbasi and Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar, who were seen having lunch
with Sharifuddin Pirzada should also be excluded from the full bench.
Earlier, the counsel of the CJP had opposed the application of the
governments panel with the contention that raising objections on the bench
at this late stage had mala fide intention. However, both sides seemed
satisfied with the decision of the court.
Advocate Maulvi Iqbal Haider, a petitioner whose petition was
included in the list before the court, alleged that close relatives of some
judges on the Supreme Court bench were staging demonstrations in support
of the suspended CJP.
Reportedly, the government was considering another reference against
the CJP for politicizing the earlier reference. Similar references against the
judges who attended receptions organized for the CJP were also under
Lawyers across the country decided to observe day of thanks on 9 th
May. Bhinder said the stay order on the SJC was subject to confirmation by
the full bench. Opposition sought debate in National Assembly on chance of
emergency. Maulana Sami asked Musharraf to withdraw the reference
against the CJP.
On 8th May, the Supreme Court constituted a 14-member full court to
hear the petition of the CJP and 22 other identical petitions. The court will
take up the petitions on day-to-day basis hearing from 14th May onward. The
full court will be headed by Justice Khalilur Rahman Ramday and comprise
Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi, Justice Faqir Muhammad Khokhar,
Justice Falak Sher, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice M Javed Buttar,
Justice Tassadduq Hussain Jilani, Justice Saiyed Saeed Ashhad, Justice
Nasirul Mulk, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed, Justice Ch Ijaz Ahmed, Justice
Syed Jamshed Ali, Justice Hamid Ali Mirza and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.


The SJC said its proceedings will remain stayed till further orders.
The Supreme Court reserved its judgment on manhandling of the CJP case.
Lawyers decided to continue the token strike. The CJP decided to travel to
Quetta by train.
Addressing the graduating engineers of NUST, Musharraf claimed
that he took a decision on a matter of state rising above personal and social
relationship. Pervaiz Elahi claimed that rally on 12 th May would be the
biggest in the History of Pakistan. Chairman Awami Hamayat-e-Tehreek
Maulvi Iqbal Haider, reportedly backed by the Team-Helmet, filed a
constitutional petition against Justice Bhagwandas for allegedly favouring
the CJP.
Ansar Abbasi reported that in a recent official meeting Musharraf told
the participants that he could not be defeated in the ongoing judicial crisis.
He said that for him three things are very important including if the decision
was taken after due consideration, if it was in line with the law and
Constitution and whether it was in the interest of the people. Musharraf told
the meeting that since all the points were considered by him before March 9
action so now he was not bothered about the fallout. The pro-Musharraf
source also claimed that there is no concept of judiciary independent of the
On 9th May, Altaf Bhai said MQM would stand like a wall to protect
the rule of Musharraf Bhai. MQM reacted promptly and sealed the office of
Munir A Malik in Karachi saying that it was set up in residential area in
violation of the rules; later the office was unsealed on orders of the Sindh
High Court.
Secretary Interior of Sindh approached the Supreme Court to advise
the CJP to cancel his visit because of security reasons; the CJP rejected the
advice suggesting that MQM should be asked to cancel its rally, because the
visit of CJP was planned before MQM rally.
Opposition political parties alleged that rallies in Islamabad and
Karachi are part of the move to impose emergency in the country. Analyst
feared that simultaneous rallies could result in a clash. Nawaz Sharif said the
deal wont bail out Musharraf. Lawyers observed Thanksgiving Day.
Ansar Abbasi reported that Dr Sher Afgan has told the prime minister
in plain words that his views on the reference are in direct conflict with


official line. Sher Afgan refused to defend the reference against the CJP for
which the prime minister had requested him.
The Supreme Court banned comments, debates and write-ups on the
reference. A new code of conduct was issued for the general public, the
lawyer community and the print and electronic media; the rulers were not
included. These activities could interfere with the legal process, ridicule,
scandalize or malign the Court or any of its judges. Violation in this regard
shall be dealt with under the law relating to contempt of court. Entry to the
premises of the Court will also be restricted on the day of hearing.

The observers from various walks of life continued talking about the
deal between Musharraf and Benazir, despite ever diminishing chances of
reaching such understanding. Dr Ghyur Ayub from London wrote, Benazir
Bhutto knows she has been fired at from two sides by a single bullet, the
Swiss court case. It has the potential of damaging her personal career in the
West and political career in Pakistan. She will not be invited to any
international seminars if she is convicted in the court. The indications are
that the decision will go against her. Only Musharraf can save her from this
shot by asking her to help him be re-elected from the present assemblies. In
that case, she will be risking her political career in Pakistan.
She knows that political downfall is a short term wound and such
wounds heal rapidly in Pakistan. On the other hand, the alienation as a
political scholar from the West leaves a permanent scar. She would rather
risk the former and join hands with Musharraf, hoping that he will doff
off his uniform on December 31, 2007.
Why do I see a resemblance in her deal with Musharraf with the deal
the latter drew with MMA? And why does December ring certain bells? She
is definitely walking on a tightrope and only time will tell which decision
was wise as history will judge her accordingly.
Bashir A Malik from Islamabad opined that the PPP can not enter
into an arrangement outside the Charter of Democracy. It is as simple as that.
Why the so much noise about a deal which does not exist. Contacts, real or
imaginary, do not mean a deal.


Saeed Najam from Lahore was of the view that the ongoing crisis
cannot be resolved by the moves like political deal. It is a misfortune that
the truth of the popular support for the CJP has still not dawned upon
our rulers. It is not their new-found love for the judiciary; it is not support
for the Supreme Court and it is not the liking for the CJPs personal image. It
is in appreciation of his act of defiance in the face of total might, an act
which took the nation by surprise; a nation which had become accustomed to
the judiciarys meek submission to rulers and the law of necessity.
This crisis is too deep and profound to be wished away. It would
be futile to attribute the intensity of the reaction to the media or discredited
political parties. People have come to distrust extremes of all
denominations Scratch an enlightened moderate or a liberal and you
find a closet aristocrat or a dictator. The present crisis is a crisis of the
people and requires a peoples solution which, regrettably, our statemanagers seem incapable of doing.
General Aslam Beg expressed his views on various aspects of the
crisis while talking to Dr Shahid Masood on Geo TV:
Judicial crisis has been created inadvertently but it is good for the
country as democratic forces in the country will emerge stronger.
The solution lies in dialogue and reportedly behind the scene contacts
have been established. A possible solution is that the CJP agrees to
resign and Musharraf leaves the post of COAS, constitutes interim
government and holds free and fair elections.
Emergency rule is no solution; it will lead to fiercer reaction, which
will not be good for the country.
About the CJP he said that he judges the people from their decisions.
By his decision of 9th March, he stands taller than all his adversaries.
About Musharraf he said that in the life of every dictator a time comes
when he feels no need for advice from anyone.
Dr Farrukh Saleem commented on some of the aspects of the ongoing
judicial crisis in his familiar style. Why are we where we are? What went
wrong? Why are we heading nowhere? Answer: De facto has drifted away
from the de jure. Right now de facto is as far away from de jure as can be.

De facto in Medieval Latin phrase meaning in fact or in practice. De jure

in Classic Latin is an expression that means based on law. In other words,
what we are doing as a matter of fact is de facto and what our law says we
ought to be doing is de jure. Shaukat Aziz, for instance, is the de jure ruler
and Pervez Musharraf the de facto. He went on to mention more examples:
De facto: As a matter of fact, the Chief of the Army Staff is also the
President of Pakistan. De jure: Under Article 244, all members of the
armed forces take the following oath: Iwill not engage myself in
any political activities whatsoever
De facto: On March 9, the President of Pakistan (the Executive)
suspended the Chief Justice of Pakistan. De jure: The Constitution of
the Islamic Republic of Pakistan prescribes Trias Politica or
separation of power between the Executive and the Judiciary
(Article 175).
De facto: The president of our ruling party, also an ex-prime minister,
said that people who criticize the army should be shot dead. De jure:
The Pakistan Penal Code, in all of its 510 pages, has no such
De facto: The ministry of interior informed the Chief Justice of
Pakistan (on leave) that traveling by road to Lahore if filled with
danger. De jure: According to the ministry of tourism: Visit Pakistan
Year 2007.
Where do we begin to put things right? For Pakistans sake, please
do as the law says; if you cant, then change the law or change your
behaviour. No third choice, absolutely no hypocrisyby either nonuniformed or uniformed politicians, please. If the Chief of the Army also
wants to be the President of Pakistan then amend the Constitution
Nazeer Ahmed Malik focused on Shujaat the sharp-shooter. There is
absolutely no doubt in my mind that the armed forces are a very
venerable institution. They are supposed to lay down their lives for our
defence and humiliating them is a cardinal sin but if the army or its head and
his colleagues involve themselves in political activities then the logical
result would be some kind of fallout on them.


I am sure the army leadership would disapprove of shooting people

without a lawful trial. The maker of this statement may genuinely presume
and it is his right to do so that he is exhibiting supreme patriotism but I am
sure he is unaware of Oscar Wilds famous statement that patriotism is the
last refuge of a scoundrel.
I am further surprised that till today no member of the judiciary,
politician or any other member of civil society has taken him to task for such
a totally irresponsible and bizarre statement. The basic tenet of law of the
land is that the rule of law is maintained at every cost and every one is
considered innocent till proven otherwise. Such statements, made not once
but twice can only be attributed either to total senility which I am sure is not
the case or as a result of a sense of bravado exhibited to display his
supposedly supreme love of the defenders of the country and by virtue of
that defenders of faith. As far as my knowledge goes he is the son of an expolice officer. It is irrespective of the fact that rank he held but after all like
me he was a law-enforcement officer and lost his life at the hands of some
criminals who had no respect for law. For a person who has suffered such a
personal tragedy cannot quote scripture.
The present leadership is trapped in ad-nauseim phraseology. The
prime minister in his professional style has been saying frequently that the
samrat (fruits) of development are going to trickle down to common man.
Let our leaders visit the villages and see for themselves the extent of abject
poverty. Verbose statements and intellectual dissertations in seminars in five
star hotels can never be a substitute for genuine development.
It is suggested that wise Chaudhry sahib use his precious words to
advocate overall emphasis on health, education and above all on rule of law.
He should disabuse himself of the idea at the earliest that he is one and only
patriot in this country. The past of this country is replete with examples of
many such enthusiastic patriots going down the drains of history.
The News commented on mention of imposing emergency by the
prime minister. Given the timing of his remarks, it would be fair to assume
that they would have something to do with the unprecedented scenes
witnessed along G T Road as thousands of people came out to greet Chief
Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry as he drove to the provincial capital to
deliver a speech at the Lahore High Court Bar. Surely, some people will
guess that this is coming from a government that is clearly perturbed
over the unprecedented reception received by the chief justice. Also,

perhaps the presence of over a dozen sitting judges of the Lahore High Court
may have unnerved the government to some extent.
Possibly the events over the weekend made it think that this was all
the result of it allowing the protests to continue. In any such situation, there
are bound to be hawks who want to push things further and keep up a
confrontation and there will be doves or moderates who want to
compromise. The government needs to understand that the political
opposition is only doing what all oppositions would do, anywhere in the
world: taking advantage of perceived or real weaknesses of the government.
The talk of the possibility of imposition of an emergency is to send a
veiled warning to the protesters and supporters of the chief justice that their
time may be up if things get out of hand. But it wasnt only lawyers and
political party activists who took part in Saturday and Sundays events and
to think that only these two groups were responsible for the massive turnout
would be a grave mistake with dangerous consequences. As far as the
political opposition is concerned, it will in most likelihood see this talk of
emergency as proof of further weakening and disarray and will only
exploit it, as has the chief justice issue.
Ikram Sehgal opined that the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has
become a potent political force. As for the chief justice, he continues to
give adequate reason to admire him. Any man who stands up against the
odds and defies rampant authority if he believes it is not being exercised
judicially deserves our admiration. He has conducted himself extremely
well throughout the crisis, and above all he has not lost his cool. In the
Ingall Hall of the Pakistan Military Academy it is written: It is not what
happens to you that matters, but how you behave while it is happening. The
honourable chief justice is good enough speaker; all of what he said was true
and had to be said
The chief justices speeches were political, and in as much as I
admire the man, the fact remains that he has now become a political figure
of some consequence in Pakistan. We should start getting used to having
lost this great judicial activist from the Supreme Court benches, and I for
one feel sorry about it. One can already see him as a consensus opposition
candidate for the presidential elections later this year.
There is seething resentment among the masses at the attitude of
some among the ruling clique, particularly the agencies that can get away

with anything. As for the presidents close advisors the less said the
better. Every time he listens to them and their advice is usually motivated,
he gets into trouble, and the country along with him gets embroiled in a
crisis. If the president has to seek advice, why not choose the best that is on
offer rather than rely on the yes-men around him. Bad people usually give
advice as bad as they are. The president has been inadvertently placed at a
critical crossroads only a few months before his re-election as president. The
honourable CJs defiance will make power-sharing come about sooner rather
than later, and in such an arrangement one believes Pervez Musharraf will
still have a role to play.
Mir Jamilur Rahman explored the possible political impact of the
crisis. The lawyers ongoing protest has convinced the MMA that
President Musharraf is politically vulnerable for first time since he came
to power nearly eight years ago. President Musharraf during his rule has
successfully reversed or drastically amended many traditional and antiquated
policies and laws despite vociferous criticism from the MMA and other
opposition parties some recent events, which include countrywide lawyers
protests and Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa stand-off, may have sent
encouraging signals to the MMA and other opposition parties that the time is
ripe for launching agitation against President Musharraf.
The MMAs thinking is flawed that it can force President
Musharraf to quit through its street power. If the agitation climbs to the
level wherein the government ceases to function, which is very unlikely,
then it would be anybodys game. The most likely scenario would be the
replacement of a uniformed president by a uniformed chief martial law
administrator. The CMLA would address the nation promising early and
clean elections and the whole game would restart from the beginning.
It is now certain that the new president will be elected by the present
assemblies later this year, just a month or two before they would be due for
dissolution after completing their five-year term. This was stated by no less a
person than President himself The opposition challenges these assertions
claiming that the present assemblies cannot elect a president at the fag end of
their lives and a person cannot offer himself for election if he is holding a
government post. Who will decide what the truth is? Not street protests,
but the court of law.
Shafqat Mahmood observed: The familiar pattern of regime
change at the end of military rule has begun to unfold. Active

components of civil society led by the lawyers are spearheading the drive
but other disaffected groups are not far behind.
The political parties may differ on everything but agree on the
one point agenda of Musharrafs removal. The PPP leader may say what
she likes sitting abroad but the rank and file are desperate to join the fray.
Even the MQM, a beneficiary of the regimes largess, is thrashing about
looking for an exit strategy.
The Jamia Hafsa crisis is not a happen-stance and neither is the
constant provocation by latter day social reformers residing in Lal Masjid.
From day one, they have been seeking a conflict; retaliation from the state,
leading to blood and mayhem and scores of dead bodies. It is a transparent
attempt to hijack the judicial movement led by the liberal elements in
our society.
On its part, the regime is desperately trying one tactic after
another to overcome these multiple challenges but is not getting very far.
To face the judicial crisis, it tried brute force in the beginning and it failed. It
tried a hands-off approach and that had no affect. It has now resorted to
midnight raids and widespread arrests and even this is not likely to work.
This is not a passing bout of flu. It is a terminal illness that will have
occasional periods of remission but will reach its inevitable conclusion.
The judiciary for whose independence the civil society is so
worked up is not only guilty of legitimizing illegal military takeovers; it
has at every opportunity sought to trespass into matters beyond its legal and
constitutional domain. The desire to exercise executive authority is almost
endemic with judges summoning officials and giving directions that are far
beyond the judicial kin. There have also been instances where the judiciary
has transgressed into the parliaments domain by passing judgments that are
akin to new legislation.
While every institution has failed in its duty or gone far beyond its
legal and constitutional role it also has a huge set of grievances. The
judiciary constantly complains that it has to go to the executive for every
penny that it spends or that its perks and privileges are not commensurate
with its status. It also feels that the executive is tardy in implementing its
decisions and does not give it the respect it deserves.


The military complains that the politicians muck up the country

through poor governance and their economic management is pathetic the
politicians say that the military is a perpetual contender for power and never
allows the civilian government to settle down.
The sins and complaints have piled up and have congealed into
permanent sores. Without clearing the air and establishing new rules of the
game, we will be condemned to repeat our previous cycles. The 1973
Constitution, an admirable document that it is, has not stopped either
military takeovers or rampant misuse of authority by other institutions. If we
revert back to its 1999 version, it may still fall short of giving stability to our
political order.
A new national concord is a must. All stake holders, the politicians,
the judiciary, the army, the bureaucracy, the media, the mullahs, the lawyers
and other elements of civil society, need to sit together and devise a new
national code of conduct. There must be an airing of complaints and an
acknowledgement of sins Out of this might emerge a consensus that can
help this nation move forward.
The Constitution can then be amended to recognize these new
rules of the game. If we are ready to go down this road, we may have that
elusive political stability that has been lacking since independence. It is a
huge task and some may even consider it quixotic but without thinking the
unthinkable, we dont stand a chance.
Imtiaz Alam saw a revolution in the making. Quite amazing was the
patience, perseverance and commitment of the legal fraternity that
thousands of lawyers and an overwhelming majority of the Lahore Bench
waited and waited all through the night at the premises of the Lahore High
Court for their chief justice.
It seems that the whole legal community has transformed from
Khyber to Karachi into a communards of a liberal-constitutionalist
revolution seeking nothing less than a republic with separation of powers
allowing full independence of the judiciary, a sovereign parliament, free
media and a law-abiding executive. The COAS-president, who had warned
the lawyers to shun politics, is the target of their scathing criticism. Where
is this revolution heading? Who is its leader? And will it reach its


Last Saturday provided a contrasting view of the two rallies The

CJP rally was a caravan of people who had thronged G T Road all through
the route to express their solidarity with Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The
participants had come on their own and waited to see the glimpse of the man
who had defied a military-led executive and emerged as kind of a challenger
to misrule of the law. On the other hand, General Musharraf addressed an
officially managed rally where government servants and hereditary tenants
were forcefully brought to provide for a headcount of the participants.
It seems that a mass and right-based democratic movement has now
taken off. Emerging as a spontaneous reaction of the bar to the presidential
reference against the chief justice, it is now evolving into a mass
movement directed towards republican goals. Support of all opposition
parties across ideological divides, who are in competition to mobilize the
public at large, has given it a national and all-parties character. A unique
joint front of lawyers and civil society activists, on the one hand, and
political parties activists on the other, is emerging with a clear division of
work: lawyers focusing on constitutional issues of independence of
judiciary, rule of law and supremacy of the constitution and political
activists gunning for the military rulers.
The irony of the situation is that a democratic movement is shaping
up under the leadership of the Chief Justice of Pakistan who cannot utter
a single political word, nor indulge in politics, given his status as a sitting
judge, in the absence of mainstream leadership that chose self-exile over
fighting the dictatorship on home turf.
While history is being made on the streets of Pakistan, it is
overtaking various current phenomenon, many moves and countermoves not
at pace with the peoples aspirations or the agitation on the streets. Some of
the casualties are: the presidential reference, the Supreme Judicial Council,
the keeping of uniform and the presidency together, deal or no deal, the
kings party, section 144, rented crowds and rallies, the aborted APC, the
exile leadership perpetuating through remote control The new balance and
relationship of forces, the nature of coming general elections, the role of the
army in politics and the bench in dispensing justice, the presidential election,
the character of next government and party ratings will now be determined
by the success or failure of the current movement.
The question is will this movement survive? Given the tempo of the
lawyers, who are now politically highly charged, the movement is going to

last its current phase that can last four or six months. However, it
depends on the judicial process which is in full swing after the formation of
the larger bench headed by Justice Javed Buttar. Now, if the CJP is restored,
the lawyers movement will have achieved its major goal But, if the CJP is
not restored he will emerge as a martyr who can then freely lead a
movement for peoples rights engaging all segments of civil society around a
charter of peoples rights.
Such a broad-based movement can be built, even if the CJP is
restored, if the lawyers community invites other professional and civil
society bodies, including doctors, teachers, students, journalists, human
rights bodies, trade unions, peasants, traders and entrepreneurs, to join
hands. Such a broad front for a republic will have to rally the people at large
around a charter of their rights and freedoms on which all political parties
should be called to sign. The speech made by the CJP on the importance of
fundamental rights at the reception of Lahore High Court can form the basis
for evolving a comprehensive charter of peoples rights.
The time has come for the self-exiled leadership to come back and
close the doors on self-serving approaches. Otherwise, the movement on
the streets will find its own leaders who may be far more clear and
committed to the peoples cause.
M B Naqvi opined that the people have spoken in favour of the
movement. The kind of welcome and love that Chief Justice Iftikhar
Mohammad Chaudhry received from the legal fraternity and the common
people of Punjab is overwhelming the people have made an eloquent
and decisive political statement: they have vindicated the CJP and sided
with what the CJP on forced leave stands for.
Who cares about the truth or falsehood of those charges? For the
legal fraternity and the people, the question at issue now is different and
strictly political: Is the countrys executive authority supreme and can it
order around the judiciary (and parliament and the media)?
The exciting cause of all this was the manner in which Justice
Chaudhry was treated on March 9 in the Army House. It was seen in the
perspective of the last 43 years history of the supremacy of the army over
the judiciary. The perspective includes the known and highly
controversial political ambitions of the army chief, General Pervez
Musharraf, to go on being the army chief and president till 2012

Justice Chaudhrys refusal to oblige the regime has opened a chapter

of resistance by the judiciary and the legal profession to the militarys right
to call all the shots All military dictators, including those who ruled from
behind the scenes from 1988 to 1999, enjoyed the judiciarys obedient
approval. Justice Chaudhry is the first CJP who had the guts to disobey the
army chief. That act of moral courage touched the deepest chords of
Pakistanis hearts and has caught their imagination.
The point about the grand spectacles of this May 5 and 6 is the
start of a New Pakistan Movement for a New Pakistan that will be
simple democracy (without adjectives) where everything will be done
according to the constitution and where the judiciary, and indeed the whole
legal fraternity, is the guardian of the constitution in cooperation with all
citizens. The military is a necessary department of the government. But it
must be made accountable to the people
The task right now is to resolve this judicial crisis. The simplest
way is for General Musharraf to heed the advice of his predecessor in the
Amy House: withdraw the reference and reinstate the CJP. One realizes that
human pride and prejudice, not to mention ambition and self-interest, may
stand in the way.
Let no sycophants misguide the army chief that all this hullabaloo is
for the sake of Mr Chaudhry alone. The matter is no longer about one
man; even Mr Chaudhry now has no control over what he has helped
launch. It is now a peoples movement for the supremacy of law and
Let no one miss the high significance of last Saturday and Sundays
events. The people of Punjab have done Pakistan proud; Pakistan is
stronger today because of this inspiring spectacle and will go becoming
stronger if this New Pakistan Movement is not thwarted or betrayed by the
disunity of parties. From now on it is for civil society to take it forward.
Failure in this task may hurt Pakistan irreparably.
Some anti-movement voices became audible. Aliya Nasir from
Karachi wrote: Although the lawyers are talking of independence of
judiciary, they forgot the freedom and independence of speech and thought
of other people. Why do they forget that if they have the right to chanting
anti-Musharraf slogans then some people also have the right to raise proMusharraf slogans. Why do they forget that the government is not beating

them for raising anti-Musharraf slogans but they are beating people for proMusharraf slogans? This shows the hypocritical attitude of our lawyers.
Farhan Qutab seemed a staunch supporter of Team-Helmet. It is quite
a unique experience in the history of our country or for that matter any
country that a purely judicial matter has been turned into a political
issue. While ordinary Pakistanis are trying to get on with the rigour of their
daily lives, some vested interests are trying to create problems for them, by
creating a situation where just about everyone may end up being affected
through the foolish acts of a few.
The road-shows that we have are full of slogan chanting disruptive
elements that are participating in demonstrations as if there were still some
colonialists holding the land and people hostage; despite a complete lack of
interest shown by the majority in the almost daily seesaw battles between the
poor security personnel and the men in black. No doubt all this is quite
fruitful for expediting the exit of foreign investors from the country,
which to a great extent had returned given the positive and consistent
economic policies of the present government.
Even after fifty-nine good years of independence we have not learnt
to discard the road-show mentality and take recourse to constructive
thinking. We hate to sit down and sort things out. The days of British Raj are
over. This is our country and we owe it everything and to create a situation
where the national life is severely disrupted does not credit anyone. Why are
we creating a situation that provides enough justification to the whole world
to jeer at us at will, call us a failed state, a society of extremists, even a tribal
society where things are decided by fights and quarrels? The way forward
would be for all those protesting and demonstrating on the streets to
reconsider their actions, step back and engage in a constructive dialogue
and above all to let the rule of law prevail.
The News commented on the decision of constituting a larger bench.
Given that the chief justice, right from the SJCs constitution on March 9,
had expressed a lack of confidence in some of its members on the issue of
impartial treatment of the reference against him, Mondays decision by the
Supreme Court bench may be interpreted as a moral victory for Justice
Chaudhry. Not only that, it also presents the superior judiciary in
favourable light, since the hearing of the presidential reference against the
chief justice had come to be tainted with allegations of bias.


The suspension of the SJCs proceedings had become necessary

given that it was not competent to hear the several constitutional petitions
that had been filed against the reference raising important questions
such as (a) whether the SJC is competent to probe allegations of
misconducts against the Chief Justice of Pakistan; (b) whether the SJC could
be constituted by someone other than the Chief Justice of Pakistan given that
he was still holding his office and in a position to carry out his duties; (c)
whether the President of Pakistan has the constitutional authority to suspend
the Chief Justice of Pakistan before allegations of misconduct against the
latter are proven and (d) the composition of the SJC itself.
On the whole, the government also will probably not be too
unhappy with what has happened. After initially insisting against a full
court, as requested by the chief justice, it did a U-turn last week when its
senior legal advisor, Sharifuddin Pirzada, also demanded that a full court
hear all the constitutional petitions and miscellaneous applications, citing the
constitution of a larger bench had left many senior judges. This, according to
legal experts, is not really a strong argument since seniority does not
determine which judge sits on which case Hence, those who believe that
the governments U-turn and demands for a full court had more to do with
apprehensions that the outcome on the constitutional petitions heard by the
five-member bench might not be to its liking may well have a point.
Mondays ruling is also a moral victory for the judiciary itself in
that it will, to a large extent, prevent allegations of bias or public outrage
when a decision on the presidential reference against the chief justice is
finally given. Furthermore, it will add to the credibility of the governmentinitiated process of holding the chief justice accountable and was sorely
needed step in defusing the current crisis whose high degree of politicization
was not helping so far as resolving the issue itself of the reference and the
various constitutional petitions filed against it was concerned.
Nasim Zehra opined, significantly, this order will likely signal the
culmination of the two-month-long street movement. On the question of
the political nature of the lawyers movement, the role of the media and on
the CJPs conduct unbecoming and the media becoming a party, some
issues need to be pointed out.
In a highly politicized environment the media did still give all sides
of the story. Mildly put, the governments story legally, politically,
morally and logically was an unattractive one. The public is discerning.

The media could not have changed the nature of the governments story.
Meanwhile, as citizens media persons are not impervious to the issues at
hand, so also an indirect party to the CJP issue. They had preferences but did
not abandon their mandate to tell the whole story.
The CJP has been political. In Lahore his speech was political. His
decision to travel by road to Lahore was political. In Lahore he thanked
those supporting him but he did not say I am ready to face all charges
against me and that no one should be above accountability. But if the CJP
has been political so has the countrys army chief. Its difficult to knock
out the CJP on that point.
The contribution of the CJP to the struggle for rule of law has
been phenomenal. No one can take that away from him. But may be after
his case is over he should bow down as one who successfully mobilized the
cynical and indifferent Pakistanis and with solid results.
The clinical and purist argument of the case being made political will
not hold. Politics, legality and constitutionalism were at work
simultaneously. Pakistan is at a genuinely evolving stage. We have entered
a phase of serious politics and serious institution building.
Fortunately, now the risk of the reference becoming a political
football in Pakistans political arena has ended. The fear that in the postreference political battle between the opposition and the government the
original objective of the independence of the Supreme Court would be lost is
no longer there. The talk of imposition of an emergency, and of ouster of
General Pervez Musharraf, will now abate. What will remain alive
through the proceedings will be the only legitimate, and indeed the core,
issue that has emerged from the presidential reference against the CJP, that
the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.
This is Pakistans contribution to the global study of power
politics, state and society. At a dizzying speed, within a span of 48 hours,
the hundreds of thousands strong struggle for the independence of the
Supreme Court and rule of law moved passionately and resolutely through
the 260-kilometer stretch of the Grand Trunk Road and has culminated at the
doors of the Supreme Court. With the greater sense, sophistication and
discipline can a movement achieve its goals?


Pakistan witnessed a unique movement, where the public uprising

gave muscle power to the judiciary which has been trampled by muscle
power, civil and military, as well as by the weakness of the judges itself.
The governments campaign about the issue being made political is weak.
See its own politics: its lawyers lunching with Supreme Court judges and its
ruling party organizing processions.
This must now go down in the annals of political practice and theory
as the Pakistan Model of nation-building and state-building. This is a first
crucial step towards constructing a state in line with the Quaid-authored
original script, for what Pakistan as a state was meant to be.
The baton for constitutional supremacy has been passed on to the
men on black robes. These men, sitting in the apex constitutional body, will
have the last word on how to practice the constitution-approved executive
and state power in Pakistan will be exercised.
But with regard to all the pressures of bouquets and kickbacks
emanating from all these forces, the judges of the Supreme Court have to
go strictly by the letter of the law and by their own conscience and
competence, as they interpret the law in a case with minimal precedents.
Now, the challenge is of upholding the rule of law and the judiciary has to
perform the task, impervious to the outside world and indeed to Pakistans
electoral political battles. Those will be fought elsewhere and by different
players. Undoubtedly the Supreme Courts decision will be a major
contribution towards the straightening of the ways of the state and executive
as well as setting right the context for genuine democracy and constitutional
rule in Pakistan.
M Ismail Khan was of the view that media coverage of parliament
proceedings could have curbed the tendency of public protests. When a
parliament loses touch with reality, when legislators stop representing the
public interest in the house, and when the flow of information from the
public to the parliament and from parliament to the public fails,
politicians find other means to communicate with their constituents. Then
the forum for dialogue moves to the streets. The criticism on private
television channels for a partisan approach in the coverage of the chief
justices unique long march to Lahore rings hollow, especially when heard in
the backdrop of the long standing restrictions on access of private channels
to the parliament.


One really does not have the stomach to debate the constitutionality
of the political uprising spurred by the ongoing stand off between the
government and the chief justice, but to expect that the media will remain
aloof of a controversy of such magnitude is simply unjustified.
Many look at the current situation as more than just a political crisis;
to them this is a political crisis rooted in marginalization of the parliament
on the one hand and sense of insecurity prevailing in the country on the
other. The GT Road show, they claim, was a spontaneous reflection of
the anger among the countrys civil society about many recent events
Others who have been advocating for unfretted media access to
parliamentary proceedings are of the view that the impact of the spectacular
sight of dancing lawyers, flag waving political workers, camera flashing
journalists, and Pajero driving leaders on the GT Road would have been
much more limited had there been an honest debate on the issue in the
parliament. And the proceedings were allowed to reach to the people
through state and private TV channels.
All over the world, television is playing an important role in
fostering democratic norms. It has become a major tool to ensure public
oversight of the legislatures, and in promoting across the board transparency
in government affairs. Today, more than 70 countries telecast proceedings of
the parliament live
One would refrain from citing parliamentary coverage in the
developed countries as an example as their governments and private cable
operators spend millions to facilitate live telecasting of the house
proceedings as a public service. In the United States for instance, thousands
of C-Span employees continuously air proceedings of the houses and
committees through multiple channels. But we can certainly talk about
countries like Indonesia, Iran or more appropriately India where live
coverage of parliamentary proceedings has helped shape informed
democratic societies.
There is neither any specific constitutional impediment to telecasting
the house business, nor is there any restriction in the rules of procedure in
Pakistan. There is a bipartisan support among members in the assembly and
the senate for the idea of live coverage of the parliament. In theory, it is the
prerogative of the speaker as the custodian of the house to determine the


degree of media access, but in actual the executive organ of the state has the
ultimate decision.
Though televised coverageis no recipe for resolution of acute
political disagreements such as the one going on at the moment, but it can
provide people an opportunity to get involved in debates in a
constructive manner and could help people understand the real context of
the intricate political conflict without having to disrupt life in the streets.

Patience and discipline demonstrated by the people who waited along
the route for more than 20 hours amply reflected their commitment to the
rule of law in the country. In such situations the numbers become irrelevant;
it is their resolve and determination which matters and that was displayed in
abundance on 5th May.
In such a situation any rational ruler would pause and ponder to find
out where the things have gone wrong. The events cried for a dire need for
course-correction, unfortunately, there was no sign of such realization in the
ruling elite.
The ruling junta of Chaudhry Brothers or Gujrat Mafia, under
patronization of the COAS Musharraf, keeps accusing the CJP of
unbecoming behaviour of indulging in politics. On the contrary, they cherish
Musharrafs indulgence in politics, addressing public meetings, while still in
The banker-turned-politician, not realizing the negative impact on the
economy, blurted a threatening reference to emergency rule. In a single day
KSE lost 400 points. In one of the meanest moves during this round they
launched a campaign to malign the Team-Wig through commercial
advertisement in print media.
The Team-Helmet, however, seemed to have realized that it was
losing ground to the Team-Wig. It was also aware that it could do little on
the legal front because of the follies committed during initial stages of the
crisis; therefore it decided to make moves on an other front.


Chaudhry Brothers, being expert in this field, were told to spearhead

the counter-attack on the streets. Elder Chaudhry led a counter-rally in
Islamabad and the younger Chaudhry repeated the feat in Lahore on 5th May,
but both of them failed to impress anyone.
The Team-Helmet decided to press on by launching a two-pronged
assault on 12th May; one in Islamabad and the other in Karachi. The former
prong could still remain inconsequential, but the Karachi-prong to be
launched by militant MQM has all the chances of ending up in creating
more trouble and thus, giving new turn to the ongoing movement which has
so far been very peaceful.
MQM has established a mini state which is far more effective than the
State. They defend their writ very jealously, which was quite evident from
the disruption of three TV channels on evening of 5th May. When the media
approached the relevant government quarters in Islamabad, they knew
nothing about the incident.
The live telecast of these channels in Sindh was disrupted on orders of
the MQM. Glimpses of the warm reception accorded to the CJP had
delivered a dizzying blow to the Team-Helmet, particularly to its hard-core.
It lost the mental equilibrium and the first symptom of lunacy was seen in
the form of closure of telecast of private TV channels.
The MQM, in fact, is private militia of Musharraf Bhai which can be
compared with Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr of Iraq. This militia is wellorganized, lavishly financed, battle-hardened and has ruthless command
structure led by men like Altaf Bhai. Such a force cannot sit back and let
their adversary go unchallenged.
This linguistic-militia, deceptively named as Muttahida Qaumi
Movement (or Mahaz), can go to any limit to protect Musharraf Bhai. Altaf
Bhai, the Commander-in-Chief of this militia had been issuing orders to his
militia to remain battle-worthy. His latest Order of the Day was to stand
behind Musharraf Bhai.
MQM leadership in Karachi immediately responded by announcing a
counter-rally on the same day, at the same time and on the same route where
the CJP rally had been planned weeks ago. This clearly reflected its
confrontational mindset.


Then, following the precedence set by Pervaiz Elahi, Secretary

Interior of Sindh approached the Supreme Court to advise the CJP to cancel
his visit to Karachi, because Sindh government had reliable intelligence
that terrorists have planned attacks on the rally. In all fairness this advice
should have been addressed to MQM who had reacted to already planned
visit of the CJP with mala fide intentions as was reflected in sealing of the
chamber of Munir A Malik.
The information of the Secretary Interior was so authentic that within
few hours unknown gunmen sprayed the residence of Munir A Malik in
Karachi with machine gun fire. The Governor Sindh, who had been named
in a dozen FIRs of murder cases, promptly condemned the attack. He also
reiterated that his government had already warned that militants could
launch attacks availing the prevalent environments.
The sequence of events reminds one the taunting remarks of someone,
who said that SHOs in Pakistan are so well-informed that they know days
before the crimes likely to be committed in their jurisdiction. Who could be
better informed about the terrorist attacks than Dr Ishratul Ibaad?
He, being well-informed about Karachi, could have condemned this
attack even before the Secretary Interior had approached the Supreme Court.
That was the time when terrorists were ordered to carry out pre-emptive
preventive strikes at pre-selected targets.
As regards Musharrafs rhetoric of soft image, Pakistans image has
been badly scarred by the judicial crisis. His actions have also tarnished the
image of the army, the institute which enabled him to rise to the office of
head of the state.
One can only hope that some of the men around him would inform
him that what he was giving in return to this great institution. For example,
one of the banners carried by the protesters read: Merey watan kay shajeela
gernailo, yeh raqiby tumharey liay heen. A slogan chanted by them was:
Amrica ney aik kutta pala, wardi wala, wardi wala.
Both parties welcomed the decision on the Supreme Court. The
Team-Helmet was happy because to have large number of judges in the full
bench would provide wider choice to win hearts and minds of the judges
on the panel. The Team-Wig was happy that acceptance of its contention on


suspension of the proceedings of the SJC was its victory. But by implication
the Team-Wig has lost the chance of appeal had the SJC decided against it.
The brightest side of this decision is that it would help in defusing the
crisis. The decision of the full court will be binding on both parties as none
will have any pretext to challenge the verdict. After this decision neither side
has any justification to organize public rallies.

10th May 2007

Having fought constantly on the back-foot, the Team-Helmet bounced
back with vengeance in this round. It launched two-pronged counter attack;
the one in Islamabad was meant to outnumber the adversary and the other in
Karachi was to create shock and awe effect in the camp of Team-Wig.
The militia led by Altaf Bhai, the MQM, unleashed its terrorists not
only to foil the CJPs attempt to enter Karachi but also bleed his supporters
so that they end up licking their wounds for quite some time. It was done
with professional excellence. However, the value of Islamabad-maneouvre
to outnumber the adversary was charred by the back-blast of Karachi.


On 14th May, two important incidents took place in Islamabad which,

most probably, were part of the overall counter-attack plan of the TeamHelmet. In one incident the additional Registrar of the Supreme Court was
murdered and in other DIG Saleem Khan was arrested by Sindh police; both
of them were likely to be important defence witnesses in the reference
against the CJP.

On 10th May, Federal Interior Secretary asked the CJP to cancel
Karachi visit. During debate in National Assembly the Opposition asked
MQM to call off its rally; Jamali also asked the government to tell its ally
not to adopt the course of confrontation. PPP suspected bloodshed in
Karachi on 12th May. An MNA of MQM said Karachi is our city and no one
can organize any activity without our permission.
Police registered an FIR against unknown gunmen who fired at the
house of Munir A Malik in Karachi at night while shouting: tell your chief
justice not to visit Karachi. Lawyers condemned the attack. Police also
arrested 12 men suspected of plotting an attack on the rally of the CJP.
Opposition in the Senate rejected code of conduct issued by the
Supreme Court. Shujaat refuted the media reports on use of government
resources for organizing Islamabad rally. The Chief Justice of LHC issued
appointment letters of 100 civil judges.
Rauf Klasra from London reported that British media and public were
greatly impressed by the stand taken by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry. World lawyers body called upon President Musharraf to restore
the CJP and withdraw reference against him. Musharraf said he has no
ulterior motive behind reference against the CJP.
By 11th May, PML-Q was all set to hold a big show in Islamabad to
counter the effects of rallies held to receive the chief justice in several cities
of Pakistan. Pervaiz Elahi claimed that the rally will mark the end of
conspiracies against government and Musharraf.
In Karachi, all roads leading to airport and Sindh High Court were
blocked on the eve of the CJPs visit for which MQM had acquired one
thousand containers and trucks. Shara-e-Faisal and all link roads were

declared no go areas for the workers and supporters of opposition parties.

Reception camps established by opposition parties were removed. Lawyers
traveling to Karachi from interior Sindh were detained in Shikarpur, Sukkar
and Rohri.
Imam Khomenei of MQM asked his party workers and supporters to
remain peaceful and unprovoked at the historic rally being staged in
Karachi. In a statement issued from London, he said he and his party firmly
believe in strengthening of the judicial system in Pakistan.
The opposition stormed out in the Senate against the overnight
crackdown on their leaders and workers in Karachi, warning the provincial
government will be responsible if a law and order situation erupted.
Opposition also accused the government of using public resources for
organizing rally in Islamabad.
Sindh High Court ordered federal and provincial governments to
provide complete security to the CJP. The court directed that the CJPs right
to choose his route should also be respected. Farooq Sattar said opposition
political parties have not sought permission for rallies. Lawyers in Peshawar
boycotted courts to protest attack on the house of Munir A Malik.
Ansar Abbasi reported that the two hawkish authors of the presidential
reference against the CJP were advising the presidency to call for fresh oath
under the Constitution by superior court judges who had taken oath under
PCO. The purpose to call for fresh oath is to shunt out certain judges from
the superior judiciary.
The Supreme Court again directed the government to submit affidavits
giving details of the missing persons who were detained by intelligence
agencies and later released. The bench also directed the parties to compile a
consolidated list instead of fragmentary lists submitted by different
The President of the European Parliament asked Musharraf to offer
comprehensive explanation of the reasons for the Supreme Judicial
Councils decision to suspend Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. In a
strongly worded letter addressed to Musharraf, he also asked to furnish an
official copy of the reference. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New
York-based organization called for withdrawal of press directives by the
Supreme Court.


Well before the arrival of PK-301 in Karachi on 12 th May, MQM was

fully prepared to defend our city against the attack spearheaded by the
CJP. When the aircraft landed at Karachi Airport, the defenders had already
opened fire from their positions along the Shara-e-Faisal.
The first blood had already been drawn by the defenders by killing a
worker of Sunni Tehrik a day before. When the CJP arrived four more
people were killed; thus the justification was in place to stop the CJP from
traveling to the Sindh High Court by car.
When the CJP disembarked from the aircraft, there was no lawyer or
worker of political party to welcome him, instead he was received by the
Home Secretary and IGP Sindh along with a contingent of police. They tried
to whisk away the CJP, but the lawyers accompanying him foiled their
attempt. The CJPs entourage took refuge inside the lounge which marked
the start of a long and painful wait.
Outside the airport, street fighting escalated rapidly particularly along
the route leading from airport to Sindh High Court. The premises of the SHC
were surrounded by the militants of the MQM. Nobody was allowed to
enter; even judges had to sneak in by climbing the boundary wall. The chief
host of the function, Advocate Ibrar managed to reach there with great
The SHC summoned Corps Commander, Chief Secretary and I G
Police after taking suo moto notice of the situation in the city. The former
did care about the orders of the Chief Justice. The court ordered removal of
the road blocks immediately, but IG Police showed inability to comply with
court orders.
The police strictly complied with orders issued by the MQM and no
one was allowed to come on to the roads except those cleared by the
owners of the city. They also stayed away from the places where fighting
took place and if it happened in their presence they abstained from
MQM militants specially targeted their old and new enemies. The
localities inhabited by Pathans were targeted to settle old scores. Media
emerged as one of the new enemies of the MQM; a hospital run by welfare
organization of the ARY was occupied by the gunmen.


Aaj TV center was attacked by MQM terrorists with fire of all kinds
of small arms. The attackers burnt the vehicles in the parking area. They
asked Talat Hussain and others to come out. Aaj TV approached almost
everyone in the government for help but without success.
Brig Mohtram promised to send law enforcers in 30 minutes, but no
one arrived even hours after the promise. When Rangers and policemen
arrived after considerable delay they could not stop the attackers from firing
at TV center building. The siege was lifted after six hours, only after
receiving instructions MQM high command.
Home Secretary and I G Police kept sitting from 1200 hours to 1630
hours outside the lounge where the CJP was waiting. There presence in
airport terminal implied as to who was in charge of security situation in the
city. These two important officials were simply used as guards for the CJP
detained in the airport lounge.
At about 1530 hours, the Governor said the government was
contemplating stern action against those lawyers who had come from
Islamabad with the CJP. He finally decided to expel 9 lawyers from our
city. A journalist of ARYONE was also told to get out.
The MQM started shifting the blame for the bloodshed. Ibaad and
Ghouri singled out the CJP to put blame on his shoulders. The Imam
Khomenei of the MQM in his address from London also blamed the CJP but,
inadvertently or under influence of some kind of intoxication, he admitted
that we were doing this because these people were against Musharraf Bhai.
What he did to save Musharraf Bhai resulted in killing 35 people and
wounding 110. Having done that, some localities of the city were handed
over to the Rangers. All those killed, except four, belonged to opposition
parties; the aliens in our city.
In the province ruled by Gujrat Mafia, the government machinery was
in full swing to organize a rally in Islamabad to show solidarity with
Musharraf. The nazims of 35 districts of Punjab dispatched convoys carrying
the specified numbers of supporters to the capital. From Lahore, a convoy of
400 buses was led by the son of the Chief Minister. The support from NWFP
was mobilized under direct supervision of Minister Amir Muqaam.


By evening the supporters from across Punjab and NWFP started

arriving at the site of rally. The participants dancing on the drum-beat were
in festive mood with no signs of remorse over bloodbath in Karachi. The
banners and slogans chanted by the participants clearly indicated that the
rally was for Musharraf First not for Pakistan First.
Musharraf addressed the rally out side the Parliament, though he has
yet to address those inside that building which is his constitutional
obligation. He said, I appeal to the lawyers not to turn this issue into
political one and stop their protest and let the superior judiciary make its
decision independently.
Shujaat boasted: We have proved that the PML-Q is the countrys
largest political force, which believes in decency and fair play. His cousin,
Pervaiz Elahi termed the rally a referendum in favour of General Pervez
Ansar Abbasi reported: Karachi is bleeding today and the nation
already saddened by the ongoing judicial crisis is in tears. The festivity in
Islamabad rally did not match the overall mood of the country but still the
rulers deemed it fit to go ahead with it.
Honestly speaking, the television footage proved that the city is ruled
by the mafia. There was absolutely no sign of writ of the government
anywhere in Karachi. Gun-wielding youth were moving all around
unchecked and it seemed that the law enforcing agencies do not exist at all.
The chief executive of the province and Sindh Chief Minister Arbab
Ghulam Rahim was simply absent from the scene on this black day for
Karachi. His coalition partner in the province and the real rulers of Karachi
the MQM had the guts to shift the responsibility on others.
Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao offered an absurd
argument that the chief justice was forewarned by the federal government to
call off his Karachi visit in view of anticipated terrorist attack. Why did not
the federal government, including the president, ask the MQM to call off its
rallies and hold them on any other day?
As if the Karachi carnage was not enough for ones distress, this
correspondent saw a banner in the PML Islamabad rally inscribed with the


slogan: General Pervez Kay Baghair Pakistan Namanzoor (No to Pakistan

without Pervez Musharraf).
MQM office in Quetta was set ablaze by unknown armed men; some
MQM offices in interior Sindh were also attacked. Opposition blamed the
government and MQM for Karachi carnage and called for observance of
Black Day on 13th and complete strike on 14th May across the country.
Traders in Lahore urged the government to shun hostilities before it
turns into a national disaster. Lawyers flayed treatment meted out to the CJP
at Karachi Airport. In Rawalpindi, they thronged the airport to receive him
on return from Karachi.
On 13th May, Governor delegated full powers to the Rangers to restore
law and order in the city with orders to shoot to kill. It implied that MQM
terrorists had pulled back to respective hideouts. Prime minister vowed to
nail the perpetrators of violence, but he condoled with Altaf Hussain.
Seven more people were killed in sporadic incidents of violence in
Karachi. Seventeen vehicles and seven shops were put on fire. Shujaat and
Shaukat greeted party leaders and workers for putting up great show during
pro-Musharraf rally.
In a press conference, lawyers of PBC and SCBA blamed MQM for
the bloodshed in Karachi and announced countrywide protest on 14 th May.
They criticized corps commander for not responding to the notice served by
the SHC. They said it was planned by the government to disrupt the peaceful
visit of the CJP. Munir Malik announced complete boycott of courts on 14 th
May and observance of four-hour symbolic hunger strike.
Farooq Sattar held a counter-press conference to reiterate MQMs
accusations against the CJP, his panel of counsels and the opposition parties.
He claimed that opposition parties did it because they were jealous of
MQMs growing popularity. He produced documentary evidence in the
form of photographs.
Black Day was observed across the country. ARD blamed the
government for Karachi massacre. Pakhtuns held MQM responsible for the
bloodbath. British media also blamed supporters of Musharraf for Karachi
carnage and saw power slipping away from president. Qazi demanded


extradition of Altaf Hussain from UK. Nawaz warned Benazir against

On 14th May, Additional Registrar Supreme Court Syed Hamad Raza
was murdered at his house in Islamabad in the wee hours. Police said it was
a dacoity case. Doctors did not find any sign of resistance. The family
members termed it targeted killing. The widow sought protection from
British Embassy being a British national.
Munir A Malik said Hamad was an important person in the reference
against the CJP. Aitzaz said that the murder carried a warning for others. No
one from the government said anything, but the Supreme Court took suo
moto notice of the murder.
Hamad was a trusted man of the CJP. He was also kept under house
arrest for few days after 9th March. Thereafter, the officials of intelligence
agencies had visited his residence and questioned him on the CJP. He could
have been an important defence witness. The widow said, killing of Raza is
a message to the judiciary.
Ansar Abbasi reported that Hamad was under immense pressure to
stand in the witness box against the chief justice. Agencies were asking him
to provide some evidence about the CJP and his son. He had told his friends
during the last two months that on a number of occasions he was summoned
by agencies for this purpose.
The officer was living in a semi furnished house. His batch mate
wondered, only insane dacoits will try to rob a grade 19 official living in
such a run-down neighbourhood, whereas across the road they can find
affluent houses of rich and wealthy.
In another action Sindh police arrested DIG Saleem Khan in
Islamabad. He is another important defence witness in the reference against
the CJP. The Chief Minister of Sindh was not happy with him because the
DIG disregarded his orders and instead pursued suo moto notices issued by
the CJP.
Six more people were killed in violence in Karachi. None of them was
from MQM because all of its militants had fallen back to respective safe
houses. Minister Durrani vowed to trace out and punish the rioters. ISPR,
with reference to calling corps commander to the Sindh High Court, clarified


that Army was not called in aid to civil administration in Karachi. The
clarification was cleverly worded as no media channel had reported that
army was called in aid of civil administration.
Prime Minister ruled out governors rule in Sindh. The Governor was
already ruling the province. He said the opposition was being contacted for
restoration of peace in Karachi. Farooq Sattar rendered unconditional
apology to Aaj TV; the only incident to be regretted for reasons too obvious.
Zafarullah Jamali called on the CJP at his residence. He refused to answer
any questions after the visit. S M Zafar opposed filing of another reference
against the CJP.
The Acting Chief Justice reconstituted the full court after Justice Falak
Sher declined to sit on the bench. Lawyers boycotted courts across the
country. Traders joined the strike against Karachi carnage. For the first time
the lawyers and political workers were seen protesting side by side.
Qazi repented the act of supporting the LFO. He also filed a
constitutional petition against Musharraf over holding two offices. The
session of National Assembly was adjourned after vociferous protest of the
opposition over Karachi killings. The opposition boycotted Senate session.
British media spoke of Altafs power and saw change in the wind.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Imran Khan said the dictator was
fully involved in patronizing biggest terrorist of the country and even the
British government was harbouring the terrorist, therefore, it was equally
responsible for the Karachi incident.
He de-abbreviated MQM as Musharraf Qatl-e-Aam Movement.
Imran said he was consulting partys legal advisers for registration of an FIR
against Musharraf and Altaf Hussain; besides moving court in London for
which evidence was being collected. He compared MQM with Hitlers Nazi
party which always won with terror.

This turned out to be the bloodiest round. What happened in Karachi
on 12 May will be commented upon for long time to come. Herein a
sample of the initial public outrage is produced. But first some comments on
various aspects of the ongoing movement for independence of the judiciary.


Aasim Sajjad Akhtar observed that Lahore rally was a big victory of
the Team-Wig but it still remained small in a long battle. Regardless of the
pontifications of General Musharraf, Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi
and other prominent government figures during and after the chief justices
extended public rally, the scale of the mobilizations must have surely got
the government and establishments knees wobbling. What is most
disconcerting about the episode (for king and kingmakers alike) is that
ordinary people were out on the streets.
In spite of the somewhat euphoric mood that prevailed in Lahore and
most other urban centres on the Rawalpindi-Lahore stretch of the GT Road
over the weekend, it is crucial to keep things in perspective. There is still a
military regime in power, it still enjoys considerable support from its
western world, and particularly from the United States, and the lawyer-led
movement does not offer a coherent alternative to the current dispensation,
at least not yet. That is why it is important to step back and remember the
magnitude of the struggle that democratic forces actually face.
A cursory look at some of the bigger popular mobilizations in
Pakistans history suggests a constantly recurring theme. This explains the
relative stability of the oligarchic system of power that has remained intact
for almost all of Pakistans 60 years. Namely popular movements have
always been focused on removing the government in power, or the
individual ruler associated with that period of rule, rather than propagating
more substantial, systemic change.
On more than one occasion, popular movements representing the
immense pent-up frustration that ordinary Pakistanis feel towards the ruling
class have won a symbolic battle only to lose a much bigger war. The latent
possibility of this happening yet again is captured in the slogan that has
been widely popularized in recent times: Go Musharraf Go! The slogan
is not Go Fauji Go which is, as should be obvious, a qualitatively different
demand from that which targets Musharrafs person.
There is something different about the current wave of populism
sweeping across the country. It is impossible to ignore the fact that amongst
ordinary people, the militarys larger than-life image of guardian of the
state is being questioned. The military is no longer considered
untouchable, morally superior to politicians, bureaucrats and the rest of us
imperfect beings.


But moral indignation will not do. And it is important to bear in mind
that while the militarys pristine image has been damaged, the imperative of
national security undoubtedly the main reason for the militarys historical
dominance remains largely unquestioned. Yet two months into the lawyerled movement against the CJs dismissal, the resounding retort to the
military regime by the people of upper Punjab the historical recruiting
ground of the army could well be remembered as turning point in
Pakistans political history. This is, of course, if the forces of democracy
do not sit on their laurels congratulating themselves on having won a
relatively small battle. There is, after all, still the small matter of the 59-yearold war that we have been losing since the very inception of the state.
T Mallick from Lahore opined that there is a message for men in
uniform, to submit to rule of law and stop meddling in politics. People
are also angry over the widening gap between rich and poor. The regime
lacks funds in health, education and provision of basic needs like clean
drinking water, but has lot to waste on buying several aircraft and luxurious
limousines and arranging frequent foreign junkets, with scores of hangerson, all paid for from the national exchequer. This country has the political
maturity to appreciate a judge who stands up for human rights and takes suo
motto action to help the common man.
M S Hasan from Karachi observed: The immediate reaction,
ramifications and possible fallout of the Journey into history is that there is
no question that the suspended chief justice has become the symbol and
torch bearer for the increasing legal and public activism against the
military rule and thus he enjoys immense support of, though
undemonstrative, the silent majority.
The government has truly been cornered and does not know how
to handle and manage the judicial-cum-political turmoil, hence the
blinking of red lights and sirens of distress being echoed by a beleaguered,
incoherent and off-balance leadership which has forced even the prime
minister to openly talk of a possible imposition of emergency. That is
essentially an admission of the governments failure to control and
effectively manage the situation.
Kamila Hyat felt the need of a leader for the ongoing movement. The
people then have, it seems, stepped into the vanguard of the struggle for
change leaving political leaders lagging somewhere several circuit
behind. The search for new leader is on, and eventually one will emerge,

responding to the demand raised by people. As such, the significance of the

current struggle goes well beyond the immediate issues such as the survival
or stability of the Musharraf regime.
The fact that, even as the movement triggered by the chief justices
refusal to resign early in March this year has gained strength, the countrys
mainstream political leadership has chosen to remain within its comfortable
exile, says a great deal about why people are looking for a leader. While
the lawyers have surprised everyone by sustaining the protest they began
eight weeks ago, the failure of major parties to join them wholeheartedly and
indeed make their way to the frontline of the battle may prove to be their
It is of course unfortunate that newer parties have failed to really
make a visible impression. While the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf and its leader,
Imran Khan, have to their credit backed by the lawyers from the start, the
party seems to lack the ability to find roots among the people.
It is revealing that even while ideology, or politics on the basis of
beliefs, seems to be a thing of the past, people seem largely unified as to
their central demands. Regardless of finer divisions on the basis of
specific beliefs, there is agreement that justice is essential, that the
military has wronged the people by taking over more and more wealth and
more and more civilian functions and that only leaders chosen by people
themselves can steer the nation out of its current crisis.
Over the coming weeks then, developments will be compelling. The
signs of panic in the government circles are now obvious. The mass
arrests and attempts to block people joining the CJs march were evident
examples of this rising desperation. It is still not known if the temptation to
clamp emergency and to use the current situation as a means to call off
scheduled elections may prove too much to resist. Certainly, the talk in
circles of power is of using any means necessary to preserve power for those
running the affairs, and, if necessary, lay the blame on a few selected
But regardless of the final outcome of the immediate drama, the fact
that people have found a focal point around which to gather is crucial. By
doing so, they have also demonstrated that a strong political spirit lives on,
and that even a figure as unlikely as the chief justice of the country, who is


barred from assuming any kind of political role, can become a hero for the
people who see him as man wronged by the establishment.
This display by people, who in some cases turned out on the streets
with children and indeed entire families, to see the caravan led by the CJ
wind its way across Punjab is thus immensely significant. It shows, more
clearly than ever, the readiness of the people to take part in any plan for
change. The question now is who will draw out the blueprint for this and
design the structure for a future which can bring for people the
improvement in the conditions of life, more security and greater say in their
destiny all of which citizens are avidly searching for.
D Masooda Bano was of the view that governments reaction to
criticism was irrational. There is no doubt that if the movement continues
with this momentum the future military or civilian executive of this
country will have to learn to respect the judiciary. This message, if
successfully engrained in the psyche of the executive, would undoubtedly be
a phenomenal achievement of the lawyers movement.
Widespread condemnation of the way General Musharraf processed
the reference against Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry should show the government
that there is something seriously wrong with the way the state is being run.
People are fed upthey are seeing no good come out of the state machinery
and the lawyers movement has provided a brilliant platform to express this
anti-government mood. The tragedy with Pakistan, however, is the absence
of a strong political leader to cash this movement. It is clear that the public is
keen to replace the government.
The government on its part is failing to come up with appropriate
response. Rather than seriously thinking about what is wrong with its
policies, it is resorting to desperate measures to counter the public
criticism. The most obvious example of this are the pro-government
What can be more bizarre and farcical than these counter rallies?
First of all, they show the mindset of the sitting government, where using
state resources for personal interests is such a standard practice that the
sitting ministers have even lost sense of what issues actually legitimately
justify the use of public money. Who gives the government the legitimacy to
use tax-payers money, and to waste the time of the elected nazims and


government employees including school-teachers and low-officials, to come

out and demonstrate in favour of government policies?
To top it all, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has also indicated that
imposition of emergency cannot be ruled out if things go out of control.
Such a proposition is clearly not desirable, as then the state will get even
more blatant in the use of forceespecially when it comes to censoring
media. However, its easier for the government to threaten the public
with emergency than to actually impose it as such a move will not help its
international image. General Musharrafs power rests in international
support rather than domestic following, but there are limits even to what US
can internationally justify as legitimate. Therefore, it is not that easy for the
government to impose emergency and retain its international standing as it
might make it seem.
Saeed Najam from Lahore opined that rulers hue and cry about
politicizing the judicial issue is unjustified. Before deciding whether our
chief justice is a political person, we should examine whether our
president, who is also the commander-in-chief of our army, is political
or not. This is important because as C-in-C he commands our army and is
sworn to be apolitical and uphold our constitution.
With due respect, the president addresses large audiences at our
expense where he tells the audience to elect candidates belonging to the
PML-Q. He is, therefore, a political commander-in-chief. On the contrary,
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry neither belongs to a political
party nor actively supports the agenda of a political party. He is professional
judge who has honoured the oath of his office.
It is a twist of fate that, when our CJP was being treated like a
criminal the lawyers fraternity arose in unison to defend him. Aitzaz Ahsan,
one of our best lawyers, voluntarily offered to plead his case. That he is a
PPP high ranker is just a coincidence. Should the CJP have refused Aitzazs
professional services? One does not ask for the leading surgeons political
affiliation when having a heart transplant. The allegation of political
chief justice, therefore, does not hold water.
As for the lawyers community, every conscientious voter has voted
for someone at one time or the other. Our lawyers, who belong to the
educated and politically aware segment of society, must also have voted for
candidates of different parties including the PML-Q. Simply voting for a

candidate does not amount to being a member of the candidates party.

The media cannot and should not black out the protests and gatherings of the
political parties.
Brushing off the unprecedented support of the people shown for the
CJP on his mammoth drive to address the Lahore Bar as a non-event, will be
harmful for this country. It was an exhibition of political distrust in the
ruling political setup and we dont have to be apologetic about it. The
political parties represent the masses and no one has to pretend that the
current crisis is not a national issue. In any case, this judicial crisis has
become a political crisis of serious dimensions.
Shafqat Mahmood linked his hopes with the constitution of full court.
The constitution of a full court to hear the chief justices petition has shifted
the arena of action from streets back to the Supreme Court. This may have
prompted General Musharraf to hold all precipitate action on the political
front and take his chances with the larger bench.
It also relieves him from taking the painful step of withdrawing the
reference and losing public face. Let us face it. While a withdrawal of the
reference may defuse the crisis somewhat it would make the General look
bad. He may seek to pin the blame on bad advice but this will not reduce his
personal culpability. He is the one who took final decision and whatever
the form of advice, he cannot escape responsibility.
He may have also calculated that while the demonstrations are
getting bigger and the way Punjab reacted was exceptional this does not
translate into his automatic removal from power. He may have a point
because while political conditions predicate a rulers removal from
power, there has to be mechanism which actually, physically makes it
In democratic countries where rule of law reigns supreme, a defeat in
an election, a vote of no confidence or impeachment becomes the
mechanism of removal from power. Once such an eventuality occurs, the
ruler quietly packs his or her bags and leaves. No police or army is required
to make it happen In dictatorships or quasi democracies where nobody
gives a toss about the constitution or rule of law, physical force is the
only mechanism that brings about a change.


This being the case it is easy for Musharraf to conclude that as long
as the army is not ready to physically remove him from office, why should
he worry about a few hundred thousand people thronging the GT Road or
the Lahore Mall. Let all the lawyers in the country and practically everyone
in the educated classes come out on the streets or go hoarse shouting antiMusharraf or anti-army slogans. The name of the game is physical power
and unless the crowds have the numbers and the gumption to storm the
presidency or the camp office in Rawalpindi, there is no threat to his
It is important to understand these mechanics of the regime change
because many among the intelligentsia and the political field have already
written the General off. This is more than slightly optimistic. While this
movement has badly bruised him and certainly destroyed his public
image, it does not mean that he is ready to go.
The more sophisticated among the observers do agree on one point
though. It is no longer possible, they say, for him to remain in uniform
and also be president. They come to this conclusion because Seventeenth
Amendment in the Constitution and the later holding of two offices act of
the parliament has set December 2007 deadline. It would require two-thirds
majority to change this and they do not feel that he will have it after the next
All analyses and objections are based on a set of realities as they
stand today. They are also predicated on rational behaviour by the main
protagonists. There is no guarantee however, that any of these reference
points will remain constant. New realities may emerge that we cannot
foresee today and principals may take entirely unexpected decisions. When
God has willed a change, strange things happen.
Babar Sattar explored the possibilities of the public movements
influence on the decision of the court. The suspension of the chief judge by
General Musharraf challenged the established constitutional understanding
of the respective provinces of the executive and the judiciary and can thus
have lasting institutional repercussions. And finally, removing an
independent and unpredictable chief justice at a time when crucial legal
issues with extensive political fallouts were to be decided by the apex court
such as determination of the uniform issue and competence of the present
parliament to elect a president for two consecutive terms, it would be
fantastical to argue that the decision was apolitical.

Why then does Musharraf regime demand that the reaction to the
reference be only in the form of legal proceedings? Why should political
parties be denied their legitimate right to protest the exercise of discretion by
the incumbent of a political office in a certain manner that can leave a
lasting imprint on the political landscape of the country? Why shouldnt
judges, not seized by the matter in their judicial capacity, silently
remonstrate at how actions of the General further Pakistans institutional
imbalance? And why should the publics vocal disdain for the Musharraf
regimes perceived attempts to shackle judicial independence be denounced
as attempts singularly focused at influencing the outcome of Supreme Court
The Musharraf regime is struggling to deal with the protests because
the public has rejected the allegations against the CJ, and leaving him
aside, the rest of the movement is faceless. It is easy to discredit individuals
as opposed to ideas and ideals. The government is eager to label the
movement as political; in order to indulge in the isnt-Musharraf-betterthan-Bhutto-and-Sharif type arguments that have sustained this regime for
so long.
The movement is not political because the CJ is not seeking
personal gains from people. He is not asking for their votes and they
cannot reinstate him in his judicial office. The CJ is soliciting moral support
for a cherished constitutional deal. It is precisely the non-partisan nature of
the spontaneous yet overwhelming public support for the cause of judicial
independence personified by CJs struggle against the reference that has
unnerved the Musharraf regime.
The question then is whether this public movement is likely to bias
the apex court and influence its determination of the constitutional issues at
stake in the matter? Courts do not function in a social and political vacuum.
Judges can never be oblivious to the socio-political milieu they function in
and the judicial choices they make are informed by their personal morality,
which in turn, fashioned to an extent by social morality. Thus, in a decision
as momentous as the present one, it is unrealistic to expect them to be
unconscious of the interests at stake. However, one must appreciate that as a
matter of historical record, Pakistans judiciary has not been guilty of
succumbing to public pressure. To the contrary, its leaning has been in
favour of expediency and authority.


The constitutional matters involved in the reference case are not

momentous due to the intricacy of the legal propositions involved, but rather
due to the likely political consequences of the courts findings. The
Musharraf regimes coercion and suspension of the CJ that manufactured the
judicial crisis was unnecessary and irresponsible. The movement for
judicial independence has considerably weakened the Musharraf regime
and credit for that goes exclusively to the generals advisers. An adverse
ruling from the Supreme Court will undoubtedly further enfeeble the
This is an opportunity in Pakistans history to establish that we
are a nation governed by laws not by men. No doubt, conducting a legal
investigation into the acts of the president or the chief justice is an irksome
as well as delicate exercise because of its political consequences, but now
seized of the matter the Supreme Court must not falter.
The litigation process produces victors and losers and that is exactly
what we need in this conflict. It is for the Supreme Court to say what the law
is, and then the nation has a right to determine whether the law in its present
state is satisfactory or not. If the Supreme Court upholds the legal
fraternitys consensual understanding of the constitution and the CJ is
vindicated and reinstated, we will be transformed into a nation ruled by law
overnight. In the event that the apex court fends for the General and rules
that a judge can be suspended by the ruler of the day on allegations of
misconduct, there will be need to re-write the constitution to ensure that
tyranny of the executive is explicitly declared illegal under our constitution.
An extra-legal compromise between the CJ and the general is just not an
option, for this is not a private dispute between two men.
Adil Najam had an overview from the US with the advice to the rulers
to revisit the slogan Pakistan First. Today, Washington has a new question:
Is General Musharraf in control? This is a much more dangerous question,
both for General Musharraf and for Pakistan. This new question holds all the
assumptions about Pakistans terrible realities constant, but then implies
that maybe the General is no longer in control.
Washington is willing to take a wait and see approach for the
time being. It looks lustfully at the potential benefits of a Benazir-Musharraf
hook-up, but continues to explore other options, including those that have no
Musharraf attached to them. It remains patient, but makes clear to all that
its patience cannot be counted on indefinitely.

All in all, General Musharrafs carefully crafted message is

spinning out of control. On the one hand, his friends in Washington now
see the terrible realities of Pakistan as being much more terrible than they
actually are. On the other, they view him as being in much less control of
things than he actually is. The lesson for General Musharraf is: beware of
the media messages you spin.
It is time for General Musharraf, the great survivor, to rethink
strategy. He needs to change not only the answers that Washington and
others are arriving at, but also the questions that they are asking. In
particular, he has to stop arguing that he is necessary because of Pakistans
terrible realities. At the current moment this argument imperils not only his
own survival but Pakistans international standing.
As General Musharraf ponders on the related challenges of (a)
growing domestic unease over his handling of the chief justice crisis, (b) the
frightening rise of militant radicals a la Lal Masjid and elsewhere, and (c)
growing nervousness amongst his most important international ally, maybe
he needs to revisit his own original slogan Pakistan First.
Masood Hasan narrated the painful plight of the rulers in his familiar
style. The onslaught and the fallout of that March day continue to
reverberate with growing intensity. Almost 50 days onwards, things simply
are not cooling down. Neither has the weather been of much use to the
government, which must have been hoping that the soaring 40s would keep
the most diehard penguins at home. Instead, wearing those super-heat
absorbing black-coats, they have braved the midday sun rudely waking up
all the ghosts of all the mad Englishmen and madder dogs and rallied
around, in daunting numbers, at every dusty, sun-baked road you can
possibly think of. The CJs epic journey from Islamabad to Lahore took 25
momentous hours and only proves that you cant depend on public transport
with any confidence.
Although minister for information, Durrani has decided that the
current crisis calls for broad-faced full 32 teeth flashing smiles, much in
the style of Burt Lancaster who would dazzle his leading ladies, the minister
is not having good day at the Lie Manufacturing Company. In spite of his
very, very dark goggles that prompted a cartoon where the minister is still
blinding but he is a brave man.


The prime ministers all rounder, Slapper Wasi opened his innings
with great bravado and was slapping sixes from the word slap, but then
he had to repair in a workshop in Lahore for some medical adjustments.
A new slapping hand perhaps, though rumours have it that it was a tent,
about which Wasi was very lyrical when questioned by a silly reporter. In
true Wasi-lore, he explained to the reporter what he would do with a tent to
him and his family. What a man and why are they not building statutes
honouring him in every square? Get rid of those silly missile dummies and
put Pakistans real missile on display, I say, but no one seems to be
Other than that, there is deafening silence from the hundreds of
ministers, advisors, special assistants, consultants and flunkeys who have
been fattening their middles with huge salaries and unlimited perks
Instead, they have simply disappeared into the woodwork like clever
termites It is in these circumstances that Minister Durrani has decided to
wear a permanent smile, which insiders say is one of the intense pain, but
the minister is suffering silently on that account and earning his daily bread.
That leaves the two Chaudhries. The chief minister of Punjab has
curiously sounded more and more off beat as the CJs movement has
grown larger and larger. Is there a relationship here? A message we cannot
comprehend? That leaves Ch; The Elder. Having walked from his hospital
bed in the US to save the day here, he has instead gotten stuck in
Islamabads answer to sticky gun Perhaps May 12 will give both gents the
much needed boost, since Red Bull obviously doesnt work in Gujrat.
Personally, I think the prime minister should immediately start a
ledger where apart from noting attendance, he should put in at least three
columns, namely No. of speeches made in favour of the President, No. of
TV appearances in favour of the President, No. of public functions
organized in favour of the President. There should be a daily entry and
three crosses mean standing in the corner for the whole cabinet session.
More dire punishments can be thought of and Slapper will surely oblige.
If nothing else, ministers can be threatened that should they fail to
deliver the goods, Slapper may even receive an injection sorry injunction
from the prime minister authorizing him to slap all of them into
submission. If all this doe not happen, I am afraid that the game of golf, here
or sunnier climes is going to receive a deluge of new golfers fresh from
pastures of Pakistan. That wouldnt do much for the game I am afraid.

Some Pakistanis, however, still remained pro-Musharraf. Hayat

Malick from Lahore wrote: It must be noted that the president had simply
referred a case to the judicial council. In doing so, he was only performing
his legal and constitutional duty as head of state, and nothing more. Some
lawyers with vested interests have hijacked and politicized the issue and
are making a mockery of the judicial system in Pakistan undermining the
authority of the courts. They are attempting to force a street verdict in
connivance with the media which seems to be conducting its own trial. They
are ignoring and suppressing the views, statements and activities of the large
majority of Pakistanis who fully support General Musharraf.
The wise had been warning of the strong possibilities of serious
trouble in Karachi. They were not having a shot in the blues. The record
of the MQM, now strongly entrenched in Karachi, and confrontational
mindset of its leaders promised nothing but trouble; signs of which started
surfacing well before the 12th May.
The News asked the government to stop harassing Munir A Malik.
The continuing harassment ofMunir Malik needs to be looked into by the
government which should do something to stop it. Failure to do so presents
the government itself in poor light, especially since the lawyer in question
has been playing a key role in the protest by the lawyers community on the
filing a presidential reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry as well. In recent days, there had been reports that he had been
harassed by unknown people, purported to be officials of intelligence
agencies, and that even his sister, who happens to be a minister in the Sindh
government had been told to ask her brother to desist from organizing
protest rallies and speaking out against the government.
Now with May 12 around the corner, a day that could possibly lead
to considerable tension and perhaps much more given that the chief
justice is scheduled to visit Karachi and MQM has also decided to stage a
rally the harassment of Mr Malik has been raised to higher level. On
Wednesday his office, which had been operating for several years, was
sealed by the Karachi Building Control Authority (KCBA) for a code
violation, but reopened thanks to an order by the Sindh High Court. The
SCBA president is right in questioning that if the office was illegal then why
did the KBCA act now, two days before the CJs trip to Karachi.


The harassment did not end there. On Thursday morning, fifteen

shots were fired at his house, apparently to scare him off the case and
possibly to throw a spanner in the works as far as the CJs rally is
concerned If, as some may suspect, some elements within the
government are involved, they should be told to desist from indulging in
such shenanigans because they end up showing the government in very
poor light that it is now resorting to openly intimidate its opponents on the
CJ issue.
Mir Jamilur Rahman wrote: We are also in trouble because the fascist
tendencies are on the increase. During the recent lawyers procession from
Islamabad to Lahore, the cable TV broadcasts in Sindh were blocked for
nearly 25 hours, the time it took the chief justice to reach Lahore. Who
forced the closure? Even the government does not know. It means that
fascist is at work in Pakistan.
Also, on Thursday night, the house of Munir Malik, president of
Supreme Court Bar Association and counsel of Chief Justice Chaudhry,
came under heavy fire by unidentified persons. This also is a fascist tactic
to intimidate the opposition.
This is a dangerous trend, very harmful to democracy and the outcry.
The government ought to take strong measures to arrest the fascist trends in
its infancy. Fascism is a more dangerous threat than extremism and
The News again appealed for restraint. The lead-up to the rally has
been one of much tension, with shooting at the home of one of the chief
justices lawyers before the Supreme Judicial Council. Furthermore, the
quarters that are expected to show some restraint, not least because they
happen to represent the government, have not done so. Police action on
Thursday night to remove reception camps set up by various political
parties in anticipation of the chief justices arrival might be seen by some as
provocative step and should have been avoided.
The main difference is that government rallies in those cities were far
smaller than the MQM ones here will probably be. Another significant
aspect of the situation here is that, unlike what happened in Islamabad and
Lahore, the rallies of both sides are almost certain to cross each others path.
This could be prevented only if the routes of the planned rallies were entirely
different, which worryingly is not the case but what must be ensured by all

means is that this Saturday does not see things getting worse than they
already are.
A day after the Karachi carnage, The News wrote, by late afternoon,
it seemed as if the whole city had degenerated into a battle zone with bullets
flying around just about everywhere and ordinary citizens having to run for
cover as if they were on a street in Baghdad. That this was happening in
the countrys largest city with government writ nowhere in sight and
very strong suspicions that activists of certain parties were behind much of
the firing was inexplicable. And one can only wonder why the federal
government hadnt impressed upon its allied party to postpone its rally.
Surely, given past experience it should have known that the situation could
very quickly degenerate into violence and bloodshed.
Saturdays events are going to have disastrous and long-term effect
on the citys law and order situation and economy, especially in terms of
attracting foreign visitors and investment, is an understatement. And those
who think that they own the city need to take a long look at their own
actions, because these end up hurting only Karachi.
Next day, the editor added, President Musharraf and MQM chief
Altaf Hussain both blamed the chief justice and the opposition parties for the
violence. The president, yet again, asked lawyers not to turn what he said
was a purely constitutional matter into a political campaign, perhaps not
realizing that he and his government had in fact set the ball rolling and
had compounded matters by answering the oppositions politics with
politics of their own.
The Sindh governments home affairs advisor, under whose
jurisdiction come the provincial police, also blamed the chief justice for
coming to Karachi and provoking violence. Certain uncharitable remarks
were also made against the chief justice implying that while Karachi was
burning he was comfortably ensconced inside the VIP lounge of the airport.
However, this ignores the fact that he was very much willing to travel to
the high court bar to deliver his address but that the provincial
government was clearly unable to guarantee his safety.
The weekends deadly events, which reminded one of Karachis
bloody days in the early nineties, raise several questions and answers are
needed. Why did the police and the Rangers fail to take action to prevent the
carnage? Who ordered the barricading of the citys main artery and several

other roads and for what purpose? Who were the heavily armed groups of
armed men wandering about boisterously around the city on that fateful day?
What was achieved by preventing the chief justices reception at the Sindh
High Court Bar? Is there any truth in the MQMs claim that the opposition is
out to destabilize the city as part of a sinister conspiracy? Do the federal and
Sindh governments think that what happened on Saturday was in the interest
of the country, especially considering that the centre considers Karachi to be
lynchpin of its claimed economic turn around and ongoing recovery?
And finally, what message is given to ordinary Pakistanis, the outside
world and those behind the violence when the state chooses to abdicate from
its duty to provide security of its citizens in as blatant a manner as seen over
the weekend? All this reflects poorly on the government of the day, but
instead of admitting that matters were badly handled one finds all the blame
is being deflected elsewhere.
People of Pakistan will keep talking about the Karachi carnage for
months, perhaps, years to come. In the first salvo of their outrage they, like
the editor The News, rained hundreds of questions to express their anger and
disgust. Murtaza Talpur from Islamabad said there are so many questions
which need answers. Who is responsible for this mayhem? What is the
purpose of this violence? Every political party is blaming the other no one
seems to know the real culprit. What were the security forces doing during
the violence and why did they not move in to end the fighting? On what path
is this country being taken; and for what purpose and by whom?
Even Air Cdre Afzal A Khan, a friend of the regime, was unhappy.
Will someone please answer the following questions? Why didnt the
administration foresee the violence and change the routes of the rallies? Why
werent the Rangers called in to maintain law and order? This couldnt have
been all that difficult to manage. For how long will the politicians make
fools of innocent people?
Rabia Hashim Khaskheli from Karachi asked: Despite the
deployment of 15,000 police and paramilitary troops in the city, it seemed
like a war zone, with rival groups using sophisticated weapons to shoot at
each other freely. What does this all mean? What hope can ordinary lawabiding residents of the city now have of living a peaceful existence? Who
are the people responsible for all what has happened? Will the
government please answer this question truthfully?


B A Malik from Islamabad was of the view that General Pervez

Musharraf and MQM chief Altaf Hussain owe an explanation to the
nation. Why was it so necessary for the MQM to stage a rally on the same
day as the Chief Justice of Pakistans visit to Karachi and address the Sindh
High Court Bar Association?
A senior MQM leader speaking from London on a Geo talk show
repeatedly parried certain key questions asked from him. Even the
president, while speaking at his May 12 rally in front of Parliament
House called the MQM show of force a legitimate response to the
movement launched by lawyers for the independence of the judiciary.
Zainul Abideen from Karachi said: I just cannot understand what the
law-enforcement agencies were doing when a TV channel came under
attack for several hours. It seems they had order to do nothing. As a citizen
of Karachi I demand peace.
Ali Imran Iqbal from Lahore wished for the impossible. He wanted
trial in a criminal court of all those which include a president and a
governor. Every single person involved in Karachis violence should be
arrested, tried in the courts and given exemplary punishment to teach all
other a lesson for future.
M Umar Farooq from Saudi Arabia observed: The MQMs decision
to show blind loyalty to General Pervez Musharraf has severely damaged its
reputation in the rest of Pakistan. Before the events of May 12, the party
could have hoped to expand its appeal beyond urban Sindh. But now many
will perceive it as nothing but ethno-centric, violent organization
symbiotically linked to the army and led by people with a narrow vision.
The party may have achieved its tactical goal of stopping the Chief
Justice from reaching the Sindh High Court but it has irretrievably
harmed its efforts of becoming a national political party.
Sayed Moez Shah from Quetta wrote, the sensitivity of the situation
was known to all but no one did anything. There was no security on May 12
and this gave the miscreants a free hand. May 12 was yet another black
and bloody day in the history of Karachi.
Shakir Lakhani from Karachi tauntingly pointed out a positive
aspect of the tragedy. We did get a whole 24 hours without a power
outrage. So now we know what to do to solve the power shortage problem.


Either we hold rallies every day or we shift all those power guzzling
factories to somewhere far away from Karachi, along with the people who
work in them. We shall have less pollution and uninterrupted power, killing
two birds with one stone.
Gulsher Panhwer from Dadu opined: The heavens would not have
fallen if the MQM had postponed its rally. But it looks as though the
rulers have not learnt any lesson from past experience and intoxicated with
power they prefer to satisfy their egos at the cost of destroying the economy
of the country and several dozen lives.
Shahryar Baseer from London wrote: The massacre in Karachi
shows that some people will never change their true colours. I just cant
help but feel sad looking at the pictures of my fellow countrymen lying with
bloodied clothes in the streets of Karachi with burning cars in the
Nasir Kamal Yousafzai from Mardan said: Prior to the planned
arrival of the chief justice, the government had warned that there could be
violence a possible terrorist attack if the chief justice went ahead with his
visit to Karachi. What makes this interesting is that this warning of a
possible attack was coming from a government whose own interior
minister was injured in a suicide attack. If the government had such good
sources of intelligence giving it advance warning of the violence, then the
precious lives lost sine May 12 could have been saved.
Eram Zehra from Islamabad observed that no violence happened
when the chief justice visited bar councils in Peshawar, Rawalpindi or
Lahore. But Karachi is obviously different as shown by the events of May
`Syed A Mateen from Karachi said, I do not understand why there
was a need for pro-government political parties to show their strength
on May 12. Everyone in the country is aware of the fact that after the
suspension of the Chief Justice of Pakistan he has been going to various
cities to address the gathering of lawyers which are backed by opposition
political parties.
The blockade of the roads was the main issue between the progovernment and the opposition political parties, which created a law and
order situation. In any case, barring the Chief Justice of Pakistan from


addressing a high court bar is against the constitutional guarantee of freedom

of speech.
There is a possibility that if the government and its coalition partners
keep on flexing their muscles and do not let the chief justice and opposition
leaders to speak, similar unfortunate events could happen elsewhere. The
government and its coalition partners must exercise some restraint.
Taha Khan from Islamabad opined: The current law and order
situation in the country says a lot about the writ of the state. What the
president needs to do, instead of making political speeches, is to shed his
uniform and hold free and fair elections.
Imaan Hafiz from Islamabad was of the view that the situation in
this country is beyond redemption. This government, frankly speaking,
consists of people who do not care for citizens. Isnt the police meant to
protect the common person? The police force not only denied beating
anyone up but lied about trying to help them. What is wrong with those in
power? It is quite obvious that the activists of a political party forced some
people to get into those buses and attend the partys rally. This has to stop.
The government has to stop being so inconsiderate to the lives of its citizens;
its job is to help this country progress not regress.

The analysts will keep scratching their heads to find the plausible
answers to the questions asked by the people of Pakistan about Karachi
carnage. The perpetrators of terrorism and their allies will have only one
answer to every question: it is all because of the CJP and opposition parties
supporting him. Instead of waiting for the wisdom that would ooze out of its
fountains, one must endeavour using simple common sense to reach some
The tragedy must be seen in the perspective of Musharrafs two
statements in the recent past. In one of the meetings with his team-mates,
Musharraf had vowed not to be defeated in the ongoing judicial crisis.
Secondly, during his recent visit of Europe he was interviewed by al-Jazeera
TV. While answering a question, he said that rallies of couple of thousands

people in Islamabad do not mean that he has lost public support: I can
collect 500 hundred thousands.
What happened in Karachi was in response to the distress signal sent
by the younger Bhai to the elder Bhai sitting in London, who ordered his
field commanders to go all out to defeat the designs of the CJP and his
supporters from political parties who were fast becoming a potent threat to
the regime of younger Bhai.
MQM announced a counter rally on the same day on which the CJP
had already planned to visit Sindh High Court Bar. This was beginning of
the manifestation of the first statement of Musharraf. MQM arrogantly
refused to listen to any advice for cancellation of the rally, even those
coming from within the ruling coalition, like that of Zafarullah Jamali who
had advised to shun the course of confrontation.
These advices were ignored altogether, because Musharraf had
decided to unleash its Elite Force called MQM. This was meant to convey a
message to his opponents that it is not easy to defeat a man who is
supported by such a ruthless gang of terrorists.
As the D Day came closer, an MQM MNA claimed Karachi as our
city. On the D Day, Altaf Bhai while addressing the rally on telephone said,
we are doing this because these forces are against Musharraf. This
statement was confirmation of the above inference.
Coalition of PML-Q and MQM in the federation has survived on a
condition that the MQM has to be given a free hand in the province of Sindh
in general and Karachi in particular. Dominance of MQM was quite apparent
from the absence of the chief minister throughout the bloody day.
Everything was controlled from Governor House under direct supervision of
the representative of the federation (president) and the chief executive was
kept out of it.
The rally in Islamabad was manifestation of the second statement of
Musharraf. It was mainly aimed at completing head-count of 500 thousands
to tell the outside world that he still enjoys the popular support. Credit of
this goes to rent-a-crowd ingenuity of Gujrati Brothers.
From the above it would be fair to infer that the aim of the plan that
unfolded on 12th May was not to maintain law and order, but to stop the CJP


from getting out of Jinnah Terminal and stop the rallies of political parties
from coming on to the roads at all costs.
The plan is best known to its planners but its salient features can be
deciphered from its unfolding during the execution. Following observations
are important in this regard. First, the blocking of the roads by placing trucks
and trailers and by digging ditches. Road blocks are meant for impeding the
movement by creating artificial ground friction.
Any security force assigned a task to maintain law and order in builtup area would like to have all roads open, as far as possible, to minimize
their reaction time. Only the miscreants would like to impede the movement
of law-enforcers.
The road blocks were planned with emphasis on impeding the
movement between airport and SHC building. The plan was executed
remarkably well strictly in accordance with military training manuals. The
obstacles were reinforced by deploying armed groups to take on anyone who
tried to maneouvre around those.
Barricading has been favourite tactics of the MQM. This was used
extensively and effectively during early 90s to keep the law-enforcers at bay.
The security forces had to spend lot of time and effort to remove those
barriers to retain their maneouvribility.
This time, being in the government, this technique was used
meticulously with a view to impeding the movement of the CJPs entourage
and of the rallies of the opposition parties. No one was to be allowed to
move an inch on any road unhindered.
Bulk of the Police and the Rangers was deployed at two points; airport
and Sindh High Court building. The concentration of the security personnel
on two points was quite irrelevant to maintenance of law and order in a
mega city of Karachi.
Most of the spots where firing took place were along the route likely
to be used by the CJP and the groups which could come out to welcome him.
No significant firing took place along the routes used by the rallies or raillas
of MQM. No opposition party would have liked to trigger violence along
Shara-e-Faisal or National Highway in the vicinity of Malir Cantt.


The planners of the fortress defence did not overlook the possible
threat from within. They knew very well the localities which could cause
problem in smooth execution the plan. These localities were included in the
obstacle plan and in addition pre-emptive strikes/raids were carried out to
pin them at least during the crucial day of May 12.
When the violence erupted, the so-called law-enforcers were
conspicuously absent from all trouble spots. When it happened in their
vicinity, they did not interfere, which implied that enforcement of law and
order was not the priority. In one instance the gunmen took positions inside a
police station where police staff was present.
All matters of law and order were referred to the Governor House and
other MQM leaders for orders to deal with a particular situation. The Police,
the Rangers and the chief executive were sidelined. When MQM leaders
were asked about the absence of law-enforces from the scenes of trouble,
they replied that it was done to avoid bloodshed, particularly in the form of
collateral damage.
Clearly, the terrorists of the MQM remained on the rampage
throughout the day. The Police and the Rangers simply provided cover to
these terrorists. It fact, the 12th day of May was reserved for militants of
MQM to accomplish the assigned tasks.
The Governor and other MQM leaders in the government refused to
deploy security forces till the mission was accomplished. Once these tasks
were accomplished and the CJP was forced to retreat, the second phase of
the plan was launched. The militant groups were told to fall back.
The victims of the MQM, who have been bearing the brunt for
decades, were bound to react. They reacted in an organized manner next day
and by then MQM had achieved its mission and pulled back. Once these
victims retaliated, the same Governor who was so keen to avoid collateral
damage handed over 18 localities to the Rangers with powers to shoot to
The TV footage during the siege of Aaj TV unveiled some additional
aspects of the plan. One, the terrorist groups were very well organized
having integral firing parties, target pointers and replenishment parties. Two,
communication arrangements, thanks to influx on mobile telephones, were
excellent for speedy passage of information/instructions between fighter


groups and the command headquarters. Three, the role of security forces was
to protect flanks and rear of the terrorist groups operating in a particular
area; under no circumstances they were to interfere in operations of the
MQM fighter.
Last but not the least, each group was fully equipped to take
photographs of those resisting the MQM. The evidence so collected was to
be used in future for target killings and more importantly to blame the
opponents for triggering the violence. This evidence was now in possession
of every MQM leader who carried that to every press conference and talkshow on TV channels.
Irrespective of the cost and consequences, it must be acknowledged
that the immediate aim was achieved. Three dozen dead bodies and more
than hundred-fifty wounded was not a bad bargain for defending the
sovereignty of our city of Urdu-speaking Musharraf-supporting people.
If the CJP had come on to the road, the people of a city of 1.5 billion
would have thronged the streets even if the Urdu-speaking residents had
stayed at home. That would have been unbearable for two Bhais who keep
boasting about their popularity. That was averted successfully and in
addition Dehshat of MQM has been reinforced.
By defending the territorial sovereignty of our city, they have proved
that the claim wasnt and isnt a rhetoric. Those who want to visit this city
have to have their explicit permission. And those who have opted to live in
Karachi from up-country must merge themselves into MQM culture or
submit before its might.
The Team-Musharraf may have terrorized its opponents temporarily
and diverted the attention away from the judicial crisis, but in the long run
the Karachi carnage may prove quite harmful to their interests. Musharraf
has in no way facilitated prolongation of his rule and MQMs desire to
transform into a party of national stature has been doomed.
The above discussion leads to certain fairly obvious conclusions. The
first conclusion is about establishing a state within the State. Recently, the
followers of the cult called Enlightened Moderation faced an adjustment
problem with mullas of Lal Masjid and accused them of creating a state
within the State.


It was height of exaggeration to call Lal Masjid and its seminaries a

state within the State. Even those who were extremely annoyed over the
attitude of its administrators should not have called it as such. Lal Masjid is
no more than an islet of fundamentalism in the sea of enlightened
moderation. But then, teachings of Islam are fundamentalist in nature. At
worst, the most angry over activism of Mulla Brothers, can say that it is an
outpost of Taliban; nothing more.
One can equate the tribal agencies along Pak-Afghan border as a state
or states within the State which were inherited from the British. However,
the federation never faced any problem in administering those areas through
special arrangements till Musharraf decided to join the holy war against
Islamic fascism.
Another instance of a state within Pakistan that can be mentioned is
that of the one created by late Nawab Akbar Bugti. That state had almost all
the characteristics of statehood. The growing arrogance of the head of this
state, however, led to his killing and dismantling of his state.
There is only one genuine state within the State of Pakistan which has
been established by MQM. The head of this state controls it from exile
because he is mindful of crimes committed by him during the creation of a
state for Urdu-speaking Mohajirs.
Its statehood was formally announced by an MNA of MQM in
Islamabad a couple of days before Karachi carnage. On 12 th May, it was
emphatically demonstrated that MQM possesses the means, the capability
and the desire to defend its sovereignty. MQM has set an example for
Islamabad as how it should defend its sovereignty in territories other than
The manner in which an alien Chief Justice and his companions were
refused an entry must have put European countries to shame which
occasionally disallow entry to mulla Senators from Pakistan. An overseas
Pakistani has rightly commented that the federal government, the army and
the people should learn a lesson that if today the MQM has not allowed the
CJP to enter Karachi, tomorrow this terrorist party will not allow a prime
minister or president to enter the city if they do not like him.
As regards Musharraf regime, it has practically recognized the state of
MQM. Having done that, one can only hope that Pakistan would soon


approach Altaf Hussain for opening a visa office in Islamabad and also
request for access to sea port having become a land-locked county.
Some inferences should also be drawn about myths and realities of
MQM by those who are not ready to accept the reality of a state within the
State. The first myth relates to the much hyped popularity of MQM as a
political party. Its leaders boast that MQM is a party of the middle class.
Yes, it is a party of people of middle class as far as its funding is
concerned. It largely depends on middle class, lower middle and even poor
for taxation purposes. The taxes are extracted by strict application of
Bathha Doctrine. As regards its leaders, they like those in other parties do
not fall in category of middle class. No one from middle class can afford to
live a lavish life in the city like London.
Another related myth is that the party is fast becoming popular
amongst other linguistic communities. In one of the press conferences,
Farooq Sattar brought Pushto and Sindhi-speaking witnesses to prove the
above claim. One can understand that how these people would have been
coerced or seduced to join MQM. Human desire for existence overtakes
ones political principles and desires.
If the MQM is as popular as claimed by its leaders then why did they
complain of burning of their offices in interior Sindh and Quetta? If at all
there was any truth in claims about its popularity that has been knocked out
by the events of 12th May.
The MQM leadership has also tried to create a myth that their party is
of humble people who believe in peaceful coexistence. Its tolerance and
desire for peaceful coexistence was on display on the roads and streets of
Karachi on 12th May.
If young female students of Jamia Hafsa can be called terrorists for
carrying sticks for self-defence, one cannot find an appropriate word for true
description of enlightened moderates of MQM, who ruled the streets of
Karachi with indiscriminate use of all kinds of weapons. The word terrorist
cannot describe this, because even terrorists have some principles.
The Dehshat of MQM can be gauged from the manner in which the
personnel of law enforcing agencies obeyed their commands. They were told


to stay away from trouble spots and not to interfere in perpetration of

violence and they obeyed this unlawful command in letter and spirit; why?
The police personnel were mindful of the past. The officers who
carried out operations against MQM in the early 90s were systematically
eliminated once the MQM came into power. The very state for whose writ
they had worked tirelessly did not come to their rescue. Therefore, the
present lot of police officers could not risk disobeying the MQM orders.
They accepted the unlawful commands gleefully.
An apology coming from a leader of MQM was another mystery.
While apologizing in a press conference, Farooq Sattar promised that if any
MQM worker was found guilty of involvement in the attack on Aaj TV; his
party membership would be cancelled. What a punishment for perpetrating
death and destruction? The fact remains that MQM leaders are as arrogant as
ever. They refuse to admit committing any wrong starting from the decision
to hold a counter rally to spilling blood of innocent people.
The role of electronic media in the crisis has been commendable. But
there are still some shortcomings. For example, during the attack on Aaj TV
some glaring facts were shown because of the exemplary display of courage
by the cameramen, but the audio commentary did not commensurate the
video takes.
During six-hour siege, terrorists were shown in action right in front its
TV centre operating in the presence of security personnel. A car with green
number plate was also shown delivering replenishments to these gunmen.
These terrorists could not be from MMA, PPP, ANP or PML-N.
Undoubtedly, they belonged to MQM, but not a single word was uttered by
the commentator in this context.
It is agreed that electronic medias responsibility is to provide facts in
real time to help the viewers in making their opinion. It is also important that
the media must avoid bias by maintaining neutrality. But one must
acknowledge that MQM has traumatized the entire nation in general and
Karachi in particular and the media too have had its share of shock and awe.
Therefore, pointing finger at MQM is littered with dire consequences.
But there is always a moment when one must not hesitate in calling spade a
spade. The viewers expected that of a journalist of Talat Hussains stature
should not have refrained saying what he strongly felt inside.


TV channels, without any exception are making mockery of debates

on a very grave national issue by holding inconclusive talk shows. They
invite 3 to 4 guests in a 40-minute programme out of which half the time is
set aside for commercial breaks to earn bread and butter. Out of the
remaining time a few minutes are consumed by the anchor leaving four to
five minutes for each speaker to blurt out his wisdom. Most of the guests
being from the government and their counter-parts from the opposition blurt
out the memorized lines like parrots.
No concerned and thinking Pakistani can do any justice to dilate the
complicated issue presently faced by the nation in few minutes. Each
channel of electronic media should invite neutral learned men and give those
about 30 minutes to speak followed by question-answer session. The
channels wont lose much of bread and butter by sparing an hour in a day in
this defining moment of national history.
The CJP and his supporters failed in appreciating correctly the extent
to which the MQM could resort to militancy or terrorism. The politicians are
to be blamed more than the lawyers, because they had the experience of
dealing with the MQM but they failed to reach the right conclusion when
Home Secretary had hinted at bloodshed.
Fortunately, the CJP and his companions wisely did not come on to
the roads, otherwise the conditions had been created by the defenders of
our city to eliminate each one of them under the pretext of collateral
damage during implementation the plan set in motion for his and his
supporters security. The judicial crisis would have been solved there and
Someone should have advised the CJP and SBC to postpone the visit.
But it would not have been fair to demand this because the CJP and his
supporters had planned the visit well before the announcement of MQMs
rally and they had no intention of seeking confrontation as was evident from
earlier trips to Peshawar and Lahore. Yet, if they had stepped back in
national interest, they would have earned more sympathies.
The CJP and SBC are still contemplating a visit to restore the
confidence of Karachites. This is not advisable; instead it would be better to
hold the much delayed function in Islamabad. This will be in the interest of
the poor residents of Karachi and will also convey a strong message that
dismantling of MQMs mini state is essential.

Islamabad rally was organized by Gujrati Brothers in conjunction

with Bhais of Karachi. PML-Q and MQM make an extremely odd coalition,
because two parties have very little in common. They are like a jug of lassi
and mug of beer or a peg of whisky. The only commonality in these is the
degree and duration of the intoxicating effects.
This rally had no convincing aim though Chaudhry Brothers had been
asserting that it was meant for showing solidarity with Musharraf. This was
no aim, because no one in Pakistan has any doubt about their devotion and
dedication to the uniform and the reasons thereof.
Therefore, this rally was no more than a Bakkar Mandi, in which
herds of goats were transported from across Punjab and NWFP. However,
the DALALS (brokers) failed in selling much and thus the herds were
transported back from where they were collected.
Many of the goats on way back to respective homes must have
pondered hard with feeling of guilt. They must have repented for being part
of a Mela when their fellow goats were being slaughtered on the streets of
Karachi by the fellow butchers of those who had organized the Mela in the
The events have proved that MQM is Musharrafs private militia just
as Mahdi Army is for Moqtada al-Sadr. Those Pakistanis who want Karachi
as part of Pakistan have to toil hard to disarm this militia failing which
tragedies like May 12 will keep recurring.
14th May 2007



The war in Iraq seemed heading nowhere despite the surge. It
appeared that it is all about spilling Muslim blood and that does not hurt
world community. But occasionally the Iraqis also draw the precious blood
of US soldiers; that definitely hurts.
Constant trickle of body-bags has led Democrats to work for ending
the aimless war. They have started pressing for the timetable of US troops
pullout, but presidents veto power has come in their way. Bush-Democrat
tussle, however, goes on.
In Iraq, Moqtada Sadr parted way from the ruling puppet regime on
16 April demanding deadline for withdrawal of occupation forces. Puppet
regime of Maliki remained under pressure from within and outside; on 20th
April Robert Gates warned Iraq that the US would not stay in Iraq for ever.


Palestinians remained under constant pressure despite forming the

unity government. All the hopes seemed to have been ditched with the
eruption of factional fighting in second week of May. US-Iran row over
nuclear proliferation continued with Bush still nourishing the idea of a strike
against Iran.

Bloodshed in Iraq continued despite the surge in counter-insurgency
operations. On 12th April, eight people, including three lawmakers, were
killed in a suicide attack on Iraqi parliament cafeteria inside Green Zone.
Next day, an al-Qaeda group claimed attack on the parliament. Two more
persons were killed in a blast.
On 14th April, 84 Iraqis were killed out of which 56 were killed in a
single suicide attack in Karbala; three US soldiers were also killed. Next
day, 57 people, including 3 US soldiers were killed. Two British soldiers
were killed and one wounded in collision of helicopters.
Thirteen people were killed in different incidents of violence on 16 th
April. Next day, five US soldiers were killed in different attacks. More than
200 Iraqis were killed on 18th April in series of bombings and other incidents
of violence across the country; out of which 140 were killed in a single
attack in Shiite area of Baghdad.
On 19th April, 12 people were killed in violence as Gates visited
Baghdad. Next day, one US soldier was killed and two wounded in rocket
attack on US base.
On 21st April, 24 people, including two coalition soldiers were killed
in various incidents. Next day, 75 people, including fiver US soldiers, were
killed in different incidents.
On 23rd April, 54 people, including an Iraqi brigadier, were killed in
various attacks. Next day, nine US soldiers were killed and more than 20
wounded when two truck drivers attacked a US base; one more US soldier
and 70 Iraqis were killed in other incidents.
On 25th April, 23 people, including a British soldier, were killed in
violence. UN setup for refugees said more than seven hundred thousands

Iraqi have been forced to leave their homes in last one year. It also blamed
the puppet regime for hiding the figures of daily casualties. Next day, 29
people were killed in the ongoing bloodshed.
At least ten people were killed in violence on 27 th April. US forces
detained four members of a gang suspected of smuggling arms from Iran.
The al-Qaeda man, who had planned attack on Musharraf and was captured
while entering Iraq, was shifted to Gitmo facility.
At least 55 people were killed in car bomb blast in Karbala on 29 th
April. Residents protested and police fired in the air to disperse them.
Sixteen more people were killed in other attacks across the country. Next
day one US soldier was killed.
On 30th April, 44 people including four US soldiers were killed in
various incidents of violence. Thousands of Iraqis protested US raid in
Baghdad in which the raiders had claimed killing eight extremists. Next
day, at least 30 more people were killed. In April, 104 US soldiers were
killed. Iraqi government reported killing of Abu Ayyub al-Misri; the US kept
silent and the group denied.
At least 46 people were killed on 2 nd May in different incidents of
violence. Next day, 24 more people, including three US soldiers were killed.
A senior al-Qaeda leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was killed in a battle near
Five US soldiers were killed in separate incidents on 4 th May. Next
day, 74 people, including 7 policemen and 15 recruits, were killed in
different attacks.
On 6th May, 59 people, including six US soldiers and a journalist,
were killed in violence. Next day, 25 people were killed in various incidents
including two suicide bombings in Anbar province.
On 8th May, 16 people were killed and 38 wounded in a car bomb
attack in Kufa. Next day, one US soldier was killed and four wounded in
firing in Dayila on 9th May. Four Iraqi journalists were killed by gunmen
south of Kirkuk and 19 people were killed in car bombing in Kurdish area of
On 10th May, a US Marine was killed in Anbar province. A resistance
group released a video showing execution of Iraqi policemen and soldiers.

Next day, 62 people including four US soldiers were killed in various

Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms attacked a patrol on 12th May and
killed five US soldiers and their interpreter; three US soldiers were missing.
Next day, 67 people were killed and 150 wounded across the country. Four
thousand US soldiers scoured central Iraq to find three missing US soldiers.
On 14th may, 20 people were killed in violence. Next day, thirty
people including three US soldiers were killed. The US troops captured ten
suspected Islamist militants. On 16th May, 51 Iraqis were killed in violence
across the country.
As regards other aspects of Iraqs occupation, the tussle over
withdrawal of US troops between Bush and the Democrats remained in
limelight. By 19th April, Bush and Democrats had failed to break stalemate
on release of funds for Iraq War and the US Congress was determined to
defy on Bushs policy on Iraq.
On 23rd April, the Senate majority leader said Congress would pass
law for quitting Iraq; Bush vowed to reject any withdrawal timetable. Three
days later, despite Bushs threat of veto, US Congress passed the bill for
providing $124 billion for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also set a
timeline to complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq by 31 st March 2008,
starting from 1st October. Senate also passed the bill in 51-46 vote and Bush
reiterated its threat to veto the bill which includes conditional funding.
Bush turned down the call for pullout from Iraq on 28th April. The
second round of billing started with Bush threatening to veto any other
conditional funding bill. By 10th May, Bush and Congress once again veered
onto collusion course, as angry rhetoric flew between the two sides in a
deepening constitutional showdown over a Democratic bid to handcuff the
presidents powers to wage the unpopular war.
Next day, the US lawmakers voted to fund Iraq combat in installments
of just a few months, defying President Bushs veto vow in the latest tussle
of a political feud over control of the war. This legislation ends the blank
check for the presidents war without end, said Nancy Pelosi. On 16 th May,
US Senate rejected a bid to compel Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq.


On diplomatic front, the US maneouvered to bring Iraqs neighbours

on to table for discussing the ways and means to defuse tensions in Iraq. On
29th April, Iran agreed to attend regional meeting on Iraq scheduled to be
held in Egypt.
On 3rd May, International conference in Sharm el-Sheikh adopted a
five-year plan to rescue Iraq from chaos and bankruptcy and pledged $30
billion aid. The same day, Rice met Syrian Foreign Minister and also
exchanged words with Mottaki. Next day, the participants urged support for
the transfer of security responsibilities in Iraq from US-led to Iraqi forces.
Inside Iraq, Moqtada Sadr threatened on 15th April to resign from the
parliament. Next day, his party members parted way from the ruling puppet
regime. His party had six ministers in the cabinet. Sadr wanted deadline for
withdrawal of occupation forces.
After the attack on Iraqi Parliament the puppets met to show their
resolve to continue pursuit of democracy in the country. The attack also
resulted in blaming others. On 22nd April, Iraqi Prime Minister accused alQaeda of perpetration of violence. A week later, he warned Iran of terror
Washington expressed concern on 30th April about reports that aides of
Maliki played key roles in the arrest and removal of senior Iraqi army and
police officers who tried to rein in Shiite militias. On 11th May, it was
reported that some Iraqi MPs were gathering votes to force their government
to set a deadline for US forces to withdraw from the country.
Meanwhile, the US started constructing Israel like walls to segregate
Sunni and Shia localities to implement gated strategy. The residents
protested against construction of wall. Maliki also opposed the construction
of separation walls and after resisting the demands for a while America
abandoned this plan.
Some of the other events worth mention that happened during last
seven weeks were:
On 26th April, a Colonel of US army was accused of aiding enemy and
having improper contacts with daughter of a prisoner.


Cheney proceeded on Middle East visit on 8th May to seek help on

Iran and Iraq. He visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia for this purpose.
On 15th May, Musharraf proposed constitution of Muslim
peacekeeping force for Iraq during his address to meeting of OIC
foreign ministers in Islamabad. Next day, Iraq rejected this brilliant
idea of Musharraf.

The observers kept criticizing various events and aspects of Iraq War.
After attack on the Iraqi parliament the Independent wrote: If the zone
(Green Zone) is seen to be vulnerable, all trust in the possibility of order
spreading from there to the rest of Baghdad will evaporate. The spectre of a
Saigon-style retreat from Baghdad will be harder and harder to dispel.
This is the ninth week of the US surge. More and more American
and Iraqi soldiers are to be seen on Baghdad streets, as the attempt to crack
on the violence gains pace. The greater visibility of US troops, which is an
integral part of the strategy, automatically makes them more vulnerable. It is
probably inevitable that, even as the number of violent incidents has
declined, US military casualties have increased.
For the strategy to work, it must do much more than multiply armed
patrols. It must convince Iraqis that law and order can be restored, not just
now bit in the longer term. It is not just about deterring gunmen and
bombers; it is about instilling confidence in the authorities prospects of
success and reducing support for militant sectarianism. The US surge
already seemed to be in trouble; yesterdays bombing showed that the
citadel could be breached.
Robert Fisk commented on the strategy of gated communities. Faced
with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad despite President
George Bushs surge in troops US forces in the city are now planning a
massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal
off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighbourhoods with barricades
and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter. The campaign
of gated communities whose genesis was in the Vietnam War will


involve up to 30 of the citys 89 official districts and will be the most

ambitious counter-insurgency programme yet mounted by the US in Iraq.
The system has been used and has spectacularly failed in the
past, and its inauguration in Iraq is as much a sign of American desperation
at the countrys continued descent into civil conflict as it is of US
determination to win the war against an Iraqi insurgency
The campaign has far wider military ambitions than the
pacification of Baghdad. It now appears that the US military intends to
place as many as five mechanized brigades comprising about 40,000 men
south and east of Baghdad, at least three of them positioned between the
capital and the Iranian border. This would present Iran with a powerful and
potentially aggressive American military force close to its border in the
event of a US or Israeli military strike against its nuclear facilities later this
General David Petraeus, the current US commander in Baghdad,
concocted the latest security plan, of which The Independent has learnt the
details, during a six-month command and staff course at Fort Lavenworth in
Kansas. Those attending the course American army generals serving in
Iraq and top officers from the US Marine Corps, along with, according to
some reports, at least four senior Israeli officers participated in a series
of debates to determine how best to turn round the disastrous war in
The initial emphasis of the new American plan will be placed on
securing Baghdad market places and predominantly Shiite Muslim areas.
Arrests of men of military age will be substantial. The ID card project is
based upon a system adopted in the city of Tal Afarwhen an eight-foot
berm was built around the town to prevent the movement of gunmen and
A former US officer in Vietnam who has a deep knowledge of
General Petraeuss plans is skeptical of the possible results. The first loyalty
of any Sunni who is in the Iraqi army is to the insurgency, he said. Any
Shiites first loyalty is to the head of his political party and its militia. Any
Kurd in the Iraqi army, his first loyalty is to either Barzani or Talabani.
There is no independent Iraqi army. These people really have no choice.
They are trying to save their families from starvation and reprisal.


At one time they may have believed in a unified Iraq. At one time
they may have been secular. But the violence and brutality that started
with American invasion has burnt those liberal ideas out of people
Every American who is embedded in an Iraqi unit is in constant mortal
Spencer Ackerman observed: On April 10, the 407th Brigade Support
Battalion began installing 12-foot high concrete blast walls around the
restive Sunni neighbourhood of Adhamiya in eastern Baghdad According
to a military statement, the wall is one of the centerpieces of a new
strategy by coalition and Iraqi forces to break the cycle of sectarian
violence. An access point through the wall is only large enough for
pedestrian traffica measure to guard against car bombs.
As soon as word leaked out about the gated communities, military
spokesmen denied any such strategy actually exists. We defer to
commanders on the ground, but dividing up the entire city with barriers is
not part of the plan, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Graver told Los
Angeles Times last week. If so, theres a lot of defence on display in
In one sense, the gated communities are only a quantitatively
different from what already exists. Blast walls are everywhere in Baghdad,
owing to the ever-present danger of bombings and attacks. Nor do the
structures show any sign of being temporary; many of the blast walls
surrounding police stations, apartment blocks or official buildings display
unbleached posters advertising political slates from 2005s parliamentary
News of the gated communities has proven intensely provocative
to Baghdadis. All of a sudden, the concrete barriers reminiscent to Iraqis
of the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank appear to augur a deliberate
US strategy of dividing Iraq in an anticipation of open-ended occupation as
opposed to an unpalatable emergency measure. I think this is the beginning
of a pattern of what the whole of Iraq is going to look like, divided by
sectarian and racial criteria, Abu Marwan, a Shiite pharmacist in Adhamiya
told the Los Angeles Times.
Whats more, the gated communities have exposed a division
between the US and Iraqi government The US is now thoroughly
distanced from the Iraqi government, and both Sunnis and Shia will resent

Maliki for acquiescing to what appears to be the US creation of sectarian

cantons True to form, however, President Bush glossed over the latest
crisis during a press conference yesterday morning with Petraeus, instead
lauding the effort to move forward with a government of and by and for the
Iraqi people. The classic euphemisms never go out of style.
Larry C Johnson urged Americans to compare the ugly aspect of the
occupation of Iraq with Virginia Tech tragedy. What are we to make of the
bizarre contrast between Americas national grief over the terrible slaughter
of students and faculty at Virginia Tech and the muted reaction to the
continuing bloodbath in and around Baghdad?
Think about those numbers in relationship to the anger expressed by
the public and press because Virginia Tech University officials failed to
prevent April 16s massacre. What would we be saying if another shooter
showed up at Virginia Tech next day and killed 20 more students and another
shooter bagged an additional 40 the next day? The president of the
university would be lynched, the students would arm themselves, and the
police would lose any pretence of control. Why do we think Iraqi Shais
and Sunnis should react differently then we would?
When you consider the events of the last week in Iraq there is no
reason any sane Iraqi Sunni or Shia would have any confidence in the
Petraeus plan. Petraeus and US forces are in trouble; desperate trouble.
White house flacks and politicians like McCain insisting that things are
improving in Baghdad, the continued mass casualty bombings, the stacks of
bodies left on the streets, the destruction of key infrastructure, and the
bombing of the Iraqi parliament is reality and cannot be casually
dismissed as the crazy ravings of a news media intent on reporting bad
Hell, compare the conduct of reporters operating in the Iraq
combat zones with nonsense being spewed by every network and cable
anchor who managed to buy a seat to Blacksburg, Virginia. Not a single
news organization operating in Virginia Tech had to contract bodyguards and
armoured cars to move around to report the story. The US based media did
not have to find a sand bagged roof in the Green Zone as a background shot
for their nightly report. They roamed freely without fear.
That is not the case in Baghdad specially and Iraq in general. Despite
the surge of US troops into Baghdad the violence continues, especially

against the Shia majority. Todays attacks on the Shia, coming on the heels
of the resignation of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, are particularly
In the total scheme of things the horror unfolding in Iraq will affect
our nations security more than a month of Virginia Tech massacres. Yet our
attention is riveted on Blacksburg not Baghdad. There are some silver
linings. At least the media is covering genuine grief and anguish as opposed
to the nonsense of a Don Imus or Anna Nicole Smith. And maybe, just
maybe, as we contemplate what it means to mourn the single day
massacre of 32 students and faculty at Virginia Tech we will develop
empathy for Iraqis who, today, are mourning the equivalent of five
Virginia Techs.
But the Iraqis wont sleep tonight with the hope that todays
heartache was an aberration. Nope. They wake up each and every day
confronting a new horror just as bad as Monday April 16 in Blacksburg,
Virginia Welcome to the Hobbesian world of modern Iraq.
Hussein Agha opined that almost all Muslim countries, despite the
bloodshed, wanted America to stay on in Iraq for variety of reasons. The socalled axis of moderate Arab states comprising Saudi Arabia, Egypt and
Jordan dreads an early US withdrawal. First, because it would be widely
interpreted as an American defeat, which would weaken these proAmerican regimes while both energizing and radicalizing their populations.
Second, if the US leaves, the emergence of a Shia regime in Iraq
in itself an offensive prospect to them would only a matter of time.
Facing Arab antipathy, this regime would be likely to look eastward and
forge close ties with the Iranian co-religionists.
Third, a US departure risks triggering Iraqs partition. As some
Arabs see it, the occupation is what holds the country together. So long as
coalition forces are deployed, a full-blown breakup can be avoided. In
contrast, with the Americans gone, the odds of partition would increase
dramatically, presenting a threat to the integrity and security of the regional
Paradoxically, the competing axis of so-called rogue states made
up of Syria and Iran also wants the US to stay. So long as America


remains mired in Iraqs quicksand, they think, it will be difficult for it to

embark on a similar adventure nearby.
For Turkey, Americas presence ensures that the national
aspirations of Iraqs Kurds will not metamorphose into a fully fledged
independent state, a strict red line for Ankara, which has its own irredentist
Kurdish problem.
For Israel too, an American withdrawal could spell disaster.
Already, nothing has dented Israeli deterrence more than Americas
performance in Iraq an inspiration to Israels Arab foes that even the
mightiest can be brought to heel. An early withdrawal, coming in the wake
of last summers Lebanon War, could put Israel in a dangerous position
There are risks for the smaller Gulf states too. With their large
Shia communities and heavy dependence on American protection, they
would be threatened by an early US departure from Iraq. In Bahrain, home
of an unhappy Shia majority, the fallout could be imminent.
Inside Iraq, this is a period of consolidation for most political
groups. They are building up their political and military capabilities,
cultivating and forging alliances, clarifying political objectives and
preparing for impending challenges. This is not the moment for all-out
confrontation. No group has the confidence or capacity decisively to
confront rivals within its own community or across communal lines.
Equally, no party is genuinely interested in a serious process of national
Al-Qaeda and its affiliates arguably benefit from the occupation.
They established themselves, brought in recruits, sustained operations
against the Americans and expanded. The last thing they want is for the
Americans to leave and deny them targets and motivation for new members.
Other Sunni armed groups need the Americans for similar reasons and for
protection against Shias.
In this grim picture, the Americans appear the least sure and
most confused. With unattainable objectives, wobbly plans, changing
tactics, shifting alliances and ever-increasing casualties, it is not clear any
longer what they want or how they are going to achieve it. By setting
themselves up to be manipulated, they give credence to an old Arab saying:
the magic has taken over the magician.


The Palestinians continued suffering because of their refusal to accept
peace dictated by Israel and the US. Arab League could do no more than
repeating their call for halt to Israeli settlements. The process of Israeli
atrocities and occasional retaliation by Palestinians continued:
Kidnapped BBC reporter was reported alive on 19 th April; earlier the
media had reported his execution.
Six Palestinians, including a girl, were killed by Israelis on 21 st April.
Next day, Hamas called for revenge as three more Palestinians were
killed by the Israeli troops. Meanwhile, Bishara had resigned from
Knesset and Israel was investigating charges against him.
Hamas fired rockets into Israeli territory on 24th April. Three days
later, a Palestinian was killed at a crossing point.
Three Palestinians were killed by Israelis on 4 th May. Three days later,
Israel carried out an air strike in Gaza Strip injuring a Palestinian.
Palestinians fired a rocket on an Israeli town.
On 13th May, Israeli cabinet discussed intensification of operations in
Gaza Strip. Three days later, four Palestinians were killed in air strike.
Attempts at imposing the dictated peace continued on diplomatic
front. On 15th May, Olmert said Israel is ready for talks with Abbas. A week
later, Israel turned down Musharrafs offer of mediation which he had made
in his recent interview.
On 1st May, EU delegation met Haniyeh; Israel protested. Three days
later Jordanian team arrived in Israel to discuss peace process. On 5 th May,
Hamas rejected American proposal for a detailed timeline. Mashaal alleged
that Israel was preparing for military operation against the Palestinians.
Three days later, Israel rejected buffer zone plan in Gaza Strip. Meanwhile,
economic blockade of Palestinians continued except a promise by EU to
give $5 million in aid to Palestinian Authority.


During second week of May, once again the factional fighting erupted
in Gaza Strip. Following were reported:
Six Palestinians were wounded in fighting on 11th May. Next day, nine
more Palestinians were wounded in factional fighting.
On 14th May, eight Palestinians were killed and interior minister
resigned. Next day, 11 more Palestinians were killed.
On 16th May, 14 Palestinians were killed in fighting and the death toll
reached 40, which meant some deaths were not reported earlier.
Uri Avnery commented on the long outstanding issue of Palestinian
prisoners. At any time, there are some 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, male
and female, from minors to old people. Treated them as goods. And goods
are not given away for nothing. Goods have a price. Many times it was
proposed to release some prisoners as a gesture to Mahmoud Abbas, in
order to strengthen him vis--vis Hamas. All these suggestions were rejected
by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.
Now, the security services oppose the prisoner exchange deal for the
release of the soldier Gilad Shalit; and not because the price 1400 in
exchange for 1 is exorbitant. On the contrary, for many Israelis it seems
quite natural that one Israeli soldier is worth 1400 terrorists. But the
security services raise much weightier arguments: if prisoners are released
for a kidnapped soldier, it will encourage the terrorists to capture more
For each of these arguments, there is a counter-argument. Not
releasing the prisoners leaves the terrorists with a permanent motivation to
kidnap soldiers. After all, nothing else seems to convince us to release
prisoners. In these circumstances, such actions will always enjoy huge
popularity with the Palestinian public, which includes many thousands of
families that are waiting for the return of their loved ones.
Experience shows that a high proportion of released Palestinian
prisoners do not return to the cycle of violence. After years in detention,
all they want is to live in peace and devote their time to their children. They
exercise a moderating influence on their surroundings


The strongest emotional argument voiced by the opponents of the

deal is that Palestinians are demanding the release of prisoners with blood
on their hands. In our society, the words Jewish blood two words
beloved by the Right are enough to silence even many on the Left. But that
is a stupid argument. It is also mendacious.
In the terminology of Security Service, this definition applies not
only to a person who himself has taken part in attack in which Israelis were
killed, but also to anyone who thought about the action, gave the order,
organized it and helped to carry it out prepared the weapons, conveyed the
attackers to the scene, etc.
According to this definition, every soldier and officer of the
Israeli army has blood on his hands, along with many politicians.
Somebody who has killed or wounded Israelis is he different from us, the
Israeli soldiers past and present?
The official argument is that the prisoners are not soldiers, and
therefore they are not prisoners-of-war, but common criminals, murderers
and their accomplices. That is not an original argument. All colonial
regimes in history have said the same.
The fiction that freedom-fighters are common criminals is
necessary for the legitimation of a colonial regime, and makes it easier for
a soldier to shoot people. It is, of course, twisted. A common criminal acts in
his own interest. A freedom fighter or terrorist, like most soldiers, believes
that he is serving his people or cause.
That is true for the prisoners that are to be released now. If Marwan
Barghouti is released, he will be a natural partner in any peace effort. I shall
be very happy when both he and Gilad Shalit are free.
In Lebanon, Hariris murder case remained a matter of interest for the
UN and the US primarily to put pressure on Syria. On 24 th April, Ban Ki
Moon arrived in Syria for talks on the case in which the UN secretary has
been acting as police inspector.
During first week of May, Hezbollah rejected a proposal for the
United Nations to establish an international court into murder of Hariri. In
the meantime, Olmert said Israel has no intention of attacking Syria and
Basher Assad denied having any contacts with Israel.


Two Sunnis were kidnapped and killed in Lebanon on 26 th April.

Pressure mounted on Olmert after release of report on Lebanon War, but he
refused to resign despite bitter criticism. During second week of May,
Lebanese president refused to cede power to US-backed prime minister.

The events regarding Irans nuclear programme continued unfolding
as follows. On 14th April, Saudi King blamed Irans nuclear programme for
creating yet another crisis in the region. Next day, Iran sought bids for two
new nuclear plants. The chief of US naval operations on visit to Islamabad
on 16th April said the US had no plans to attack Iran.
On 17th April, Roberts Gates and Jordanian King discussed Iraq and
Iran. Tehran said it is continuously working to expand its nuclear
programme. Next day, Ahmadinejad said attackers hand will be cut off.
Robert Gates said the US favours diplomacy on Iran.
On 19th April, Tehran rejected US claim of capturing Iranian weapons
in Afghanistan. NATO was unable to confirm report on capturing of Iranians
weapons by the US troops. Next day a Republican candidate for presidential
candidacy sang bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.
Ahmadinejad asked EU on 23rd April not to follow US words in talks
on nuclear issue. Iran saw no reason to continue talks if the EU keeps
insisting suspension of its nuclear programme. Ali Larijani and Solana
started dialogue in Ankara on 25th April. Next day, General David accused
Irans Quds Force of helping an armed network that killed five US soldiers
in Karbala in January.
On 2nd May, Ahmadinejad refused to yield an inch on Irans nuclear
programme. Solana said his talks with Iran were difficult because Iran did
not want to suspend its nuclear programme. On 8th May, Iran accepted
agenda compromise to save the two-week meeting in Vienna from collapse.
The same day UAE arrested 12 Iranian divers near disputed island.
The US warned on 9th May about the danger of Iran withdrawing from
NPT. Two days later, Cheney vowed that Iran would never get nuclear
weapons. Presidents of Iran and UAE discussed security of Gulf region in


Abu Dhabi only a day after Cheneys visit. On 14 th May, Ahmadinejad

warned of severe response to US strike.
Praful Bidwai was of the view that solution of nuclear issue can be
found through dialogue. Iran is one of the few West Asian countries which
hold relatively free and fair elections. But Irans democracy is deeply
flawed, with little freedom of political association. Parties are registered
only if they conform to Islamic tenets. Freedom in this deeply paradoxical
society has had periodic ups and downs. Today, its on a downward
Three factors will influence Irans short-term evolution: President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejads growing unpopularity; the ability of reformists to
counter the governments use of the current slogan, Islam and the nation;
and Irans confrontation with the West, in particular, the US.
If hes reined in by the Establishment as happened during the recent
British sailors detention and release that will strengthen the reformists.
Reformists, including former presidents Mohammed Khatami and Ali Akbar
Hashmi Rafsanjani, could still exercise a restraining influence. The
reformists success will critically depend on preventing nationalism
from being used as a self-legitimizing platform by the hardliners.
Much will also depend on how the West deals with Irans nuclear
programme. The US is implacably hostile towards Iran, which it wrongly
sees as an Axis of Evil state supporting terrorism. In fact, Iran is anti-al
Qaeda and has behaved with restraint in Shia-majority Iraq despite its
considerable influence there. Iran feels humiliated at the sanctions
imposed on it for running a nuclear programme which is legitimate
relatively minor infractions of International Atomic Energy Agency rules.
The more Iran is cornered over its nuclear activities, the more
itll be tempted to be defiant and make boastful claims about its uranium
enrichment prowess. Iran is many years away from enriching enough
uranium for a bomb. Its facilities for uranium conversion into hexafluoride
(Natanz) and its centrifuge plant (Isfahan) are under IAEA safeguard and
cannot be used for weapons purposes. Contrary to the claim that it has
installed 3,000 centrifuges, the IAEA says it has about 1,300 primitive


More important, the Natanz facility produces gas which is probably

too impure to lead to enrichment This offers the US, UK, France and
Germany an opportunity to negotiate nuclear restraint with Iran while not
denying its right to enrichment for peaceful purposes. Iran is willing to talk
without suspending enrichment. A way out is possible. But the US must
muster the will to explore it while abandoning ill-conceived plans to attack
Alain Gresh observed that Bush has not given up the military option
against Iran. At the moment nothing suggests that is likely, as each country
continues to try to mobilize the states of the region. The US vicepresident, Dick Cheney, has been touring the Arab world, reiterating
Washingtons determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear
weapons Responding to the threatening noises from Cheney, President
Ahmadinejad declared: The US cannot strike Iran, The Iranian people can
protect themselves and retaliate.
Although the US administrations current priority is Iraq, it has not
given up on Iran. Silently, stealthily, unseen by cameras, the war on Iran
has begun. Many sources confirm that the US has increased its aid to armed
movements among ethnic minorities ABC News reported in April that the
US had secretly assisted the Balochi group Jund al-Islam, responsible for a
recent attack that killed 20 Revolutionary Guards.
What is the truth? Since the 1960s, Iran has sought to develop
nuclear power in preparation for the post oil era. Technological
developments have made it easier to pass from civil to military applications.
Have Tehrans leaders decided to do so? There is no evidence that they
have. Is there a risk that they may? Yes, for obvious reasons.
So how is Tehran to be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, a
move that would start a new arms race in an unstable region and deal a fatal
blow to the non-proliferation treaty? Contrary to common assumptions, the
main obstacle is not Tehrans determination to enrich uranium
Islamic Republics fundamental concern lies elsewhere. Witness the
agreement signed in 2004in which Iran agreed to suspend enrichment on
the understanding that a long-term agreement would provide firm
commitments on security issues. Washington refused to give any such
commitments and Iran resumed its programme Without such
commitment escalation is inevitable.

Despite the disaster in Iraq, there is no indication that Bush has

given up the idea of attacking Iran. The insistence at the weekend by
Gordon Brown that there would be no attack on Iran seems unwarranted
optimism rather than objective assessment.
The domination of Iran, aggravated by the attitude of its president, is
part of this strategy and may well culminate in yet another military
venture. That would be a disaster, not only for Iran and the Arab world, but
for western, and especially European relations with the Middle East.
Europes newest leaders Nicolas Sarkozy and Brown would do well to
remember that.

Bloodletting for the sake of blood shedding will continue as long as
Bush is the White House and American soldiers remain in Iraq. Democrats
with lean majority in the House of Representatives cannot rein in vetowielding Bush.
Iraqis will keep suffering despite the meetings of regional countries
for the alleviation of their miseries. In fact, counter insurgency operations at
larger scale have added to the sufferings of Iraqis; resignation of Moqtada alSadr will result in further heightening of tensions.
Formation of the unity government of Palestinians has caused no
change of heart in Hamas-phobic Israel and the US. Lately, they have
succeeded once again in triggering factional fighting in which Israel has
increased air strikes in support of Fatah. Israel will keep striving for
complete rout of Hamas.
The situation in Iraq has been coming in the way of fulfillment of
Bushs ambition to punish the obstinate regime in Iran. Meanwhile, the US
has satisfied itself with increased its clandestine support for Iranian terrorists
to destabilize clerics regime.
17th May 2007


The events of May 12 were bound to paralyze the life in Karachi. The
Karachites might not have expected that their desire to welcome the CJP
would have invited such a violent reaction from those who claim it as our
city, but what MQM did was not something new for them.
As was expected, the rulers having committed heinous crime against
the ruled started blaming others. The charge of the accusers, not surprisingly,
was led by the brave commando. The CJP was blamed for the bloodshed.


However, some in the rank and file of King party felt their conscience
The people across the country saw the real face of the party of the
middle class in real time. The live coverage of the events by private TV
channels left no doubt in their mind about the intent and action of the MQM.
They were bound to speak; and they spoke loudly.

Leaders of MQM and PML-Q held a meeting on 15 th May to
coordinate restoration of peace in Karachi. Police held a flag march to show
their presence to those who had alleged that police were missing. Shujaat
informed Musharraf that he, like Shaukat, has also condoled deaths of MQM
workers with Altaf Bhai.
Musharraf summoned parliamentarians of ruling coalition to give
them pep talk on virtues of unity. The meeting was necessitated after
reports some MNAs of PML-Q were resorting to mutiny against alliance
with the MQM. Akhtar Kanju was reported to be emerging as leader of the
More than a dozen MNAs criticized MQM. Kanju said: It will be
difficult for us to offer an explanation even to our children about our sitting
with the MQM. Tanveer Hussain Syed complained that it is impossible to
convince the people of the justification of us sitting with the MQM.
MQM had also complained that in reward of their bold action in
support of Musharraf they have been left at their own. Musharraf advised
PML-Q to put its weight behind MQM. Signs of split in PML-Q were
reported and Zafarullah Jamali was an important absentee in the meeting.
Media was accused of blowing up the events related to judicial crisis.
Opposition parliamentarians shouted anti-government and anti-MQM
slogans in National Assembly and the Senate; the former was adjourned sine
die. Opposition vowed to work for grand alliance; condemned Karachi
killings and demanded removal of MQM from the government. ANP warned
of action after expiry of three-day deadline for meeting their demands.


On 16th May, Aitzaz Ahsan vowed filing Rs 2 billion damages suit

against Musharraf for falsely attributing the Karachi violence to him and the
CJP. The Pakhtun Action Committee announced observing three-day strike
and demanded removal of the Governor and advisor home affairs. Shaukat
Aziz said that after 12th May PML-Q bond with MQM has been cemented.
On 17th May, Chief Minister Sindh urged that Karachi killings should
not be politicized. However, he at last, and at least, admitted that both sides
were in arms on May 12. Sindh government approached Asfandyar for help
in restoring peace in Karachi.
The trio of Home Secretary, IG Police and Rangers held a press
conference in which the journalists took them to task. They said notice of
exile to a journalist was issued due to misunderstanding. The lie that attack
on Aaj was nothing more than cross-fire was repeated but on counterquestioning, IG said the incident was under investigation. They had no
answer to a question related to dead body that kept lying in front Bhitai
Rangers for four hours and the Rangers refused to retrieve it saying they
were under orders not to come out.
Imran Khan insisted on dragging Blair into Karachi carnage. MQM
denied involvement of Altaf Hussain in the killings. The Opposition parties
once again protested and forced adjournment of the Senate. ANP urged UK
to deport MQM chief.
Musharraf in his interview to Aaj TV telecast on 18 th May said that he
has learnt a lesson by not fulfilling promise on uniform; so no more promise.
He admitted some technical errors in sending the reference against the CJP
and regretted publication of his picture with the CJP.
Senate adjourned till 9th June to escape violent protest of opposition
Senators. Asfandyar said state terrorism caused innocent deaths. Pakhtun
Action Committee Chairman, Shahi Syed, alleged the MQM was planning to
kill him. Benazir said that the deal is dead after Karachi killings. Reportedly,
UK may probe Altaf over Karachi killings, before exonerating him.
Umar Cheema reported that Chief Secretary Sindh, Shakeel Durrani,
had strongly opposed the strategy of the provincial government and had
warned of serious law and order situation. He had recommended that the
CJP should be allowed to go by the route he wanted to use for reaching the
High Court Bar.


On 19th May, MQM leadership assembled in London to discuss plans

for tackling post Karachi carnage situation. A large number of Pakistani
students in Britain prepared to launch a campaign against Altaf Hussain.
Baluchistan criticized MQM over Karachi killings. Quitting MQM
continued in Punjab as six office bearers resigned near Multan.
Additional District and Session Judge South Karachi ordered
registration of FIR against the leadership of MQM, the Sindh government
and police officers for killing and kidnapping lawyers on 12th May. The SHO
registered FIR 53/07 and then using his powers under Section 157/2 quashed
it saying no such incident occurred within jurisdiction of the City Police

A poet said roeian gay hum hazar bar koi hamain staye quoon. The
people of Pakistan did cry but they also spoke; and they spoke very loudly.
They spoke to express their grief and sorrow over killings of innocent fellow
countrymen. They spoke to express their disgust and to condemn killings of
the ruled by the rulers. They spoke to tell the rulers that enough is enough
and they must quit.
Murtaza Talpur from Islamabad opined: May 12 has changed the
situation for all of Pakistan the death of so many innocent people has
created fear among all. Moreover, what is going to happen to our image
abroad? Foreign investment is bound to fall and this will be big blow. The
opposition parties are blaming each other and pretend not to know the real
culprit it makes one wonder if we are headed towards civil war.
Mrs Shehla Ahmed from Islamabad wrote: The television footage
exposed armed men of a political party walking hand in glove with the
Sindh police on the streets of Karachi, unleashing violence on their
political opponents and the free press. The true character of the partys
leadership now stands revealed thanks to the TV channel If such people
are coalition members of our ruling alliance then may God help us and
forgive us for our sins.
Luqman Alburraque from Islamabad said: I heard the Governor of
Sindh speak on various channels. I cannot agree with him more. He


repeatedly called a spade a spade and said whatever happened in Karachi

was according to a pre-planned programme. Indeed it was a pre-planned
programme of the federal and provincial governments. Well done.
Iqbal from Rawalpindi opined: A certain political party has once
again displayed that they are not a political party but a mob. Though
they preach democracy they intimidate anyone who shows dissent. They
coerce the media into giving them favourable coverage but do not allow it to
write or say a single word against it.
Mazhar Butt from Karachi wrote: I think this is not appropriate step
by a party which boasts to be all-powerful in Karachi and other parts of
Sindh. It also leads one to think that the MQM is thus trying to betray its
voters who are now getting wary about their and their partys future. Is this
being done to (a) protect its activists from any retaliation or (b) as a message
to its activists to go underground for the time being.
Irfan Khan from Rawalpindi opined: This is apropos the Sindh
governments decision to expel miscreant opposition leaders. I commend it
for its wisdom and sagacity. To the detractors of this farsighted government I
would like to point out that there are two ways to stop a killing: stop the
killer or ask the victim to get out and leave.
Rabia Hashim Khashkheli from Karachi observed: Now, the more
disturbing thing is that there is counter fighting in the metropolitan. There
are continuous calls for strikes by different political parties. Public life is
being completely paralyzed because of this non-stop anarchyThe only
ones affected will be the citizens. We need to come together as a city, not
as a party, not as an ethnic group and definitely not as a political cause and
solve this issue. Make our city a better place to live and terror free.
Sarfraz Ahmed Khan from Karachi said: I wish to salute the brave
men who put their lives in danger to save the lives of other people. One
such, among those brave men was Faizur Rahman the driver of Edhi
ambulance who sacrificed his life in the line of duty. The brave driver has
left a message for our rulers and politicians of selflessness,
responsibility, dedication and a sense of duty. Such people give us hope
and make us realize that there are people out there who care others no matter
how few they may be they are there.


M S Hasan from Karachi observed: The ministry of information and

broadcasting has placed a quarter page advertisement in national newspapers
of May 15, under the heading Lets Give the City A Healing Touch! and the
bottom line asserts Karachi, we shall give you the healing touch! the very
sight of this advertisement is very distressing since it is these very people
(now claiming to be healers) who passively watched the day of May 12 from
the comforts of their homes and offices, without taking any action to stop the
massacre of innocent citizens, and the acts of arson and vandalism.
Shireen Akhlaq from Rawalpindi wrote: What is more saddening is
the fact that the prime minister, president and PML-Q called the MQM to
condole over the death of its party workers. I just want to say one thing, in
total about forty-two people died and all of them were supporters of one
party or other. Workers of one party receive condolences, the others do
not. Are they not human also?
Saeed Najam from Lahore opined: This day will be remembered
with shame by all of us as the day when the Chief Justice of Pakistan was
kept confined for seven hours at the Karachi Airport while the orders of the
Chief Justice of Sindh High Court were treated with utter contempt by the
It will be remembered as the day when our ruling party and our
president-in-uniform enacted a farcical display of hollow power with
dancing horses and drum beat in the capital while the writ of the government
was being shredded by professional killers.
Most of all it will be remembered as the day when the fabric of our
federation was destroyed by certain elements in collusion with blinkered
power-hungry short-sighted state managers. No amount of damage control;
no amount of blatant lies and crocodile tears; no amount of organized
terrorism is going to stem the rot of disorder and anarchy which has been
allowed to be set loose by the events of May 12.
A H Qazilbash from Peshawar apprehended: It seems every effort is
being made to try and divide the legal fraternity, the superior court judges
and blocking TV channels from showing the truth. It is obvious that such
nonsensical steps are being taken to sabotage the coming elections and
pave a way for some unconstitutional adventure. If this happens, this will
destroy the very fabric of the federation.


Dr Yasmin Raashid from Lahore observed: The governments

inability to help or protect innocent people being killed was apparent. The
chief minister of Sindh repeatedly saying on television, I told you so. The
provincial and federal governments should be ashamed of themselves to
allow people to get killed without doing anything.
Watching General Musharraf standing behind a bullet proof glass,
surrounded by sycophants, addressing an almost uninterested crowd to
convince the people of Pakistan about his popularity while 37 lives had been
lost in Karachi, revealed how interested the leaders are in the plight of
the masses.
After May 12, people in general are questioning the relevancy of this
rule that cant protect them in the time of need. We do not want
development, which has increased the poverty index, usurped our freedom,
killed innocent people in Baluchistan, Wana and now in Karachi. We want
Farah Aslam from Karachi opined: May 12 was a clear
manifestation of lawlessness, ignorance and lack of sincerity. What
happened on that day was broadcast all over the world and we were
projected as uncivilized. Tall claims were made but no measures taken to
control the situation.
Nasir Farooq from Karachi wrote: It was shocking to watch the
helplessness of the media on May 12 in Karachi. Armed assaulters
surrounded a building belonging to a channelfor over six hours, it was in
fact a threatening message for the entire media thereby justifying that
they are the truest representatives of the nation. Therefore, this is the time
for all media to support and sustain each other. The government must take
immediate steps to arrest those behind violence on May 12.
Marya Mufti from Lahore said: As far as I can judge President
Musharrafs role as president during the last seven years, has shown that he
has the capability of handling crises situations diligently and tactfully. But
the decisions taken by him during the last couple of days speak volumes for
his lack of sagacity. It is unbelievable that he is at a point to resort to
rolling back all that he has done in the past.
Najeebullah from Swat observed: Since the suspension of the Chief
Justice of Pakistan, there has been lawlessness in the entire country. On May


12 many innocent people were killed in Karachi There is hardly any

difference between the condition of independent Pakistan and that of
occupied Iraq; because both are caught in extreme lawlessness leading to
civilian casualties.
Arfaa Ahmed from Lahore could not bear the glimpses of the killings
shown by the media. The media should refrain from showing or printing
eyesores, shocking scenes and other monstrosities as they are disturbing and
leave people distressed. The media has amplified and advanced in many
ways which is indeed praiseworthy, but, we have suffered a lot from the
grotesque massacres that have been so ruthlessly imaged through the
Sana Javed from Karachi wrote: The provincial home affairs advisor
Wasim Akhtar had already said that his party alone rules Karachi. It was,
therefore, a show of street force with the support of law-enforcing agencies
like the police and no medical relief was provided to the injured.
Ambulances were not allowed to ply on the roads blocked by gun-toting
men nobody was allowed to leave except those who had connections with
the MQM.
Karachi cannot run on the whims of a party which believes in the
politics of violence. It is the financial hub of Pakistan. There is no moral or
ethical ground for the IG police and the DG Rangers to continue with
their present assignments since both failed to protect human lives. In fact,
both were silent partners in this crime of hatred and ethnic cleansing.
Saeed Najam from Lahore said: A public rally, whether it is in
London, Karachi, or Islamabad, is organized to make a certain point. What
point were the PML-Q and the MQM trying to make? That the present
rulers are genuinely popular and the rest is just a storm in a tea cup? If that
is the purpose, then, I am afraid, the point has been completely lost.
Why waste public funds and create a confrontational situation?
Irrespective of the head-count at these rallies, the people of Pakistan are
fully aware of the reality. What we are witnessing in the protests and in the
admiration by many ordinary people of the chief justices stand is a demand
for the restoration of the chief justice and a demand for restoration of true
democracy through transparent elections. That the political parties have
joined this battle should not come as a surprise. After all, any opposition
party would do the same. Maybe its time for a Justice Party?

Fazal Raheem from Lahore opined: The rally organized by the ruling
PML-Q in Islamabad on May 12 to show its popularity among the masses
and reflect solidarity towards President Musharraf turned out to be a
flagrant display of misuse of government machinery. Hundreds of
transport vehicles were impounded and people were rounded up from all
over Punjab and brought to the venue. Even by a conservative estimate,
millions must have been spent on the rally.
Pir Shabbir Ahmad from Islamabad wrote: Karachi was burning and
people were being killed and our rulers in Islamabad were busy holding an
obscene show. It was obscene because of the excessive deployment of lights
and waste evident everywhere. It was obscene because it was pompous for
no reason and should have instead been called off in view of what had
happened in Karachi. It was obscene because hundreds of public transport
buses had been commandeered leaving people stranded in the middle of
nowhere. And it was obscene because the taxpayer will foot the bill for
holding the rally. In any case, one can only wonder what was being
celebrated. Attacks on TV stations? Extensive load shedding?
Unprecedented inflation? The rising number of missing persons?
Mrs Riffat Jahan from Sweden observed: Civilized nations hold each
and every citizen of the country, right from ordinary foot soldiers to the chief
of army staff, and junior judicial clerks to the chief justice of the country,
equally accountable for their deeds and misdeeds. And so it should be.
Moreover, no doubt, in ideal conditions the chief justice should not be
leading rallies. But are we living in ideal conditions? But then should the
army chief be holding political rallies?
Afzal Rahim from Peshawar wrote: I wont be able to forget May 12
for a long time men mostly aged above 60 and children below 15 were
sitting in various coaches and buses. It was a scene similar to that of a
mass wedding taking place in Islamabad. These people were lured with
money or coerced into joining this bandwagon of rent-a-crowd supporters.
I had also seen the convoy in which the chief justice was brought to
address the Pehawar Bar. People had literally donated money to welcome
him to Peshawar. The masses had been waiting since the morning to catch
a glimpse of the Chief Justice. No political party has the capability to bring
that number of people on to the roads. The people were willingly waiting
and throwing rose petals on the chief justices convoy and every lawyer.


A question arises that why such a rousing welcome to the chief

justice. The answer is that the masses are extremely disappointed with all
political parties. The chief justice came as a real hope for the people,
because he defied the high and mighty.
M Shaban Uppal from Karachi said: We lost billion of dollars and
precious lives in a show of strength. Whole Karachi was burning in flames;
the president was addressing a glittering rally in Islamabad at the cost of the
tax-payer. The situation could have been averted had the government
demonstrated a minimum degree of sagacity and wisdom Have we, as a
nation, lost the guilt of wrongdoing and a sense of shame?
Gulkhaiz Hassan from Rawalpindi wrote: It was depressing and
disgusting to see people being killed in Karachi while people were
dancing at the government rally in Islamabad. The crisis was further
compounded by the soulless and incoherent confrontational rhetoric and
denials of certain actors.
We should not forget that a good society is based on the existence of
mutual trust among its members. This trust disappeared on May 12. As an
ordinary citizen I expect that at least our leaders should demonstrate
moral courage implementing and standing for true values. Is this asking
too much or should we all become gangsters?
Shahid Zamir from Karachi observed: The provincial interior
ministers statement that fool proof arrangements of security has been made
and the city has been divided in three zones as per security plan meant
nothing given the ineffectiveness of the police, Rangers and law enforcing
agencies. Meanwhile, the bhangra dances in the rally organized by the
PML-Q, a rent-a-crowd rally at that in Islamabad addressed by the
president seemed totally out of place and in very bad taste.
The government and its rallies should feel ashamed of the mayhem
on May 12 and realize the importance of the voice of the masses. Being
citizens of a democratic state it is their right to raise their voice either in
favour of or against the actions of the government. The government must
show the courage to realize its mistakes and not cover up its wrongs.
People are far more alert observant than the leaders as is evident from
what Faisal Siddique from Islamabad noted. While addressing the Muslim
League rally on May 12, Shaikh Rashid Ahmed said that the government did


not even have enough funds to pay salaries when the present government
took over. One wonders if he was blaming himself because he along with
many others in the current government was also part of the previous

The experts and analysts commented on two government rallies held
on May 12; focusing particularly on Karachi where the rally resulted in
bloodshed. The events as unfolded on that fateful day and telecast live by
private channels hardly left any riddle unsolved; therefore, almost all
analyses ended up in strong condemnation of those who were directly
responsible for organizing the carnage.
Afzal A Shigri, being an ex IG Police focused on the aspect of lawenforcement. With the announcement of the programme for the visit of the
Chief Justice of Pakistan to the Sindh Bar Council function and the decision
by the MQM to take out a rally, one could see the grave dangers inherent
in such a situation. The intelligence agencies had warned the government
well in time about the possibility of a clash between the rival political
No efforts were made to persuade the Sindh Bar Council to postpone
the function or ask the MQM to change the schedule of its programme. The
government had the option of imposing restrictions on these gatherings
under preventive laws. No one seems to have considered this option
seriously The images on TV of Shara-e-Faisal with trucks and
containers blocking it completely were a perfect recipe to demoralize the
law-enforcement agencies and the emergency services in case of a disaster.
The rival political groups had prepared well for the showdown
and were heavily armed. Who started the race for deploying the arms will
never be known, but in the underworld of murky politics of Karachi the
word spreads fast and preparations are carried out with ruthless efficiency by
rival parties. When the political parties, obviously with a number of armed
supporters, tried to go to the airport they were confronted by armed gangs of
the opposite parties that resulted in intense firing between the two who were
using automatic assault weapons.


The tragic incident has many questions that must be answered, and
the people of Pakistan, particularly those of Karachi, have a right to know
the reasons for the inaction by the provincial government and lawenforcement agencies. While one does appreciate the resource constraints of
the law-enforcement agencies in such a widespread grave situation, one is
horrified at the complete inaction by the police and Rangers who were
conspicuous by their absence from the scene and had left the city at the
mercy of the armed goons of the rival political parties.
The large number of killings, injuries and loss to property and the
incalculable loss to the people of Pakistan due to the complete collapse of
law and order in Karachi despite the presence of thousands of policemen,
Rangers and FC personnel must be accounted for. Every citizen of this
country has the right to have an answer to the following questions:
Why was no action taken to defuse the explosive situation that
continued for a long time?
Why was the option of preventive action not exercised to stop the
functions and rallies well in time?
Why was the police not deployed at sensitive points with orders to
intervene and strongly deal with miscreants?
Why did the police not take the initiative to maintain order, despite its
legal obligation to do so without waiting for any orders? Why were
the Rangers and the FC personnel not deployed to deal with the
emerging situation?
Why did the chief minister decide to go into the background and leave
it to the governor to exercise the powers of the provincial
The provincial government must think out of the box and rise
above political affiliations in the maintenance of order. There is no point in
blaming the Sindh Bar Council or the political parties for the tragedy. This
cannot absolve the provincial government and the law-enforcement agencies
of their responsibility to perform their duties, as clearly provided in the
constitution and the laws.


This mishandling of the situation that resulted in clashes between

rival political parties is as expected degenerating into ethnic clashes that
can spiral out of control with extremely negative ramifications for Karachi
and Pakistan. The federal government must intervene now and provide full
and immediate support to the province to control the situation. Half-hearted
measures and a partisan approach in dealing with the situation will further
exacerbate the very serious situation that requires a strong and transparent
handling now.
M Ismail Khan was of the view that in such situations only the
common people suffer. Like elsewhere, power politics in this country
manifests itself in three major groups those who wield power, those who
benefit from it and, of course, those who have to suffer from its exercise.
The tens of people who lost their lives in the streets of Karachi on May 12
belonged to the third group.
Find another country where the chief of the army staff leads political
rallies of the ruling party and where the chief justice of the Supreme Court
participates in rallies under the banner of opposition parties. One would not
find such examples even in the intricate power legacies of the
subcontinent, from the British era to Afghan and the Turkic experience to the
ancient of Gupta, Maurya, and Harrapa. It is unusual, irrational and
idiosyncratic, but nonetheless it is us.
One major difference between the crowd assembled in Islamabad on
May 12 and the one in Karachi was perhaps the gap in access to technology.
Many participants of the Islamabad rally came from the countrys rapidly
shrinking villages where people still religiously follow PTVs Khabarnama
or listen to the state-owned Radio Pakistan for news. But those on the streets
of Lahore and Karachi were a different species. They drive on fast lane
here you have a young and impatient generation to deal with. They dont
have the time to wait for the government to change things for them;
they want change today, and now. At some point, the government will have
to listen to them for a change.
Chris Cork commented on Islamabad rally with reference to Karachi
carnage. President Pervez Musharraf, the man who has led Pakistan since
he took power in 1999, had his very own encounter with reality and the
world could see his future written across his face as he spoke from
behind a bullet proof glass and metal steel. There was, he said, no need to
declare an emergency and matters were under control. They may well have

been under control within a ten-foot radius of where he stood but clearly
were not elsewhere. Only hours before, as many as 34 men had died in
mayhem in Karachi and more than a hundred were injured. Problem? What
problem? Nothing to see here. Move along please. The president, his
entourage and seeming just about everybody else in the business of
governance had entered the waiting room of their demise The State of
The key to the door of the State of Unreality is called Denial. Not just
any old denial but denial with a capital D. Denial so big that anything can
be denied, refuted, turned aside, and transformed from one Truth to
another Denial may be delivered and an intricately staged production
complete with lights, flags, speeches and a selection of rhetoric notable
only for flying in the face of the blinding obvious.
Take for instance, this presidential utterance: the people, this
crowd of tens of thousands is with me, then where does the need for an
emergency come? People are with me there is no emergency. On the one
hand he spoke a self-evident truth. There were indeed tens of thousands that
he was addressing; undeniably and they were there for all to see. Yet on the
other hand, ask the question: How and why did they get there? ... They
were bussed in on requisitioned vehicles, given the flags and banners and
Bingo! rent-a-crowd was suddenly born.
There is no emergency. Look a little more closely at those four
words. So it is not any sort of emergency when despite reportedly
assembling 15,000 troops/police/paramilitaries to keep the peace in the event
of what a blind micro cephalic could see was likely to be the biggest punchup and blood-fest for donkeys years there was uncontrolled carnage in
Karachi. Those assembled forces intervened nowhere, this correspondent
can find no report of them having sustained any injuries or arrested anybody
for murder or rioting; and meanwhile there are sundry corpses cluttering up
the streets. None of who seem to have died as a result of being struck down
by the beauty of the city.
The State of Unreality has been admitted by the prime minister as
well. He has not been issued with the Denial key, but the Delusion key
instead. The prime minister, a man with political constituency akin to a
colony of frogs, was able to tell us that the party he represents would
revolutionize the lives of the common person and take the country forward
on to the path of progress and prosperity; carrying on its mission to improve

and develop the nation. Delusional ideas such as this are treatable these
days, and psychiatrists have developed a number of helpful interventions for
people thus afflicted.
Any government with a grip on reality as tenuous as that of the
incumbent regime has to be counting its tenure in days and weeks rather
than months and years. The mayhem of last weekend is an unintended
consequence of rendering the Chief Justice non-functional on March 9.
Other unintended consequences may now follow as events have a life and
momentum of their own. There will be more deaths, more burnings, more
destruction and the State of Unreality will stagger onwards ever more
grievously wounded.
Imtiaz Alam commented on both the rallies organized for Musharraf.
The terrorists were unleashed in Karachi to subvert a peaceful movement of
the legal fraternity for the independence of the judiciary and rule of law.
Most of those killed on May 12 were innocent people, if not all since some
from among the killers gangs also became a victim of their own device.
My serious disappointment with the MQM, who a few weeks ago
quite admirably raised the secular banner against religious intolerance, that
despite being a middle class outfit became an instrument of authoritarianism
against the first countrywide republican movement of the middle class
lawyers. My gratitude to the Sindh High Court Bar who invited and stood by
the Chief Justice, despite coming under tremendous pressure.
Unfortunately, the visit of the Chief Justice of Pakistan to the Sindh
High Court Bar in Karachi was taken as D-day by the contending political
forces to establish their claim over Karachi. If the MQM went back to its
role of a party fighting on the streets with innumerable adversaries to keep
Karachi under its hegemony as in the 80s and the 90s, the various opposition
parties found it an opportunity to lay a fresh claim over the largest city of
A serious political challenge to the MQMs control over Karachi
was enough to provoke the party. Hence, Karachi was left at the mercy of
the contending mafias and armed gangs who took to the streets and hostile
localities to settle their old scores. Indeed, the onus is on the Sindh
government and more specially the MQM which abandoned its
responsibility as a partner in the government. There was no justification
whatsoever for its rally on the same day and on the same route as of the

Chief Justice of Pakistan. Its sole responsibility was to maintain law and
order and not to put the law-enforcing agencies in a state of paralysis to
subvert the Chief Justices lawful visit to the city.
The unkindest cut of all is that the chief justice and his lawyers
are being accused of bringing Karachi to such a situation. Both General
Musharraf and the chief ministers adviser on home affairs, Waseem Akhtar,
have blamed the chief justice for becoming a tool in the hands of those who
wanted to push Karachi into anarchy. Nothing can be further from the truth
than this.
If the mayhem in Karachi has triggered a cynical reaction in Karachi
against the failure of the Ibaad-Rahim government and the highhandedness
of the MQM, the rented rally in Islamabad exposed dubiousness of
public support the Chaudhries of Gujrat were trying to drum up for the
man-in-uniform If the government can use all official resources and the
administration to make a rally succeed, what will it do on earth to
manipulate the next general election? And if its allies, the MQM and Chief
Minister Arbab Rahim, can go to such an extent to counter a political
challenge, what will they do to snatch the ballot boxes in Sindh? After these
two grand shows of power, no opposition party will be ready to contest
elections under the present dispensation.
I had counted certain casualties that have already taken place Now,
yet another most important casualty, besides many, has been added to that
list after these two grand shows of power. No fair elections will be
possible under President Musharraf, even if he doffs his uniform, and
his election by the current assemblies will now become altogether
unacceptable for people at large.
There are other casualties too: the MQM, by counter-posing the
lawyers movement, has damaged its middle class leadership and the liberal
causes, and its efforts to extend beyond its ethnic base. The live scenes
shown on television of armed gangs are bound to make many question the
credentials of the party. It has also made itself a laughing stock by pledging
to Bacha Khans philosophy of non-violence and opposing the militarys role
in politics while allying with General Musharraf.
On the other hand, what has been quite remarkable about this
movement of the lawyers is that it remained peaceful and restricted to
republican constitutional demands. And what is quite disturbing about the

evolving scenario is that it is generating into anarchy, thanks to the selfserving approach of the government and its allies. The country cannot afford
to fall into the quagmire of anarchy only terrorists and extremists are waiting
for it to fish in troubled waters.
The fact of the matter is that the present political dispensation
has failed and is thoroughly exhausted. Any effort at perpetuating it will
be disastrous for the federation and fatal for the existence of the country. It
can even no more act as an honest agent of transition after losing the
legitimacy and credibility. The earlier it bows out, the better Anybody
listening, before it is too late, this time not for the regime but for the
Shireen M Mazari focused on the real culprit; the fascist MQM. Who
could remain unmoved by the loss of innocent lives? Who could distance
themselves from the shock of seeing young men wielding weapons with no
restraining element of the law and order elements of the state? And all that
bloodwhy is the blood of Pakistanis so cheap for the state that allows
it to be spilt unchecked? The nation has been left with a gaping wound and
the state is unwilling to move towards healing it. Instead, we heard the
callous sound of drumbeats and song emanating from the capital that very
evening when Karachi was counting the dead.
The leadership should have led the mourning and halted the
celebrations that had taken on a nauseating repulsion after a day of unbridled
killings in Karachi. Where was the responsiveness and sensitivity of the
leadership to the pain of the nation, which could have allowed us
Pakistanis to have a national catharsis through a national grieving which
could have put us on the path of national healing?
That was not to be. Instead, more violence has followed, including
the loss of yet another life that of Syed Hamad Raza. The credibility of the
state stands so low today that no one gives any credence to the story of
his death being a case of dacoity especially since the police standing
across the street made no initial effort to catch the dacoits. The general
perception has taken hold that this was a target killing to terrorize others into
Clearly, Karachi was not simply a case of state ineptitude since once
the state authorized the Rangers to move in; we saw the Rangers and police
in full force, post-May 12. Yet, on May 12 no Ranger was in sight, despite

being deployed permanently in Karachi, and only a sprinkling of police who

acted more as bystanders watching the carnage unfold. Also, no
bureaucratic or political heads have rolled for the official lapse of law and
order. It seems no one in power is prepared to shoulder the responsibility for
this latest national tragedy.
What happened in Karachi on May 12 was the state allowing a
fascist party to run amok in the countrys commercial and financial
heart even the tone in incantation of the MQM leaders address from
London had an eerie ring of familiarity to Hitlers rabble-rousing speeches.
(It is also ironic that just as British Prime Minister Chamberlain pandered to
Hitler at Munich, so now the British Government is sheltering a Pakistani
fascist leader as well as many Pakistani terrorists.)
That other political groups in Karachi also responding with fire
power and violence only added to the tragedy, but the responsibility lies
with the state and the fascist party in power in Karachi. The crucial
question is simply: Where was the writ of the state?
For those who accuse the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
(CJSC) and his accompanying lawyers for the Karachi bloodbath; theirs is
bizarre and desperate rationalism. Perhaps the CJSC could have chosen to
give in to the blackmail by the fascist party ruling in Karachi or simply been
more cautious given the warnings conveyed to him and his lawyers. Yet, the
CJSC has been going all over the country to address lawyers and there has
never been any untoward incident.
So where do we go from here? Are we going to be overwhelmed and
terrorized by varying forces of fascism while the writ of the state vanishes in
their wake even as it is unleashed mercilessly against those using democratic
and peaceful norms of protest? Pakistans distracters could not have wished
for a better scenario especially with the dreaded prospect of an eventual
civil-military confrontation Target killings and terrorization of the
innocent by those forces of the state that are meant to protect them cannot
intimidate the nation into a brutal submission.
Dr Adil Najam focused on failings on Musharrafs part. It is all too
evident now that General Musharraf is tempting fate with actions that are
politically suicidal. Seeing him at his May 12 rally holed up behind an
oversized bullet-proof dais (which only heightened a sense of besiegement)
one wondered if he actually believed what he was saying about the

tremendous support he had from what he saw as a sea of humanity but

which was much more an assortment of uninterested spectators who were
making the best of their forced detention by roaming about, chatting and
generally goofing around even as the president and his coterie went about
their uninspiring and uninspired speeches.
The tragedy is that he actually seemed to believe every word of what
he said. No one else did; but he seemed resolute and convinced. This was a
sad spectacle because instead of coming across as a confident leader, he
came across as someone who was not only out of touch with reality
around him, but in denial of it.
He may well have come to believe in his own inevitability and good
luck a little too much. While having luck on your side is a good thing, it can
never be a substitute for clear thinking, seeking wise advice and a grounded
moral compass that can differentiate the obviously good from the obviously
bad. While General Musharraf might once have prided in having all these,
he seems to have now abandoned the last three and is banking only on his
much hyped (mostly by himself) good luck. Luck is a good thing, but it
never lasts forever; never and for no one.
Like most long-serving autocrats, General Musharraf seems to have
already eliminated all who could possibly look him in the eye and tell him
that he needs to reconsider the path he is on. Instead, his own actions
encourage only the insecurity and sycophancy of those around him who can
only cheer-lead the dance of denial and delusion that he seems to have set
his heart upon. This sense of disconnect was on grand display throughout
5/12 as Karachi bled, burned, and cried hoarse.
Irrespective of what might or might not have been done beforehand,
there were at least three moments during the day itself when General
Musharraf could have done things that could have dramatically
changed how the nation would remember this black day and his role in it;
both for the better.
The first of these moments came around noon on 5/12. Just around
the time when the Chief Justices airplane landed in Karachi. By this time at
least a few things were very clear to everyone: (a) that the road blockages
were so stringent that the chief justices team could possibly not get to the
Sindh High Court without the governments permission; and (b) that a large
scale massacre was in the works and that this, rather than the CJs

movements or the governments Islamabad extravaganza, was going to

define the day in history. At this point, General Musharraf could have
stepped in to demonstrate real leadership, appealed for calm in the city,
instructed the Sindh government to open the blockages, and made the case
that no judicial or political issue was worth the loss of innocent Pakistani
The second opportunity came late in the afternoon by which time
much of the carnage and the MQM rally had already happened and a highlevel meeting was held in Islamabad to consider what could be done. The
meeting decided to expel the CJs lawyers and later the Chief Justice of
Pakistan himself from the largest city of Pakistan (this last bit is itself full of
irony) An alternative option would have been to focus instead of real steps
to bring calm to the streets of Karachi and saying to the CJ, OK, go and
speak at the High Court if you want to. By this time, whatever the CJ could
or would have said was predictable and would have mattered very little in
the larger scheme of things Musharraf could, for example, have gone on
the air then and announced that he was going to cancel the governments
rally in Islamabad in respect of those who had been killed that day. In all
likelihood, this would have forced the Sindh High Court to do the same with
their event.
The third, and final, opportunity to change the tone of the day and the
memories that will now forever be associated with it came in Islamabad that
night when General Musharraf finally ascended the makeshift stage made
out of empty cargo containers. His performance that night was no less
empty He could have respected the somber events of the day. Instead of
starting his speech by taunting the opposition and the lawyers about how the
government could gather more heads than them, a different General
Musharraf might have entered more soberly and started his speech by calling
for a minute of silence and saying fateh (prayer) for those who had been
killed in Karachi. In that one moment, at least, a nation that was being torn
apart by rallies and murders could have stood united in prayer.
History judges leaders not only on that they choose to do, but also on
that which they choose not to do. History will not judge kindly of events of
5/12 or the decisions that General Musharraf chose not to make that day.
Burhanuddin Hasan mourned the rulers inability to learn from
history. As if the shortage of electricity was not enough, the visit of the
Chief Justice to Karachi added fuel to the fire when the governments ill

advised move to restrain him at the Karachi Airport by force and not allow
him to proceed to the Sindh High Court to address the Bar backfired. The
government was determined to keep the Chief Justice from showing his
strength at the lawyers meeting in Karachi, as he had done in Lahore.
Subsequently, Karachi plunged into the worst violence
The massive demonstrations triggered throughout the country against
the presidents reference in the case of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhry and his epic 25-hour journey from Islamabad to Lahore joined by
tens of thousands of people all along the route, and his tremendous welcome
at Lahore High Court, are expressions of peoples discontent with the
performance of the government and cannot be dismissed as a passing
This reminds one of another chapter of Pakistans history when the
PNA launched a nation-wide agitation which lasted for four months with
considerable loss of human life and property Unfortunately, Mr Bhuttos
credibility rating had become so low This was the beginning of the end of
Mr Bhuttos government. This is recent history, but our rulers never learn
any lessons from history which finally passes its own verdict of their
Kamila Hyat wanted the leaders to ponder about the losses of the
people rather than counting their immaterial successes. In Islamabad,
President Pervez Musharraf enthusiastically hailed the success of the
MQM rally in the city even as families lifted the bodies of dead people
off the streets. According to some particularly sickening reports, sweets were
distributed at the official rally in the capital later it was announced that the
chief justice had left the city and the prime minister has blithely held that
had the CJ not gone to Karachi, the deaths could have been averted.
Amid this cheer, the bigger issues have not even been touched
upon. No member of government has thought it fit to comment on quite why
an army of goons wielding machine guns was permitted to rampage
throughout Karachi. Why, even though it was widely known that violence
was planned, state law enforcers were so completely impotent before the
men poised with their weapons at points that had sprung up overnight, and
what this resurgence of violence means for a city which has long and terrible
history of ethnic strife.


For most, it was time to weep, a time to mourn. Even some of

those bussed in to attend the carnival-like PML rally in Islamabad, where
free food and drinks stalls had been set up to try and keep those brought in
happy, admitted ahead of the presidents much-delayed arrival at the venue
to being shocked.
As such, the messages of good cheer delivered from the podium
appeared totally out of tune with the sentiments of ordinary people.
Death, most of all when it comes sporadically, violently and aimlessly, is
after all not a matter that can simply be passed over so blithely and should
least of all be done so by leaders whose main role should be to work towards
the safety and welfare of the people of their country.
The murder of a Supreme Court official, in what his family believes
is a targeted killing, adds to the sense of menace now underlying the
struggle. It has been obvious now for over a week that the unexpectedly
large gathering the CJ had addressed in Lahore had rattled and angered
leaders in Islamabad, and as such events in Karachi seem to have been
orchestrated to deliver a lesson to the man who has emerged as the
establishments unlikely nemesis.
The display by dominant political forces in Karachi of their
ugliest face suggests the citys past could come back and haunt it in the
future. The threat of a resurgence of bloody, ethnic politics is especially
alarming with a general election scheduled over the coming months and
Karachi certain to emerge as a prize to be fought over by rival groups.
At the same time, the presence of outfits set up as fascist armies,
with such immense stockpiles of weaponry at their disposal, cannot
augur well for any state. While today government leaders are hailing certain
participants in the Karachi carnage as trusted allies, they must not forget that
in any game of politics, allies can turn to foes. The task imperative to good
governance is therefore to ensure that laws are applied equally to everyone
and those violating them duly punished.
International repercussions of the mayhem in Karachi are
becoming visible. Newspaper accounts state diplomats are sending home
disturbing accounts of the prevailing situation. At least one party of
European business representatives, due to arrive in Karachi to hold talks
with local partners, have for the moment cancelled their trip and foreigners
already present in the city are said to be planning a quick getaway.

Leaders then need to listen carefully for the tunes to which

people lead their lives. At present, the music is not the triumphant beat of
drums that the leadership seems to have heard, but the melancholy strains of
the silence that come with tragedy.
The images that have emerged from Karachi give reason to carefully
ponder the abject failure of state witnessed across the country, rather than to
proclaim a success that simply does not exist for the traumatized people of
the city and for millions others, deeply saddened by the events witnessed
over the past few days.
Dr Masooda Bano was of the view that the rulers are more focused on
perpetuating their rule rather than worrying about killings of innocent
people. To have the president of the country cheer and celebrate right when
a major part of the country is burning is one of the most demeaning things
that a countrys top executive could do. Rather than being concerned
about controlling the damage in Karachi, General Musharraf was keen on
scoring points by blaming the violence in Karachi on Chief Justice Iftikhar
Mohammad Chaudhry for not adhering to governments advice. It is clear
that what happened in Karachi was no chance development; it was a planned
move by the government to defame the lawyers movement. How public
lives can become so cheap for those in power is unbelievable!
General Musharraf has openly blamed Justice Chaudhry for the
violence that occurred in Karachi. The argument is that it is because of this
visit to Karachi that this violence broke out. Nothing can be more illogical
than an accusation like this. Whose decision was it to hold a counter rally
on the day Justice Chaudhry was to visit Karachi to address the Sindh High
Court Bar? It was the MQMs, which is a part of the government When
the government itself was predicting trouble, why did it not tell the MQM to
host its rally on another day?
The answer is obvious: the government wanted trouble on the
streets of Karachi so that it does not have to put up with the
embarrassment of another huge turnout in support of the lawyers
movement as was seen in Lahore. This was visible in the way the city was
managed on that day as well as the attitude of the top leadership in
Islamabad that afternoon. On a day that was expected to be volatile, there
was no police or Rangers in the city, and the main roads were deliberately
blocked. A few people with the guns had the liberty to keep the entire
population hostage. The evidence that the MQM initiated this violence is

also very strong. There were no ambulance facilities, no preparation for

emergency. People hit by the bullets bled to death on the streets.
But, if this carefully planned negligence was not enough to implicate
the state, the attitude of the countrys president and the celebratory
mood of the rally in Islamabad that very day told it all. Rather than being
concerned about controlling the violence in Karachi, General Musharraf
appreciated the MQM rally in Karachi and his own rally revealing the
support he has among the public. Rather than thinking of the people dying in
Karachi he was talking of his re-election and proof of public popularity.
At the same time, as expected, the US has issued statements that its
assessment of General Musharrafs importance in Pakistan has not changed
due to the lawyers protest rallies and the current crisis in Karachi All one
can say in response to such assessments is that within this very hypocrisy
of US foreign policy rests the seeds of international terrorism. By
strengthening authoritarian rulers in Muslim countries, the only form of
dissent that the US leaves open for the ordinary public is violence.
Rahimullah Yusufzai observed that embattled and in real trouble,
President Musharraf until now is unwilling to concede that the situation
for him has changed dramatically after his decidedly arrogant March 9
decision to render Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry
non-functional. Over-confident after having ruled almost unchallenged for
seven and a half years, he was sure the chief justice would quietly agree to
resign once threatened with the prospect of a damaging reference To his
surprise, the chief justice refused to quit.
While seeking justice for the countrys chief justice, Pakistans brave
lawyers, dedicated political workers and ordinary citizens are hoping that
their ongoing struggle will enable the judiciary to regain its independence.
There is also hope that the rule of law will be restored and the country
will become truly democratic.
The PML-led governments decision to hold its own political rallies
to match those of chief justice-led opposition has already backfired due to
loud and credible accusations that public money and machinery was used
to herd participants, including government employees, to Islamabad to
listen to uninspiring speeches Perhaps a reference or two could be filed
against the rulers for using public resources for a political activity designed


to showcase their popular support and boost the faltering image of President
By sabotaging the oppositions plans to welcome the chief justice at
Karachi Airport and take him in a procession to the Sindh High Court
premises, the government sent out a message that it could go to any
length while dealing with those challenging President Musharraf and his
allies. The free hand given to the ruling MQM, which has been unable to
alter its ethnic-based politics, to rule the streets of Karachi on that fateful
day and the inability of the law-enforcement agencies to offer protection to
political workers of rival parties has further damaged General Musharrafs
already battered standing as a president acceptable to people of all regions
and political affinities.
And if past failures havent dampened his spirits and he still wishes
to play a role in international politics, he has to rise above petty politics,
and act as a statesman at home before attempting to become a credible
mediator abroad. Perhaps it is late in the day to attempt such a make over
because the pressure for a political change in the country has become
stronger and sustained.
Nasim Zehra opined that on that fateful day the government and its
allies played lawless games. What are these parameters that are
conveyed through the many hours long reign of bloody anarchy in
Karachi? Essentially that when the rulers consider it justified, they will
suspend the responsibility of the law enforcing agencies of the state to
protect the life and property of the citizens of the state. Instead the law
enforcing agencies will aid those who are running the government to use
state power in whichever way they deem fit.
In Islamabad the presidents show was unreal. And whatever his
convictions about what the country needs, his claim of public support is not
backed by solid evidence. Whatever the reliable agencies and politicians
claimed the reality of rally was completely different from the claim that the
rally signaled a sea of support for the president. The attendees were bussed
and paid, the numbers were small, they hardly paid attention to the speeches
and most kept sitting in their busses, the bizarre festivities as Karachites bled
and were being terrorized, the head of the state said not a word about how
outrageous it was that law enforcing agencies were not there.


By all the evidence that so blatantly flowed from the tragic and
criminal events of May 12 were about terrorizing the public and the
governments political opponents. For the ordinary citizen of Karachi the
State of Pakistan stood completely collapsed. Senior police official let the
Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court know that he could not provide any
security to the lawyers keen to enter the Sindh High Court to attend the
CJPs scheduled address or go to the airport to receive the CJP. For an
unreported reason the Sindh CJs summons to the Corps Commander went
unheeded. The law enforcing agencies ignored the controlling mafia and
subsequently the battling groups.
Unless the federal and Sindh governments can prove it otherwise, the
only message the terrifying developments of May 12 conveyed is that they
had decided to muzzle the peoples movement by hook or by crook. In
Karachi the federal government clearly demonstrated that it will muzzle
what it insists is the politicization of a legal issue, and for that it will use
whatever means it believes will help it defeat those who are attempting to
politicize the issue.
What else can explain the complete and total abdication of their
responsibility towards the citizens? Reporters of various independent
television channels repeatedly quoted members of the Rangers and the
police force that they were asked to completely withdraw from the rally
routes and not get involved in any action. Policemen were seen lying
around, while Rangers refused to come out of their headquarters in Malir.
ANP men did hit back when attacked. but to try and establish parity
between the ones hitting back in retaliation and between those who
initiated violence is erroneous; as is trying to establish equal responsibility
between the parties involved in Karachi i.e. the CJPs decision to go to
Karachi and the MQM holding as rally of the government abdicating its
responsibility of ensuring law and order are not equal in their impact. In fact
the CJP did not even hold his rally.
Meanwhile words are on the cheap Hear the speeches of the MQM
and the PML-Q leaderships. Actions often dont support their claims and
what the actions are conveying is a story of a no-holds barred power
struggle. For example, what the sub themes were at work on May 12?
Leading the men ordered to attend the presidents rally, the Punjab Chief
Ministers son was busy launching his political career. In Karachi the ruling
party seemed to be merrily thrashing opponents: the PPP, the MMA and the

ANP. In aiding Islamabads black victory in the CJP issue, its allies
promoted their personal agendas.
Not only does the Karachi mayhem indict the two governments,
federal and Sindh governments, it also brings the government in direct
confrontation with the politicians. The politicians, who were until now
following and in fact bandwagoning on the CJP issue, now have a direct
battle to fight. With party workers killed the politicians can be a direct party
to the struggle for rule of law in the country.
Essentially what was a legal issue first turned into a popular public
issue, then into a political issue and now anarchy in Karachi has the
potential to turn into an ethnic issue. Groups from different parts of the
country and from Sindh itself have condemned the MQM; Sindh High Court
Bar in Sukkur will be petitioning in the Supreme Court to declare MQM a
terrorist organization. The ANP is also accusing the MQM for the killings of
its activities.
Karachi has again underscored that despite the larger thrust of the
lawyers movement, that is seeking rule of law, the government is still
confident in wielding unaccountable power. For the future of the people
and the country these two irreconcilable paths must meet. And clearly the
only path of rule of law where exercise of power at all levels must be
accountable. The state-society contract needs to be written.
The only issue now is: how will this country be ruled? Under the
ad hoc unconstitutional system or according to the Constitution of Pakistan
in which the wielders of power will be held accountable and will be
answerable to the people of Pakistan. Such a system can heavily contribute
in reducing the curse of injustice, lawlessness, and intolerance within the
state, politics and society in Pakistan.
Shafqat Mahmood observed that the Karachi carnage has once again
exposed the real face of the MQM and it is up to the people of Pakistan to
take note of it. General Musharraf, not embarrassed or contrite at what
his government had allowed to happen in Karachi but exulting at how
anti-judiciary forces, meaning the chief justice, had been thwarted. Anyone
else in his position would have cancelled the state sponsored gathering in
Islamabad to honour the dead of Karachi, but not him. Anyone else in his
position would have hung his head in shame at what his allies had inflicted
on the innocent citizens of Karachi, but not him. Anyone else sitting in the

presidency would have been devastated by the fact that the provincial
government rather than stop the carnage actually encouraged it to take place,
but not him.
It is that state of denial where, the violent tactics of the MQM are
invisible to him while they are obvious to everyone else in the country.
Unfortunately, by these tactics, General Musharraf has exposed the huge
fault line of ethnicity that divides this country. Not all Urdu-speaking people
are supporters of the MQM but the way this party has taken up the gun to
defend him, has brought to the fore his own ethnic origin. He has now
squarely identified himself, whether by default or design, as a mohajir.
People may be afraid to talk about it on the air or write about it in print but it
is now the proverbial elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is there and
yet there is public silence on it.
This has huge ramifications because as the self-declared president of
Pakistan and also as never retiring chief of army staff he is supposed to be
above any kind of parochial or political considerations. Politics had become
a part of him since he chose to take over the country but now the
parochial has also taken over. This cannot be good for the country or the
The May 12 happenings have once again shown to the people of
Pakistan the real face of the party. In recent times, it had acquired a
certain degree of respectability and some very astute people had started to
eulogize its organizational ability and its liberal outlook. The killer gangs
that were unleashed last Saturday have exposed how thin this veneer of
decency was.
Just a few short years of its inception, it was subjected to a military
action in 1992. This was unleashed not by the then Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif but by the army chief, General Asif Nawaz. It was at this time that
Altaf Hussain quit the country and settled permanently in England. The
army action exposed many a torture cell and brought before the public the
tactics employed by the party but it was then allowed to peter out because
the army and the politicians did not agree on its direction.
Once Benazir was removed, the party staged a comeback and
started to display many of the old tactics that had defined it since day one. A
number of police and civil officers involved with the operation against the


party were hunted down and killed. Others chose to run or hide. This clearly
demonstrated to everyone that the leopard had not changed its spots.
It was only after General Musharraf took over that the MQM again
started to come to the fore and even acquire a patina of respectability. The
General himself went to see the party chief in London. This was surreal
because several cases had been registered against Mr Hussain, including that
of torturing a serving army officer. An MQM stalwart was later named Sindh
governor who reportedly had several criminal cases registered against him
all of which later dropped.
Under the Generals tutelage the party not only acquired power in
Sindh but started to spread its wings to other parts of the country. I had
writtensome months ago that serving corps commanders were
interviewing potential candidates of the MQM in Punjab The MusharrafMQM link that became visible on May 12 has become another millstone
around the Generals neck.
It is all winding down for the General and at a bewildering rate.
The only decent option for him is to hold a free and fair election with the
exiled leaders back in the country and then leave. It is the only good deed
left in him but will he? Not, if the past is any indication.
Six days after the Karachi carnage, The News regretted that the rulers
were still refusing to see the reality. Several news reports of the May 15
meeting of the PML and its allied parties in Islamabad suggest that there
was palpable tension among some members of parliament. Accusations
were hurled at MQM for wreaking havoc in Karachi by some PML-Q
MPs, many of whom will be understandably worried about their electoral
chances in the coming election. The reason is that whether the party likes it
or not, anti-MQM feeling is running high in Punjab, NWFP and even parts
of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The MQM will be however pleased because it found a strong
supporter in the president who deflected any and all criticism that was
aimed at the party The prime minister added to this when during a visit to
Karachi he actually went on to praise the role of the Sindh government, the
police and the Rangers in containing the violence and bringing the city back
to normality. With due respect to the prime minister, one begs to disagree
with his assessment.


Surely, real politick demands that certain compromises be made and

that sometimes these may be uncomfortable but surely there should be a
line somewhere. For instance, what kind of message is being given to the
Sindh government and the law-enforcement agencies by praising their role
in containing the May 12 violence? Instead of pulling them up for
abdicating from their responsibility of maintaining law and order, or
stepping in to quell the violence, instead of taking to task the Sindh
government for the 40-plus lives that have been lost since last Saturday, it is
thoroughly dismaying and disconcerting to see the countrys chief executive
give a complete vote of confidence to the provincial government.
According to reports, it figured in the May 15 meeting as well, with
almost all participants expressing unanimity that the government to do
something to put the media in order, given that it was blowing things out
of proportion. Coming good on that request would be a most unwise step,
for the government itself.
Those at the helm in Islamabad need to ask themselves that on a day
when dozens die in brutal gunfights, when a TV channel is attacked for six
hours with no Police and Rangers stepping into thwart the attackers, when
people are left on the road to die in cold blood, to blame the media for
blowing things out of proportion is a recipe for disaster. It means the
government is not willing to even look at what went wrong on May 12,
so finding the way forward and to ensure that such a day does not happen
again seems an elusive possibility.'
Amir Zia adopted the easier course and blamed everyone and urged
them to act rationally for the good of the nation. One should not wonder
why the issue of the suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad
Chaudhrys planned rally became a fairly valid excuse for various political
interests and ethnic groups to demonstrate their power and stamp
authority on various localities of this teeming mega-city.
In doing this, these forces not just underlined the deep polarization
of our times, but also exposed the vulnerability and helplessness of the law
abiding citizens, who had nowhere to go, nowhere to turn to for security and
protection as parts of Karachi plunged into lawlessness and chaos.
Thanks to the non-stop television reporting of the days gory events,
the billowing smoke, the armed militants, and the blazing gunfire were right
inside our houses from one corner of the country to another shattering

the much-laboured myth that Karachi has transformed into a peaceful

and business friendly city.
The foremost worrying issue that emphatically manifested itself
again was the open display and use of lethal small arms. May 12 has
clearly demonstrated that Karachi continues to remain one of the most
heavily armed cities in Pakistan where the political and religious parties,
interest groups, and the crime mafias are armed-to-the-teeth and ready to
shoot and kill at the first opportunity. This failure of the state to disarm the
non-state players even in major cities is the biggest threat for peace and
stability in Pakistans financial and industrial heart.
The second bitter fact is that the onus of triggering violence cannot
be thrown at the doorstep of this or that political party alone. Supporters
of the government as well as the opposition were both armed and fought
pitched battles in various parts of the city. All the political players stand
guilty of violence on that particular day.
Another troubling factor was the inability of the law enforcement
agencies to deal with this crisis-like situation. Despite all the visibility of
the police and paramilitary Rangers during normal days, they are found
wanting when needed the most either because of political expediency or
operational weaknesses. The government needs to probe both these aspects
in detail. The facts are too obvious; any inquiry by the government will only
be aimed at covering it up.
The present crisis has also exposed the sad fact that our political
parties be they in the government or the opposition are not yet ready to
act and express themselves in a mature manner. They remain focused on
stoking emotions and adding more fuel to the raging fire. A big majority of
our politicians seem to go to any length to score a tactical point and
embarrass opponents. The observation that every politician is prepared to
go to any length is not valid when seen in the context of earlier visits of the
CJP to Peshawar and Lahore. In Karachi, it was clearly one party which was
ready to go to any length under instructions from the real beneficiary.
If the current momentum of confrontationist politics continues, it will
prove fatal for the existing system and dangerous for the country. With
the next general elections round the corner, it is high time for our political
parties and institutions to back-off from politics of brinkmanship.


The lawyers community, campaigning in favour of the suspended

Chief Justice, also needs to review tactics, which are transforming a purely
legal issue into a political one, creating law and order problems in an already
volatile environment. The fate of the suspended Chief Justice has to be
decided in the court, not on the streets. Forcing the lawyers to change
tactics was one of the aims of the regime in triggering the bloodshed in
Karachi on May 12.
In the past, Karachi paid a heavy price of ethnic rivalries These
two forces (MQM and ANP) have to redouble efforts by joining hands
with other political parties to maintain harmony not just between the
Urdu-speaking and Pashtun communities, but all other ethnic groups
including Punjabis, Sindhis and Balochs.
Ikram Sehgal, starting with giving an impression of neutrality, ignored
the clear aggressors and blamed those who had no option but to react. There
was a moral obligation for all to heed independent warnings of imminent
violence. The government lost considerable moral authority in not enforcing
their writ for hours, and the hands-off policy seemed deliberately designed
to aggravate the situation for a single purpose, prevent the chief justices
cavalcade from riding into town.
As one of those who strongly believe that it is the democratic right of
MQM to exercise their democratic rule in Karachi, and being extremely
impressed by the tremendous socio-economic uplift of the citys
infrastructure, the partys handling of the responsibilities to Karachis
citizens on May 12, 2007 has been disappointing, a setback of sorts. A
prosperous future for any city is directly proportional to sustained peace,
why should the MQM, whose interest lies in maintaining peace, let loose
forces that would violently disturb tranquility? It is tantamount to shooting
yourself in the foot.
As if the chief justice was leading an invading army into the city the
route from the airport into the city was blocked at many places. Rommels
beach obstacles in Normandy in June 1944 would have paled in comparison.
Trouble was only one incident away.
While this tragedy was unfolding, the chief justice and accompanying
lawyers stranded at a lounge at the Karachi Airport stubbornly refused the
administrations offer to the chief justice to use a helicopter to the vicinity


of the Sindh High Court. What was more important to the lawyers, his
speech at the Sindh High Court or triumphant procession into town?
The MQM should have avoided being politically provoked, this
played into the hands of the opposition. While the anti-government political
parties will shed crocodile tears, they have also raised the ethnic card, a
matter of not only shame but one of national apprehension of initiating a
fresh blood cycle. One must vehemently protest this. The opposition may be
aggrieved at what they took as excesses by the MQM, those shooting back
were not angels. There is moral bankruptcy in trying to trumpet this as
ethnically motivated. For short-term advantage you cannot risk the stability
of the country by raising ethnic and/or racial motivation. This is a deliberate
escalation by our politicians bereft of other ideas. The CJ was meant to be
used by the politicians and he has been.

The events of May 12 re-exposed the worth of rulers Pakistan has
been blessed with. The analysts have described that fairly accurately what
has been revealed during rallies in Karachi and Islamabad. Herein, some acts
of the two men at the top deserve to be recalled.
Standing behind the bullet-proof rostrum, Musharraf indulged in selfdeception by seeing a sea of humanity in front of him. Like all dictators he
was relying upon the head-count, dead or alive, to assess the worth of his
power. Dictators never believe in the heart-count. A passionate human being
would prefer one man welcoming him sincerely rather than a crowd of
thousand people chanting memorized slogans dispassionately.
By asking the MQM to do what it did, he also revealed that like true
dictators he also believed in head-count while slaughtering those who dare
opposing him. He showed no sign of remorse or regret. But, because of this
one act he tumbled from the high stature of president and chief of army staff,
to the level of Altaf Hussain, a fugitive criminal, perhaps even much lower
than that.
The inquiry ordered to probe into the debacle of Pakistan cricket
teams defeat in World Cup found that it was due to Inzimams dictatorial
attitude. If a dictator like Inzi can spoil so much, one can imagine what kind


of damages a real dictator like Musharraf would has caused to date; but who
will find that out and when?
Shaukat Aziz visited a hospital in Karachi and like efficient bankcashier disbursed cash, for a change not across the counter but standing
beside the bed of an injured man. One could have only wished that one of
the wounded persons had asked him: Where were you and what were you
doing when he and hundreds of others like him were being targeted by
terrorists operating under the protection of law enforcers.
But, the shrewd MQM hosts of Prime Minister must have catered for
such an embarrassing encounter. They must have selected the wounded very
carefully and most of them must have been the innocent workers of the
MQM; to prove partys victim-hood and also allowing the Prime Minister to
commend their acts while distributing cash rewards. If Musharraf could
degenerate to the level of Altaf Hussain why cant Shaukat.
During the visit he also praised the police and the Rangers for doing
wonderful job on 12th May, while the entire nation criticized them for not
performing their duty of maintaining law and order. What does this odd
exception mean? Clearly, he was appreciating them for obeying the orders of
the MQM in letter and spirit.
Surely, the people of Pakistan would like to get rid of such rulers
imposed upon them. One way to get rid of them is to make them coach of
the cricket team turn by turn and send them to tour the islands of West Indies
while hiring the services of someone to do the needful.
One of the accusations hurled by the offenders implicates the CJP,
particularly his refusal to travel by helicopter. The question is would the
trouble that had started before his arrival subsided if he had flown to SHC by
helicopter? The record and psyche of the MQM tells that it would have
added to the arrogance of Urdu-speaking terrorists.
The MQM has also blamed political parties and other linguistic
groups for the bloodshed. There was no doubt that the opponents of the
MQM would exercise the right to defend or retaliate. Living in the land
infested by beasts, these people could not risk coming out unprepared and
they did not; yet the beasts took the toll they wanted to before the victims
could retaliate.


The cunning leadership of the MQM had anticipated that and had
decided to collect the evidence to implicate them. They sent cameramen to
every trouble spot and the evidence so collected is now available with every
leader and spokesman of the MQM.
The events of 12th May have proved beyond any doubt that
maintenance of law and order was not the priority of the MQM government;
instead it took all the steps to create chaotic conditions to stop the CJP from
coming out of airport. They did it successfully.
The arrogance of MQM leaders remains intact. They refuse to accept
any wrong doing on their part, except the attack on Aaj TV. The pattern of
events that followed the attack explains the reason behind this odd
exception. An apology was rendered to Aaj TV immediately, but all other
heinous acts were denied or ignored altogether. Most importantly, Musharraf
graciously agreed to be interviewed by Talat Hussain like Kamran Khan.
The dictator and his allies seemed fully aware of the importance of
electronic media.
They can rejoice over short-term gains but they will certainly regret in
the long run. Had the CJP been allowed to move around as per his
programme, he would have only repeated what he achieved in Peshawar and
Lahore, but peoples hatred for the rulers after killings could have been
avoided. MQMs act of stopping him from getting out of the airport by
resorting to bloodshed has damaged its cause more than hundred rallies of
the CJP could have done.
The analysts have unanimously proposed that disarming is the only
way to restore peace in mini Pakistan. Under the prevalent environments no
one will surrender arms voluntarily and in case of MQM it can be said that
this militant ethnic group will not give up arms even if normalcy returns.
During a discussion on a TV channel a participant suggested that the
solution to the Karachis woes lies in making it weapon-free. Farooq Sattar
reacted spontaneously and said first the rest of the country should be made
weapon-free. This showed that MQM is in no mood to give up arms and at
the same time its leadership fully understands that the federal government
cannot risk doing it by force as it would paralyze the port city for quite some
time and Pakistan cannot afford that even for a week.


To conclude, a few words about the equation of discipline and

dissent. People working in various government departments have expressed
their dissent over the official policy in the ongoing judicial crisis; even some
politicians in Kings own party have found it difficult to digest blatant
terrorism perpetrated in Karachi on 12th May.
The astonishing exception, perhaps not so astonishing, has been the
army, particularly its higher hierarchy or senior commanders. They have set
an extraordinary example of military discipline. The question is, should the
discipline cause the demise of the conscience?
The perpetration of terrorism in which innocent people were killed has
failed to breach the wall built around their conscience in the name of
discipline. There could be another reason. It is worth exploring that how
many Urdu-speaking Generals had been holding the senior posts in the army
during entire period of Musharraf era. The figures would reveal awesome
20th May 2007


Charge of the Enlightened Brigade against Lal Masjid and its
seminaries continued. Media led the charge. The government, however, for
its own reasons decided to defuse the issue for the time being using the ploy
of dialogue. The enlightened section of civil society accused the
government of appeasement.
Shujaat Hussain, for a change without the help of the sentence
completer, held talks with Lal Masjid administration and came close to
resolving almost all the issues. Astonishingly, the leader of the ruling party


failed to secure implementation of the agreed points and CDA was blamed
for that.
In fact, the government while negotiating did not stop harassing the
people of Lal Masjid and its seminaries. The clerics of the Mosque
apprehended mischief from the government and on 18 th May got hold of four
police officials who were keeping watch on the Mosque in civvies; two of
them were released next day.
The kidnapping and subsequent detention of police officials rang
alarm bells particularly for the Enlightened Brigade and the media. They
once again cried hoarse for crackdown against the obscurantist mullas, but
the government refrained from carrying out any operation. The situation
improved, at least temporarily, when Lal Masjid administration released the
remaining police officials.

On 29th April Mushtaq Alvi reported that normalcy was returning fast
in and around Lal Masjid after dialogue with the government. Nilofar
resigned as Chairperson of the Womens Wing of the PML-Q, citing
pressure of work as the reason.
Shakeel Anjum collected some more information about Aunty
Shamims business by interviewing the affected girls. The Aunty used to
exploit young women in search of a job under economic compulsions. She
strictly adhered to day time business hours so that girls could come out of
their homes without being suspected/questioned by anyone. The business
remained closed on Sunday and after 12:00 oclock on Friday.
The young women were exploited by Aunty who kept 70 percent of
their earnings allowing them to retain only 30 percent. Yet one of the women
said that this is very paying occupation in Islamabad. One can earn millions
in few months.
She enjoyed full protection of Aabpara police as she greased the right
palms. She was never touched by law enforcers despite several complaints
lodged by neighbours and others. No one dared to touch Aunty Shamim and
police used to inform in advance if there was any chance of a raid.


Aunty Shamim accused the girls of Jamia Hafsa of launching a

campaign of malicious propaganda against her. She alleged that the women
who revealed information about her business were actually the students of
the seminary pretending to be the exploited women. She also denied
separately that she was writing a book.
The dialogue with Lal Masjid administration resulted in about threeweek lull. During this period following developments took place. Imam-eKaaba decreed that Lal Masjid can only advise government for
implementation of Shariah. Talks between Shujaat and Lal Masjid
administration concluded with positive note to implement all agreed points.
Later, Lal Masjid administration accused the government of delaying tactics.
Two women ministers visited Jamia Hafsa and announced that they saw no
weapons inside the seminary.
On 18th May, the things flared up again. Lal Masjid students
kidnapped four police officials, two each of Bahra Kahu and Sihala police
stations, from a police post in Islamabad and held them at the seminary. The
Lal Masjid demanded release of their 15 persons held by police and
intelligence agencies. Police agreed to release four of them on bail.
Maulana Abdul Aziz in Friday sermon blasted Altaf Hussain for
suggesting military operation against the female students of Jamia Hafsa,
while he himself was hiding away from the entire nation, and urged the
masses to rise up against all the evil and vice. By cursing MQMs Imam
Khomeini, Maulana was risking wrath of his younger brother. Meanwhile,
Nilofars four-say absence from her office led to rumours that she might
have resigned; or she might have proceeded on another adventure trip.
On 19th May, Lal Masjid administration released two police officials
and the government reciprocated by freeing four students of Jamia Fareedia
on bail. Next day, tensions mounted as the authorities assembled thousands
of police and Rangers for action against Lal Masjid. However, the law
enforcers dispersed after midnight. It was claimed that district commissioner
had successfully defused the situation but, probably the secrecy of the
operation had been compromised.
Students of Jamia Fareedia detained three policemen on 21st May for
three hours and released them as police assembled for action. Prime Minister
deplored unruly behaviour of clerics of Lal Masjid.


Next day, President and Prime Minister discussed options over Lal
Masjid standoff. Negotiations continued for release of two police officials
and 11 men of Lal Masjid seminaries. Government denied setting any
deadline and Maulana Aziz hinted at release of detained persons soon.
On 24th May, Lal Masjid management freed ASI Aurangzeb and
Constable Jahangir after their families approached students of the seminary
and made passionate appeals for their release. The government welcomed
their release but said that it had not requested for it.

Critics of the Lal Masjid stuck to their guns and wanted destruction of
this eye-sore in the city of enlightened civil society. Shaharyar Khan
Baseer from London wrote, the Lal Masjid incident is a disgrace for the
people who are taking part in it I am shocked that the government has
allowed this to go on till now The structures that are built on the
government plot should be demolished overnight.
The government should take care not to extend this threat any further
as this is already emboldening these people to commit other crimes and
encourage other people to think that they can get away with things if they
employ women as a strike force or threaten Pakistan on FM radio.
Imaan Hazir from Islamabad opined, the menace of Talibanization
has sprawled from Afghanistan to the tribal areas of Pakistan and then to the
rest of the areas including the capital Islamabad. This menace is growing
day by day and no measures have been adopted to contain it.
Enlightened kept harping that Islam wasnt even in the scheme of twonation theory. Khalid Khan from Bajaur Agency said: Pakistan seems to be
moving nowhere. How long is this Lal Masjid issue going to go on for? As it
is, the citizens are getting restless and are starting to severely dislike the
governments intentions, but apparently the government doesnt care. The
mullahs think that they can implement Shariah when it wasnt even in
the plan for Pakistan. Jinnah made this country and never did he even once
state that Shariah was to be implemented.
No opportunity was missed to demonize Lal Masjid; even Charsada
suicide attack was used as a pretext. The News wrote, Pakistan continues to

pay the price of rising extremism and unchecked Talibanization and there is
no better proof than Saturdays massive suicide attack in Charsada which
targeted the interior minister. It also has to be said that much of the blame
for this lies at the governments doors since it seems either unwilling or
unable to take on the forces of extremism and intolerance in the country,
often ending up appeasing them.
Close to the federal governments power base is the Lal Masjid
and Jamia Hafsa issue. The cleric running the mosque and the principal of
the Jamia in public threatened to send suicide bombers if the government
were to take action against them, all the while claiming considerable support
in this from FATA. And what did the federal government do? Nothing.
In the past, even the attack on the then Karachi corps commander
(and currently the army vice-chief) was linked to militants in Waziristan
(specially to Mehsuds comrade Nek Mohammad) and even the Lal Masjid
clerics has publicly claimed support and connections in Waziristan, this
is the same region where the government has in one place secured a deal
with local tribesmen and militants so it would be fair then to ask Islamabad
what kind of a deal is this which is unable to prevent frequent attacks against
its own senior functionaries The moral of the tale is that as long as the
government keeps on appeasing the extremists and the obscurantist, as long
as it is unable to stand up and resist growing Talibanization and intolerance
in the country, the atmosphere prevailing in Pakistan will be ideal for such
attacks to occur again and again.
Shireen M Mazari also joined the chorus. It appears that the state has
chosen to appease Jamia Hafsa-Lal Masjid extremists by giving in to
many of their demands. Even more worrying, because the state is now
clearly unable to protect the ordinary citizen against the violence and
extortionist threats of the extremists, this minority has already achieved its
goal of forcing the citizenry into submission. If anything, the state
functionaries are going out of their way to appease the Jamia Hafsa-Lal
Masjid combine even as they become ever more daring in their terrorization
of the public at large.
The ultimate absurdity has come in the form of a statement by the
SSP of Islamabad that the police will now rid society of social evils. The job
of the police is to enforce the law of the land and protect the citizens given
their record of ineptitude, the citizenry can only look at their new role of
moral policing with horror and fear. In any case, why is it that only now the

SSP has awakened to the fact of illegal operations in the city of brothels
and gambling dens?
There is also an insidious campaign through the internet which seeks
to play the sectarian card, with many journalists, editors, analysts and some
politicians being vilified especially those who have been in the forefront of
the protests against the illegal actions of the obscurantist. The diatribes and
abuse are so intense and full of hatred that they may appear to be the work of
madmen to be ignored, but this is a most dangerous development and many
unsuspecting or vulnerable people in our amidst could be converted to a
violent course.
In the present environment, where is the enlightened moderation
that was a cornerstone of President Musharrafs political creed, which
touched a chord in civil society but also raised expectations the Jinnahs
vision of Pakistan would finally come to fruition in terms of a liberal,
tolerant and moderate Muslim polity? One finally thought the nightmares of
the Zia legacy of sectarianism, religious obscurantism and intolerance would
finally be put to rest, having lingered on in the compromises Ms Bhutto
made with the extremists how can one forget the advisor from a now
banned sectarian group in the Punjab and Nawaz Sharifs efforts at the
same in parliament which had led to the resignation of Mr Kasuri. But it
seems the brute force of the obscurantist tends to win over the mainstream of
civil society as far as the state is concerned.
The Enlightened vehemently opposed any dialogue with clerics for
amicable solution. K Aziz from Islamabad wrote: The Lal Masjid mullahs
are what they are, but why all this appeasement on the part of the
government. People have been at a loss here; the government, as a
precaution, has been arresting those who might stage rallies, but it
holds talks with those who have indulged in outright criminal
Arif Jamal opined: The government has condoned all the illegal
and criminal acts of the clerics and their followers. Now they can carry
on their agenda with impunity. The governments surrendering to the two
clerics would go a long way to influence the course of Pakistans history
because the two clerics and their followers are no ordinary mullahs.
It seems that Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has emerged as the
Islamists face the government with the passage of time. On several

occasions in the past, he pressed the government to change its policies in

favour of the Islamists demands such as the addition of a religion column
in the machine readable passports a couple of years ago.
It looks like the Lal Masjid clerics do not want peace, but why is the
state not acting the way sovereign states do in such situations? The answer to
this question will throw light on the course of events in the coming months
and years. The chain of events in the last three months has shown that a
powerful part of the establishment, if not the entire state apparatus, is
firmly behind the two brothers. They do want to strengthen the jihadist
forces in order to retrieve the strategic depth of Afghanistan and the jugular
vein of Jammu and Kashmir.
The agreement has indirectly sanctified tens of thousands of
mosques built on stolen plots of land across the country. Even a faint hope
of retrieving stolen state land has disappeared with this agreement. It will
encourage young clerics to steal more state land and build their palatial
houses in the name of mosques.
The process of Afghanistan in the Pakistani state is already taking
place as the big and small warlords like the two clerics of Lal Masjid are
emerging across the country. Some people are already talking of the
inevitable Islamist revolution in the country. If this happens in any shape,
future historians will describe the Jamia Hafsa affair as the beginning of it.
Pir Shabbir Ahmad from Islamabad opposed the decision to rebuild
the razed mosques. It was recently reported in the national press that
Chaudhry Shujaat has assured the Lal Masjid administration that the
demolished mosques will be built. There was another report that the
respectable Chaudhry has asked the CDA administration to quickly rebuild
the demolished mosques.
These news reports raise many questions. (1) Whose money will
be used to rebuild the demolished mosques? If the tax payers money is
going to be used, then I object vehemently to this. Why should our money be
used to rebuild mosques of a particular fiqah which preaches violence,
including suicide attacks? (2) Where will the demolished mosques be built?
If they are going to be built on their original premises, then why were they
demolished in the first place? (3) These mosques were reportedly
demolished because they had been built unlawfully on green belts or other
government land not meant for this purpose. Therefore if they going to be

rebuilt in the same place the original violation of constructing mosques

illegally on green belts would end up being condoned.
The News equated dialogue with appeasement. According to reports,
the latter (Shujaat) is now apprehensive that the deal he had brokered with
the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa administrations may fail because, according
to him, the Capital Development Authority may not fulfill its part of the
bargain by indulging in delaying tactics. This is quite incredible, not least
because the chief of ruling party seems to be shifting the entire blame
for the Lal Masjid-Jamia Hafsa fiasco on to the government instead of at
least acknowledging the highly disruptive and negative role played by the
two seminaries in compromising the law and order situation in the federal
According to the deal brokered by the PML-Q chief and clerics, the
CDA was to rebuild the seven demolished mosques at the locations from
where they had been razed reportedly for being built on encroached land.
The CDAs position seems to be that the mosques may be rebuilt at
alternative sites which is still better than the appeasement carried out by
the PML-Q chief, who seems to have wholeheartedly caved into the clerics
by acceding to their unjustified demands.
The PML-Q chiefs assurance that according to the deal, the Lal
Masjid clerics will stop the moral policing being carried out by their
students needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Recent experience
strongly suggests that extremists often tend to go back on their word, and
hence it should not come as a surprise that in his Friday sermon the Lal
Masjid khateeb made an appeal to ulema all over the country to hold protests
rallies and demonstrations to stamp out obscenity and vulgarity. He even
objected strongly against mobile companies saying that they should be taken
to task because they were instruments in the spread of this culture of
The question that in fact should be asked of the PML-Q chief is why
he promised the Lal Masjid clerics that the CDA would rebuild the seven
demolished mosques at exactly the same location. What was the point then
razing them in the first place given that the government had taken the
defence that this was done because they were built on encroached land
owned by the state.


Shireen M Mazari agreed. While the issue has been sidelined in the
face of judicial crisis and the Karachi melee, the Jamia Hafsa-Lal Masjid
combine have become a fortified no-go area in the heart of the capital. While
the government has been conceding point after illegal point of these fascists,
the latter merely keep upping the ante. Clearly, all commitment to
enlightenment and moderation, on which so many of us had our hopes, has
been lost sight of in the wake of the challenge by the terrorists of Jamia
Hafsa-Lal Masjid.
Sana Shamsher Ali from Karachi complained of complacence on the
part of the government. I am quite perplexed about one particular aspect of
the whole Lal Masjid issue. Islamabad is the capital and the government
has so many intelligence agencies working for it, all based there. So how
come they did not know about this revolution? According to my
information preparations had been going on for the last six months. What
was government doing when these madressahs were being built and when
they expanded?
M S Hasan from Karachi drafted a charge sheet against rulers on
behalf of the followers of cult called Enlightened Moderation. Religious
extremism, appeasement of the militant mullahs, political expediency, covert
alliance of the current ruling alliance with the conglomerate of religious
parties, reluctance or inability of the ruling junta to confront and tackle
extremists head on are truly the engine for the unchecked spread of
extremism and acts of terrorism. As aptly said, how a government that
cannot even control a bunch of stick wielding misguided Talibat, would
confront the heavily armed Taliban, eradicate extremism and fight terrorism?
It is beyond an incapacitated and lame duck government, imprisoned
and shackled by its own cloak and dagger gamesmanship, motivated by
political and personal expediencies to take on its own B Team.
He also had a charge against Musharraf. While addressing the faculty
and students of the College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, The
president is reported to have said that the matter of the judicial reference
against the suspended chief justice, he stood for the state. With profound
and due apologies, the president is wrong.
As far as the assertion that he stood for the state is concerned, one
may be constrained to ask the president that where is he with regards to
establishing the writ of the state, ending the illegal occupation of public


property, confronting the extremists and the misguided students of Lal

Masjid and Jamia Hafsa?
NGOs also found themselves in the line of fire. Ahmed Zaheer from
Islamabad wrote, in the recent weeks, some foreign funded NGOs have
raised lot of hue and cry over the governments supposed inability to enforce
its writ on the girl students of Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad. On the other hand,
when the government banned a stage drama in Lahore that denigrated the
wearing of the burqa (which incidentally has been a part of our culture for
many centuries); these same NGOs participated in the screening of this
drama thus completely ignoring the legal ban. It seems NGOs are not
interested in imposing the writ of the government per se but only in
forcing it on those whom they dislike.
The Enlightened were in no mood to compromise, but the government
seemed lacking will to take stern action. Sardar Ali Aman from Chitral
observed: These days the assertive minister from Lal Haveli and the
formidable administrator-cum-mujahid of Lal Masjid are holding the
nation on tenterhooks. The former is continually making off-the-cuff
remarks about a possible deal between Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto and Pervez
Musharraf. His statements have put the ruling coalition especially the turncoats on high-alert. However, the educated and more aware sections of
society call it a Havelian bluff.
The latter, the self-proclaimed reformer is intent on enforcing his
brand of Sharia by means of danda (sticks). He has openly challenged the
writ of the state. The government, with its back to the wall, has no will to
face the situation. Needless to say, Zias boomerang has returned in
Musharrafs era and struck civil society with full force.
S M H Bokhari urged the government to act immediately and evict the
mullah and their students from their abode. A black brigade has of late
surfaced in Islamabad and created a stir in the nation. It has hit the
world headlines and done incalculable damage to the moderate image of
Pakistan. It is composed of 3,500 burqa-clad stick-wielding women of Jamia
Two main demands of the clerics are enforcement of Shariah and
reconstruction of the razed seminaries on the original sites. Their
pronouncements are a negation of Quaids vision of Pakistan. The


violent activities of their followers pose a direct challenge to the presidents

agenda of enlightened moderation.
Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Mufti Adul Rauf and his activists have
reportedly joined Lal Masjid (denied by JM) to confront any armed
operation by the security forces. Jaish is considered to be the pioneer of
suicide bombings in the region. Despite the denial of the report the General
deemed its mention necessary to highlight the threat of suicide bombing.
The governments inept handling of the situation and its policy of
appeasement has emboldened the clerics who have become stubborn and
rigid. Not satisfied with Chaudhry Shujaats efforts, the principal of Jamia
Hafsa has asked Musharraf to come to the seminary. She has assured him of
his safety in the Jamia.
A few pertinent questions come to ones mind. One, Islamabad is a
well-planned modern metropolis with proper allocation of spaces for
community services and places of religious worship. Why have the
seminaries mushroomed in every nock and cranny of the federal capital?
Two, there is no dearth of seminaries in the country. Why do these students
come to Islamabad when it is more convenient for them to go to the nearest
seminary? Three, if it was intended to have seminaries in Islamabad, why
was a separate enclave away from the main population centre not earmarked
for this purpose? Four. Why have the ministries of religious affairs and the
ministry of education been so compliant in laying down a policy for
establishment of seminaries? Five, why has the CDA been turning a blind
eye towards their unchecked growth? Six, why does no policy exist
regarding the province-wise allocation of seats in the seminaries? The
majority of madressah students in Islamabad are from remote areas of
NWFP. Seven, what is the source of funding of these seminaries? It needs
considerable money to house, clothe and buy books for nearly 20,000
The Mullah Brothers seem to be more concerned about the
retention of precious real estate that they and their followers are illegally
occupying in the heart of Islamabad. They blackmail the government any
time from this vantage point which is only minutes away from the
parliament and the presidency. They are exploiting religious sentiments of
imprudent extremist elements to protect their personal interests. They are
using misguided students as human shields for this purpose. They have set


up a fortress of defence around Lal Masjid and the area has become a nogo area.
Enough time has been wasted in finding a peaceful solution to this
menace. The civil society is fed up with the governments inaction and its
policy of appeasement. It is being misunderstood by the clerics as the
governments weakness. No further time should be lost in firmly dealing
with them and getting the premises vacated. The Lal Masjid
administration should be changed and the two mullahs removed from their
positions. And, enroll the retired general to fill one of the two vacancies so
Adil Najam viewed the situation while sitting in the US. To the
outside observer, the images coming from Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid in the
Federal Capital, the unending armed occupation of a childrens library in
Islamabad, and daily news reports of local Taliban burning music CDs,
harassing shop owners, and intimidating citizens are far more frightening
than scenes of processions in support of a beleaguered chief justice.
Indeed, the one thing even more frightening is the general sense of
acceptance with which the government, the media and the public seems to
have internalized this radicalization: as if this militant fundamentalism right
at the centre of the Capital in nothing more serious than a minor irritant;
something that is not comfortable, but can be accommodated; unfortunate,
but not really important.
There are those who argue that the passivity of the governments
reaction is merely a tactic of distraction. It may well be. But if so, it
seems not to be working. Domestically, it has failed miserably in
distracting public attention the public and the media are more glued to the
chief justice debacle than ever. Internationally, it has placed the government
in a double bind General Musharraf is being seen not only as being
incapable of controlling religious militants but is now seen as
accommodating them.
Asad Suleman from Islamabad opined that instead of rejecting the
demands of the clerics out rightly one must ponder over these
dispassionately. The sudden rise of a number of madressah students
demanding a ban on DVDs and calling for implementation of Sharia seems
rather comical at first. And given the sensitive atmosphere prevailing
worldwide after 9/11, it actually seems absurd that such a call has been made

when the country is going through all sorts of crises ranging from the war on
terror to the CJ saga. So, the question is, how should we respond to these
While we need to clarify the implementation of Sharia does not only
mean a ban on CDs, we need to look at the basis of the entire issue. Muslims
believe Islam to be a complete system. They also know that Sharia attempts
to organize human affairs and provides an entire framework to run a society.
Instead of questioning the demands of this handful of clerics, why dont
we ourselves ponder over the Islamic teachings to seek solutions to all
sorts of problems that we are currently facing? Why dont we do research to
see how Islam can be actually implemented in this day and age? Pacifying
the Jamia Hafsa students is not the issue here; it is clearly the
implementation of Sharia.
Kamila Shamsie observed that neither Hafsa girls nor those protesting
against them represent majority of Pakistani women. The ninjas; the burqa
brigade; the women in black, for some years now Ive been hearing such
terms thrown around with disdain by burqa-unfriendly sections of Pakistani
society to describe the women who swathe themselves entirely in black. The
terms are disparaging, but until recently they were a joke, not invested with
the property of fear invoked by the ninjas male counterparts: the beards, the
fundos, the jihadis. In the few weeks, all that has changed.
The gendered nature of the commentary about the Jamia Hafsa
students cuts across many sections of society from the radio DJ who,
tongue firmly in cheek, declared the theme of his show of girl power in
honour of the ladies of Jamia Hafsa, to the highly respected journalist
deploying the phrase chicks with sticks, to the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa
opposing the students actions on the grounds that it is un-Islamic for women
to take a leadership position, to General Musharraf dismissing the vigilantes
as misguided women which seems to suggest that they wouldnt or
couldnt behave as they were doing if not for someone else (presumably
male) guiding their actions.
Its easy to think of the paragliding minister and a burqa-clad
militant as opposite poles of Pakistans complex pictures of womanhood.
Newspapers have taken to juxtaposing oppositional photograph in support
of this thesis: a tracksuit-wearing female athlete with a javelin beside stickwielding women in black; a bare-headed, short-sleeved female protester
holding up a sign saying No to extremism. Yes to music taking the front265

page space given the previous day to more stick-wielding women in black
(the photographs of the JH students are taken from different angles, in
different places, but are ultimately always the same photograph).
The more complicated truth is that the real opposite are the women
who appear on the front pages and those who dont appear anywhere at all,
except in a small column tucked away inside, detailing a story of a woman
raped, a woman killed for honour, a woman stoned alive. Obscured
women in Pakistan are a metaphor to a greater extent than they are a literal
Small wonder, then, that when they enter the public sphere with any
gesture of defiance be it progressive or regressive their femaleness
attracts particular attention. Women should stay tucked away in the local
news section of newspapers, is the implicit message of all this gendered
scrutinizing; to behave otherwise is simply not appropriate.
Dr Masooda Bano had a rational and realistic view of the issue. The
actions of the students of Jamia Hafsa and the leaders of Lal Masjid remain
the focus of serious criticism in the media. They are being criticized for
violating other peoples liberties by trying to impose their own version of
Islam in the country. Aunty Shamim, an alleged brothel owner in
Islamabad, has in fact gained much sympathy from many. Some people
are actually very afraid. I have been told of incidents where women have
stopped driving because they are fearful of being attacked.
However, being from the same liberal circles, my personal
experience of repeated interviews and visits to Jamia Hafsa and to Abdul
Rashid Ghazi, do not support this fearful image. And after seeing others
reactions, I repeatedly wonder why. Once inside the madressah, the place
feels to me like any girls college hostel the girls do have a very purist and
strict interpretation of Islam but they make sense in what they say. In
their discussions they peg their actions against the governments own illegal
actions of military operations in tribal belt; the issue of missing people; the
efforts to over modernize the electronic media; and a general breakdown of
the state system where no one can get any work from a government
department without connections. Covered just in their dupattas and not in
their black tunics they joke, they engage with you and appear to be ordinary
college girls with conservative mindset.


Yet this is not the image they project during their TV interviews.
Increasingly, I think it has a lot to do with their dressing. All covered up
and that too in jet black they give a much more militant image than they do
when you see them in ordinary colourful clothes inside the madressah. On
one of my visits to the madressah I attended a function The madressah
students were dressed up as Musharraf, as Ejazul Haq and other ministers, as
media representatives, and were carrying out numerous skits on how the
government and the media is engaging the Jamia Hafsa. Interestingly, the
skits openly ridiculed Musharrafs and Sheikh Rasheeds inclination for
members of the opposite sex.
Again the whole event was such a strong reminder of the kinds of
things one saw in normal colleges of Pakistan. Similarly, having conducted
interviews with madressahs all across the country for over two months now,
when one meets Abdul Rasheed Ghazi he definitely is not a hatemongering fundamentalist. One has many more conservative ulema
around. He is a very easy to access, gives you time and is well informed of
modern world realities.
What puzzles me a lot after these interactions is as to why Jamia
Hafsas public image is much more militant than when you visit the place in
person? I have actually been told by people that you have a lot of courage to
go inside this madressah which surprises me given its peaceful atmosphere.
Why the Ghazi brothers tried to create a very militant image of themselves
more than what they really are when you visit them in person can be
understood in two ways. One, if it is actually an agency operation then it
makes sense because the agencies want to give a very militant image and
they will ask the brothers to take very extremist positions. Two, if it is not an
agency operation, which after my many interactions with the madressah
seems more to be the case, then the question is why are the brothers taking
such extreme stances; do they realistically think that they can take on the
government and impose Sharia?
I think that they are taking these extreme actions not to actually
impose Sharia but to safeguard their own right to exist. They believe that the
governments policies have become so negative towards madressahs and
Islam in general that they must show the government and the society that
they have been pushed to the margin so much so that they have no option
left but to resort to extreme measures if the state or society tries to push


them anymore. And, they have indeed been successful in conveying this
Finally, one reason that I believe might be applicable to them more so
than other colleagues from liberal sections of society is that as a researcher
you dont try to judge the object of your study, you try to understand it.
When I look at Jamia Hafsa, I come to it after visits and interviews in over
70 madressahs across the country. I find that in all these madressahs I
have heard similar concerns about the governments pro-US policies,
attacks in tribal belts, issue of missing people, marginalization of
madressahs and Islam, and an exaggerated push to modernize the media
while as far as they are concerned the country was established in the name of
When you see that such a large section of your society actually shares
these concerns then you also realize that demands from the PPP and the
MQM or other sections of society to use force to curb Jamia Hafsa are
unrealistic (but essential to earn favours of the Crusaders). These people
with conservative values are part of your society and they constitute a
big number; the only way to stop the governments blind adherence to the
war on terror policies because these are giving the ulema power to
mobilize a large number of followers.
The dialogue process restored normalcy but only temporarily because
of the lack of sincerity on the part of the government. Shabbir Ahmed Mir
wrote: The existing hype resulted from governments follies; one should
understand that the issue could trigger an upheaval anytime if dealt with
carelessly. Ch Shujaat did what was expected from him but now its the
responsibility of the establishment to take it to its logical end.
It is also now the ethical
what had transpired between
administration be it
mosques/seminaries, reversal
administration or whatever.

responsibility of the government to honour

the political leadership and the Masjid
reconstruction of some dismantled
from the demands by Lal Masjid

The public, however, can no more sustain bloodshed in the country

where (hardliners) politicians egoistic approaches have narrowed down the
possibility of coexistence A fight with arms is not the solution to the
present crisis. Its a table talk, as history proves, which turns out to be
ultimate option for all the armed struggles. So why not try it now?

The News, however, did not approve of soft approach. This isnt the
first time these self-styled guardians of public morality have taken the law
into their own hands. The students of the mosques associated women
seminary, Jamia Hafsa, had taken two policemen hostage in the past as well
besides three female residents of Islamabad. Things would not have gotten
so bad had the government acted decisively then and taken strong action
against these extremist vigilantes for taking the law into their own hands and
had it not gone about appeasing them by not only agreeing to rebuild the
demolished portions of mosques.
In any civilized country, where rule of law is paramount, such
elements would have landed behind bars long time ago. The
governments excuses that it was not acting against the Lal Masjid clerics
because it was mindful of the fact that there were women inside and perhaps
because of the fallout of any raid on the federal capitals overall law and
order situation are simply not tenable, and if anything only serve to reinforce
the growing perception that the government has deliberately allowed the
situation to continue, perhaps to remind its western allies of the threats that
extremists pose to Pakistan.
As for the Lal Masjid administration, its reason for the hostage drama
this time is that the men were in plain clothes and spying on the mosque.
This does not hold water because the government is justified in believing
that the area around the mosque complex presents a potential law and
order problem and with the past shenanigans of the Jamia Hafsa students
and management in mind, it was only to be expected that the mosque was
being kept under close watch by the government.
The repetition by the Lal Masjid clerics that they reserved their
right to carryout suicide attacks across the country if raided is nothing but
incitement to violence in commission of a terrorist act. All this shows, quite
conclusively, that the governments decision to show patience at the cost
of its own writ was a grave error. The government can to some extent
make amends for that by ensuring that its writ is established this time
Shireen M Mazari agreed with above views. We in Islamabad
continue to be confronted with the growing power of the extremist law
breakers of the Jamia Hafsa-Lal Masjid combine. While for the urban
centres of Pakistan, the extremist terrorism still remains at a distance, for us
in Islamabad, the unreal nightmare continues as we witness the black

comedy being enacted by the law enforcement personnel and decision

makers in response to the growing challenge thrown to the state by these
extremist terrorist forces.
We have seen the ridiculous scenario being repeated, ad nauseam, of
law enforcement personnel coming in with what is assumed will be an
operation to end the siege of Aabpara by these law breaking extremists and
then we see the forces of the state backing off with no action having been
taken. Meanwhile, the extremist terrorists are becoming even more
emboldened and have directly begun challenging not only the authority and
laws of the state, but also the law enforcement personnel themselves.
The argument of the state that they cannot use force because of the
collateral damage and its fallout is losing its credibility as the extremists
widen the area of their control and operations. The roads around the Jamia
Hafsa have been cordoned off by these fascists and their supporters from the
Jamia Fareedia in E-7 have joined the terrorization of state and society far
beyond the Aabpara area. Tolerance of these law breakers has given them
an upper hand in the standoff with the state.
So cowed down has the citizenry become that barring a few
words of protest by individuals, there was no civil society protest at the
attack by a religious extremist against a woman professor of Quad-i-Azam
University. In days gone by, the teachers association would have held
suitable protests and so would the students supported by WAF and other
societal NGOs; but not so this time. Certainly there is a feeling of frustrated
resignation about the inability of civil society to impact the state with its
peaceful protests.
Instead of blaming the silent majority for frustrated resignation, why
not accept the reality that bulk of the people, who are conservative, reject the
undue hue and cry against Lal Masjid clerics by the members of the cult
called Enlightened Moderation.
But the learned analyst drew favourable assumption and added: As
for an anticipated civil society fallout following civilian collateral damage
from state action, surely the civil society is far more distressed at the way
in which fascist forces can indulge in violence as and when they please
while innocent people are left defenceless.


We may not have a highly educated and prosperous populace, but we

do have well-budgeted, strong and well-equipped law enforcement
organizations, including paramilitary forces and, of course, one of the most
cohesive and strong national organizations the military. When will they
protect the nation from the forces of fascism and extremist terrorists,
because we have to believe that no one in officialdom can be suicidal
enough to have any truck these forces of hate and destruction? So why is the
mainstream civil society being left to feel under siege with no state
protection? Dr Mazari is demanding this only twelve days after Karachi
carnage in which the government set an example of providing state
Ahsan Raza Firdousi from Karachi argued: These actions (of clerics)
are only providing the wrong impression to the world about Islam. The
mullahs and students of this madressah have to realize that they are not
doing any service to Islam; in fact they give reasons to our opponents to
castigate our religion.
Ali Khan from D I Khan opined that there were also other menacing
forces to be get rid of. We dont need the maulvis Islam if it doesnt offer
the cure for pains of the poor citizens. We dont need an army that has
contracted out our sovereignty to Americans. We dont need ISI that turns on
its own people in the service of the United States. Our problem is that when
a general or a politician forces his way into the reins of power, the focus of
his activities shifts to legitimizing and consolidating his illegitimate
usurpation of power.
Myra Imran in her report compiled after the visit of two women
ministers tried to give the viewpoint of the condemned party. This weeks
visit to the seminary of two women ministers for talks had yielded no
results. Principal Umme Hassan told The News that Federal Minister of
Women Development and Youth Affairs Sumaira Malik and Minister of
State for Education Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli had a heated debate with the girl
students for more than an hour.
She complained that although they had been told to contact the
Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Ali for various cases they keep
receiving, he cannot be conveniently contacted. We keep calling him up
and he never responds, she remarked.


Umme Hassan dismissed the impression that they had

discontinued their corrective activities. This is wrong because the male
students still go around markets advising music and video shops not to keep
and sell obscene stuff; letters are regularly distributed among transporters
not play vulgar songs while school managements are asked to adopt Islamic
way of teaching, she said.
Responding to Sumaira Maliks view that Pakistan was an Islamic
state with complete freedom, the girl students said they wanted Islam to be
implemented practically and not just on papers. The girls also called for
amending the womens protection bill.
The minister, who also spoke about the suicide bombings as unIslamic, was told that in their terminology they were called fidai
attacks and they would be carried out only if the government launched an
operation against them.
Umme Hassan alleged that the government was siding with the
Mutahida Quami Movement (MQM) despite the May 12 killings in Karachi.
However, our baton-wielding students were considered a threat and we
were accused of challenging the writ of the government.
Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi, one of the brother clerics, wrote: After
his press conferences against Lal Masjid in 2004, Minister for Religious
Affairs Ejazul Haq, is once again in the forefront of a vilification
campaign against the administration of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in
general and me in particular in a desperate bid to cover up the follies of the
government. With little else to fall back on, the honourable minister is
harking back to and attempting to revive the events of August 2004 which
if facts are considered, were no more than a poorly conceived and ineptly
orchestrated stage-managed drama enacted by the government itself to prove
its worth in the war on terror launched at the behest of America.
In a recent interview with a private TV channel the minister came
upthat it was only because of his kind intervention that I was released
from the custody of the intelligence agencies after I had ostensibly tendered
to the government a written apology and undertaking to refrain from any
such actions in future. Will the honourable minister care to substantiate
his claim and produce my so-called apology/undertaking? Would he like
to clarify why he came to the aid of a suspected terrorist?


Public memory is proverbially short but not so short as to have erased

the events of August 2004 from the minds of people who are only too well
aware of how the government had to beat a hasty retreat after it landed
itself with egg on the face when its own elaborately constructed drama
flopped and failed to turn the tide of public opinion against Lal Masjid and
its administration of which I am a part.
Since the minister of religious affairs is continuing to flog a dead
horse and remains unwilling to stop leveling false allegations against Lal
Masjid/Jamia Hafsa and indulging in character assassination attempt against
me, it has become necessary to clear up the misconceptions he and his ilk are
trying to create in the minds of the people.
Lal Masjid in no ordinary place of worship. Its position, according to
the traditions of Islam, is that a nucleus around which the life of the
community revolves. Affiliated with Lal Masjid is a Darul Ifta where
people come to seek guidance and help in resolving their personal and
collective problems and social issues afflicting their lives. Daily, scores of
fatwas are issued by a full fledged panel of muftis of Darul Ifta solely in the
light of the Quraan and Sunnah and without fear and favour to anyone.
When the Wana operation was in full swing in 2004, a retired colonel
of the Pakistan Army approached the Darul Ifta with a written request for a
fatwa regarding the Sharia perspective on the army waging a war on the
tribal people. In line with its set principles, a fatwa based on the solid
support drawn from the Quraan and Sunnah was issued by Darul Ifta. The
fatwa declared the killing of its own people by a Muslim army as haram.
This fatwa marked the beginning of the crisis which having taken various
twists and turns still keep persisting.
This touched the raw nerve of the government whose wrath
descended upon Maulana Abdul Aziz, head of Darul Ifta and me. At first,
pressure was brought to bear upon us by the government functionaries
(including the ISI) to withdraw the fatwa. No amount of reasoning that a
fatwa was not like an official notification which could be withdrawn on
anyones whim and fancy and that its withdrawal meant denial of the
injunctions of the Quraan and Sunnah had any effect. Our inability to
comply with their wishes was taken as defiance and we were threatened with
dire consequences. From then on began a campaign of vilification and
slander and soon it was pronounced by the government that Lal Masjid was
a safe haven for terrorists.

Blatant violations of human rights by the government reached

all-time high during this period. Disappearances, kidnappings and
abductions by intelligence and other agencies became everyday occurrences.
This was state terrorism at its worst, no one not even army personnel, were
spared. The case of missing persons is now too well known for the
government to offer even a fig leaf of an excuse for the dangerous policy it
has been pursuing to crush opposition in any form or manner to its policies.
The colossal toll in human suffering and their misery was of no
concern to the government, so long as it kept receiving pats on the back, and
sometimes kicks at the backside, by its mentor the US. Families of army
officers and civilians whose near and dear ones were abducted by
intelligence agencies were ruthlessly dealt with until the chief justice of
Pakistan himself was constrained to take suo moto notice of their case.
And we all know what happened to him.
I was in the forefront of those who rose in protest against the blatant
abuse of the fundamental human rights of its own people by the government.
This was another black mark against me in the eyes of the government. No
sooner had I joined the movement in support of the families of the
victims that I began to receive anonymous hate calls and threats to my
life. I never dreamt that a time would come upon this oppressed nation when
to answer to the dictates of ones conscience would be regarded a crime.
The governments policy to give the dog a bad name and hang
him is a dangerous one as it erodes the very foundations of any civilized
society. It involves nabbing anyone without even charging them with an
offence, and using extra judicial detentions, and torture to extract
confessions from a suspect with one sided media trials which permit no
opportunity for defence.
Mr Ejazul Haqs wild allegations against me personally in connection
with the so-called terrorist plot in August 2004 are meant to confound the
Jamia Hafsa episode. Misleading statements of other government
functionaries (including the ulema on its payroll) all have to be seen in the
light of this background scenario. In so far as the specific allegations
against me in the so-called terror plot are concerned, there are too many
holes in the ministers and governments version.
Lal Masjid is surrounded by intelligence agencies at all times. On
August 11, 2004, a young man Usman, who had earlier been introduced to

me by Javed Ibrahim Paracha, borrowed my car for a short while. The

agencies had been on the lookout for a long time for an excuse to nail me but
had failed to come out with a plausible reason. Usman was obviously tailed
after leaving Lal Masjid with my car. He was waylaid by the agencies and
later booked for his involvement in the so-called terrorist plot to blow
up key installations such as GHQ, the Presidency, Parliament and the
American Embassy simultaneously on August 14. My car being in his
possession at the time provided the agencies with a ready-made excuse to
draw me into the sordid affair.
To this day, however, the government has not been able to prove
anything against me, though this has not deterred the minister and others of
his ilk from carrying on ad nauseum about my involvement in the so-called
terrorist plot. No terrorist with even an iota of common sense, much less the
mastermind behind a plot to carry out a terrorist attack on such a massive
scale as claimed by the authorities, would use or allow his own car to be
used for such an operation and that too with all the identification papers in it
to provide leads back to him.
The faux pas committed by the authorities in their desperation to pin
the aborted terrorist plot on me are just too numerous to be detailed here. But
what is to stop Ejazul Haq and others to continue to commit more and more
of them? The latest and the biggest one which has landed the nation in
the worst crisis of its 60 years of history and has not escaped anyones
notice, of course.
Pir Shabbir Ahmad from Islamabad commented on Maulana Ghazis
article. The Maulana has tried to defend his position with regard to an
incident that occurred in August 2004 when some illicit arms and
ammunition were found in his car. The fact is that had these weapons been
found in an ordinary citizens car, he would have been beaten blue and black
by the agencies before sundown the next day. Or in case they had shown
leniency, the accused would have been instantly converted into a missing
person with his near and dear ones making innumerable and futile
appearances before the Supreme Court.
The problem is that when the members of the ruling coalition party in
one of the provinces openly brandish weapons in their rallies, when the
agencies consider it their birthright to beat journalists, when witnesses
favourable to the chief justice are either killed or arrested, and when people
like Maulana Ghazi take the law in their own hands by arresting civilians

and policemen at will, these are clear signs that full-scale anarchy is just
around the corner.
The electronic media, at last, thought it wise to broadcast the version
of the condemned party. Maulana Ghazi appeared on Aaj and Geo TV
channels and once again clarified some misperceptions about Lal Masjid
and its seminaries created deliberately or inadvertently.
He said that he was not against driving by women; his own wife
drives a car. He denied that Lal Masjid administration ever threatened to
carry out suicide bombings; in fact, it persuaded some young people who
sought permission for suicide attacks out of sheer desperation.
None of the seven demolished mosques were built on encroached
land; some of them were more than hundred years old. CDAs bye-laws
clearly spell out that during the development the ziarats and mosques wont
be touched. State land, being common property, can be used for building
mosques and madrassas particularly when the state ignores it responsibility
in meeting this essential requirement of a Muslim society.

Despite the provocative attitude of the clerics, it is fair to say that the
critics of Lal Masjid had been harsh and irrational in expressing their
views. No matter how strong critics convictions might be, they should have
avoided being unreasonable to save upon the weight of their argument.
Maybe, in some cases the incentives were too attractive to draw them away
from the logic and rationality.
For example, The News while commenting on the suicide attack in
Charsada dragged Lal Masjid in for no reason other than availing an
opportunity to demonize it. This is unwarranted commitment to the cause of
Enlightenment and ignoring the Moderation altogether. In fact, the only
terror attack which the editor did not link with the Lal Masjid during the
period was the Virginia Tech massacre.
Another irrational comment, surprisingly, came from a learned person
like Dr Mazari. When Bush used the word fascist she had reacted with
typical Baloch ferocity, but now she used the same term for an Imam of a
Masjid. This is not justifiable, no matter how strongly she differs with the

ideas and approach of the clerics. A glimpse of the real fascism was seen on
the streets of Karachi on May 12.
Almost every critic, driven by the urge to curse mullas, forgot the real
menace posed by Aunty Shamim and her likes. One expected that these
Enlightened should have demanded eradication of this evil, if for nothing
else, at least for controlling HIV/AIDS. But they didnt; simply because
mullas had raised their voice against that.
Incidently, during the period Shabbir Ahmed Mir in his report
published in The News on 9th May asked: are cyber cafes corrupting
teenagers? Had a mulla asked this question, it would have led the
Enlightened Brigade raise the war cries against Talibanization.
Critics were also wrongly claimed that they spoke on behalf of the
majority of the people of Pakistan. Residents of no Goth, no Killi and no
Chak in rural areas and no mohalla, no street and no locality in urban areas
would like an Aunty Shamim running her business of enlightenment in their
neighbourhood. On the other hand, they wont mind having a Jamia Hafsa
amidst them. The clerics of Lal Masjid only made Aunty Shamim repent,
had she been any of the above mentioned neighbourhoods, she would have
regretted being an aunty for the rest of her life.
In fact, aunty of the Enlightened emerged as the sole beneficiary in
this episode. She is now in position to sell her diary without publishing; each
page fetching fortunes far more than the entire book containing diaries of
Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan.
There is no doubt that the government hesitated in carrying out an
operation against the Lal Masjid. The issue was revived to divert attention
from the judicial crisis, but it didnt work. Having its hands full with
problems the government tried to defuse the issue; that too didnt work
because of governments own follies. Its refusal to release men of Jamia
Fareedia led to the kidnapping of four police and rise in tensions.
The government also seemed to be conscious of the fact that demands
of the Lal Masjid clerics are not in conflict with the Constitution or other
laws of the country though their attitude has been embarrassingly
authoritarian. The government was also cognizant of the public sentiment,
which is quite contrary to the cries of the so-called civil society.


The civil society often referred to by the media is just like the
international community referred frequently by the Crusaders to promote
their interests. For example, the kidnapping of Aunty Shamim did not
provoke the government to take stern action against the kidnappers,
because their action was in consonance with social values practiced by
majority of Pakistans conservative society.
Moreover, Shamim was merely a part time aunty of the Enlightened;
had she been the whole-time aunty, the Mullas would have certainly landed
in Adiala Jail if not in Gitmo facility. The governments weakness in the
context of the fatwa issued by Darul Ifta in 2004 also came in its way to act
firmly and justifiably against the clerics.
The secret of clerics resiliance lied in belief and conviction in
righteousness of their cause. They have been shrewd in adopting aggressive
posture which scared some weakhearted Enlightened. They also maintained
ambiguity about suicide bombings, knowing well that those warring against
terrorism were very scared of this form of attack. However, presently they
seemed to have no intention of carrying out suicide attacks. But by acting
irrationally the government might force them to resort to this; just as the
holy warriors have done it in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Lal Masjid administration released the remaining two police officials
on the request of their families. The Islamic fascists have displayed respect
and regard for the feelings and sentiments emanating from human bonds.
This was not something unusual from imams of a mosque; even hardened
criminals too show such response at times.

But this cannot be expected from the law enforcers as there is no room
for such feelings and sentiments when the State law is enforced by the book.
Similar is the case when the rulers decide to establish their writ as was
done in Karachi recently.

25th May 2007


On May 12, MQM defended the sovereignty of its state and
established its writ emphatically by blunting the invasion led by the CJP and
suppressing its political opponents. The ruthlessness, with which it was
done, however, has sown the seed of revolt by Pakistanis inhabiting
Karachi against the Urdu-speaking rulers the new-found state.


The brave commando has categorically identified himself with MQM

defending the heinous acts of the party and by accusing the CJP, opposition
parties and media. By doing so he has slumped from the high status of the
president and army chief to lowly position of Altaf Hussain; the bhathacollecting dadageer.
The commission and condoning of criminal act of May 12 have added
the elements of hate and anger for the criminals to the existing sympathy for
the CJP providing boost to the ongoing movement. The people of Pakistan
saw the ugly face of MQM and expressed their disgust with desire and intent
to rein in the monster.

On 20th May, Asfandyar and Achakzai demanded that the president
and the governor should apologize for Karachi carnage. Sherry Rehman held
MQM responsible for Karachi carnage. Rally against Karachi carnage was
held in Washington.
Opposition parties held rally in Lahore on 21 st May to protest Karachi
carnage; PPP did not participate. PTI slated the government for not probing
the killings in Karachi. A petition was filed in SHC against the Governor
over failing to maintain law and order on 12th May.
A number of MPs attending meeting of PML-Qs Central Committee
spoke on the judicial crisis and Karachi killings. Kabir Wasti and Majid
Malik wanted out of the court settlement of reference issue. Voices were also
raised for early elections, inquiry into Karachi killings and for holding
roundtable conference to cool down the persisting temperature. Zafarullah
Jamali resigned from PML over attitude of the party leadership.
On 22nd May, Zafarullah Jamali boycotted PML-Q meeting and
President invited him for discussion. PML-Q central executive committee
asked the Sindh chief minister to give a befitting welcome to the CJP when
he visits Karachi.
In three-day marathon meeting in London the MQM leadership
decided to get opinion of the party on three options for withdrawing from
ruling alliance. MQM seemed to be resorting to familiar tactics of exploiting


the weakness of coalition allies. Imran declared that a team of lawyers would
move British Court against Altaf Hussain next month.
On 23rd May, the Governor Sindh initiated a reconciliatory maneouvre
and met Asfandyar and Professor Abdul Ghafoor for restoration of peace in
Karachi. ANP withdrew the call for three-day strike. Minister Durrani hailed
the meetings. Qazi blamed Musharraf for bloodshed in Karachi.
On 24th May, addressing a public gathering at D G Khan Musharraf
set an example of lying in public by alleging that opposition had conspired
to stoke ethnic strife in Karachi. Ishratul Ibad continued his peace offensive
and met Fazlur Rahman and Qaim Ali.
Musharraf reviewed security in Karachi. While appreciating the role
of law enforcement agencies on 12th May he wanted the government to set
up peace committees and make the city arms-free. Arbab Rahim said deweaponization of Karachi is impossible and any inquiry into the events of
12th May would end up politicizing the issue.
Thirty office bearers of MQM resigned in Jamshoro. A petition was
filed in LHC against PML-Q MPA Mian Khalid under the Treason Act for
carrying objectionable banner during Islamabad rally of May 12.
On 26th May, SHC Chief Justice, Sabihuddin Ahmed, took suo moto
notice of May 12 happenings and constituted a seven-member larger bench
to hear the case. The bench issued notices to chief secretary, home secretary,
DG Rangers, IGP, CCPO Karachi, and TPO Sadar Town for May 28. Judges
of Sindh High Court also unanimously decided not to act as acting governor
in the absence of governor and speaker in future.
Sindh government banned Imrans entry into the province after he
reiterated his plan to file a case against Altaf Hussain in England. Activists
of MQM held protest rallies over Imrans blasphemous remarks against
their Imam.
Some of the happenings of May 12 were captured by the TV cameras
and telecast live. But the events that took place in a vast city like Karachi
could not be covered by a few dare-devil teams of TV reporters. The details
of these events, in the form of eye-witnesss account, have started pouring
in; herein excerpts from four reports are reproduced.


Munir A Malik, who had accompanied the CJP from Islamabad,

narrated the events at airport. We landed in Karachi, 25 of us, at 11:55 am.
As the plane was attached to the satellite, two uniformed people tried to
snatch the CJP and take him from the other side. We formed a ring around
him and started walking briskly towards the arrival lounge. On our way, two
people in plain clothes tried to pull the CJP. Aitzaz stepped in. We took the
CJP to state lounge No 2.
I tried to make contact with president SHCBA to find out about the
arrangements. By this time the cell phones were jammed both inside and
outside the lounge. I had to go down to use a landline. I was told about
lawyers in Malir fired upon and kidnapped at gun-point and the lady lawyers
being abused and beaten up. The president of SHCBA told me to wait there:
We will come and get you.
I came back to the state lounge, while I was speaking to CJP, the
Home Secretary walked in. It was he who told me that cross-firing was
going on in the city. He offered to transport the CJP via helicopter. But the
offer was for CJP alone. We did not accept the offer, more so because some
people had tried to snatch him earlier. The IGP asked us about the route of
CJP but did not agree with what we proposed.
Around 12:30 Registrar SHC met me, he told me about the events in
SHC. He was brought to the airport via helicopter to see what could be done
to bring the CJP. He also told that judges of SHC wanted to receive the CJP
at the airport but all roads were blocked. Then we started getting reports
about people being killed.
Around 5 pm, Kamran Khan contacted me and I mentioned this in his
live programme that the home secretary and IGP were sitting at the airport
when they should be enforcing law and order. On hearing my statement,
they immediately left.
Around this time, an address was going on at the Tibet Centre. The
televisions at the airport were either shut down or showed Star Movies. Now
we could use our phones outside the state lounge No 2. My sim was
jammed Around 6 pm, I was told by a news reporter (of KTN) that a slide
had started running on television about externment orders having been
issued. I said that I cannot be forced to leave because I belong to Karachi.


We were in constant touch with SHCBA office-bearers because the

invitation was for 6:30 pm. They told us that they will fetch us if the
situation improves. At that point we heard the announcement that PK 308
was ready for boarding. Aitzaz took leave of CJP because he had to prepare
for Mondays hearing.
Around 8 pm, two police officers came to the first floor and
approached me. They handed over twelve externment orders including one
for ARY reporter. We were 25 in all. We told them that we would leave as a
team. The externment order said that we will stay away from the province of
Sindh for thirty days, Asma Jehangir asked the police officer that Munir A
Malik cannot be asked to leave, he said, we have orders for his protective
custody. When she told this to the CJP he asked me to accompany him back
to Islamabad.
The above gives brief account of the plight of the guests who
remained confined in the state lounge of the Jinnah Terminal. The plight of
the hosts was far worse as could be seen from the report compiled by Jamal
The city was portraying two pictures on May 12. On one side there
was complete calm, on the other total fear. There was no restriction on free
movement, freedom of assembly and speech for the participants of the
moderate ruling coalition partner. Neither did the home department extend
any warning to the organizers of this rally about violence nor were they
asked to postpone the rally.
Seeing the MQM rally, nobody could claim that the writ of the
government wasnt established in the city. The situation was, however,
different for the legal fraternity, as well as for opposition political parties
that wanted to welcome the CJP at Quad-e-Azam International Airport.
The night of May 11 and 12 was a witness to a violation of all
assurances extended by the government and its high ups to the legal
fraternity for security during arrival of chief justice in Karachi. The city
courts, Malir District Court, and High Court were virtually being ruled and
governed by people who were neither in police uniform nor moved in
official vehicles.
In Malir District Bar, where the chief justice was to address first after
arrival in Karachi, lawyers were attacked by armed gunmen. One lawyer lost


his life while several others were injured in this attack. Entering the High
Court or city courts was not an easy task. They were tortured and
manhandled by miscreants who took position outside the premises of the
city courts. Even women lawyers were not spared and were manhandled.
Several judges had to reach SHC by foot due to barricades placed by the law
enforcement agencies.
Bar leaders claim that around 2,500 lawyers however managed to
reach High Court building and it was proved that they were united and
striving for the independence of the judiciary and restoration of rule of law.
During the nine or ten hours that the lawyers remained in the building as
hostages, they continued to wait for the CJP and expressed resentment
against President General Pervez Musharraf, Sindh government and MQM.
Bar leaders say that the removal of containers in the evening only
proved that the government, police and their civil associates were in league
with the miscreants in an attempt to assert their illegal authority by force
over even the judiciary of Pakistan.
The legal fraternity strongly condemned Sindh government for
bloodshed and violence in the city and demanded its immediate resignation.
The murderers have been unveiled, Pakistan Bar Councils member Rashid
A Rizvi said, addressing a general body meeting of SHCBA, which was held
after the postponement of CJPs visit. Those people who tried to sabotage
the CJPs visit must know that he will visit again and will be accorded a
warm welcome as that given in Lahore, he said.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad had earlier assured that lawyers
would be provided protection on May 12. But the governor went back on his
word and told me to ask the CJP to call off his visit, said SHCBA President
Abrar Hasan. When I refused to do so, he reminded me that the crowd
gathered at M A Jinnah Road could storm the Sindh High Court, he added.
SHCBAs President Abrar Hasan condemned state terrorism by the
coalition ruling party in Sindh for creating hurdles during the Chief Justice
visit in Karachi. He said that the CJP had decided to call off his visit in
protest as his lawyers were asked to leave the city by the government.
The plight of the dwellers of the city, which happened to be the venue
of CJP-related function, was far graver than that of the hosts and the guests.
Omar A Quraishi wrote: The MQM has blamed the opposition and the chief


justices visit for the violence (echoed the same day as the May 12 carnage
by President Musharraf at that most inopportune rally held outside
Parliament House in Islamabad) while the rest of the country has blamed the
MQM, Sindh and federal governments for allowing its ally a free hand
wreak havoc on its opponents. The party has also been accused of showing
on May 12 that it had not changed its old ways.
I remember in the early 1990s, on visits during the summer in
between semesters, there came a time when you couldnt drive around in
some decent neighbourhoods without risking being shot at so the trick was
that your head only remained high enough (above the steering) to ensure that
you could see the road ahead and no more. One would have thought that
such days would be a thing of the past, but one was proven wrong by what
happened on May 12.
The following is quoted verbatim from Karachi Netblogs sensibly
the person who has written it has chosen not to reveal his/her identity: I am
a doctor. I work in a government-run, large and well-known hospital in
Karachi. I have been at work for more than 32 hours. I attended the people
with multiple gunshot wounds but nothing struck my soul more than what
nine fully armed workers of a political party along with two sector officebearers did on May 12. They tried to drag out a wounded man who had been
brought in an ambulance to the hospital saying, presumably to finish him
off. When my junior resident tried to prevent that from happening, he was
slapped by these men. Me and my junior were both dragged by these men to
an alley and left there, the men, armed with shotguns, pistols and AK-47s,
then went into the lobby, presumably to look for the wounded man.
I ran out to the Rangers and a police ASI standing at some distance
from my hospitals main gate asking for their help. I was told: Jaante ho in
logoun ko, phir bhi kyun lartay ho. Hamain opar say order hai kay inn ko
char bajay tak karnay do jo karma hai. Char bajay kay baad dekhainge. I
immediately called a friend in Bohrapir who is related to a senior member of
this party, five minutes later, the armed men received a call on their cell
phones and they left.
One of them was wearing a bandana and threatened me as he left
saying: Naam dekh liya hai tera. Koi shor sharaba karnay kee zarurat
nahin hai baad main warna samajh ja hya hoga. He also took my junior
residents mobile phone saying chikna set hai. The man they had come
looking for had been shot more than once in the head.

So where were you on May 12 Mr President and Mr Prime Minister?

Oh yes, now we remember, you were both addressing a rally in Islamabad
that evening, a rally that was more of a mela, with large sections of the
apparent rent-a-crowd dancing. Normally one doesnt have a problem in the
least with people dancing but when surely it cannot reflect too well on you if
you happen to be the head of state and head of government when this
happens at the same time as your largest city is in flames?
M Azeem Samar reported: May 12 witnessed a classic case of willful
surrender of state authority. But who surrendered the authority, to whom, for
how long, and for what purpose? These are the questions that boggle the
minds of all concerned? But one thing is quite clear: the recipe of the socalled arrangements that had been prepared by the state to greet the CJP on
his visit to Karachi was all set to invite disaster of horrendous proportions.
A thorough survey of the area around Sindh High Court building by
some of the journalists in the city on early morning May 12 revealed a
curfew-like situation in the vicinity with little signs of awakening of public
life and manning of barricades by a sizeable number of reserved police
personnel without proper arms support and legal authority. Though reserve
police personnel were seen guarding the blockades around the High Court
Building, they were not briefed and equipped properly to take action against
as ensuing violence in the area.
Bridges, flyovers, rooftops of flats, containers, and vehicles parked
alongside Sharae Faisal were all used to take positions by armed political
activists. The heavy obstacles on Sharae Faisal not only gave cover to armed
men but also proved deadly battle zones between rival groups; these were
the points where the opposition rallies applied full force to make final
headway to the airport.
According to several eyewitness accounts, at several trouble spots on
Sharae Faisal, police personnel deliberately disassociated themselves from
the rioting and took no responsibility to restore law and order. Some of the
witnesses also saw policemen napping.
Helpless policemen could be spotted without proper strength at some
places around troubled spots of Sharae Faisal but the Rangers disappeared
completely before the armed clash between rival groups erupted. It was
credibly learnt that Rangers virtually withdrew their deployment on Sharae
Faisal on midnight May 11 when the barricades were being placed on its

various points. At the time of CJPs arrival in the city, the Rangers presence
and concentration was reported at the Jinnah Terminal of the airport where
the rallying public had already been denied entrance.
In such a backdrop, giving all exclusive shoot-at-sight powers to
Rangers and calling in its additional force, around 3000 from interior Sindh
after two days of recurring violence, seemed to be meaningless steps
According to the spokesman for PPP the Rangers blatantly misused its
shoot-at-sight powers and opened fire on the Lyari public demonstrating
against the violent incidents of May 12.
Beena Sarwar started her report by quoting: Here in Karachi, we
avoid name calling and finger pointing due to fear of having our knees
drilled She reported: At 5:00 am on Saturday morning, Shahrah-e-Faisal
(Drigh Road), the main airport route normally trafficked at all hours, was
deserted as a journalist friend in Karachi found who was out and about early.
He emailed me: I saw something which gave me the chills no police no
Rangers on the roads, just kids with guns guiding trucks, tankers to block the
intersections, entry and exit points on the main artery of city. I saw an NLC
truck also being used to block the road (picture attached). We all know NLC
is Pakistans largest trucking company, owned and managed by the army.
Tie-rods were being removed from front tyres so the vehicles could not be
moved even by a tow truck. I thought, what if ambulances are required to
move on Shahrah-e-Faisal? my thought was immediately answered when I
saw two KKF ambulances moving freely (Khidmat-Khalq Foundation,
MQMs social service wing) and MQM activists among those supervising
the blockade.
Getting to office took him two hours; a journey that even during rush
hours takes only 45 minutes. I told my colleagues about my fear and almost
all of them told me to relax as MQM is not that stupid they will not repeat
the 1992-94 stupidity. By 12 noon Karachi was bleeding.
There were bodies lying at every street intersection, Uzi, a reporter
related later on her blog. We picked up a whole bunch of them and put them
inside police mobiles parked nearby. As for the police and the Rangers:
They did nothing! They stood around and loitered while my city was tainted
with blood.
The areas she covered were the second bloodiest that day. It took her
nearly an hour to get to Jinnahs mausoleum, normally a 15-20 minute drive

from her house. At Kashmir Road the cab driver couldnt go any further and
she walked the remaining distance. At around 01:00 pm, she was stopped by
a political worker who put a TT pistol to her forehead (not the temple, the
forehead). She was allowed to proceed after showing her press card.
Over at the Sindh High Court, lawyer Ayesha Tammy Haq sent this
message around 5 pm Karachi time: In the High Court, things getting
worse. Judges will not leave as there will be a rampage (Later in an
interview, General Musharraf denied such plans and reasserted his
commitment to democratic politics. But then, he has also justified what
happened in Karachi as the political activity of a political party attempting
to show its strength to its constituency interview with Aaj TV).
Another lawyer emailed: Not only was the High Court under virtual
siege by armed activists, but lawyers attempting to enter the Court were
repeatedly beaten and roughed up. The armed activists did not even spare the
judges of the High Court. One judge was held at gun point and his car
damaged. While holding me at gun point, the youth called someone and
stated, yeh bolta hai kay High Court ka judge hai kya karun is ka?
acha theek hai, pher janay daita houn.
The CJP and his team, of course, were extended to Islamabad after
several hours. Late that night, residents in the low-income Ranchore Lines
mohalla were awakened by loud banging on their doors. One resident relates
that it was two young boys distributing freshly cooked biryani and suji in
plastic bags: Yeh chief justice ki wapsi ki khushi mein hai.
On the Karachi streets, Uzis press card had saved her again at
around 5:00 pm as she and a colleague tried to reach the Rangers
Headquarters in Dawood College. A car full of ammunition passed in front
of us, stopped, backed up and stopped in front of us, Kalashnikovs pointing
at the two of us from the windows. We showed our press cards and the car
moved on. Never in my life have I felt more grateful to my press card than I
did yesterday.
At around 6:00 pm, she and her colleague were trapped by gunshots
all around. Short of climbing the walls and entering one of the houses
around, there really was no other place for us to go. They stopped a police
mobile and asked which way would be safe to go. The answer, accompanied
by laughter: You can be killed wherever you go. Choose your place.


In published reports, journalists prudently avoided naming the parties

involved But the affiliation of these gangs was visible in the live coverage
provided by several private television channel, which showed plain clothes
men brandishing weapons on the deserted roads, using government tankers
as cover, exchanging gunfire with unseen opponents, the tri-colour MQM
flag visible on their motorcycles.
There is a story behind each of those who were killed, some
belonging to one or other political party, and others just because they were
their. Masked men stopped ambulances and sprayed them with bullets,
killing an Edhi Ambulance driver, Faizur Rahman, 65, when he refused to
throw out a wounded person he was transporting to hospital from near the
airport; the wounded man was also shot again.
There have been reports about an SHO who guided a procession into
an ambush and a pregnant woman who had to deliver her baby in the car
when armed men refused to let her proceed to the hospital with her husband.
The Pakistan Press Foundation reports that several journalists were
manhandled and nine wounded.
Many others, including Aaj TVs Talat Hussain and MQMs Dr
Farooq Sattar have also suggested that the blame game be avoided. But a
lawyer friend, angry and distressed in Karachi, argues that if we avoid
name calling and finger pointing, we will simply be brushing the events
of last Saturday under the carpet of indifference Even Urdu-speaking
lawyers while talking of last Saturdays events at the Sindh High Court look
over their shoulders and speak in hushed tones when mentioning the name of
Finger pointing is necessary, because throughout our history, instead
of a catharsis, we simply go through a jo ho gaya ab bhool jaao, aagay
daikho. Already, with the Presidents pat on the back at the emergency
meeting of the ruling party in Islamabad the MQM is back on the front foot.

Before listening to serene discourses of the pundits one must pause
and listen to the ordinary people. Muhammad Afzal from Attock observed:
One only feels that the government should not have blocked the CJs travel


route by putting containers at critical points. The blame is now being put on
the lawyers community for having politicized the issue. The lawyers are in
fact fighting for a cause, and that is safeguarding the independence of the
judiciary. Furthermore, those questioning the involvement of political
parties need to understand that the parties represent the wishes and
aspirations of the people and one of these is the constitutionally-mandated
right to have a free and independent judiciary.
Asadullah Khan from Islamabad said: I would only like to comment
on Mr Altaf Hussains blame on the person of the Chief Justice saying
that he took an oath under the PCO and that he should apologize openly
to the public. Surely he is under the PCO oath as are so many other judges,
but there is no denying the fact that it was only Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry of
them all who took a few bold suo moto actions and defied the illegal orders
of the Army Chief, earning respect overnight.
How many judges have done this in our history? Will Mr Altaf
Hussain not accept this action of the Chief Justice as an open apology for
wrong he committed under the PCO and showed a path to his
contemporaries? While the MQM chief blames the Chief Justice, will he
exonerate himself and his party from the blame of supporting army rule
by acting as a coalition partner of the same government for the last so many
years? The MQM has receded back in time and confirmed itself once again
to be a small ethnic group with limited, not national outlook.
At the end I would say that Mr Altaf Hussains dramatic style of
speech may impress those in his party but not most other people. Will he
please reform his style to be more palatable to his listeners? Above all, will
he ever come back to Pakistan to lead his party?
Beena Sarwar commented on Karachi carnage. Black Saturday in
Karachi got the kind of attention that such mayhem never has in the past
There must be accountability for this removal of police and Rangers from
strategic positions, allowing snipers to take over those positions and fire at
will on those who headed for the airport to welcome the chief justice.
Someone has to take responsibility for allowing the police and Rangers
to stand by while armed men opened fire, claiming precious lives on the
streets of Karachi.
Mohammad Arsalan from Lahore wrote: People were watching the
gruesome scenes being enacted on the roads of Karachi, while our leaders in

Islamabad watched camel dances, chanted slogans and asked for votes
singing the tunes of good governance. Anyone with sense, dignity and selfrespect would have bowed his head in shame at these horrifying scenes.
The closure of Munir A Maliks Karachi office and ruthless firing on
his home clearly showed who was going to dictate terms in Karachi on May
12. At dawn on May 12 all kinds of sophisticated weapons were littered on
Karachis roads, roads were blocked. It seemed to be a well-laid out plan
by MQM. The most humiliating thing of all was the way the MQM treated
the honourable chief justice, as if he was their political opponent. They
called him a criminal, murderer and only God knows what else without any
fear or shame. They ridiculed the orders of Sindh High Court to clear the
I ask the General whose slogan is war against terror: What does
he call this massacre in Karachi? Is this not terrorism? Is the open display of
weapons and killings not terrorism? Did you bomb any terrorist den in
Akbar Jan Marwat from Islamabad opined: No matter how one looks
at the recent killings of the innocent in Karachi, the MQM and the
provincial government, of which the MQM is a coalition partner, cannot
be exonerated. The blame squarely lies with the allied party and the
provincial government. The federal government also has to share blame, for
not only acting as a silent spectator but also showing scant respect to those
who died in Karachi by organizing a cheap rent-a-crowd-rally, beating
drums and performing bhangras in Islamabad.
Farrukh Rahman from Karachi said: While the public was in agony
our president was addressing a gathering in Islamabad. It seemed to us that
he was not concerned about the tragedy unfolding in Karachi but instead
declared his success in both Karachi and Islamabad. Many people living
abroad showed surprise at this approach. While General Musharraf is a front
line leader in the so-called war on terror, he himself supports politics of
terror and oppression in Pakistan.
Khushhal Khan from Rawalpindi wrote: President Musharraf has
frequently said on different occasions that he has been blamed for the
situation in Karachi. But the people of the country seem to blame the
government for the mess in the country, especially Karachi. Every


concerned citizen of the country hopes for betterment of the current turmoil
as the facts have started to be revealed.
Muhammad Riaz from Malakand advised: It is true that the
mohajirs in Karachi have cruelly killed innocent people and targeted the
people of other provinces but we should never retaliate. We should know the
nefarious designs of the enemies of Pakistan and Islam who want an internal
war among the Muslims to weaken and destroy them If we react harshly
it will fulfill the political motives of the leaders of the MQM and destroy
the peace and economy of our country.
Sardar Ali S Aman from Chitral said: It goes without saying that
having sunk back into its old tactics of violence and terror, the MQM
and its government is responsible for the May 12 carnage in Karachi. The
president, who is the symbol of unity of the federation, closed is eyes to the
wanton killings in Karachi and tended the ill-timed rally of his party at
Islamabad on the same tragic day.
Needless to say, the present rulers are locked into very difficult
situation at the moment and the only way out for them is to set up an
interim national government as early as possible, hold fair and free
elections and restore democracy in the country. The leaders in exile should
also be allowed to return to the country and take part in the elections.
The analysts kept commenting on two rallies, with emphasis on
Karachi carnage. Fatima Bhutto opined: There are no principles to be
found in the wreckage of Karachi, no higher moral ground, it has become
entirely devoid of conscience. It is like watching a football match with only
one team playing; a shadow-boxing match. And I for one will not allow my
city to be the stage for a megalomaniacal bout of deep political stupidity.
The chief justices tour, complete stages and flower petals and
Rolling Stones concert seating, made its way from Peshawar to Islamabad to
Lahore without any violence the only injuries suffered were of bad taste
and form. But Karachi is different, isnt it? Its perfectly acceptable to let
loose the dogs of the war on our turf, heaven forbid the capital or food street
be sullied with ethnic or partisan bloodshed.
Mir Jamilur Rahman wrote: It will never be known for certain who
had ordered the Karachi police to disappear from the scenes of carnage and
let the innocent suffer death and injuries. It will not be known for certain


whose brilliant idea it was to block the major roads with water tankers and
huge trucks loaded with heavy containers, their tyres deflated. It will never
be known for certain who had ordered the police not to apprehend the stout
gunmen who were shooting to kill those who had gathered to welcome the
chief justice of Pakistan. It will never be known for certain who ordered the
siege of a private TV channel; we will never know the answers to these
questions because the Sindh Government has turned down the demand to
hold a judicial inquiry to ascertain the facts about the May 12 slaughter in
Karachi. These will never be known for certain simply because these are
too certainly known even without holding an inquiry.
A picture of a murdered man lying at the roadside in a pool of blood
published in a newspaper would have a passing effect on a reader. But the
same picture depicted on the TV screen would have far larger impact on the
viewer. What people saw on their TV screens on May 12 will haunt them
for the rest of their lives The day would go in the history books as Black
The gunmen could easily be identified from TV images, but the law
enforcement agencies have not bothered to identify and arrest them. So far,
not a single gunman has been arrested who was seen on the TV screen
taking part in target practice. It is strange that Karachi was subjected to
utter lawlessness on May 12 and not a single arrest was made nor a single
shot fired by the police to control the anarchical situation.
Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, lead counsel for the chief justice, told a
press conference after being asked to leave Karachi, that in future we may
need a visa to enter Karachi. He was not far off the point. A day earlier,
MQM MNA Nawab Mirza had told a TV channel that Pakistan is
everybodys but Karachi is ours.
The order of deportation itself is an indication that undesirable
Pakistanis are forbidden to enter Karachi to be sure, the word deport is
only used for the foreigners. It literally means remove a foreigner forcibly
to another country. The Sindh government has therefore attained
unenviable position of deporting Pakistani citizens from Pakistani
The federal government has personalized the administration to
such an extent that the four provincial governors enjoy different levels of
authority in their respective provinces. For example, we can safely say that

in Punjab the chief minister wields administrative powers and is the chief
executive of the province The situation in Sindh is radically different.
There, the governor is the boss not because the constitution says so but
because the federal government wants it so. Most of the time, the chief
minister is a silent spectator as was observed on Black Saturday.
May 12 also saw a large rally in Islamabad organized by the PML-Q
to show solidarity with President Musharraf. There is nothing wrong with
such a rally. However, it was more a carnival than a political rally It was
most inappropriate and regrettable that while Karachi was burning,
there was jubilation in Islamabad.
Kamal Siddiqui commented: The media is full of reports of the
events of May 12 in Karachi. Our pundits and politicians both in the
civvies and in uniform are now discussing the merits and demerits of what
happened and who is to blame. But these are academic discussions. For the
people of Karachi and of Pakistan, the questions are very simple.
In response to the growing public resentment against the presence of
the Rangers in the city, the chief of the Rangers held a press conference
some days back in which he defended the work of his force. He concluded
by saying: I am proud of my men. The question of course is whether the
common man and the taxpayers, on whose considerable burden we have the
force in Karachi, share those sentiments.
What we have come to know, or are being told, is that our law
enforcers did all they could to make sure that the day was peaceful. What
happened instead was, an unfortunate series of events. The Rangers and
the police proudly say that they were able to protect the buildings and
installations in Karachi. One wonders who we need to protect the people.
However, in the final analysis it is not the Rangers, the police or the
coalition partners who should be held wholly responsible. It is the
government; both in Sindh and in Islamabad. Instead of ordering an
inquiry, the president in all his wisdom has endorsed some of what
happened that day. This is scary.
Nobody wants to come to a city where armed men can take control
and fight pitched battles at will while the government looks the other way.
But this days events have had somewhat of a backlash. People are angry.
And some in Islamabad and Rawalpindi are taking note. Some even argue


that this may be the beginning of the end. However, it is too early to say that
for now.
The most worrisome threat comes from the ANP. Karachi has a
considerable Pakhtun community the number of Pakhtuns in Karachi, we
are told, exceed those in Peshawar. The next danger that Karachi faces is
sliding into ethnic strife. The political fallout of this is not restricted to
Karachi. It has national repercussions. General Musharraf has also
weakened his position by endorsing the role of his coalition partners.
As the people of Karachi go about picking up the pieces, a sentiment
that some are pushing is that one should move on. This is the line that the
government is also promoting. Move on, let bygones be bygones. But it is
not as simple as that. By abdicating its role for a day, the government has in
effect shown to the people how unreliable and uncaring it is.
Given this scenario, one is scared of what to expect in the
forthcoming general elections. Some say that May 12 was a trailer so that all
could see what which party is capable of doing. These tactics are not new.
However, for the president to endorse them puts the whole process of
elections in doubt.
Babar Sattar observed that in his book, Musharraf states that one day
when a resident bully wanted his older brother to hand over some kite string
that his brother had caught, he jumped into the conversation and refused to
hand over the string. He confesses that there was no provocation from the
alleged bully and further states that, without thinking I punched the bully
hard. A fight ensued, and I thrashed him. After that the people recognized
me as a sort of boxer, and became known as dada geer an untranslatable
term that means, roughly, a tough guy whom you dont mess with. The only
problem with this narrative of bravado is that tough-guy-that-you-dontmess-with itself sounds like an elaboration of the term bully.
With Karachi burning and the carnage of innocent people underway,
General Musharraf came to the bully pulpit in Islamabad amid celebratory
drum-beat and informed fellow citizens that the butcher was a consequence
of (i) politicizing the issue of judicial independence, and (ii) insistence of the
chief justice to go to Karachi and address the bar council against advice of
the Sindh government. The king league convention of May 12 was
revolting, and the generals demeanour and the incredible content of his


speech probably lost him more die-hard supporters during that

unforgiving evening than all the follies of his regime put together.
The events of May 12 made some significant contributions to the
nations public consciousness. One, it reaffirmed the popular view
regarding the MQM as a political group characterized by an obsessive
preoccupation with victim-hood that continues to treat Karachi as its
personal fief devoid of all ethical and legal restraints in its brutal pursuit of
unbridled power. And two, it exposed the precariousness of Pakistans muted
calm and highlighted afflictions intolerance, political violence and
intimidation, failure of the writ of the state and rule of law that were never
healed but covered by a thin veneer of the generals authoritarian rule.
The MQM has reduced its stature from a major political party in
Sindh to armed goons, whose ideology is self-righteous and bigoted,
operational strategy based on fear and intimidation, and political logic
Its argument for opposing the movement for judicial
independence is as follows: (i) any movement for judicial independence
should be focused the institution and linked to an individual; (ii) the real
heroes in the judiciary were the judges who resigned in protest against the
Musharraf regime when it imposed its provisional constitutional order on the
courts and not the present CJ; (iii) the CJ lost all moral ascendancy while
swearing oath under the provisional constitutional order and should thus
apologize to the nation and resign his office; (iv) the opposition parties
should not politicize the issue and leave the matter to be resolved by the
Supreme Court.
The train of MQMs thought is conflicted on multiple levels. One,
institutions do not act for themselves, but are comprised of individuals who
act on their behalf. The movement for judicial independence is focused on
the institution, but the immediate trigger was the treatment meted out to the
chief judge by the army chief that highlighted the vulnerability of the
judicial arm in face of executives coercion. Two, there is little doubt that
Justices Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, Nasir Aslam Zahid, Khalilur Rehman
Khan, Mamoon Qazi and Wajeehuddin are national heroes, who established
that principles are to be practiced and not just moralized. But that was a
lesson not just for the legal fraternity but all citizens, including politicians.


And three, to the extent that the MQM is taking the moral high
ground against the fallen CJ, why only ask him to resign and apologize to
the nation? To the extent and swearing oath under the PCO was
unscrupulous, why doesnt the MQM demand that all judges under the PCO
resign their offices? Further, in view of the MQMs position on the PCO, is
it not self-contradictory to ask lawyers not to agitate the issue and place their
faith in judges functioning under the PCO? The bar councils at least passed
resolutions and took out processions against the PCO, even if they were
unsuccessful in generating public support. What did the MQM ever do to
condemn the arbitrary rule of a dictator?
The events of May 12 have left the nation aghast And then they
heard the governor and the chief minister of Sindh, the MQM leadership and
the general himself speak in unison blaming the CJ and mysterious
miscreants and conspirators for the carnage.
Liability springs not just from acts but equally from omissions.
Even if one ignores all smoking guns pointing to a deliberate strategy of the
Musharraf regime to provide dissenters and those sitting on the fence an
illustration of the dada-geer philosophy, the king league and the MQM were
duty bound to protect life, liberty and security of citizens of Karachi. How
can the Musharraf regime and its cronies evade responsibility for the
mayhem in Karachi when they did absolutely nothing to prevent it?
The disquieting realization that seeped deeper in public
consciousness on May 12 was that any amount of damage is acceptable
damage for our ruling regime so long as it manages to cling on to power.
The speeches at the king league convention were even scarier as they
established that sycophancy knows no bounds and all that it takes to
create ones own reality is selective processing of information and a strong
Fasi Zaka opined: Given what happened in Karachi on May 12,
leaders across the country have been calling the MQM fascist. If anything,
the troika of violence included the government in Karachi, the ruling party
and the president (whose remorse has been questioned extensively) was
acting according to fairly Machiavellian principles of Goebbles distract
by marching from WWII. Again with the MQM, if it isnt fascist then it
certainly has a cult of personality behind it that has messianic overtones;
which is the clincher in the dictatorship.


At least when it came to the MQM the term fascist had not been
thrown around for some time now, during their legitimization in government
the city had been peaceful, a stark opposite to its initial struggle for control.
Thats the problem when fascists come to power; the system they ride on
expects a significant degree of pluralism. However, once in power they are
unwilling to make the compromise to revert to sentiments that want less
from the state, because it is the strength of the state, and by extension
themselves that are paramount.
Its what happened in Karachi, the moment popular sentiment
against the government because of the state of the writ of law was seen as
paramount over the personal dictates of the leaders that be, the sentiment
was crushed with much violence The machinery similar to most fascist
operations was pulled out again without realizing that their new remit
included upholding the state, not LEtat, cest mai (I am the State).
Ishtiaq Ahmed was of the view that Bal Thackeray of the Shiv Sena,
Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinrawale of the Khalistan movement, Prabhakkar of
the Tamil Tigers and Altaf Hussain of MQM have certain things in
common. All of them made their way into politics when their ethnic group
felt threatened by competitors and challengers from other groups. They
resorted to questionable methods to crush perceived threats and thus gained
a reputation of being men of steel. In the process a cult of adulation grew
around them and they began to be surrounded by fanatical devotees but
themselves became victims of megalomania.
In December last year I was in Karachi to deliver a keynote speech at
the Karachi International Book Fair I was very surprised that it continued
to be feared as a ruthless organization. Many people I spoke to said that
what they were telling me in private what they would never dare to say in
their office or before their staff or strangers.
This type of culture of fear did not affect only Sindhis or Punjabis or
Memons and so on, but cultured and civilized, law-abiding Urduspeaking Mohajirs also lived in constant fear of the party. Who can
forget the murder of Hakim Muhammad Said of the Hamdard Foundation?
One day he was mercilessly gunned down. MQM activists were arrested and
found guilty of that heinous crime.
When a democratically elected government committed to the rule of
law is in power in Pakistan it may well demand from Britain that Altaf

Hussain be extradited to face charges of his alleged crimes. Britain is

opposed to extraditing people to countries where capital punishment is
practiced. This is worth keeping in mind.
Rahimullah Yusufzai said that there is need to fix the responsibility.
There is so much physical and visual evidence, mostly captured by
daredevil photographers and brave camera crews of private television
channels, to prove that the MQM-dominated provincial government was
hand-in-glove with the trained killers on May 12 that all those involved in
the planning and execution of the pre-planned Karachi killings would find it
hard to escape exposure. This should explain why no judicial probe has been
ordered even two weeks after the incident, although in past the government
has been quick to order such an inquiry into happenings where the death toll
was far less and the implications were not so critical.
The governments stance is reinforcing the public perception that
it is seeking to hide something. Most of the blame is being laid at the door
of President General Pervez Musharraf, who as the creator of the present,
military-backed ruling arrangements is ultimately responsible for all that is
happening in the country. Stung by accusations of being partisan, the
president has rightly gauged the mood of the people and commented that he
is being linked to the MQM on account of his Urdu-speaking and Mohajir
family origins. That indeed is the perception even if it is difficult to say
openly or to prove it through solid evidence. In fact, the president
contributed to the strengthening of that perception by not ordering a judicial
probe into the Karachi killings and by publicly praising the MQM-sponsored
peoples power that violently ruled the streets of Karachi on May 12.
It amounted to patting the killers on the back and assuring them
that nobody would be able to hold them accountable. The president of the
country isnt supposed to do or say such things. Politicians of almost all hue
and colour have acted more sensibly by refusing to present the murderers of
Karachis streets in ethnic terms or to exploit the tragedy for political gains.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is claiming that 14 of its
activists were killed. Families of some of the Pakhtuns and two Azad
Kashmiris killed on May 12 and listed by the MQM as its members have
refuted this claim. In fact, the grieving families of the slain Pakhtuns in the
NWFP have unanimously and angrily blamed the MQM for these deaths and
have denied having any link with the ethnic-based and Mohajir-dominated
party. Some MQM leaders were proudly claiming that Pakhtun members of

the party by sacrificing their lives in Karachi had bonded in blood with
fellow workers from other ethnic groups in the party and joined its long list
of martyrs. The MQM also faced an awkward situation in Azad Kashmir
when both its Kashmiri lawmakers were told not to turn up for funeral of the
two men killed in Karachi. These lawmakers were elected to the Azad
Kashmir Assembly in controversial circumstances on the MQM ticket from
the quota of Kashmiri refugee seats in Karachi and had helped in changing
the image of the party from being Mohajir-centric to one capable of taking
on board members of other ethnic groups. That emerging image took a
battering in Karachi on May 12 before it could sustain and will be
difficult to restore.
No answers have been provided as to who made and okayed the
security plan for May 12 despite reservations of Sindh chief secretary Shakil
Durrani, why the police was disarmed and given sticks so that the armed
assassins could safely and smoothly carry out the killings, and on whose
orders huge containers and trucks were parked on roads to block opposition
processions from reaching the airport. Accusing fingers have been pointed at
federal sports and shipping minister Babar Ghauri, whose ministry would
have in its possession such containers, and the Sindh chief ministers adviser
on home affairs Wasim Akhtar, who reportedly made the security plan for
the day. Both are MQM stalwarts and they would have done anything
without getting approval from above, which means Sindh Governor Ishratul
Ibad and party boss Altaf Hussain. And to take the argument further, such a
plan to deny welcome to the chief justice in Karachi would have the
sanction of the federal government and President Musharraf, who in his
own words is in favour of the concept of unity of command and, therefore,
the final arbiter of all that has been going well or wrong in Pakistan since
October 12, 1999 when he overthrew democratically elected Prime Minister
Nawaz Sharif in a military coup detat.
Dr Masooda Bano also emphasized the need for accountability. Much
has already been written about the systematic violence that was unleashed
on May 12, where the general public opinion is holding the government
responsible for engineering it. The MQMs role in initiating the violence is a
subject of common discussion, whether or not it is ever officially
recognized. A group of Pakistanis, mainly students and academics, in UK
have also launched a lobbying campaign with the British government to
review the protection they have provided to review the protection they have
provided to Altaf Hussain, who now has a British passport, and to ensure


that people in UK are not allowed to initiate violence in other countries

through their telephone calls when such behaviour is not allowed within
the UK.
The demand for public inquiry is coming from within the country as
well as internationally. All of this is good, as some pressure is being built to
identity the guilty and hold them accountable. But the question is that
whether the young men who came out that day with their guns to fire and
kill with no qualms represented a violent culture for which the MQM is
quite well-known but no one dares to publicly challenge. You go to
Orangi, one of the massive katchi abadis of Karachi where the MQM is
apparently strong, and talk to the people and they openly tell you that they
have no choice but to comply with the partys wishes.
No other political party in Pakistan has this open association with
violence. Even the characters sitting within the PML-Q, however, much one
criticize them for their opportunistic behaviour, cannot be associated with
such systematic violence. Although May 12 will remain a public tragedy
forever especially for those families who lost their loved ones on this day
but one good outcome could be that if a public accountability drive is
sustained then in the long term the MQM might be pressured to
relinquish its violent arm.
The News rejected the conspiracy theory. Musharraf, in an address in
Dera Ghazi Khan on Thursday, termed May 12, as well as the general
backlash against the suspension of the chief justice of Pakistan, a
conspiracy to stoke ethnic tensions. Now, while one can expect such
sentiments to be repeated by the opposition, whose job, after all, is to make
life difficult for the government, one cannot quite swallow such theories
being iterated by the president and the chief of army staff of Pakistan
regardless of whether or not it is in actuality a conspiracy. The people of
the city, and of the country, are awaiting serious and substantiated answers,
not more political notions, that have all, to date, been tainted with political
opportunism, more so than anything else.
It is unfortunate that the President Musharraf too is attempting to
explain what happened on May 12 by using the ethnicity card instead of
remaining resolute and waiting for all the intelligence to be gathered before
embarking on explanations especially since he is in Karachi to be briefed
about the evidence that has been collected by various quarters of the Sindh
administration. It would have been a lot better for him, politically and

ethically, to wait till he had spoken to the necessary quarters in person and
then theorize about what happened. There is already widespread anger over
the actions and rhetoric of senior government figures in Islamabad the day
Karachi was burning, and such statements will do nothing to assuage that
anger. To rub salt into the citys wounds, there has been no apology of
any sort to the people of Karachi on behalf of the government.
Nasim Zehra saw an opportunity in the carnage. Today within the
realm of state power and politics it is General Musharraf and his close
key advisors who call the shots However, occasionally on tactics there is
some input from the political partners. Significantly on Baluchistan and
perhaps to a lesser extent on Waziristan, despite the input from its political
partners, the Musharraf government opted to take the predominantly force
route to establish internal sovereignty in Baluchistan.
The March 9 reference against the Chief Justice of Pakistan became
the most critical issue that progressively acquired the characteristics of a
serious political challenge to the authority of the Musharraf government. The
Musharraf government must take full responsibility; first for the
mishandling of what was a constitutional move and then subsequently for
the blundering strategy adopted to tackle a deteriorating political situation.
The fact is that key members of the presidents own party the PML-Q
have let the president know from the inception of the CJP issue, that it could
potentially snowball into a serious political crisis for the government. There
has been open and not-so-open disagreement with the president. Reports
suggest that the president, the secretary-general, the former Prime Minister
Jamali, Dr Sher Afgan Niazi and others have suggested the path of
While some political framework around the CJP issue will continue,
the more serious issue is now what emerged from the Karachi mayhem
the abdication of states responsibility towards its citizens. Perhaps no state
or law enforcement institution could have done worse in abandoning their
responsibility virtually becoming party to the killings and mayhem in
Karachi the crime committed by the state has become the subtext of the
endless political battling.
The main text of Pakistans current political narrative must be
criminal negligence of law enforcement agencies. That main text demands
action too. Essentially a neutral credible inquiry is required with

recommendations on how to deter another horrible replay of the Karachi

mayhem. Why are the senate committees not taking the initiative to push for
a bipartisan inquiry the senate committee on human rights, on law and
order, or on national security?
The CJP issue and the bloody mayhem in Karachi paradoxically
provide an opportunity to clearly assess at what cost to the people and the
country, lawless power games and individual decision-making continue. The
CJP and May 12 crisis can prove to be vital developments for the powerwielders to embark on new paths. In the eye of storm our country also sits in
the lap of opportunity. Every risky situation brings with it new openings.
Much depends still on one man on President Musharraf. He has
strongly held views on Karachi. He has said that those political forces
against me are trying to blame for the Karachi killings; they are trying to
give it an ethic colour and say that because of his own ethnic background
He said MQM was the majority party controlling Karachi and the CJP rally
amounted to throwing the gauntlet to the MQM. The president wondered
what happened if the CJPs rally passed through MQM strongholds
The governments ally the MQM however has been angry. The
MQM leader Altaf Hussain, London-based and a British citizen, has been
roundly criticizing all political parties as well as the Establishment. The
MQM has released alleged evidence supporting the PPPs involvement, has
accused the ANP for killing MQM activists and has criticized the ruling
party for creating confusion. The MQM has held sections of the
Establishment and the law-enforcement agencies responsible for not
intervening to stop the killings of MQM workers. The MQM leadership had
taken on the rally planned for the chief justice, resulting in Karachi carnage,
reportedly on Islamabads encouragement.
Any attempt by the government to explain Karachi away as an
inevitable development because the CJP was to lead a rally from the airport
to the Quaid-e-Azams mazar and to the Sindh High Court premises is
unacceptable and dangerous. It is unacceptable because no party has a
right to physically control an area The presidents explanation of the
MQM militant behaviour i.e. if the MQM was behind the killings, is also
dangerous because the State is opting to withdraw from its law and order
maintenance duties because its ally party is opting to enter into a political
contest with its opponents.


The presidents responsibility as the head of state is to order a high

level impartial inquiry into what led to the May 12 bloody mayhem in
Karachi. Failure to take such steps is what promotes hate and political
extremism that the president believes is the real enemy of Pakistan.
Hussain H Zaidi focused on Islamabad rally. Holding large rallies in
the mega city, with or without the support of the administration, is not much
of a problem for the party. However, in the given charged situation, the
wisdom of the rulers to themselves stage public shows while preventing
others from doing this in the name of security is indeed very much
The public meeting in Islamabad was aimed at showing the popular
face of the ruling PML. The League is often accused of being no more than
the political face of the establishment and lacking popular credentials. But
does the Islamabad rally confute these accusations? There is no gain saying
the fact that the present League government owes its existence to the
establishment out-and-out.
By inviting the President-cum-COAS to address the Islamabad rally,
the League has only lent credence to the charges of being the
establishments baby. As for demonstrating its popular credentials, a party
in power need not do this by staging large processions or rallies. Rather it
should do this by ensuring a pro-people, responsible government
It is regrettable that on May 12, the government failed to show its
strength where it should have and rather showed its strength where it
could easily have avoided. Before the fateful day, top federal and provincial
government functionaries were very vocal in asking the CJP to cancel his
scheduled address to the bar in Karachi, while the political leadership was
harping on the note that a constitutional issue had been turned into a political
one. But the ruling party did not try to set its own house in order. At no point
did the government advise the MQM not to stage its rally.
Secondly, when the miscreants were on the rampage in Karachi, the
government did nothing but point a finger at its rivals. Regardless of the
political affiliations of the culprits and the victims, precious lives were lost
and property damaged. Enforcement of law and order is a basic test of the
governments strength, which it failed miserably.


Thus on May 12, little was gained but a lot was lost. Precious lives
were lost. The countrys image went down. Peoples confidence in law
enforcement agencies was further eroded. The public exchequer was
drained. And the rule of law was struck a heavy blow. Even the regime did
not get anything. Rather it lost whatever credibility it had. A show of
strength turned into a show of weakness.
Shakir Hussain had a comparative view of the two rallies. He
(Shaukat Aziz) issued a statement that the police and other state security
apparatus had done a good job in handling the May 12 carnage. Mr Aziz
might as well have sent the governments chief slapper, Wasi Zafar, to
individually come and slap every one of the 15 million citizens of this city.
The citizens of Karachi were all bewildered when they took stock of the
tight security along Sharae Faisal which had a few days ago been devoid of
such needed firepower and semblance of order. We also saw a stark example
of the fact that our taxes do not go towards protecting the life and property
of citizens; rather to protect self-proclaimed VIPs who visited the scene of
the carnage four days too late.
If we had statesman at the helm of affairs in Pakistan, both the
president and prime minister would have cancelled their rally and
flown to Karachi to condole with the families of the forty dead, hundreds
injured, and the residents of the shocked city. Instead, they chose to sit
behind a 50-foot bullet-proof stage in the middle of Islamabad and feed their
Interviews of the attendees of the rally which should actually be
called a mela spoke of being paid 300 rupees, a free trip to Islamabad, and
free food for participating. If we take the government figure of 80,000
attendees and even averages out the cost of each attendee to 500 rupees for
fee, transport, and food this works out to a whopping 40 million rupees
which was paid out.
The government and especially the prime ministers and presidents
offices which are always so aware of Pakistans image should look at the
press coverage, which were getting due to the May 12 carnage both locally
and internationally. No commentary or analysis was needed as the images
spoke for themselves.
While it may be too late to invoke the humanity of our leaders, they
should look at what events like this can do to the deal-making business and

the government kitty local and foreign investors will rethink their Pakistan
strategy which will ultimately affect deal making and facilitation of business
for everyone. Maybe this makes a lot more sense to our leaders than the
loss of life and the feeling of insecurity that the people of Karachi face
The president has surrounded himself with sycophants who have
made careers of being sycophants, yet what he doesnt realize is that their
loyalty lies with the seat of power and not his person. When hes long gone
these very people will have aligned themselves with the next General so he
might want to filter this advice Egos and Ezzat should be put aside
immediately and the greater good of the country should be looked at by the
very leaders who claim Pakistan First at the drop of a hat. Gentlemen, what
does it really mean to all of you?
Masood Hasan gave a Masoodi resume on two rallies. Now that we
know that after all, it was the CJ and his loony lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan who
were fully responsible for the May 12 massacre at Karachi, we can all go
back to bed. For days we have been tossing and turning, wondering
whatever happened in Karachi. Now we know and for that we have to
thank the president who has solved this riddle, Minister Durranis
gobbledygook notwithstanding. Mind you we had our suspicious all along.
We all know too well that the lawyers did this to disrupt the
peaceful MQM rally. We also know that this particular MQM rally was to
celebrate wheat harvesting and a new nihari recipe developed by the Great
Leader in London and had been planned months in advance. Some said it
was planned when Mr Jinnah was still around and he had personally
endorsed the date, a fact that Mr Sharifuddin Pirzada not to be mixed up
with a wily lawyer who can be found in sunny Jeddah, later confirmed. The
Governor of Sindh, who is to Sindh what the CM Punjab is to Punjab, was
told that the CJ was visiting the city the same day. As a man passionate
about peace on his beat at all costs, he did the right thing and ensured the
roadblocks were placed at all roads leading to the main route the CJ was
taking. This was a sagacious step to prevent anyone from disrupting the CJs
procession which was not expected to be more than a few dozen people
same numbers that had been seen and noted by the intelligent agencies (not
to be confused by their more illustrious cousins, the intelligence agencies).
Of course what happened had nothing to with the government and
everything to do with the lawyers.


In fact not only was the doves-for-peace MQM rally taking place
in Karachi while the lawyers got peeved and refused to leave Karachi
Airport, but elsewhere, people were expressing their solidarity with the
great leader. Millions poured in a gesture of spontaneous love to be seen and
counted at the glorious May 12 rally in Islamabad Those who were lucky
enough to have made it to Islamabad say it was a sight to see and relish for
years to come.
Here were the great leaders, adored and loved by their people, who
traveled from far distances just to have a glimpse of their halos. They stood
there, hand in hand, rock solid and in great humility and delivered rousing
speeches that would have brought tears to the most stubborn Potohar
MNAs pleaded, MPAs wept, ministers wrung their hands in vain,
nazims staged hunger strikes, councilors beat their breast or breasts if you
must know and there was mass frustration all around. Things would or have
taken a turn for the worse had the ordinary people not rallied around
and solved the dilemma by donating whatever they could. Some gave
money, some gave food, and some gave umbrellas. Transporters, greedy and
manipulative throughout the year, offered their fleets free of cost. Drivers
volunteered these services without hesitation.
People with one rickety old personal car simply deposited the keys
with their councilors and said that these were theirs to use for as long as they
wished. Devolution had become revolution. As crowds poured into
Islamabad, the rally grew larger and larger, all but eclipsing all other news.
One can imagine that people, who had braved the hot sun all day in the open,
didnt flinch when they learnt that before they could listen to their leader,
they would have to listen to a dozen more orators.
Of course the people were confused to notice a rather large plastic
sort of sheet that stood between them and their beloved leaders.
Rumours that this was a massive bullet-proof, people-proof and suiciderproof hi-tech gismo were quickly dispelled as people understood that this
protective sheet was merely a stage decoration item placed by a team of
PML-Q jiyalas so that dust would not impair the speech quality of the
leaders and every word uttered would be heard and understood. That would
explain why those present swore that the speech Ch Shujaat made was as
clear as daylight, but didnt elaborate daylight where.


The fact that the president spoke long after nine pm and was heard
patiently speaks volumes and needs for further elaboration. Of course the
mood of the party for it was indeed a party, turned a bit quiet when news
started to filter in that some people had lost their lives in Karachi, a
fairly commonplace occurrence in Karachi and other parts of country, human
life thanks to the governments policies being cheaper than half a kilo of
The mood in the country has since May 12 been rather somber
because in spite of the governments best efforts and particularly in Karachi
where the MQM leadership has not stopped mourning for lost lives, there are
disgruntled elements, as always, laying the blame elsewhere. This is not
good. Firstly Pakistan is passing through a very critical phase yes the
same one that we witnessed in 1947, 1958, 1965, 1971, 1977, 1988, and so
on and secondly we must have unity of command, real democracy and other
real things. There is no real reason to despair, no panic calls to families
overseas or thoughts of abandoning this country. The half page ad showing
us the smiling faces of our leaders and the message of giving a healing
touch, has worked wonders and all are at peace now. We are in safe hands;
Dr Farrukh Saleem discussed the choices for Musharraf. The
presidential dream of retaining all four stars and getting re-elected by dying
assemblies will remain just that a dream. In fact, the ongoing nightmare is a
direct consequence of that dream. Is Islamabad getting new dispensation and
Pakistan early elections? The jury is out whether the new team will be
headed by Musharraf or not. Between now and then its going to get worse
before it before it begins to get better. Musharrafs spectrum of choices is
now down to five.
Option one: Tough it out. Make summer heat an accomplice and
hope demos will run out of steam. Reality check: in March, the CJ addressed
Rawalpindi High Court Bar Association Then 5/12, when hell broke loose
in Karachi, Pakistans commercial hub bled and burnt. To be certain, its
getting bigger and deadlier by the day. So far, toughing it out isnt
Option Two: Reinstate the CJP, find scapegoats and blame it all on
wrong advice. Reality check: There is no indication from the government
that its prepared to do anything close to that, and then it might be too little
too late. Reinstatement shall mean an emboldened judiciary, and that by

definition is in conflict with unity of command (in Political Science, unity

of command is the equivalent of dictatorship).
Option Three: Co-opt Benazir. Reality check: Its post-May 12.
Benazir is now going to demand an arm and a leg but real power sharing
and unity of command are mutually exclusive. Besides, the essence of the
current struggle has made a Musharraf-PPP alignment largely irrelevant.
Option Four: Doff off the uniform, call early elections and serve as
a transitional president. Reality check: Time shall be essence (and this may
in effect be a non-option).
Option Five: Emergency measures; martial law, suspension of all
fundamental rights, press censorship, postponement of elections along with
wholesale repression. This is what armies around the world do best (SCs
removal of CJP will also lead to Option Five).
Pre-5/12 there was a choice between repression and PPP co-option.
Post-5/12, co-option will change little if anything at all. If Option Four is
really a non-option then repression is the only avenue open. The only
avenue open has always been a double-edged sword because state
violence weakens the users political grip rather than strengthening it.
Adnan Rehmat opined: Less than ten weeks ago, it was a foregone
conclusion that Musharraf would continue in the saddle with perhaps a few
changes in his set political allies. The judicial crisis has disrupted not just
the planned post election scenario of more-of-the-same variety but also
the pre-election equations of simple majorities. It is no longer given that
Musharraf will be re-elected president by the current assemblies.
This will disturb Musharrafs electoral college the federal and
provincial legislatures. And even if Musharraf manages to hobble
through to new term as president, it will not just be with a severely
dented legitimacy but will also leave him to manipulate an endorsement
from an increasingly unpredictable post-election parliament.
Musharraf by renting disinterested crowds through PML-Q and
state resources, and forcing his allies the MQM to try and steal the CJs
thunder in Karachi in a bid to deflect perceptions of dwindling public
support for him, has only managed to alienate more people.


If PML-Q and MQM, exposed as opponents of public opinion, are

the support-bases of Musharraf for the presidential elections, the Generals
days of power and forced respect are numbered. His time has come and
passed. For Musharraf, the Supreme Court trial is the beginning of the end;
for surely he, and not the Chief Justice, is in the rock. The General has
overstayed on his welcome by a long time.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the MQM, is a party of the Urduspeaking Mohajirs who migrated from a particular area of northern India.
When they started migrating, Nehru was asked to take some measures to
check it. What Nehru said cannot be quoted because it would certainly
annoy the staunch followers of Imam Altaf. In brief he said that India would
not lose much by their migration.
The events since then have proved him right. The party founded by
these Mohajirs has been a constant headache for Sindh in particular and
Pakistan in general. Since coming into power through coalition
arrangements in federal and provincial governments, the party has been able
to create certain myths about it. These myths were broken on 12th May.
Prior to the visit of CJP, officials of MQM government held meetings
with representatives of the lawyers community pretending that they wanted
to coordinate the security of the guest. The law-men were completely
deceived by the hardened law-breakers by collecting information they
needed for making the plan that unfolded at night pre-ceding May 12. The
law-breakers led by the governor thus spoiled the show of the law-men.
MQM showed no remorse over what it had done. Having done that,
the governor along with other leaders flew to London instead of coming to
Islamabad. Governors being representatives of the federation when facing
situations like 12th May are obliged to personally apprise the president of the
facts and to get directive for the future.
But the Governor of Sindh dashed to London to attend three-day-long
discussions. The rulers of our city do not consider themselves answerable
to Islamabad. If President and Prime Minister are interested in knowing the


evidence collected by the war correspondents of the MQM, they must

travel to Karachi.
Ibad returned from London with a peace ploy. His move to meet ANP
and JI leaders has been made in accordance with decisions taken in London.
This apparent change in the attitude of arrogant leadership of MQM is due
the realization that cameras of private TV channels have caught activists of
their party red-handed while committing heinous crimes on the roads of
By initiating this move, the MQM aims at diverting the attention away
from their crimes and to cover up its militant face. Astonishingly, Asfandyar
has responded positively despite referring to Kafans only a few days back.
Certainly, it is too early for Kafans of the dead Pakhtuns to become dirty, but
he has kept the interests of millions of Pakhtuns at the foremost, majority of
which work in Karachi as daily-wagers.
The people of Karachi in particular and Pakistan in general should not
fall prey to the ploy of peace initiative launched by the pack of MQM
leaders led by the Governor. Not that one would like to preach retaliatory
violence, but because the MQM would never curb its beastly instincts.
Ishrat, like a vampire, has the ability to conceal its blood sucking canines
and acquire the appearance of beauty to charm the victim.
This is also apparent from the fact that the MQM remains arrogant as
ever. Suffering from the complex of self-righteousness, it has been refuting
all the criticism. Lately, the party has introduced new propaganda technique
to blunt the widespread criticism; it has planted callers for leveling the
The manner, in which Musharraf has defended the MQM, showed
that he had connived for the perpetration of terrorism on the streets of
Karachi. The SHO was in league with the bandits. In his endeavour not to be
defeated, he from his august status of the president and army chief has
slumped to the level MQMs bhatha-collecting dadageer. What a fall?
Musharraf has also been trying hard to get the MQM out of the gutter
in which it had sunk due to its own deeds. The party seemed to be making
some progress, but like a scorpion it could not resist its instinct; resultantly
the act of May 12 has sunk it deeper into the gutter.


The very idea of holding an inquiry, or even debating to establish as

to who is responsible is waste of time because everything is crystal clear. An
inquiry would amount to a fraud in which the facts would be buried under
the garbage of fabrications. Here, one tends to agree with Musharraf who
said that judicial inquiry into the Karachi mayhem is not required, though
for different reasons.
The matter of immediate concern is the accountability. The question
is; who will punish the culprits, the state or the people? Most importantly,
the long-term goal should be to free the two hostages; Pakistan from the
captivity of Musharraf and Karachi from clutches of Altaf Hussain.
It is a difficult proposition, but prospects have certainly brightened.
Karachi carnage has saved rest of the Pakistan from becoming the hostage of
the MQM militants because the true face of this party has been exposed and
the people who had been seduced or coerced have started disowning the
party. Ethnic communities in Karachi having witnessed that the Shiv Senalike armed wing of the MQM must defeat this evil force by standing united
and avoiding any political alliance with them in future.
27th May 2007



The extent of foul play to which the Team-Helmet resorted to during

Round VIII, drew the attention of the nation away from the real issue.
Therefore, the start of the Round IX could not get the due attention. This is
the round in which the real battle is being fought inside the Supreme Court.
This battle will certainly determine the fate of the Team-Wig and the TeamHelmet.
The legal bout started on 15th May with exchange of verbal outbursts
between Team-Helmet and Team-Wig. The imposing thirteen-member full
court soon had the sobering effect on tempers of both the teams; the
proceedings have progressed smoothly thereafter.
Team-Helmet argued against the points raised in the petition of the
CJP which were completed on 23rd May. The arguments of Team-Wig had
only gone for two days when it resorted to foul play for the first time, not
inside the court but during the seminar held in the auditorium on the
Supreme Court on 26th May.

The 13-member full court started formal hearing of the petition of the
CJP on 15th May and confirmed stay of SJC proceedings till further orders.
In Lahore, a lawyer filed a petition in LHC against Pervaiz Elahi and Shaikh
Rashid for making derogatory remarks against the CJP during Islamabad
rally. Petitioner prayed that both should be removed from their posts and
punished. British media observed that Musharraf was losing friends at home
and abroad.
Prime Minster ordered judicial inquiry of murder of Hamad. Justice
Bhagwandas taking suo moto action formulated a panel of two judges of the
apex court to monitor the investigations. Musharraf told the parliamentarians
that the government was not involved in murder of Hamad; nevertheless he
stressed upon the need to win over hearts and minds of the deceased family.
Ansar Abbasi reported that wife of ex-DIG Police, Saleem Khan
charged the government of arresting her husband to stop from appearing
before the Supreme Judicial Council in defence of the CJP. She wailed that
her family was losing everything just because her husband was not ready to


follow the unlawful dictates of the Sindh Chief Minister. Forget about the
job of my husband, our foremost concern is his life and safe return.
The President cannot be sued in any court, argued Pirzada on 16th May
in the full court. The government lawyers argued against maintainability of
CJPs petition. The Supreme Court asked police to submit daily report in
Hamad case. The CJP did not have any fear of his life and expressed his
conviction that no one can touch him unless ordained by Allah. PPP sought
protection of ex-DIG Saleem Khan. US media made grim predictions about
On 17th May, the government panel focused on non-maintainability of
CJPs petition. Musharraf reiterated that Benazir and Nawaz cannot return
before elections. Inquiry commission was formed to probe murder of
Hamad. Colleagues abandoned the ex-DIG high and dry, reported Ansar
Next day, the Supreme Court directed the government to appoint a
senior judge of LHC to probe in Hamad murder case. MMA submitted a bill
in NA to repeal 17th Amendment. MMA argued that the amendment was
passed as an outcome of accord which has been violated by the government.
Musharraf defended MQM rally in his interview to Talat Hussain.
On 19th May, JI condemned attempt on life of journalist Shakil Turabi.
PPP slammed harassment of media men. The party also demanded probe
into Hamad murder by a judge of the Supreme Court.
Next day, SCBA warned the government against disrupting a judicial
seminar to be addressed by the CJP on 26th May. Benazir proposed that
Musharraf should call a roundtable conference in which Nawaz Sharif must
be included. Minister Durrani said Musharraf-opposition talks were possible.
The New York Times wrote that the US doesnt want to further weaken
Addressing a public gathering in Balakot on 21 st May Musharraf said,
they are conspiring against me and want to incite people That will be a
day of grief for me if these lies and deception triumph over truth and
reality That will be a very sad day for Pakistan and the point where I will
cry. Was he begging favour from the full bench?


The full court rebuffed the government counsel, Malik Muhammad

Qayyum, when he cited the example of Malaysia tribunal which had
suspended five judges of the Supreme Court. Justice Ramday told the
counsel not to scare the court: We want to forget the Malaysian case as a
bad dream. Ramday also observed that proceedings of the SJC can be
subjected to judicial review.
The Supreme Court cancelled the routine summer vacations because
of the load of pending cases. Advocate Imtiaz Ahmed Kaifi filed a petition
against Musharraf and Shaikh Rashid over passing derogatory remarks
against the CJP. Suicide bombing hoax created panic in Peshawar High
Court; Imran alleged that the move was aimed at hindering his visit to
PHCBA. Protest rally for recovery of missing persons was held in Peshawar
and demanded closure of secret detention facilities.
British HC, Robert Brinkley stressed the need for respect for an
independent judiciary and rule of law in Pakistan and Musharraf should
separate the two offices held by him. Acting HC was summoned to tell him
that his remarks were unacceptable and amounted to interfering in internal
affairs of Pakistan.
On 22nd May, Justice Ramday observed that the President should have
checked whether the reference he was forwarding to the SJC against the CJP
had enough substance to move the Council. Prime Minister offered the
opposition a dialogue on all national issues including strengthening of
democratic institutions and for formulating code of conduct for free, fair and
transparent elections in the country.
Next day, Aitzaz started his arguments in the court. He questioned
whether a judge of the superior court can be prevented or restrained
(suspended) from working after an adverse order under Article 209 of the
Constitution and deciphered that every judge hearing the case of the
government is at risk of removal because the executive misuses Article 209.
He said that one witness has been killed, another arrested and lawyers are
being intimidated.
Prime Minister failed to convince Jamali over resignation. Burns said
the US will stand by the friend Musharraf. German Foreign Minister
visiting Pakistan expressed concern over judicial crisis, but hoped that
conditions might improve before elections.


On 24th May, Aitzaz continued arguing on the limited scope of the

Supreme Judicial Council and submitted that SJC has no power to suspend
the CJP. The SJC contended that no court, the Supreme Court included,
holds any jurisdiction over the Supreme Judicial Council.
Lawyers and opposition parties held protest rallies across the country.
A judge of LHC was appointed to head probe into murder of Hamad. Amna
Masood Janjua claimed that 2,500 people are still missing. PPP declined to
attend all parties meeting called by MMA.
Ansar Abbasi reported that Musharraf was getting reckless pieces of
advice from intriguers close to him. Various proposals were made to cleanse
the higher judiciary; including settlement of seniority of Justice Falak Sher
and fresh oath by the judges to get rid of undesirable ones. While different
ideas kept popping up, the government MPs including some ministers were
concerned about the fast changing public mood due to the ongoing crisis.
Next day, all the opposition parties, except PPP, held a consultative
meeting in Islamabad and decided to hold joint public meetings at all
provincial capitals. The meeting held Musharraf and MQM responsible for
Karachi carnage and demanded to bring Altaf Hussain for trial; called for
removal of all hurdles in return of former prime ministers; and threatened
launching of civil disobedience if Musharraf goes ahead with his plan of
taking extra-constitutional steps to prolong his rule.
Justice Ramday said the Supreme Court will determine its jurisdiction
for hearing of the CJP case. The Supreme Court was informed that five more
missing persons were traced out and the total of traced out persons reached
98. The government representative, however, did not reveal as to how many
of them were retrieved from the Jihadi setups as Musharraf had claimed.
On 26th May, the CJP attended the seminar on the independence of
judiciary. The speakers criticized Musharraf and his generals and vowed to
continue lawyers struggle till victory. The seminar ended with a paper read
by the CJP. He quoted the famous saying: Power corrupts and absolute
power corrupts absolutely. CDA kept the lights of Constitution Avenue
switched-off during the SCBA function.
District and Sessions Judge Sanghar Ms Kausar Sultana rejected the
plea of Sanghar police which sought 15-day physical remand of the ex-DIG
Saleemullah in a kidnapping case registered against him in Khapro. This was


fifth attempt to get his physical remand. Journalists protested against

victimization of Shakil Turabi. Lawyers observed complete strike in Punjab.

Before picking the pearls of wisdom showered by the analysts one
should know how the people feel about the events unfolding in the ongoing
crisis. Ali Imran Iqbal from Lahore wrote about the murder of additional
registrar of the Supreme Court. Hamad Raza was one of the key witnesses
in the trial against the chief justice and was residing in Islamabad, the safest
city in the country. His residence was under twenty-four hour surveillance
by the security agencies. No common criminal could walk in at the risk of
getting apprehended. It is a known fact that the majority of robberies are
well-planned rather than random. Criminals only shoot when there is
resistance from the other side because they do not want to attract attention.
Those who did this must know that violence begets violence.
Syed Askari Raza from Islamabad wrote, I feel ashamed to note
that the widow of additional registrar of the Supreme Court and personal
staff officer to the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Hamad Raza
does not believe in Pakistans judiciary and is seeking justice from courts
in the UK. I humbly request for the sake of national stability to the people
concerned to work for an independent judiciary, which is the symbol of a
great nation.
Dr Irfan Zafar from Islamabad welcomed Musharraf to the club of
weepers. This is with regard to what the president said in Mansehra on May
22. nothing surprising for a nation whose poor people have been weeping
for the last 60 years on the prevalence of lies and deceptions over truth.
Join the club, Sir.
B A Malik from Islamabad said: General Musharraf while addressing
a PML-Q rally in Mansehra on May 21 said that he would cry if lies
triumph over truth. The fact is that the vast majority of Pakistanis differ
with the president on this, especially after March 9.
M S Hasan from Karachi wrote: Despite being traumatized,
distressed, harassed and helpless, we, the beleaguered citizens will not let


the president weep, for we are already weeping on his behalf, for all the
lies and deception we are being fed and subjected to.
We are promised safety and security of life and property by the state.
This remains a promise and we continue to weep, along with the families
of 40 innocent citizens who were brutally murdered in Karachi.
We were assured a corruption free administration and today,
Pakistans corruption rating, according to independent global evaluation, is
an all time high. We are weeping for being one of the most corrupt
countries in the world.
We were promised rule of law, justice, fair and transparent
accountability. The country is run by bank loan defaulters, hoarders, and
black marketers, (remember the sugar and cement crises). We are weeping
for the blatant discriminatory and selective accountability.
The list of broken promises, lies and deception is very long which
goes on and on and yet we the helpless citizens, will not let the president
weep and subject him to the same torture we go through every day and night
of our miserable experience.
Azmat Khan Qasuri from Kasur commented on another statement of
Musharraf. I visited Kana-e-Kaaba six times and each time its doors were
opened for me; no such thing happened for Nawaz Sharif. Why the need of
such comparisons? Divinity has different ways of measuring piousness
that we cannot comprehend. The president should refrain from making
such comments since they only add to his already dwindling image. Abu
Jehal had been inside Kaaba countless times; but it did not reflect on his
piousness because it was due to his position in the tribe of Quraish.
Dr Irfan Zafar from Islamabad felt the need of revising the scripts of
oaths administered to incumbents of higher offices. Most of the oaths taken
at the time of assumption of many high-profile offices of this country have
lost their relevance and credibility in the light of their non-adherence and
deviations by individuals. Having failed to abide by these oaths, it will be
much more practical to revise them for good and bring them in line with
the ground realities. At least it will help in giving cosmetic illusion of
integrity and self-respect; the virtues were lost a long time back. The best
course would be to abolish the oaths altogether.


Usman from Islamabad was of the view that it should be free-for-all

game. If the army chief can address public rallies, then all in the army
(officers at least) should have the right to do so. The corps commander of
Lahore be allowed to address the rally in Lahore at least, the area of his
domain. This can trickle down to majors and captains as well. All should
have this right if their present chief has it. We have got the army involved in
politics and it is doing no good to the institution.
Adnan Rashid from Swat said: I dont think that a common citizen
has the right to call himself a Pakistani. This is a copyright reserved for the
agencies and armed forces personnel and as a Pakistani they are in a
position to do anything in the name of the country, even if it means
killing and abduction.
I am not free to ask why the ex-premiers are living in exile: I am not
free to ask about my missing brethren, although I have a Pakistani green
card I am unable to change the government by my vote. Although I know
that the judiciary is trying to free itself, journalists are seeking freedom and
political parties are struggling for the restoration of democracy, I am not free
to voice my concern.
Murtaza Talpur from Islamabad had a solution for the problem faced
by men like Usman. If we look over the past few weeks in Pakistan, it
seems that everything is drifting away from its actual place. Before the
suspension of the Chief Justice the condition of the country was quite good.
But after this mishap, the whole scenario has become distorted. The
government of the president seems to be in trouble. The chain of the current
events can lead to the downfall of the current government. Because these
problems such as, oppositions rallies, bomb blasts, killings in Karachi, and
the Lal Masjid dilemma, for instance, are not issues that can be ignored.
What do these events show? They show that the government has become
weak and it should be replaced.
Nazeer Ahmad Malik also suggested a way out. Recent events in the
country have amply proved that the time has come to dismount. This can be
done in a very honourable manner by fixing a date for general elections,
with an independent chief election commissioner and the handover of power
to where it should be according to the Constitution. Those who suggest that
the man on the horseback be elected in uniform for 10 to 15 years are his
worst enemies. They would rather see him pulled down than being provided


with a chance to quit honourably, which is in the interest of the horseman as

well as the whole nation. The time to honourably dismount has come.
Lt Col S Jamshaid Raza from Karachi opined: The government
should feel the pulse of the nation and the direction in which the current
legal crisis is going. There are more important and urgent problems facing
the police. In the overall interest of the nation the government should
immediately withdraw its legal reference against the chief justice,
showing magnanimity, sagacity and farsightedness expected of good
Jawad Raja from Rawalpindi said: Government mulls another
reference against CJ, was a headline in The News of May 8. Anybody who
advises the government on such lines must get their heads examined. Such
an action will further aggravate the already complicated situation in which
the government finds itself at present. The government is losing precious
time by not finding an amicable solution and following the path of
confrontation. The CJ is in win-win position no matter what the
government does. If the government (I mean the president) could apologize
to the Geo TV management, he could have done the same to the CJ as well.
There is still time to agree on a workable formula Mr President. This nation
should not suffer.
The News suspected that a process of elimination of witnesses for the
CJP has started. The emergence of three recent events, shrouded in some
mystery, is ominous. The first is the murder last week of additional registrar
of the Supreme Court Syed Hamad Raza. The second is the arrest of a
former DIG from Sindh who says that he has been arrested because he has
access to information that could be key in the presidential reference filed
against Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. The third, which is not
really related to the first two, still merits mention (since it is related in
general to a growing crisis of credibility regarding the state) and it is the
death of former alleged al-Qaeda financier Saud Memon.
First, with regard to the tragic death of Hamad, it is good to see the
Supreme Court stepping in and announcing that the inquiry into his death
will be headed by a senior judge of the Lahore High Court. The Supreme
Court action overrides a notification issued by the interior ministry which
had said that the district and session judge of Islamabad would oversee the
inquiry. Given that the dead mans family had from the outset disagreed with
the line being taken by the police, that Hamad died during a botched

robbery, insisting that he was targeted because of his official position, the
move by the Supreme Court is welcome. Reports suggest that he was the
chief justices personal staff officer and hence it would not be out of place to
presume that in the hearing of the reference filed against the chief justice,
his testimony would have been crucial.
The arrest of the former DIG is somewhat related to the chief
justice issue. The police official on Friday told the press, in between a court
hearing in Mirpurkhas, that he feared for his life because he knew many
things related to the reference against the chief justice and which if revealed
could damage the governments case.
He said that the cases against him by the Sindh government were part
tactics to pressure him, and also since he was conducting inquiries on orders
of the Supreme Court in certain cases that it had taken note of As for Saud
Memons death, it relates more to the controversial matter of the
disappearances of dozens of Pakistanis.
Nadeem Iqbal reported the case of DIG Saleemullah in some detail.
Two days after Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was rendered
non-functional by the federal government, Chief Minister Sindh Dr Arbab
Ghulan Rahim said in a press conference that chief justice was sacked
because Sindh and other provinces had submitted complaints before the
president that he was consistently interfering in the administrative affairs of
the state.
Listing interferences, he specifically mentioned the case of DIG
Mirpurkhas range Saleemullah Khan Given this background,
Saleemullah is considered a potential witness in defence of the CJ in
presidential reference pending against him in the Supreme Judicial Council.
In the backdrop of additional Registrar Supreme Court Hamad Razas
murder in Islamabad, Saleemullahs apprehension that he possesses some
important information and the fear of its disclosure may cost him his life
seems serious.
Saleemullah denied allegations leveled in FIRs registered against him
and claimed that efforts were underway to lodge more false cases. He said
he has done nothing wrong as he was only conducting different inquiries
under orders of the apex court. The most glaring case is that of Munoo


In the year 2005 the Supreme Court took suo moto action in the case
on an application filed by Swedish human rights activist Torborg Isakssan.
And a three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice
Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry entrusted DIG Saleemullah to
investigate the matter.
That seemingly put him on the wrong side of the government. In May
last year the Supreme Court ordered for forfeiture of property of Sindhi
wadera Abdul Rehman Marri, a disciple of Pir Pagara, for his
involvement in abduction of nine members of Munoo Bheels family.
DCO informed the court that Abdul Rehman Marri had no movable
or immovable properties in the area. This was disputed by DIG Saleemullah
by stating that Marri was most landed person in the area and that he had not
left for Saudi Arabia and was still living somewhere in the country.
On courts direction, another case the DIG was probing was the
allegations of abduction and torture of Naeem Arain by Mirpurkhas
police in a private torture cell The bench was told that some police
officers, at the behest of influential feudalists, operated private cells where
innocent citizens were kept in illegal confinement.
Naeem was recovered; appeared in the court and informed the bench
that each of the accused police officials was now ready to pay him Rs
500,000 as compensation. He submitted that police were pressuring him
to withdraw cases against them and had even threatened him that
women of his family would be kidnapped.
DIG Saleemullah Khan informed the court that 10 police officers,
including four SHOs who had been running torture cells in Sanghar,
Mirpurkhas and Jhole had been arrested and some of them had even been
A divide between the Sindh government and DIG Saleemullah
and Supreme Court became visible, the Sindh government tried its best to
take the case of Naeem and Munoo from Saleemullah and informed the SC
that a new DIG has been appointed to investigate these cases but the CJ
observed that the Sindh administration was violating and interfering into
courts affairs. No one is above the law. Even if the Sindh chief minister is
causing hindrance, the CJ added Saleemullah will supervise the


The whole issue took an ugly turn on October 22 last year when
the rift between DIG Saleemullah and the Sindh government intensified.
Saleemullah was suspended and a case against him and a number of other
police personnel reporting to him was registered on directive of the then
Provincial Police Officer, Sindh, Jehangir Mirza.
The News wrote about another issue which has been the cause of the
ongoing judicial crisis. The bench was told (on May 25) that out of 254
complaints of missing persons, the government had tracked down the
whereabouts of a total of 98 individuals This whole sordid affair of
citizens disappearing without trace only for their families to be told later
after the Supreme Court took suo moto notice and after much public and
media pressure that their whereabouts had been found and that they were
being released reflects the truly massive misuse of power and authority
of the states various intelligence agencies.
The immediate question that comes to mind out of all this is that
were it not for the court cases and the fact that the issue is one that tends
to get highlighted considerably (for obvious reasons) in the media these
people would still be unaccounted for to use the clich (but quite apt in
this case), they would be allowed to rot in prison but without their arrest
ever being acknowledged.
Recent developments have shown, the governments eventual
acknowledgement that at least some of the missing persons are in its
custody or have been released means that the charges against these people
would not have stood in a court of law. Simply admitting their detention
after, in most cases, several months or even some years of incarceration, is
not something that should be allowed to go unpunished.
Even truly democratic and industrialized countries have intelligence
agencies that sometimes work beyond the pale of the law, but at least in
those instances, their officials who do engage in such activities do so at the
risk of being sacked and prosecuted for their actions. Regrettably, in the case
of Pakistan it doesnt seem likely that this will happen any time soon, not
least because the operational head of the most important and powerful
of these agencies also happens to hold the post of president.
The rulers continued blaming and harassing the media for
exaggerating the extent of the crisis. This resulted in obvious reaction. The
News wrote: An Islamabad-based journalist was assaulted in broad daylight

on Friday and beaten so badly that he had to be admitted to hospital. Recent

days, starting from the brazen attack on the Islamabad offices of Geo TV and
this newspaper, have seen harassment and intimidation of the print and
electronic media rise manifold. The man, who works in a local news
agency, according to the well-respected New York-based Committee to
Protect Journalists had written a story a day earlier contesting the
governments claim that police personnel had manhandled the chief justice
on the day he was made non-functional. In his story, he had, according to
CJP, written that intelligence agencies personnel were in fact involved.
The journalists statement given to his brother that he was being
beaten, he was asked by his assailants whether the chief justice was his
father. Prior to this incident, TV channels have been taken off air twice,
have been served with notices which are meant more as a form of
harassment, and print media journalists have been routinely intimidated and
pressured when reporting and writing on certain issues.
These days that issue seems to be coverage of the crisis arising out of
the chief justice being made non-functional by the president, upon the filing
a reference against him with the Supreme Court on the advise of the prime
minister. Now in an interview to a private TV channel, the president has
again accused the media of being one-sided about the whole matter,
particularly mentioning coverage of the chief justice which he said was
being given minute-by-minute updates as if it were a cricket match He
also implied that the media was playing a major role in the politicization of
the crisis, which has been a constant refrain ever since the crisis emerged.
With due respect, it needs to be pointed out that the politicization
started when the government dealt with what should have been a purely
legal and administrative matter in a most ham-handed fashion This was
followed soon by the attack on the offices of Geo TV and this newspaper in
Islamabad, which was also shown live on television, and then by taking off
air of three major television channels for their coverage of the crisis it then
culminated in the wanton attack on the offices of a Karachi-based TV
channel on May 12, and which has now been dismissed by the Sindh home
secretary as being an unfortunate instance of the offices getting caught in
crossfire between two rival armed groups. For the sake of argument, even if
the home secretarys version is to be believed, why did it take the provincial
government so long to send police and Rangers to control the situation,
especially given that the attack was being shown live as it was taking place.


To top this all, May 12 also saw mela-like scenes at a government

rally in Islamabad, at around the same time dozens were dying in Karachi
(something that has been roundly condemned by all shades of opinion). So
in all of this, not just May 12 but going back to March 9 when the
current judicial crisis began, what was the media supposed to do?
Ghazi Salahuddin said: There was this joke told by Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz when he visited Karachi on Wednesday and held a meeting at
the Governors House. As reported, he praised the police and Rangers for
doing a good job in containing the volatile situation in Karachi. We dont
know if after this statement, there was a dramatic pause or if anyone
What did happen on May 12 in Karachi? This is a rhetorical question.
We know. Yes, we may be conditioned by our own biases and political
leanings and that would influence our understanding of the entire issue.
However, the point that I want to make is that there are facts and there are
opinions. We should not include in this equation lies that are told by
those who have a vested interest in distorting the truth.
Facts should be considered as sacred and should not be tainted
with opinions. Unfortunately, facts and opinions sometimes get
intermingled. As it is, our media has traditionally devoted more space to
statements and opinions than to factual coverage of events The same
statements that the president or the prime minister had made umpteen times
become new headlines day after day.
Talk shows on the news channels also tend to mystify the viewers
with reference to the contingencies of the prevailing realities. There is that
otherwise valid notion of balance to have equal participation from both
sides. But it becomes problematic when certified events and happenings are
denied by a participant. Go back to the discussions that were held after
March 9 and recall what some federal ministers were saying and you may
get the point I am making.
Hence, it is very important for the media to maintain its focus on
facts and explore them in an objective and professionally competent
manner. In this respect, mere visuals may also not tell the entire story. A
proper investigation is necessary to get to the deeper layers of truth. We are
talking about events of May 12 in Karachi. On the same day, a rally was held
in Islamabad by the ruling party. Shots of audience provided some clue to

what the mood was like. But there were only some scattered hints about how
the audience was gathered and how many people were there.
In a subsequent article he added: It is very dangerous time in the life
of a country when its rulers are inclined to, as the expression goes, kill the
messenger who brings bad news. By so assertively rejecting the validity of
adverse news and comments, they are also conveying a message to their
subordinates, advisors and, obviously, friends. This message is: tell me the
truth at your peril.
Addressing a gathering at the Chief Ministers House in Karachi, he
(Musharraf) said that it was difficult to identify the elements that first
opened fire on May 12. Hence, he underlined the need to close this chapter
and think about the future.
Ah, but is it also difficult to identify people who had blocked the
main roads during the night? Is it not possible to find out why the police and
Rangers were not there until the evening of May 12? It is so simple for any
sane person to see that the officials are insistent on cover up the making of
the May 12 carnage.
No less tragic than the events of May 12 is the governments
attempt to willfully distort facts. As for journalists, they have once again
discovered the limits of press freedom with the threats they encounter when
they seek full, unvarnished truth. There was this statement of Mohajir Rabita
Council in which a number of journalists were identified by name. There
have been many other, more alarming incidents that underline the quality of
press freedom that exists in Pakistan.
With whatever sources of information that the president enjoys, he
believes that the people are still with him. He points towards the big
rallies he recently addressed; only conceding that the buses for bringing the
people had to be hired. Dont you know that he knows the truth
Anyhow, if the domestic media is so unjustly negative in its coverage
of the recent social and political developments, we can turn our attention
towards the international media. Pakistan has remained in the news because
of its front-line involvement in the war on terror and its struggle with the
rising forces of Islamic militancy. However, the judicial crisis has provided a
new perspective on the country. And the Karachi carnage has become a
flaming reference to the mounting sorrows of Pakistan There is a


general agreement that Pakistan is on the edge, to invoke the words The
Economist has put on its cover One wonders if the president and his
friends have also stopped reading the foreign publications.
Munir A Malik expressed his views about the movement in an
interview to Farah Zia and Nadeem Iqbal for The News on Sunday. Replying
to the question about the future of the movement, Malik said: I believe we
have made substantial headway in raising the consciousness of ordinary
citizens and in changing the attitudes in the judiciary. Were it not for the
lawyers, they would have convicted the chief justice in three days.
He was asked: Do you realize that the issue is not confined to CJPs
reinstatement and what you are fighting for now is a systemic change which
may not be possible unless this turns into a political movement? He replied:
No. The issue of whether everyone has a function within the limits of
the constitution is something that the courts will decide.
Arent you frustrated then that political parties are not active
enough to use this catalyst for a larger change? He said: Its a defining
moment for them, too, and theyve got to stand for the people. The bar,
meanwhile, will ensure that no particular ideology is thrust upon it.
About the secret of the sustenance of the movement, Munir said:
I am amazed myself. But I believe the catalyst has been that television
image of uniformed people asking for the CJPs resignation on March 9.
And then the television image of March 13 when the CJP was dragged by his
In reply to the query about lawyers strength he said: Weve been
quite divided within various bars. The elections have been rigged and then
re-election held in my case. I think this is only a consequence of pent up
emotions that were always there; they only needed a catalyst.
You see what were being asked to do now is to go home, and
await the verdict of the Supreme Court. Now this is something we can
ill-afford. We believe that it was the protest on the streets that changed the
attitudes on the bench. It was only after the bar rose that the majority of the
judges in Sindh and NWFP and even Lahore High Court went to receive the
chief justice.


Do you hope as many others do that this time round any move to
impose emergency or martial law will be immediately struck down by the
courts? Munir said: No. I dont think so Weve made some irreversible
gains though. One, the ordinary man knows it is not produced in the court
thats enough; its having justice that matters. Two, the judiciary knows it
has to face the bar of lawyers and the bar of public opinion. And lastly,
weve destroyed the myth on invincibility. They thought they were
invincible; not anymore.
The News was opined it was time for the rulers to step back and
reassess. The context of what the president said in Mansehra should come
to even sharper focus if one looks at reports of recent PML-Q meetings,
where more than one member of the party has advised the government
to change tack on the CJ issue and criticized it for what happened in
Karachi on May 12. Several PML-Q members of parliament have, it has
now emerged, told their senior leadership that the government needs to
review the strategy on the presidential reference and should have acted to
prevent the May 12 bloodshed instead of apparently giving one of its
coalition partners a free hand. The reasons for the unrest in the ruling camp
are obvious unlike the general, most members of parliament will have to
present themselves for re-election to an electorate which by and large seems
quite unhappy with the present governments policies.
As far the presidents remark that he is being blamed for the May 12
carnage, one can only say that his defence of the Sindh government and its
ruling coalition, the MQM in particular, flies in the face of popular feeling
since most people think that the bloodshed could have been averted if the
government and its law-enforcement machinery had stepped in a timely
fashion and had the MQM been asked to postpone its own rally to another
day. Also, the reluctance by both the federal and Sindh governments to
even hold a judicial inquiry into the events of May 12 reinforces the
public perception that there is perhaps something to hide.
They say that when a leader, ruler or dictator begins to see everything
happening around him through the lens of conspiracy, then the future does
not look very bright. After all, it cannot be that the whole country is
conspiring against the government surely there must be some tangible
basis to the generally popular discontent against the government in the
country. Leadership demands that mistakes made be acknowledged and
amends made for because that is what furthers the nations interests.


Mir Jamilur Rahman advised that the government should not be

misled by the numbers game. General Musharraf has politicized the
presidency. The constitution has provided for a neutral and apolitical
president who shall represent the unity of the Republic. That constitutional
concept has ceased to exist. Under General Musharrafs rule, our political
system has acquired a different look which was not envisaged in the
Constitution. To be sure, parliamentary form of government has been
abandoned and in its place the country has embraced the presidential
Lawyers are protesting nationwide every Thursday demanding
withdrawal of reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The
teachers have started protests and hunger strikes to press their demands.
Every evening, there is protest in front of the imposing Supreme Court
building for the missing persons by their families and human rights activists.
The protests are reaching the dangerous level. Any attempt to stop them
forcibly would result in bloodshed and more vigorous agitation.
The government should not be misled by the numbers game,
claiming that the PML rally in Islamabad was attended by 300,000 people
while the lawyers rally did not exceed a few thousand people proving that
majority of the people is with President Musharraf. When the Pakistan
Resolution was passed on March 23, 1940, the number of people attending
the Muslim League rally was estimated at about 40,000. But these people
were motivated and dedicated to the cause which enabled them to win a
country for the Muslims.
M S Hasan from Karachi suggested a way out for the good of the
nation. The impending decision of the Supreme Judicial Council in the
matter of the reference filed against the chief justice will either result in the
upholding of the governments position detailed in the reference, in which
case the chief justice will be relieved of his responsibilities, or alternatively,
it will be rejected, leading to the reinstatement of the chief justice. In either
situation the chief justice will come out as the winner.
He will become a hero, and a crusader against dictatorship, autocracy
and authoritarianism. If he gets reinstated, it will be seen as a victory of
justice against dictatorship. The opposition will walk laughing all the way
to next elections if they are not cancelled through extra-constitutional
measures which may be invoked by the ruling junta to prolong and
perpetuate its rule.

However, every crisis also brings along great opportunities for a

change for the better. Now it is up to the president to seize the
opportunity and act decisively, dispassionately, fairly and sincerely to
put the country on the right track. This can only be done if he dissolves the
current government, installs a non-partisan national government, removes
his uniform, makes the judiciary and the election commission independent
and answerable only to the parliament, holds free, fair and transparent
elections and hands over power to elected representatives of the people.
Firozuddin Ahmed Faridi wrote: When men in military uniform
become the makers, and the unmakers, of the constitution of the state, and
men in lesser uniforms become the custodians of law, without the effective
control of a civilian authority, history tells us that there can be law and order,
one supplementing the other. We saw that on May 12. Pakistan is now
either a police state or a garrison state. It is neither a civilian nor a
civilized state.
If we still want to fight the losing war of re-establishing law and
order in this state of emerging anarchy, we must start by asking ourselves:
what went wrong where? A little introspection would show us the quickest,
the cheapest, the easiest and the most effective course of action It takes
courage to admit, and to learn from, ones mistake, nay blunder. Above all, it
takes a statesman, i.e. one who is man enough to place the state before and
above self. Is it asking too much in this land of the pure?
Dr Farrukh Saleem observed: On May 17, the US Department of
State said that General Musharraf has not yet reached the end of his
line. That may indeed be so, but that line now forks out either to democracy
or repression (no third choice). Democracy is all about compromises and
power sharing. Repression means a military solution, unenlightened
immoderation even more confrontation, black laws, censorships, violence,
end of prosperity and everything else that Musharraf has built over the past
nearly eight years; bringing down each and every feat one by one. Imagine,
an architect ripping apart his own most treasured building brick by brick,
window by window, floor by floor. Could there be anything more painful
than that? A painter putting to light his most adored piece of art inch by inch.
A sculptor fracturing his most beloved sculpture bone by bone, tissue by
tissue, joint by joint. Repression entails all of that and more.
Tariq Butt identified the emerging leaders out of the judicial crisis.
Shahi Syed is the man to be watched in the muddy but precarious Karachi

politics in the weeks and months to come. He heads the Pakhtun Action
Committee when well-founded fears are expressed about any ethnic strife
(God forbid) in Karachi, Shahis name figures prominently. He narrowly
escaped death during intense firing on him on black May 12
In the decade of bloodletting, Sarwar Awan (who died recently after
remaining in the background for years) used to be a powerful political force
as he presided over the Punjabi-Pakhtun Ittehad (PPI) that was put up by
invisible forces to counter the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in the
Shahi Syed is the leader of largest Pakhtun population concentrated
in any city of Pakistan. Like other opposition parties, he, being the chief of
the ANP Sindh, had also geared up his supporters to welcome Chief Justice
Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on May 12. His supporters faced the
maximum casualties that included 16 dead.
With the Pakhtuns living in Karachi having re-emerged as a
compelling entity in the May 12 episode (for having faced maximum
deaths), the ANP too has secured an extraordinary importance. Even
otherwise, it has hardly been considered a mighty force to be reckoned with
as far as the electoral scene is concerned.
It is this weight and relevance of the ANP that has prompted Sindh
Chief Minister Dr Arbab Rahim and Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad to invite its
President Asfanadyar Wali to visit Karachi for meeting them in order to
contribute to restoration of normalcy in Pakistans commercial and business
hub and heal the wounds inflicted on it.
If any single person, who can be designated as hero in the judicial
crisis, after, of course, Justice Chaudhry, it is indefatigable Barrister Aitzaz
Ahsan, who is wearing caps of lawyer, politician and poet. Even before
March 9 when the presidential reference was filed against the Chief Justice,
he was a highly respected figure.
The judicial crisis has undoubtedly added a lot to Aitzazs leadership
skills and qualities and illustrated his valour, heroism and fearlessness. Day
in and day out, he is challenging President General Pervez Musharraf with
remarkable poise and perseverance in a bid to defend the independence and
supremacy of the judiciary, and at larger level, institutionalism.


At times, one wonders how he is sparing enough time for all these
pursuits. Being the principal lawyer of Justice Chaudhry, he has the
exclusive responsibility of representing him in the Supreme Court or the
Supreme Judicial Council; he is available to every private television channel
(that abounds now) to present the chief justices side of the story as well as
to speak on politics; and he is driving the top judge wherever he undertakes
an important journey
Utterly contrary is Aitzazs leader, Benazir Bhutto, who is harping on
a theme that, on the face of it, gives the impression that it is intended to bail
out Musharraf. It makes even many of her committed party leaders hang
their heads in shame. This unflagging lawyer is the biggest saving grace for
the PPP in the worst judicial crisis.
Munir A Malik, Ali Ahmed Kurd, Ahsan Bhoon, Shafqat Abbasi and
many other lawyers who stand shoulder to shoulder with Justice Chaudhry
would have surely never thought of so unprecedented glory and
magnificence that they have now attained just because of their credible role
in the judicial crisis. Munir A Malik is, in fact, the architect of the unity of
lawyers community.
Shafqat Mahmood discussed the latest state of the crisis in some
detail. A weeks pause in street protests and the General has started to talk
in bellicose terms. He has hinted at using extra constitution powers and
declared that the uniform is his second skin which presumably cannot be
removed. The common impression is that this statement was meant to
warn the judiciary to behave or else. It is also clear message that come
what may Musharraf is not inclined to give up his army office.
Instead of making moves to defuse the crisis, the General is
drawing battle lines and throwing an open challenge to pro democratic
forces. Besides mobilizing his political allies, he has even claimed Gods
grace by declaring that the door of the holy Kaaba was opened for him six
times while Nawaz Sharif had this privilege only twice. Whoa, clap, clap.
We know that power and the circle of sycophants do strange
things but this is getting bizarre. He has an answer for everything but very
little of it makes sense. And none more than his statement that the MQM had
a political right to do what it did because Karachi is its domain. Forgive me
but we all thought this city belonged to the state of Pakistan and no one,


least of all a political party, had the right to declare it to be its exclusive
Not far behind in this hall of shame are some other luminaries of
this government, reportedly being investigated by the FBI for insider
trading. Let us assume that these stories are false but then why is no one
coming out to positively deny them.
The nation has been held hostage to the personal ambitions of
one man and to the antics of his cohorts. Already, stories have begun to
emerge that foreign investors and technical personnel are refusing to come to
Pakistan, and, those already there are heading straight for the airport.
The fault lines are obvious and so are the solutions. Why is the
judicial crisis not being defused by withdrawing the reference against the
Chief Justice? Why is the General still adamant to get himself elected as
president from the current assemblies? Why is he strongly asserting that the
uniform is part of his being? And why is he threatening extra constitutional
steps to get his way? Will any of this make the situation better?
This dogged insistence by the General to fulfill a personal agenda
through a game plan that was devised before March 9, is going to create
more and more difficulties. I was under the impression that a military mind
is trained to be flexible and to change course if situation demands it. There is
no shred of evidence that this has happened.
There is only one decent and honourable way out of this crisis. It
will be good for the General and a huge balm on the festering wound of the
nation. The reference against the Chief Justice must be withdrawn. The
General should acknowledge this was a mistake and pin the blame on bad
Secondly, an early action should be called, that is before the
presidential election becomes due. This will defuse the entire controversy
regarding election from current assemblies and also give legitimacy to the
process. A date in August or early September can be given. Summer is no
hindrance to an election campaign.
Third, he must unequivocally announce that he will not be
candidate for the presidential office in uniform. Some who understand the
law better than me think that he cannot be a candidate even if he sheds his


uniform for two years but let us leave this aside for the moment. If he
announces quitting the army post, the high moral ground that he will gain
will allow him to become a candidate.
Fourth, to ensure that the election has credibility, he must allow
Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif to come back and fully
participate in them. Without their participation, the election will be
controversial and undemocratic and the purpose of seeking legitimacy for
the process will be lost. The idea is to heal wounds of the nation and this will
not happen if major political leaders of the country are forcibly kept out.
The election of course must be totally free and fair and under a
neutral caretaker arrangement This is the only process which would
defuse the national crisis and make us begin to pick up the pieces again and
work towards building a civilized nation. In this route, there is no guarantee
that Pervez Musharraf will have enough votes to win the presidential
election but that should not worry him. If he cannot get elected he will at
least quit the office honourably and live to fight another day.
Babar Sattar expressed similar views. The General further reiterated
that he had a constitutional right to (i) double-hat the office of the army chief
and the president, and (ii) get re-elected by the present assemblies. The
interviewers suggestion that his power and influence might spring from
his khaki and not his personal stature almost broke his heart. But then
we all know that the General is a strong man.
In ignoring the abating patience and excoriating cries of Pakistans
ordinary folk, is the Musharraf regime guilty of incompetence, bad
judgment, a disconnect from the reality or simply pursuing a deliberate selfserving agenda? There are many reasons why the General should contain
his zeal to serve the people of Pakistan and actually call it quits.
First of all, can the Constitution of Pakistan really allow the army
chief to be the head of the state? Would such permission not annihilate the
elementary principles of common sense and justice that underwrite the
constitutional scheme of checks and balances between state institutions in
any democracy?
Further, does it not defy logic that a parliament elected for five years
should be able to impose a president on the entire country for ten years?
Would that not enable one parliament to bind a successor parliament in an


impermissible manner? After all a president cannot simply be replaced if he

loses a vote of confidence in the successor parliament he can only be
Second, the General introduced a controversial amendment to
Pakistani law barring a prime minister from serving a third term in office.
The law was allegedly focused on excluding Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz
Sharif from returning to office of prime minister. The Musharraf regime
however argued that this was a good law for it would encourage the
evolution of new leadership and bring in energetic people with fresh
ideas. This is sound logic.
But why does this principle and philosophy not apply to the
General? What moral authority does he have to force out other hackneyed
politicians when his political agenda is no longer than perpetuating himself
in power? The General had set out in 1999 to bless Pakistan with true
democracy. Has he not failed by his own standards when after eight long
years of his revolutionary democracy, a free and fair election threatens to
return the conventional democracy of PPP and PML-N?
Third, (and at the peril of venturing further into the cuckoo land)
what happened to the concept of self-accountability? Can the General
seriously not hear the chorus of grumble all around Pakistan and realize that
those coarsely lionized his rule are actually his political dependents? Is the
glitter and clatter of power really so blinding and deafening that nothing
short of grinding social upheaval will indicate the need for an exit strategy?
It is clear that since March 9 the Musharraf regime has been consumed by
efforts aimed at self-preservation. And unfortunately in view of current
public sentiment it can safely be prophesized that the General will remain a
liability for any regime that he heads.
Pakistan does not need any more bale-out plans authored by the logic
of expediency. The end of the Musharraf regime will not be a harbinger
of hope if it is not in accordance with the law and the constitution. If the
eagerness for change results in extra-constitutional arrangements between
the military and political elites, we will have learnt nothing from history.
The question of who will replace the Musharraf regime need not be
answered by citing a name. Let us live in the world of ideas for a bit. Let this
military regime be replaced with a tolerant democratic government, which
comprises people who have a vision, integrity and a belief in practicing

principles. This popular social movement will not have served its cause if it
doesnt also end the political careers of people who are responsible for
making the concept of politics synonymous with unscrupulousness,
sycophancy and corruption.

In this round, under watchful eyes of dozen-plus judges, the heavy
weights of the lawyers community representing the two teams were pitched
against each other to outscore the opponent using their professional acumen.
In view of the ethics in vogue, the spectators were not allowed applauding or
booing any side and the commentators were constrained not to pass any
remarks; therefore the events inside the court lacked the luster that has been
a familiar characteristic of the ongoing movement.
The two teams in particular and the people in general are aware of the
fact that the decision of the full court will have telling impact on the
movement of lawyers; therefore everyone waited with mixed feelings of
expectations and apprehensions. The full court, true to the judicial traditions,
has also provided no indication during first ten days of hearing about the
possible outcome on the legal points being contested by the two sides.
Apprehensions and expectations primarily resulted from
circumstances leading to the beginning of the formal hearings by the full
court. Much of the bickering particularly on the issue of bias showed that
all is not well inside the superior judiciary. The neutrality of some of the
judges has, unfortunately, been rendered suspect.
The lawyers community supporting the CJP faltered for the first time
on 26 May. During the seminar held in the auditorium of the Supreme
Court the speakers and the participants exceeded the limits of decorum by
saying and chanting few things which could have been avoided. Such things
can have negative impact on their movement which has been progressing
fine to date.

Is it the first reflection of what the chief justice had quoted in his
paper; the power corrupts If that be so, the lawyers have corrupted
themselves too soon as their movement has still to cover a long and arduous


journey. They cannot afford to be corrupted, that too midway, because the
strength of their cause lies in the uncorrupted decency.
Team-Wig with a noble cause cannot afford foul play at a stage when
they have almost cornered the Team-Helmet. Their onslaught has already
dazed the rank and file of the army of yes-men gathered around the dictator;
they must remain steadfast for the final push. Their adversary, despite
enjoying protection of helmets of American-origin, may not be able to
absorb the thrust of the Wig.
28th May 2007

Having identified the strength of the ongoing movement in medialawyers unity, the Team-Helmet had been trying to draw the media away


from lawyers. This could not be achieved despite some incidents of violence
against journalists by lawyers.
Since then the Team-Helmet had been on the lookout in separating the
two and then strangulating the media. The lawyers faltered for the first time;
during the seminar held on 26th May they were driven by their exuberance
beyond the limits of decency and thus provided the Team-Helmet to get hold
of hostile section of electronic media.
The Team-Helmet, however, found it hard to manage after-effects of
the Karachi carnage, despite the fact political parties have not been able to
show any meaningful strength on the streets. The cracks within the TeamHelmet started widening, but these cracks have so far been concealed well.
Having observed that lawyers-media combine has weakened politicalwing of his team, Musharraf decided to launch military-wing in the ongoing
contest. He gathered three-star generals in GHQ, who announced
unequivocal support to their bosss agenda, unfortunately, the ongoing crisis
including the Karachi carnage has been the consequence of this agenda.

On 27th May, Musharraf urged leaders and workers of PML-Q to
resolve their differences to win forthcoming elections. The federal
government accused lawyers of using the Supreme Court building for
making political speeches and drew the attention of the Supreme Court
towards political seminar.
Punjab government obliged MQM by confining Imran to Lahore. Pir
Pagara asked MQM to mend fences with the nation. The Rangers withdrew
from Karachi to pre-May 12 positions. Benazir once again refused to attend
All Parties Conference.
The observers felt that Imrans case against Altaf would raise storm in
UK. PTI activists staged a protest against MQM. MMA caravan set out for
three-day journey to Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Lahore as part of the
struggle for elimination of dictatorship, supremacy of judiciary, impartial
interim government and fair elections.


Next day, during the court proceedings, Justice Ramday said that
CJPs case would be decided on merit irrespective of the consequences.
Aitzaz continued his arguments; he said the CJP has already refused to
resign once and would do the same in case he would be reinstated.
Presidents top legal aide ruled out martial law. Prime Minister
condemned the language used against the armed forces during the seminar
held on 26th May. The government considered various options, including
invoking of Army Act. Acting CJ, Justice Javed said there is no pressure on
judges from the government.
Altaf called upon party workers to exercise restraint despite
provocative statements of politicians. MQM acquired services of Sarfraz
Nawaz to counter Imran Khan ball-by-ball. Arbab Rahim accused the courts
of interfering in matters of the country.
Lahore High Court did not entertain petition of Imran due to late
submission. Barrister Baachaa offered his services to fight Imrans case
against Altaf. He also sought an end to policy of appeasement of MQM.
Sindh High Court sought comments from SHCBA and other bars on May 12
incidents. Nawaz Sharif alleged that Musharraf had his hand in Karachi
On 29th May, Aitzaz Ahsan filed an affidavit of his client as he
completed his arguments. The statement covered events from March 9 to 13.
He said that he was forced to stay in the Army House for five hours against
his will; his refusal to resign had angered Musharraf; DGMI, DGISI pressed
him for resignation after Musharraf had left; and the events of his and his
familys confinement.
Sarfraz Nawaz-Altaf Hussain meeting was put off as MQM leadership
remained undecided over the issue of meeting. Naseerullah Babar showed
his willingness to appear before the court in UK, if a case against Altaf
Hussain is filed. Rauf Klasra reported that Shaukat Aziz cancelled his
official trip to UK to avoid meeting Altaf Hussain. Lahore High Court
sought report on Imrans petition. Imran and Khar called for unity in
opposition. Qazi vowed to continue anti-government drive. PPP asked MMA
to quit Baluchistan government.
Top leadership of PML-Q held a meeting to formulate their strategy
afresh for the judicial crisis, presidential election and upcoming general


elections. One person was killed and eight wounded in a car blast outside
Peshawar High Court; provincial minister accused centre of refusing to share
intelligence on terrorists. Lawyers blamed the spy agencies for the car blast.
Next day, Fakhuruddin G Ebrahim argued that the president having
been elected unconstitutionally cannot and could not avail immunity given
under Articles 248 and 211 of the Constitution. Gillani said the Supreme
Court can take up any mala fide act of the president.
Police arrested two Kashmiri brothers for killing Hamad Raza and
recovered wrist watch of Hamads father worn by one of the them and the
pistol on the lead provided by them. Both of them were part of a gang
involved in various crimes.
Musharraf, while addressing the officers of Jehlum Garrison, urged
media not to politicize judicial matter. He accused some channels of creating
pressure on judiciary. Acting CJ of the Supreme Court constituted a twomember bench to take up the application of the federal government about
SCBA seminar.
Ibad continued his peace offensive, went to SHC, and deplored May
12 carnage. Three-member inquiry into May 12 carnage ordered by IGP
halted its work; Arbab Rahim blamed SHC for non-cooperation. A contempt
petition was filed in SHC against COAS, DGISI, DGMI and IB for
demanding resignation from the CJP on March 9.
The government decided to appoint a separate principal information
officer to act as bridge between the government and the media. Journalists
staged a demonstration in Rawalpindi-Islamabad to protest threats to three
On 31st May, counsel of PBA, Hamid Khan argued that the president
does not have immunity into the case. Justice Ramday observed that the
president does not have immunity under Article 248 of the Constitution. He
also said lack of justice invites divine wrath.
Minister Durrani asked media to behave. The government banned live
coverage of rallies of the CJP. Lawyers condemned threats to the counsel of
the CJP through anonymous letters. Protest rallies were held across the
country. Addressing Attock Bar Council, Imran said no power in the country
could stop the movement for independence of judiciary.


Acting CJ constituted five-member bench to hear SCBA seminar case.

Karachi Bar Council filed a contempt of court petition against Arbab Rahim
regarding his statement accusing SHC of not cooperating with three-member
inquiry ordered by the IGP.
Next day, three-star commanders showed full support for the political
agenda of their chief. The agenda obviously included the actions of March 9
and May 12. They took note of malicious campaign against institutions of
state. The non-combatant (enrolled) once again announced the army
detractors must be shot dead.
The counsel of SCBA and SHCBA continued his argument for
maintainability of the petition of the CJP. The court adjourned till 4 th June.
Sindh High Court heard contempt case and a petition seeking judicial probe
into killings in Karachi. The court issued notices to the chief minister and
Altaf Hussain.
Imran Khan rejected MQMs offer to sit with Altaf Hussain on a
negotiation table. Spokesperson of UKs mission in Islamabad condemned
Karachi killings and said UK would grill MQM chief upon receipt of
evidence showing his involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan.
Curbs imposed on electronic media evoked strong opposition. Police
arrested two more persons from Muzaffarabad who are linked to the murder
of Hamad. ANP denied covert compromise with MQM.
On 2nd June, the CJP evoked people power on his way to
Abbottabad. Private channels were not allowed live coverage of the journey.
The CJP said the Constitution ensures free movement of people. Two judges
of the five-member bench refused to hear the seminar case.
Minister Durrani said media would be tackled as per law. No
propaganda against the army would be tolerated. The Committee to Protect
Journalists expressed concern over curbs on media. Imran Khan left for
London to file case against Altaf Hussain.
Next day the bench for hearing seminar petition was reconstituted.
Blocking of transmissions of TV through cable operators continued. Imran
led protest rally against Altaf Hussain in front of 10-Downing Street. The US
wanted early resolution of the CJP issue.


The people kept venting their feelings on the lingering crisis.
Given the bloody episode that took place in Karachi claiming the lives of
dozens of innocent citizens who are striving hard for the reinstatement of not
a man but the restoration of an independent judiciary, let me ask the
honourable president where his so-called writ of law is? He could see the
sticks and lathis of the members of Lal Masjid but not of the armed
political activists on May 12. A couple of days ago, he offered to mediate
between Israel and Palestine but he chooses to turn a blind eye to Karachi,
observed Barkatullah Marwat from Kuwait.
Mohammad Arsalan from Lahore advised that the Opposition should
take leadership lessons from the CJP. One thing has been very obvious from
all the cries starting from the March 9 incident that our so-called opposition
has little leadership qualities The leaders of their parties are alright but
they dont have what it takes to become a leader of a country because these
desperate souls cannot stick to even a single point i.e. to liberate this country
from generals dictatorship.
If these people really want to be true leaders they should learn from
the Chief Justice of Pakistan; who since his reference has not given a
single interview, uttered a single word in front of the media and newspapers
or addressed a single rally to prove his innocence yet the whole country is
behind him and wherever he goes people salute him and the institution he
belongs to.
Imran stole the show by calling spade a spade, but invited the wrath of
the terrorist setup led by Altaf Hussain. The reaction of the terrorist group,
called MQM, was widely condemned. Afzal Rahim from Peshawar wrote:
The statement from a ruling party, that if the chairman of Pakistan Tehreeki-Insaf comes to Karachi he will be responsible for the law and order
situation that may entail and the subsequent ban on his entry into Sindh says
a lot about May 12 incidents too. Imrans only fault is that he had
protested against that terrorism and those who think they own Karachi.
The ruling party under question has been using fascist tactics since its
inception. Karachi is no ones property and it belongs to all Pakistanis.
Ijaz A Siddiqi from Canada wrote: Finally some in Pakistan have
had the moral courage to speak the truth. I am an Urdu-speaking


Canadian of Pakistani origin and would hate to be affiliated with a party that
resorts to violence as a tool to achieve political; hegemony. It is time for the
MQM to reform, shed away its ethnicity-based politics and adopt a
democratic culture with tolerance for dissent.
Tariq N Syed from Lahore observed: Mr Altaf Hussain is allowed to
run his party in Pakistan, through remote control from London. A legal
question: are British citizens permitted to run political parties in other
countries, and interfere in the other countries affairs. I am sure the British
constitution and law do not permit this.
Farooq Ali from Islamabad wrote: Imran Khan has said that he will
file a case against Altaf Hussain in a British court of law. I want to tell
Imran Khan that the whole nation stands by you on this courageous
Abid Mahmud Ansari from Islamabad opined: Instead of giving a
political reply, the MQM resorted to mudslinging and made uncharitable
remarks about Imrans personal life. This was followed by a ban on the
former cricketers entry into Sindh.
B A Malik from Islamabad asked: If the MQM comprises 98 per cent
of the people of Pakistan as vociferously claimed by Altaf Hussain why is
the Chief Justice stopped from entering the city of Karachi? Why has Imran
Khan been banned from traveling to Karachi?
Muhammad Raza from Karachi wrote: The MQMs use of abusive
language against Imran Khan after the latters criticism of the party is
in poor taste. Political parties in the opposition and those in the government
always exchange hot words with each other, which are part of a healthy
democratic system, but this should be within the certain boundaries.
Imran Khan is our national hero and a clean politician as well.
He always talks about justice and peace, and his party is the only weaponfree political party in Pakistan. I have never heard irrelevant nonsense from
him, he always shows facts and figures and presents his opinion according to
the ground reality.
Although he only got a single seat in the national assembly in the last
election his popularity is increasing sharply, and he will get more seats in the


upcoming elections. MQM should stop criticizing his personal life and
instead present properly argued and political rebuttals.
Yassir Rasheed from Rawalpindi was of the view that by banning
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan to enter Karachi, the Muttahida
Quami Movement (MQM) has augmented our fears that Karachi only
belongs to it and to no other political party.
The MQM has also amply proved that it cannot tolerate any
dissenting elements, which I think is the lifeblood of a true democratic
party. Imran Khan is a globally acclaimed personality and if he intended to
visit Karachi, there was no harm. After all, Imran Khan is a Pakistani citizen
and can travel anywhere he likes.
If Imran has uttered some words, which have disheartened the MQM
leadership, they should have protested democratically or moved the court to
seek justice. By resorting to threatening tactics, the MQM has further
damaged its image, following the incidents of May 12.
There were odd exceptions like Adeela Imran from Karachi, who did
not agree with the majoritys viewpoint. I read in a newspaper that the
Sindh Bar Councils Human Rights Committee has announced that its
Human Rights Award would be given to Imran Khan for his brave role in
fighting the May 12 incident. Imran Khan is the chairman of an insignificant
party getting only one seat He is a proud and self-conceited man who is
always finding faults with the government. He denies that Musharraf has
been able to make Pakistan an enlightened, moderate and prosperous country
with a sound economic base. Imran does not know how to talk about a
political leader who heads a very big party in Sindh. He should not take
political leaders as boys of his cricket team.
Ahmed Quraishi was another exception who being pro-Musharraf
argued in favour of status quo. Regardless of how honourable the intentions
of Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry are his case has been hijacked now
by an opportunistic political class struggling to reclaim power and
perpetuate its brand of failed politics. This is not about democracy. This is
about an inept political class using any excuse to rebel against the upright reform-minded policies of a military-led administration.
The visible deformities inside the Pakistani political culture make it
probably one of the worst in the world. Politicians who ordered supporters in


the past to storm the building of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to coerce the
judiciary are today re-marketing themselves as champions of law and reason.
Pakistani politicians observe no rules in the game. Since May 12, our
politicians are working overtime to spark an ethnic confrontation where
none exists, giving an ethnic colour to a dirty political squabble, just to
complicate matters for the President and his allies.
In Karachi, the nations business artery, our politicians sent their
armed cadres to fight pitched battles with a government ally but are out
now to blame one party, forgetting their own culpability in continuing this
culture of violence, where party leaders maintain armed militias specifically
for such occasions.
In other words, a bar association is openly saying it has no
problem in using the tactics of political parties street agitation in a
matter that is the exclusive business of the honourable judges of the
Supreme Court and involves one of their own, the honourable chief justice.
Let there be no ambiguity here: This is an ailing political culture that needs
to be reformed We dont want to see a weakened Pakistan again. For this
reason, an enlightened and open-minded military-led administration is far
better than the flawed democracy promised by our politicians.
Haroonur Rashid from Jehlum asked few questions: from Ahmed
Quraishi. He has every right to do so. But the question, which comes to
mind, is that where was the state machinery (central and provincial) on May
12? Was the state not responsible to protect the life, property, etc of the
masses on May 12?
The other question is that if the politicians of the opposition were
responsible for the May 12 slaughter of innocent people, why hasnt the state
booked them? Why has the president said: Close this chapter? Look for the
future. Why did the Chief Minister of Sindh categorically say the other day
that there will be no inquiry on the May 12 incident?
Dr Irfan Zafar from Islamabad took strong exception to Ahmed
Quraishis attempt to defend a dictator. It was disturbing to note that the
writer, a producer and host of a weekly foreign policy show on television has
tried to defend a military dictatorship, a concept of governance that is not
defendable in any civilized society. Dictatorship is just like a giant tree, very
magnificent to look at in its prime, but nothing grows underneath it. Even
the worst kind of democracy is better than the best dictatorship. In

democracy power is more equitable, dictatorship is a temporary process and

does not last long Intellectual morality demands that our writers
should not defend the undefendable and in the process become part of
the sycophancy, which propagates and helps dictatorial regimes.

Karachi carnage was the most unfortunate and most deplorable

episode in the ongoing peaceful movement, which would certainly keep
resonating for long time to come as is evident from views of people
enumerated above. The analysts, too, find hard to ignore it.
Azam Khalil wrote: Recently when the MQM tried to establish a
foothold in Punjab and elsewhere many thought that perhaps Altaf had
abandoned his policy of forming a party along ethnic lines and was now
trying to enter mainstream politics courtesy the president. However, the
brutality and ferocity of the events of the events of May 12 have
completely negated that impression.
Who needs to be reminded about an ancient tradition of the region
that in case of a death in a neighbourhood, where a marriage ceremony is in
full swing, the marriage may be postponed and the festivities stopped But
the country saw a sad departure from this age-old tradition when people
were shown dancing to the beat of drums at the same time bodies were
shown lying on the street gasping for life because armed men had closed all
roads rendering medical help impossible.
Before the president climbed the stage in Islamabad, he was fully
aware of what was going on in Karachi. He boasted of his supporters had
shown their strength in Karachi and Islamabad this showed his
political immaturity. It would have been far better had the president
cancelled the Islamabad rally for another day and rushed to Karachi and
personally visited the worst affected areasand the hospitals that had
declared medical emergency.
The president should understand that the prevailing situation in the
country is not a law and order problem, it is a political problem that
demands dialogue. It is already late and in case more time is lost, everything
could be lost for him. He should start settling contentious issues before the
elections. A Supreme Court judge may be appointed to fix the
responsibility for the Karachi carnage.


Kamal Siddiqi talked about arrogant defiance of Musharraf in not

censoring the guilty party. This week, the president finally arrived in
Karachi to take stock of the incidents of violence on May 12. Not
surprisingly, he ruled out any probe into the May 12 carnage and instead
took the oft-repeated line to close the chapter and think about the
The president seems to be in no mood to censure the Sindh
government, including the coalition partners for the manner in which they
allowed the city to slide into anarchy. Look at the irony: forty people are
dead, hundreds injured while millions have been shaken by the series of
events and yet the president wants the chapter to be closed.
The culture of closing chapters is not new for the government. In the
past as well, many chapters have been closed officially, but the problem is
that they dont remain closed for long. Karachi will continue to simmer if
one party is given a free hand, which seems to be the case with the
government right now. The repercussions of this can be quite negative in
the long run.
The main question here for the people of Pakistan is what message
the government is giving in terms of the forthcoming elections. There are
two conclusions that one can reach outright. The first is that if there were
any chances of a deal between the PPP and the military, this has fallen
through after the carnage of Karachi.
More important, by shelving any inquiry and endorsing these actions
of its coalition partners, the government has sent out the signal about how
fair the elections will be. But not giving people a sense of security, the
government has given the message that they would have to endure the needs
and misdeeds of its coalition partners come poll time.
In the final analysis, it can be concluded that all this is not well in
Islamabad. There are rumblings that need to be heard. At the same time,
things are not as bleak or dire as painted by so-called champions of the
people. It is a testing time for Pakistan. Let us hope the country emerges
The News apprehended the negative effects of the carnage. Events
like the ones seen on May 12 in Karachi and the manner in which the
government reacted to them has scared away many potential investors


and visitors. One can gauge this from the number of cancellations that have
been received by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the
My Karachi exhibition on yearly basis. This year, the exhibition is slotted
to open on June 1, but the number of regrets received has forced the
organizers to think whether it would be a good idea to even hold the
exhibition at the first place.
What many in Pakistan may not realize is the hidden cost that the
country is paying as a result of the deteriorating law and order situation
in the country. While some of the incidents of violence are such that the
government can do little to prevent, there are many in which the negligence
and short-sightedness of the government adds fuel to fire. Exporters
complain that buyers are reluctant to come to Pakistan and prefer to meet
elsewhere, usually in Dubai or other nearby counties. This adds to the cost of
doing business in Pakistan and puts our exporters at a disadvantage.
Instead of blaming the media for reporting what is actually true and
happening, the government should ask itself what it can do to improve the
law and order situation in the country and ensure that such an improvement
is noticed abroad. Unless this is done, the whole exercise of building the
image of Pakistan, undertaken at great expense with taxpayer money,
will prove futile and wasted effort.
The editor also commented on the issue of de-weaponizing the mega
city. Attempting to clear only Karachi of weapons is to ignore the
source problem and tackle only the effect, which ultimately is nothing but
a short-term cosmetic arrangement that can fall apart at any given time. If
deweaponization, which is an extremely desirable end, is to be achieved and
sustained, the campaign needs to be on a national level and must take into
account factors such as where the arms come from, who brings them here,
and so on.
Secondly, based on day-to-day evidence, the current setup, especially
the Sindh government, falls well short of the political will required to
make such a move, which will firstly entail the de-arming of political
parties. An example of this is the reluctance of the Sindh chief minister to
make a commitment on the issue. Even if the current setup was interested in
investing the sort of time and effort required to embark on such a campaign,
the fact remains that political parties are the most heavily-armed institutions
in the city.


Considering that the current government, like most previous

governments, is essentially run on basis of a fragile coalition, it is
impossible to demand and force member parties to comply with legal
demands. The political repercussions of such a stand, given the fractured
nature of government support structure, will be massive and few will be
willing to risk their power for such a campaign.
Thirdly, deweaponization doesnt simply involve taking away
guns from people, but from their minds as well. Hence it should be
accompanied by a concerted effort to demilitarize society. It is not only a
physical effort, but one that needs to be taken up on the psychological plane
to alter mindsets and to deal with the problem in terms of pathology
Keeping the profundity of the matter in view, the question that remains is:
does the government have the necessary will to prevail over many important
people and groups that are largely responsible for the massive amount of
guns found in Pakistan.
Ekramul Haque said: The dizzying array of protests we are seeing in
Karachi is a symptom of malaise, whose root cause is the peoples
unhappiness with the state of things. The furore over the Chief Justices
suspension and subsequent maltreatment has added a new wave of protests.
Its heartening, however, that despite the obvious dissonance of protesting
voices most demonstrations are relatively peaceful.
Despite Karachis innate problem, we can do better. We can make a
difference. In the aftermath of May 12, some political parties have called
more strikes, while others have threatened yet more. You can smell ethnic
flavour from some of their statements.
We dont need more processions in Karachi, at least not for some
time. They paralyze the city and polarize its people. The city administration
should define sensible rules for allowing strikes, and deny permission to
those who dont qualify. Our city should not be allowed to become a
venue for slugging out political or ethnic scores.
Imposition of travel restrictions on Imran Khan was a by-product of
Karachi killings. The News wrote: The disallowing of Imran Khan to travel
to Karachi a joint venture of the Sindh and Punjab administrations
Now, if we may, just for a moment, set aside the politically motivated nature
of the debate, there are a few points that must be made on the issue. Firstly,
one person not being allowed to set foot in Karachi can be categorized as an

anomaly or even an isolated incident. For it to happen twice in a month

suggests that there is some sort of concerted effort by the government to
keep out people whom it doesnt like and that is reflective of an antidemocracy attitude. Karachi is an MQM stronghold and implying that
anyone who speaks against the party or its chief is a security risk defies
If anything the responsibility lies on the government to ensure that no
harm comes to any such individual; to place the burden of restraint on that
individual suggests a lack of even-handedness. The sudden appearance of
graffiti in many parts of the city with crass remarks against the former
cricketers personal life is deplorable It is unacceptable in this day and
age for a country to ban one of its citizens from traveling within its borders.
Fasi Zaka observed: These are strange times. All the cabbies in
Karachi are convinced that if Imran Khan were to arrive in Karachi any time
soon a targeted murder will take place. In the same vein the print in the press
looks different. Everyone has always treated the MQM with kid gloves
when reporting on them in print and TV, but now since May 12 things
are different.
Though they still have excess temerity in reporting, the Press is
now firing the gun from the shoulders of politicians, however big or small,
who give statements about May 12 and lay the blame squarely on Altaf
Hussain, the MQM and Musharraf. It is having a field day reproducing those
statements verbatim while still being timid in its analysis.
Masooda Bano opined: A critical sign of a weakening government
is its tendency to cause one blunder after another. General Musharrafs
government, which has been at its weakest in recent months, has proved no
exception The latest addition to this list is the Sindh governments
decision to ban Imran Khan from entering Karachi for a month. A move
supported by the Punjab government, which forbade the airlines to issue
Imran Khan a boarding pass on his planned flight to Karachi this week.
The government position is that since Imran Khan has been
criticizing the MQM publicly for May 12, his presence in Karachi can
generate some reaction from MQM supporters, who have also been rallying
against him. In other words, the government claims to be doing Imran Khan
a favour by being concerned about his security. This is exactly the same


argument used to stop Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry from visiting

Karachi on May 12. But, this logic is outrageous.
The gravity of the situation can be judged from the fact that General
Kamal Matinuddin in his early eighties could not resist venting his feelings.
The president was not entirely wrong when he said that the chief justice
was politicizing a judicial matter. In ordinary circumstances judges should
not air their views in public. They are required to express their opinion only
through their judgments. But when a person is pushed against the wall,
pitched against the entire governmental machinery and whose future is at
stake will use all kinds of tactics to gain support for what he believes is an
injustice to him. It is up to the crowds and the political parties not to follow
him if he is in the wrong, but an opportunity to drum up support against
the president was provided and they are making full use of it.
Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, whose professional qualities,
till a few months ago, were known to the lawyers community only, has been
suddenly turned into a hero, because he has become the symbol of
defiance and a focal point for the opposition to rise up against the
government. By asking the president/chief of army staff to address public
gatherings has the regime also not politicized the judicial crisis?
There is no denying the fact that the MQM has been and will remain
the largest political party in Karachi, but to claim that Karachi hamara
shahar hai (Karachi is our city) amounts to showing a red flag to the others,
who also reside in the commercial capital. The PML-Q presumably
encouraged the MQM not merely to bring out a massive rally in Karachi
on the very day the Chief Justice was to address the Sindh High Court Bar
Association but to also prevent rival political groups from using this
occasion to display their anti-government feelings.
This was a recipe for disaster and both the MQM and the opposition
knew this and were prepared for the clashes, which were bound to occur in
such a tense situation. The law enforcing agencies by placing themselves in
between the opposing groups could have prevented the clashes. They were
apparently told to step aside. According to the president 25,000 people of
the opposition moving about freely in MQM majority localities of
Karachi could lead to clashes. But by stopping them from doing so also led
to the loss of more than 40 bread earners.


Altaf Hussain must have been fully aware of the consequences of

his directive to hold a rally on May 12 as millions of non-MQM followers
also live in this mega city, many of who are armed. It was distressing,
therefore to hear him shedding crocodile tears when he ended his telephone
address to his followers by praying for the souls of those MQM supporters
who were killed.
President Musharraf was full of confidence during his interview with
a TV channel recently. He implied that he was prepared to accept the
crown if was offered to him the third time. The fact that it could become
a crown of thorns does not seem to bother him, because he still believes that
the vast majority of the 160 million people of Pakistan are with him.
President Musharraf has been at the helm of affairs for eight years.
During his watch the economy has indeed improved. The foreign exchange
reserves have gone above $13 billion But law and order situation has
deteriorated. Political polarization has increased. Religious extremism is
creeping into the settled areas.
In the last 60 years we have experimented with basic democracy,
controlled democracy, socialist democracy, Islamic democracy and now
quasi-democracy. Let us go back to genuine democracy. To reduce the
highly charged atmosphere in the country the president should now doff his
uniform; declare that he will not be a presidential candidate; hold early
elections and provide a level playing field for all the political parties.
Imtiaz Alam was of the view that Military regime is fast going down
the slide. Not only that the executive arm of the state let loose armed men
on citizens and political opponents in Karachi, it also refused to hold a
judicial inquiry into the carnage. Where the executive failed on all counts,
the judiciary has stepped in as a messiah Their Lordships in Sindh have
kept the faith of the nation where an authoritarian executive has failed and
has lost the right to rule, which it did not have in the first place; hence, the
crisis of legitimacy.
General Musharraf pretends that there is no crisis situation in the
country and appears determined to perpetuate his rule through whatever
means and at whatever cost to the country. In fact, the military regime is
fast going down the slide and is in no position to take the country out of its
current predicaments Given its hopeless situation, the regime is bound to


commit more blunders that may help fuel the ongoing agitation for
restoration of democracy.
The MQM is reeling under embarrassment for what it did in and
to Karachi on May 12. And what will happen when CJP will travel to
Quetta by train? The people will come out in millions This is what the
isolated regime fears most and may again commit the mistake it committed
in Karachi. If it tries to obstruct the CJPs caravan, it will lose much more
than it lost in Karachi in terms of public support.
As the regime seems determined to fight the growing agitation for a
republic and liberal democratic values, it will be left with no legs to stand
upon. In the meanwhile, the people will set their own course as they have
already under the dynamic leadership of the bars. The people have already
given their verdict in favour of a republican Pakistan. The question is
who will stand on which side of the barricades? Whosoever will stand
against the judgment of the people will be swept away by the rising waves of
Dr Adil Najam observed that the regime was on suicidal mission.
One of the many advantages of real democracy is that it allows leaders who
have lost public support to leave power with some modicum of dignity. This
political safety valve is critical for the political and social stability of
nations. In allowing unpopular leaders an exit route it encourages them not
to cling to crumbling power which, nearly always, throws society into the
abyss of political chaos, social turmoil and, sometimes, civil violence.
Things become more problematic when there is no real option of a
non violent, non-traumatic transition. Once you convince yourself that
there are no acceptable exit routes to consider, the only remaining
option is to dig in. this attitude, in turn, can push embattled leaders into the
downward spiral of suicidal politics. Leaders who are unwilling to pay heed
to public sentiments and/or have systematically removed advisors who could
have brought them bad news are particularly prone to suicidal politics. The
deeper you sink into the spiral, the more difficult it becomes to crawl out of
it. This dynamic is clearly illustrated in the recent behaviour of General
Pervez Musharraf.
Since everyone has to eventually leave one way or the other it is
only logical that leaders who become irreversibly committed to fighting to
the end must, in the end, go down fighting. Autocratic leaders have a

tendency to believe that such digging in to the very end is an act of

valour. More often than not it is more a case of chauvinism, sometimes even
narcissism. The cost of digging in is invariably paid by society.
The absence of non-violent exit options is only one determinant of
suicidal politics. A second, possibly more important, determinant is the
tendency of long-serving autocrats to become believers in their own
inevitability. This makes them incapable of tolerating anyone who might
dare to bring them bad news. The delusion of grandeur is easy to come by
when you have absolute power; especially if you have had it for
considerable time. Denial on the other hand, emanates from disconnect. For
those who have already succumbed to delusional politics, it is so much
easier to deny the problem than to resolve it.
What we see with General Musharraf, and what we have seen
everywhere in similar situations, is a leader who has now imprisoned
himself in a bubble where there is no one around him who has either the
ability or the willingness to speak truth to power. Those who could once
have done so, within the political or military establishments, have either
moved on or have been sidelined. What remains are either political
sycophants or a military leadership that is hand-picked by and so much
junior to General Musharraf that it seems unlikely to highlight the new
ground realities to their chief. One is also left wondering whether the chief
is any longer able to accept constructive criticism and advice in the way that
he once might have been.
General Musharraf fumbles around in the dance of suicidal politics,
the nation and the world looks on in stunned shock as he makes one political
blunder after the other. Many wonder how his ultimate exit might come. It
is not clear whether he himself does. He would be well advised to ponder on
that question, both in terms of his own legacy and the countrys future. But,
then, the state delusion and denial that we are in suggests that he is not
prone to taking such advice.
Burhanuddin Hasan opined: Rulers dont believe what they dont
want to believe. They say ignorance is bliss. This adage applies to
beleaguered rulers who want to conveniently ignore ground realities as
long as they can. They recline in the cocoon built by their sycophants and
only believe in what they tell them and see what they show them. Pakistans
history is full of such rulers.


This is the legacy which General Pervez Musharraf inherited when he

overthrew the government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999. So much had gone
wrong with the country in so many ways that any hope of its revival as a
healthy and progressive nation looked like a pipe dream.
The recent tactical mistake by President Musharraf to suspend Chief
Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and send a reference against him to
the Supreme Judicial Council has cost him dearly. His popularity has
considerably plummeted and the pent up feelings of the people have found
an outlet in the person of the CJ.
The disbelief syndrome has set in the mind of the president. He
believes his sycophants when they show him a crowd of thirty thousand as
three hundred thousand in a folk mela on the day of the Karachi carnage in
which 48 people lost their lives.
In order to get over the present crisis, he seems to have no other
choice but to act like a statesman rather than a General. He can consider
pre-empting the CJs further forays by announcing a date to leave the post of
army chief and present himself as a civilian candidate to the newly elected
assemblies for re-election as president.
Mir Jamilur Rahman opined that Army as an institution cannot escape
criticism. President/COAS General Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday that
respect of the army is obligatory for the nation. His statement indicates that
things have come to such a pass that the President/COAS had to order the
people to respect the armed forces. President was constrained to make this
order because of the offensive and derogatory anti-army placards that are
displayed during the lawyers rallies. In the seminar at the Supreme Court
auditorium, the speakers went overboard in disparaging the army.
President/COAS General Pervez Musharraf is a benign military
dictator compared to his predecessors. He insists that he is running a
democratic setup but that is not the case. He has closely followed in the
footsteps of a detested COAS, General Ziaul Haq to sustain and
strengthen his absolute power.
President/COAS General Musharraf is the first military ruler who
claims that military is a stakeholder in power and it should have rightful
share of power legally. He is implementing this scheme effectively with the
result that armys intrusiveness in civil affairs has become all-pervasive.


For instance, the affair of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry
was entirely handled by three-star generals.
The army is now fully involved in the governance of the country, its
chief, General Musharraf calling the shots. It is the corps commanders who
frame government policies under the chairmanship of their chief. It is but
natural that army is held responsible for any act of commission or
omission and bad governance. As long as President Musharraf wears the
uniform, the army will remain in the line of political fire.
President/COAS General Musharraf is not at all happy with the
media coverage of CJ Chaudhrys activities. He has found it distasteful,
showing the bloodied dead bodies lying on the streets of Karachi. He has
admonished the media saying that the US media, which is considered the
freest, adheres to journalistic ethics by not showing dead bodies of American
soldiers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. But on the contrary,
President said, the media in Pakistan showed images of dead people on the
To put the record straight, Pakistani media has never published or
aired images of dead Pakistani soldiers. As far as the civilian victims of
rioting or terrorism are concerned, their images are published and aired
all over the world including Pakistan. The images of victims of the Karachi
riots and the free-for-all exchange of fire showed that on May 12 the law
enforcers had taken casual leave en masse.
When the army chief strikes at the civilian order, the army falls
behind him. There is no lack of enthusiasm in the army in dismantling
the elected civilian order. Not a single military officer resigns in protest at
the contravention of the constitution by the COAS. For that matter, not even
a civilian or judicial officer has ever chosen to resign at the army takeover.
In fact, there is no tradition in Pakistan for resigning in protest.
It is the frequent takeovers by the army of the governments that has
diminished the respect for the army. The army as an institution cannot
escape criticism, which is sometimes very harsh, because it has always
supported the takeover willingly and adroitly. Moreover, army personnel,
serving or retired, now play a major role in the entire administrative
machinery. This creates a situation of conflict between the army and the
citizens. The army would have to subjugate the Pakistanis as aliens and deny


them basic rights, such as the right of freedom of expression, to win

approbation from the people instead of criticism.
Where do we go from here? Alas! The political decline of a
government is an irreversible process. The political decline of a
government is an irreversible process. When this happens, the government
loses control of events and it is the events that take over the control of
destiny. The weaker the government gets, more arrogant and aggressive it
becomes. As usual, the media will be the first target because it is being
blamed daily for bringing things to this pass.
The News commented in some detail about governments attitude
towards media during the ongoing crisis. It is good that the president said
that the government had no intention of imposing any curbs on the free flow
on information, but the actions of the government in recent weeks suggest
otherwise Following this, a body known to be affiliated with a political
party that is part of the Sindh government, issued a statement identifying
around a dozen journalists by name and the organizations they worked for
saying that the notice was being issued in the public interest because these
journalists were enemies of the people. Two of the journalists found bullets
in their cars recently and have filed a complaint with the police demanding
that those behind this harassment be arrested and prosecuted.
As for the media publicizing a purely judicial and legal matter, one is
again constrained to remind the government that it is senior state
functionaries who every now and then speak on the crisis and have some
times spoken of the presidential reference. They have also spoken on the
conduct of the chief justice, which obviously has some bearing on the
reference that is being heard, and have consistently said that the government
is in the right.
The affidavit filed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on
May 29 is damning as well since he names several military officers by rank
who tried, according to him, to convince him to resign, with the head of
military intelligence eventually telling him that he had chosen to go a
separate way and that he was being restrained from working in his post. This
is only going to add fuel to the proverbial fire and the government would
do well to file a reply so that its version of the events on record. But to
expect the media to not cover or play down explosive contents of the
affidavit is to miss the entire point about the role and function of the

This has two main aspects: the first is to be a mirror to what

happens in the society and environment around it and to present a depiction
of events that is as close to the truth and reality as possible while the second
is to act as watchdog and monitor over the actions and policies of various
institutions of the state so that the public good/interest can be furthered. It is
because the second aspect that the media can end up having a somewhat
strained relationship with the government of the day, especially since the
latter will tend to dictate to it by often using the in-the-national-interest
reference. However, it does not serve the public or national interest if the
media begins to toe the official line because if it does that it loses its
independence and credibility and becomes another arm of the state
(government) which it is not.
The Nation commented on flag-march of three-star generals. The
endorsement of General Musharrafs policies by the military top brass on
Friday was no surprise as these policies have been regularly vetted by corps
commanders conferences. The meeting specifically noted positive
developments in two spheres i.e. socio-economic progress and the
promotion of tolerance and moderation The support should strengthen his
hands as he deals with the crucial issues facing the country with confidence.
What is needed is a healing touch rather than actions that further divide
the nation or pit one institution against another.
The corps commanders conference has taken serious note of the
malicious campaign against state institutions launched by opportunists
for their personal interests. The remarks of Chief Minister Arbab Rahim
calling into question the integrity of the judiciary are the latest example of
the sort. The slogans being raised against the army too have worried many.
The moves to put curbs on the media, widely considered as the fourth pillar
of the state, have also evoked concern.
One expects the issues to be resolved through statesmanship rather
than what might be interpreted as strong-arm tactics. Institutions need to be
strengthened rather than weakened by the imposition of arbitrary and
stringent restrictions or through measures that bring them into confrontation
with one another instead of creating harmony. The top brasss support for the
President is important but it is by no means enough. There is a need to
resolve the deepening crisis through measures that enjoy widespread
public support.


Farhatullah Babar appreciated the decision of judges of Sindh High

Court. The unanimous decision on Saturday by their lordships of the Sindh
High Court not to act as governor in the absence of the governor and the
speaker in future is most heartening and must be welcomed. It raised the
prestige of the judges to a new height.
The point to be kept in mind is that one can either wield the
executive stick or wear the judicial robes, but not both. The choice of
opting for the executive authority or the judicial robes rests with a judge and
judge alone. The government cannot force any judge to make this choice.
Refusing to accept the office of acting governor is also an
announcement that the independence of the judiciary will be upheld
more powerful and loud than any formal verdict. Not long ago some
members of the Defence Committee of the Senate formally declined to go to
the GHQ for an official briefing. When the standoff was not resolved the
briefing was cancelled, but a loud political statement had been made and it
could not have been ignored.
If our honourable judges also refused the office of acting governor as
a matter of principle, they would appear to make a powerful statement of
judicial independence. Such a statement coming from the bench would
perhaps achieve more than what all the noise and din in the streets for
the independence of the judiciary can achieve.
Shafqat Mahmood expressed his views on the affidavit of the CJP
submitted before the court. It was hearsay before but now the chronology of
sad events between March 9 and 13 is contained in a sworn statement placed
before the Supreme Court of Pakistan by its Chief Justice. An affidavit is
not just any legal document; it is given under oath and in the full
knowledge, that if any part is proven false, it will lead to serious legal
In the present case, it is not just any person who is affirming the
truth of events under oath. It is the highest judicial officer of the land. If
he cant be believed then who can be. And the story he tells will make some
angry and others sad but it leaves me with an overwhelming sense of
despair. What a country we live in? Is no one or nothing sacrosanct here?
It is not so much the conversation that took place in which he was
asked to resign that was sad. Judges should never be subjected to these


indignities. But, what I find inexcusable and depressing is the fact that he
was detained in the Generals camp office against his will for over five
The country is supposedly not under martial law and the
Constitution, we are repeatedly told, is in force. This means that we are at
least notionally subject to the rule of law. The law does not allow illegal
detention of any individual under any circumstance. If every individual has
this protection under law, what level of crime would be the detention of a
senior judge?
The obvious answer is that at least as serious as of any other citizen.
What makes this detention more horrendous is that he was at that moment,
even by the Generals reckoning, a functional non-suspended Chief Justice
of Pakistan. Not that what happened later at his home, when he was
supposed to be non-functional or suspended, is any less serious.
But, at that particular moment when the first detention took place at
the presidents camp office, he was, in every sense of the word, the Chief
Justice of Pakistan. This makes his detention a shameful crime that has
added to the dark chapters of our history. It also is a clear impeachable
offence under the law. But, who will hold the General to account? Who can
move this process forward?
The Supreme Court is now cognizant of the events as they unfolded
in those terrible days between March 9 and 13. It cannot ignore the
affidavit placed before it by the Chief Justice. Whether his petition is
legally maintainable or not, or, whether he should or should not be tried by
the Supreme Judicial Council; these are matters that the court will, I am sure,
decide in a judicious manner.
If his statement was not an affidavit but an application, it would
immediately attract the human rights provision of the Constitution contained
in the much quoted Article 184(3). It is under this article that the apex court
has many a times taken notice of human rights violations. Now it has before
it an affidavit by one of its brother judges, in fact by its chief, alleging
serious violations of his human rights. Can it afford not to take notice?
Many people are calling this petition and this moment as the defining
period in our history it is a defining moment now because the decision of
the Supreme Court will determine the future direction of this nation.


Whether they like it or not the burden of history has now descended on the
shoulders of Mr Justice Khalilur Rahman Ramday and his colleagues.
This court does not have any guns or tanks or fighter jets but it has a
moral authority that is greater than all the arsenals put together. It is possible
that its decisions may have individual consequences for the judges and if the
Generals threats of extra-constitutional measures are to be believed,
anything could happen. But, by taking a principled stand, the court will draw
a line in the sand differentiating the legal from the unlawful, the moral from
simply expedient.
This kind of situation has emerged because the courts have in the past
not protected democracy or rule of law. Now the intelligentsia and civil
society, indeed the entire nation has risen up to fight for those very
principles that determine the supremacy of law. It is up to the judiciary to
join the fight or sacrifice principles at the altar of pragmatism.
Nasim Zehra observed that the current political battle is between the
power of weapons vs power of rule of law. On May 26, when the Supreme
Court Bar Association organized a seminar, which in fact was a lawyers
political gathering, in the auditorium of the Supreme Court, militant
political energy was witnessed both inside and outside the auditorium.
Inside, every lawyer was attacking President General Pervez Musharraf
for much less an utterance about the army some years ago, this regime threw
a PML-N MNA, Javed Hashmi, in jail.
Outside the Supreme Courtas the national anthem played inside the
auditorium at the start of the seminar cum political meeting, the few
thousands who sat outside on the avenue witnessed it on the huge television
screens put up by the organizers. It was a chilling scene as the diverse group
of thousands sprung to their feet all at once and respectfully, in complete
silence and unity, heard the national anthem. The energy was
unmistakable. It was political and positive. However, how this available
raw material is utilized remains unclear.
Besides the lawyers-led movement there are those political
groups that actively threaten the state. They believe that taking up arms
against the state is a holy war. These groups are increasingly using
coordinated violence, attacking symbols of state power, specially the army
and law-enforcement agencies.


While these militant groups may be numerically small, it is what

they are able to do in public that makes them big in impact. In these dark
times, calls to social morality and ritualistic piety, invoking the holy
Quraan and Sunnah, will reverberate in the hearts of hundreds of thousands
angered by exclusion, deprivation and disrespect within and outraged by the
killing fields of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and to some extent in India-held
In Pakistan we have entered an unhinged political period.
Matters are now on a political boil. It seems highly unlikely that either
tinkering with the existing political alignments or destroying state power,
overtly or covertly, will take the country back to relatively manageable preMarch 9 political situation. When internal dynamics come alive the ability of
the external factor to impact the situation is usually diminished. In Pakistans
case, given the connection between Washington and the leadership of
Pakistan Army, Washington would, to some degree, impact the army
leaderships political decisions. Similarly, given that Washington views the
PPP as a moderate party suited to be Musharrafs partner, the PPP leaders
decisions on future political alignments could also be influenced by the
Washington factor, but to a much lesser extent.
In the realm of power and politics, there are two contests that are
concurrently being fought: One that wants to dictate the terms for the use
of state and political power. The lawyers and the militants groups are both
seeking to redefine the exercise of the state power; one wants the
Constitution of Pakistan while the other wants Islamic Shariah, according to
its own perceptions, to dictate the terms for the exercise of state and political
Forces participating in these two contests do overlap, but there are
two distinct contests underway. And undoubtedly it is those struggling to
dictate the terms for the use and exercise of state power who have triggered
the unhinging of the current setup. The militant groups and the lawyers
cannot be contained within the existing political system.
Pakistan is facing the fallout of the incessant failure of state
authority to ensure that its public space is controlled in accordance with
constitutionally-determined rule of law. Instead, Pakistani public space
became the arena in which contesting groups, patronized by civilian and
military managers of Pakistan, fought their battles There has been endless
abuse of Pakistans public space by the state and the government.

Today new players are contesting for ways in which public space
should be managed. Unless the state can reclaim public space to enforce the
dictates of law for all its citizens equally, internal security cannot return to
Pakistan. The answers and response to that lie with movements focusing on
rule of law and a stronger, more credibly functioning state, in which
institutions play their constitutional roles and the judiciary can ensure rule of
law, reining in the men and women who wield state and political power.
While the militant groups and the lawyers movement will continue
their protests and battles with the establishment, the two institutions that will
determine if these protests and battles will lead to more mayhem or to some
saner arrangements, are Pakistan Armys leadership and the judiciary. They
both wield genuine power. One, now aided by the lawyers movement,
derives it from the Constitution, the other from the weapons that it carries.
Significantly though, within the domestic political context, undoubtedly the
corollary of increasing judicial power must be diminishing the weapons
power. Pakistans decades old power construct is now showing signs of
M B Naqvi pondered to find a way out. The American media and
think tanks now find that General Pervez Musharrafs regime is losing
authority. This is true enough. But does it mean that Musharraf will not
get himself elected by the outgoing assemblies; when so elected; will he not
nominate a suitably sympathetic caretaker government and proceed to hold
an election that will give him a pliable majority without the assistance of any
mainstream parties? Can his constituency (army high command) afford to
replace him, considering its institutional interests? And where can
Americans find a better Musharraf? Dont forget most elite groups feudals,
bankers, big businessmen, and traditional politicians are behind this
regime and the armys own share in the total wealth is at least 25 percent.
Pakistan happens to be engulfed in two separate sets of crises:
The uppermost is the immediate one of the present regime that began with
the March 9 events This case has polarized the country. The lawyers enjoy
the full support of the civil society, intellectuals, a large swathe of the media
and other professions. The government is also mobilizing its resources and
showing how popular it is by holding officially-sponsored rallies.
All Musharraf has to do is to call a roundtable conference and ask for
alternative policies without ignoring the leading lawyers who have started a
veritable revolutionary movement. The RTC needs to agree on a genuinely

independent election commission and impartial caretaker regime that will

lead to free and fair elections. Alternatively, instead of finding caretakers, let
the top few party and key lawyers leaders constitute a national government
with one point agenda: holding free and fair elections within a short span of
time after assuming control over undercover agencies.
The issue of who the ministers should be in an interim government is
sure to occasion controversy. While the rich dowager queens the PPP and
the PML-N cannot be ignored, some share has to be given to the MMA.
One radical principle must guide those who agree to an interim arrangement.
The leading lawyers share should not be less than 50 percent of the
government and they should insist on their control over all the undercover
agencies to ensure free elections and a dominant say over a new election
The News indirectly urged an end to one-man rule. The Chief Justice
of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, is right when he says that oneman rule is the anti-thesis of democracythe Chief Justices remarks
merit comment. They come at a time when it seems to be becoming crystal
clear that one-man rule and dictatorship can have far-reaching negative
consequences for a countrys democratic order and state of governance.
He said that the separation of powers in Pakistan should be done so
that the judiciary could function in a fully independent manner without any
pressure from the executive. Of course, the Chief Justice was speaking with
the armys role in the countrys national affairs and politics in mind, but it
has to be said that even civilian-led political parties have to share some of
the blame for the many ills that have befallen Pakistans polity the point
being that all kinds of actors on the national stage, the army and the
political parties, have gone about in their way to enlarge their power
and authority, and often at the expense of other state institutions as well as
ordinary Pakistanis.
An elected dictator is still preferable to one who is non-elected
and answerable to no one. The problem obviously is that in the latter
instance there are no real checks and balances on the dictators power not
from the judiciary or from parliament, or for that matter even the press.
The other problem with one-man rule is that when things begin to go
bad or when public opinion begins to ebb, the lack of consensual approach
to decision-making means that their can be a failure to judge the way the tide

is flowing and this only exacerbates the situation. Some advisers may try
and give a dictator some suggestions on how to see the real picture, but the
taking of all decisions rests ultimately with that one individual. And that
brings us to the crux of the matter, that should a whole countrys present
and future be linked to the fortunes of one person? Is that not a somewhat
unequal bargain? Some would say that this is happening in Pakistan.
Amina Jilani suggested that the offender as well as the victim should
quit. On May 25 in Karachi President General Pervez Musharraf told a
select gathering that the shock effects of May 12 will be over, that the
chapter would be closed and recommended that we shall all put it behind
Well, the shock effects are far from over as the judges of the
Sindh High Court so amply demonstrated on May 30. The chapter cannot
be closed or put away. The General was off the mark. Where he was right
was in saying that it will be of no avail to hold a probe into the events of
May 12. Of course it will of no avail. We and the world fully aware of the
who, the how, and the why as the General is aware and it no longer needs
to be spelt out.
The pity of it all is that Musharraf has allowed himself to be
aligned with a party that has become a stigma for his regime. It appears,
quite transparently, that he now finds himself not only at arms length with
reality but in complete denial of it.
Whatever it may be, signs are, according to most international
analysts, that army will not be going away. It will be very much part of
whatever political process may fall upon us. Though, Musharraf himself in
an interview with Reuters in February stated that the people of Pakistan and
the Pakistani parliament will select a person who would lead if I am not
there, such cannot be the case in the present junglified circumstances. The
political parties, all of them, are in disarray, and the judiciary, the dominant
factor in this present impasse, is not as united as it would like to be and
despite recent noises (which we heard so many times before) about its
independence this remained in doubt apart, that is, from the honourable
judges of the Sindh High Court who have led where the others must follow.
This republic is now held hostage to a spat between a general and
a judge. The General needs to make a strategic retreat. The Judge, unless he


can fully clear himself of whatever charges, frivolous or otherwise, have

been leveled against him, will forever remain under a cloud.
Do any of the charges in the presidential reference against Chief
Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry hold good? If one, or two, do; did the
Chief Justice do wrong? He, in his exalted position, cannot be absolved on
the excuse that multiple wrongs make one right. If others, the hundreds if
not thousands, in position of power abuse that power it does not follow
normally, in a democracy not ruled by corruption, that it is right or
To end on a lighter note, homegrown fire brand Tariq Alihe came
up with a solution to our problematic state of national affairs: The General
should discard his uniform, the Judge should forego his black robes and the
two men should battle it out on the electoral terrain without hindrance
from the MQM or the numerous apparatuses of the state.
Arif Nizami observed: The mood in the federal capital is despondent,
bordering on uncertainty about the future, even amongst the ruling party
circles. However, there is a silent consensus openly expressed in private
conversations. However, few would muster the courage to convey the
bitter reality to the top boss without mincing the words, the conventional
wisdom is:
The President cannot keep the uniform beyond the expiry of two
offices bill in November.
The mood of the Bar and the courts is such that it will be a miracle if
the Chief Justice is sent packing and the government case against him
is upheld on all counts.
The proceedings of the Supreme Judicial Council, if the case is
referred back to it, would stretch over months, bleeding the
government in the process.
With a virtual election campaign by the Opposition political parties in
progress and lawyers in the forefront, it looks increasingly difficult for
the ruling party to deliver.


A deal with Ms Benazir Bhutto, despite mixed signals from her, on

government terms looks increasingly difficult; seeing the ruling party
in disarray she will extract her pound of flesh to strike a deal.
Scenarios like imposing Martial Law or emergency to extend the term
of the present assemblies for a year will not fly either. Nor will giving
a fresh oath to the judges would stem the lawyers movement. On the
contrary it will stoke the fire.
Notwithstanding some hawks and vested interests who are still
advising that the President should keep his uniform. Get himself elected
from the present assemblies (even if virtually the whole Opposition resigns),
saner voices of the regime are advising caution.
They feel that the Prime Minister should rather advise dissolution of
the assemblies before their term expires, and call for early elections, and
the President be elected from the next assemblies sans uniform. For that
purpose a deal could be struck with the PPP before the elections.
Obviously every scenario is fraught with pitfalls and uncertainties
for the present regime. It will not be easy to manage and rig the next
general elections like those of 2002. Whichever party gets the maximum
number of seats will call the shots after the elections and would negotiate its
terms notwithstanding any pre-election deal. Efforts to resolve the present
impasse by gagging the media will not put the genie back in the bottle
Fossilized apparchicks are still trying to use obsolete, counterproductive and hackneyed third degree methods to control the media.
They have failed to realize in time the multiplier effects of the electronic
media and are still unable to channelize it to the advantage of their bosses
because they dont know any better.
In sharp contrast, Ch Aitzaz Ahsan in his role as strategist, adviser,
script writer and lawyer, all rolled in one, has served his client Chief Justice
Iftikhar Chaudhry well by being media savvy and by making it work to his
advantage, once to the disadvantage. Full marks to him.
Instead of taking the bull by the horns and resolving a political crisis
by political means, the government still insists calling it a purely legal
matter, hence administrative fiat is the order of the day. General Musharraf


probably believes that he is the saviour of the nation who has done a lot of a
good in the past eight years in sharp contrast to the real or perceived
misdeeds of civilian rulers.
In Pakistan the military is expressing shock and surprise at the
manner in which attempts are being made to make it controversial and
blaming the media in the process. The fact of the matter is that it has made
itself controversial by insisting to perpetuate its rule instead of doing the
job it is mandated for under the Constitution.
The groundswell of civil society is evident from the consistent
agitation by lawyers in growing numbers, with people from other walks of
life joining in and Opposition parties following the lead. This Black-Coat
Revolution phenomenon is a manifestation of the craving of the people
of Pakistan for democracy and the rule of law.

With reference to the Karachi carnage and danda-wielding students
of Lal Masjid seminary, Barkatullah Marwat observed that Musharraf
seemed to be suffering from double vision. He said that the Musharraf
regime could see the dandas but did not see the weapons that were used
freely on the streets of Karachi.
In fact, Musharrafs elder brother, Altaf Hussain, was the one who
raised the hue and cry over Jamia Hafsa and called the mulla brothers with
variety of names. Even on May 12, leadership of the MQM could see the
few small arms carried by some workers of political parties but did not see
the blazing guns of their own terrorists, who operated under the protection of
police and the Rangers. As far as the weapons on MQM, it was not a case of
double vision but total blindness.
The terrorists of MQM were seen on the rampage by the entire nation.
MQM exposed (re-exposed) its inherent inclination for bloodletting.
Unfortunately, no one dared pointing finger at the real culprits; Musharraf
and Altaf Bhai. Imran Khan was the sole exception who dared announcing
that he would proceed legally against the criminal hiding in London.
The reaction to Imran Khans announcement further confirmed
MQMs habit of impulsive militancy. The language used in wall-chalking,

slogans and banners reflected the total moral bankruptcy of the so-called
Urdu-speaking middle class.
Despite all that the intellectuals and the media hesitated telling
anything to the MQM for the reason too obvious. Even Aaj TV, which has
earned reputation for its truthfulness, advised Imran not to go to England. In
its programme Bolta Pakistan of 28th May, Imran was told to desist from
washing dirty linen outside, totally ignoring the dhubi-ghat established by
Altaf Enterprise.
Karachi carnage was a naked crime against humanity in general and
against Pakistani nation in particular. If those involved in this criminal act
escape punishment, irrespective of their official status, the nation has to
blame itself and regret all times to come.
The government agencies showed unusual urgency in solving the
mystery of Hamads murder. Police arrested two brothers linked to a gang
of criminals. One of the hardened criminals was wearing the wrist watch
robbed from the father of the deceased. He seemed to be too hardened a
criminal because he chose to wear the watch despite the fact that the crime
was so widely hyped in the media?
The lead to the weapon used in the crime also came too soon from the
criminals after their arrest. Is it another standard solution of a crime? It is
too early to accept or reject the Police version; but one thing is certain that if
the recovered wrist watch belongs to Hamads father, the police certainly
know the murderer.
Musharraf was quite angry with media. He condemned the TV
channels for showing the dead bodies. For almost six years since the start of
the war against Islamic World, Musharraf never felt such need. Why did the
showing of victims of Karachi carnage hurt him so much? Did he feel that
every dead body was pointing the finger towards him?
In fact, he was in search of an excuse to strangulate the media which
had been recognized as the strength of the movement of lawyers. Musharraf
regime had been trying to drive a wedge between the two, right from the
early days of the movement, using all sorts of tactics. It did not succeed, but
the proceedings of the Seminar held on 26 th May finally provided him an
opportunity to pressure the media.


After holding rallies and bloodletting in Karachi, Musharraf led the

flag march of three-star generals. According to the press release of ISPR,
armys high command fully supports Musharraf regimes policies. The
formal expression of such solidarity is something unique. Why was it needed
at this juncture and that too at a forum primarily meant for deliberations on
professional military matters?
Before answering these questions, it must be said that no Pakistani
would ever want the armys higher command not to be fully behind the army
chief. This loyalty has to be taken for granted without its verbal or written
expression. It would be most unfortunate if it happens to be otherwise.
The ISPR press release conveys more than its text. It is a declaration
that the higher command supports army chiefs indulgence in politics. By
implication, it means that the army is a party and a force to be reckoned with
in the ongoing tussle. This is an extra-constitutional measure carrying a
threat for Musharrafs political opponents in general and for the bar and
bench in particular. Militarization of politics has been formalized.
There are two other conclusions which can be drawn in the context of
this movement. First, the very fact the higher echelons of army had to
formally announce unity, speaks of existence of differences in some
quarters. These differences must have also been expressed; however, in view
of the increasing criticism of the army by the civil society they preferred to
counter it through display of unity. Secondly, by falling back on his main
line of defence, Musharraf has indicated that his political base is crumbling.
What happened during the seminar was nothing more than the warcries; an ancient ritual of the warriors. The war-cries incite fighting prowess
of own soldiers and create harassing effect on the opponents. Kurd and his
companions did exactly the same on 26th May. It had the desired effect on
the adversary as was evident from the proceedings of corps commanders
4th June 2007


Musharraf regime remained committed to serving interests of the
Crusaders and the proxy crusaders, despite facing unprecedented crisis on
home front. The US acknowledged that Pakistan has been active in repelling
Taliban and al-Qaeda from its soil.
There was some change in the attitude of Karzai. He denied reports
regarding stalemate in relations between him and Musharraf. But this change
was accompanied by worsening of security environments in Pakistan,
particularly in the province of NWFP.
Having ruled out military option and having choked all sources of
support for the freedom fighters, the rulers kept hoping for just solution of
the Kashmir dispute. In third week of May, they sought help from the
platform of OIC and hoped that India would pay heed to the resolution
passed by this most ineffective body on the planet.
At home, the rulers were kept busy by the lawyers. They have
temporarily forgotten about numerous problems which remain unresolved,
particularly the volatile situation in tribal areas and Baluchistan.

Pakistan continued fighting for peace and security of occupied
Afghanistan. Following incidents were reported during last seven weeks:
Eight Afghans were arrested on 1st May in Quetta for illegally entering
Pakistan. Benazir opposed peace deal with tribesmen. Next day, dead
body of US spy was found in North Waziristan.
On 4th May, a government driver was shot dead near Miranshah and a
soldier was wounded in attack on a convoy. In Charsada, 22 music
shops were damaged in blasts.
Two soldiers were killed and four wounded in an accident near Mirali
on 8th May. Eight oil tankers were burnt in an explosion in Landikotal.


Blasts damaged 18 music shops in Mardan and Charsada on 10 th May.

Pakistan Army completed fencing of 20 kilometer of border near
Lowara Mandi. The footage shown on TV was nothing more than an
apology to fencing.
Seven Afghan soldiers were killed and five wounded in border clash
near Parachinar on 13th May; three Pakistani soldiers were also
wounded. More than 70 protesters of TNSM were arrested in police
crackdown in Swat and Dir.
On 14th May, two US officials and a Pakistani soldier were killed and
two Americans and three Pakistani officials wounded when gunmen
opened fire at them soon after a flag meeting at Teri Mangal near
Parachinar. Curfew was imposed in Tank after killing of two persons.
Three persons were injured in bomb blast in Chaman.
A suicide bomber killed 25 and wounded 28 in a restaurant in
Peshawar on 15th May. The restaurant was managed by an Uzbek who
had been spying for the US and from where two Afghans related to
Mulla Dadullah were apprehended in the recent past.
Six more people were killed in violence in Tank on 16 th May. Three
Afghan refugees were killed in clash over closure of refugee camps
near Qilla Abdullah. Tension mounted as troops on either side moved
closer to the border in Teri Mangal area. Thousands protested in front
of Pakistan Embassy in Kabul over killings by Pak Army. NATO
asked Pakistan to investigate the incident of shooting. Ninety TNSM
activists were released.
On 17th May, Army was called out in Tank after six people were killed
and 17 wounded. Four Afghan soldiers were killed and two wounded
in border skirmish near Parachinar; three FC personnel were also
wounded in the encounter. NWFP cabinet blamed the centre for
terrorist attacks and demanded reversion of FC platoons. Maulvi Faqir
was pardoned after an accord in which he renounced terrorism and
pledged loyalty to the government.
Militants killed US spy in North Waziristan on 18th May. Eight
government employees were abducted in Miranshah area. Next day,
militants commander, Qari Sarfraz was arrested near Lakki Marwat.


Temporary ceasefire held on until 20th May as jirga pondered for a

solution of border dispute.
On 21st May, ten oil tankers carrying oil supplies for US-led forces
were destroyed by gunmen near Torkham on 21 st May; 8 Afghans
were arrested. Music shop was bombed in Sherpao village.
Army troops, supported by armed helicopters, launched an operation
on a training camp in North Waziristan on 22nd May; four militants
were killed and two wounded. Next say, eight government employees
were freed in North Waziristan.
Several rockets were fired at FC Fort in Tank on 24 th May. The jirga
settled the issue by ordering that the disputed border post near
Parachinar would remain unoccupied. 15-member peace and
coordination committee resigned to protest Army operation carried out
on 22nd May without their consent.
Two soldiers were killed and seven wounded in roadside bombing
near Tank on 26th May. Next day, one person was killed and two
wounded in two blasts in Quetta. Two explosions occurred in Tank.
Shaukat Aziz said Osama is not in Pakistan.
On 28th May, four security personnel and four militants were killed in
attacks and shootouts in Tank and Bannu.
US gunship helicopters violated Pak airspace in North Waziristan on
30th May. Next day, 13 people were killed and two wounded when
armed men attacked the residence of PA Khyber Agency near Tank.
A journalist was among five persons killed in roadside bombing in
Khar on 2nd June. Two Arabs linked to al-Qaeda were released after
four years.
The Crusaders maintained pressure on Pakistan to ensure that their
interests were served as hither-to-fore. NATO General Secretary arrived in
Islamabad on 7th May for talks on cooperation with Pakistan. He met
President, Prime Minister and commended increase in number of troops by
Pakistan along Afghan border.


Trilateral meeting on patrolling of Pak-Afghan border was held in

Quetta on 9th May. Next day, Cohen and Kasuri discussed counter-terrorism
efforts. Ambassadors on NATO countries based in Kabul and Islamabad held
meeting in Islamabad on 11th May to sort out the differences between
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Governor NWFP and British Envoy discussed situation in FATA.
EU envoys were briefed on 12th May on Pak-Afghan border situation. Two
days later, Pakistan and UK signed extradition treaty.
Kabul regime showed interest in Pak-Afghan Peace Jirga. On 3rd
May, Pak-Afghan commission for peace jirga held a meeting in Kabul.
Taliban rejected Pak-Afghan peace jirga. Next day, Pakistan and Afghanistan
agreed to hold first meeting of Joint Peace Jirga in first week of August in
which 700 tribal elders, politicians and other influential people would
The US welcomed Pak-Afghan jirga. On 31st May, Kasuri and Spanta
agreed to increase cooperation. Next day, Pak-Afghan Jirga body held talks
in Islamabad and both sides pledged to do their best to curb terrorism. No
Taliban would be invited to next round at Kabul.
On 2nd June, Pak-Afghan jirga constituted a technical body to finalize
arrangements for Grand Jirga scheduled to be held in Kabul. Three days
later, Shaukat Aziz visited Kabul, met Karzai and said Islamabad and Kabul
needed no umpire to settle disputes. On 7th June, FATA Alliance rejected
Pak-Afghan jirga.
The issue of repatriation of Afghan refugees kept lingering on. On 8th
May, Pakistan donated $45 million for Afghan refugees. Next day, Sherpao
briefed the cabinet on his Kabul visit and told that 2.5 million Afghan
refugees would be repatriated in three years. On 17 th May, the government
temporarily suspended its operation for vacation of two Afghan refugees
camps in Baluchistan.
The News commented on Ankara Accord. The fact remains that there
first needs to be an air of goodwill to dispel the mistrust that, however
unfortunate, is clearly marring relations between Islamabad and Kabul
Bad-mouthing Pakistan, either at the behest of vested interests or to cover up
internal problems, while convenient right now, will not help solve anything
in the long run. In addition to this, one hopes that this government and its


benefactors in Washington and Brussels also understand Islamabads

What has happened is that Kabul at least in Islamabads assessment
has been seen to be giving considerable leeway and favours to New Delhi
by allowing it to set up several consulates and permitting groups opposed to
Pakistan sanctuary inside its territory. At the same time, Islamabad must be
prepared to give a patient hearing to Kabuls allegations that Taliban forces
use Pakistani territory to regroup and launch attacks inside Afghanistan. If
this new arrangement holds, at least the sparring will not be in public,
which often draws in nationalist sentiment and creates an environment
conducive for bilateral relations to worsen.
Rahimullah Yusufzai observed: The fact that Turkey is the lone
Islamic country that is member of NATO and has diplomatic and defence
ties with Israel makes it perfectly acceptable to the US and its western
allies to mediate between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two countries which
would determine the success or failure of Americas war on terror.
Turkey also has its own interests in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the
region Firms from Turkey have won lucrative reconstruction projects in
war-ravaged Afghanistan and the security of Turkish engineers and workers
in the dangerous southern and western Afghan provinces has been a matter
of concern for Ankara in view of the ever-present threat of Taliban guerrilla
attacks against foreigners.
More summits would be held toward the end of 2007 or early 2008 as
a follow-up of the April 2007 meeting between leaders of three countries.
The declaration highlighted the commitment of the Afghan and Pakistani
governments to fight terrorism and deny sanctuaries, training and financing
the terrorists.
The Ankara Declaration is primarily a document aimed at
increasing cooperation between Kabul and Islamabad to militarily solve
the Taliban-linked problem of militancy and extremism. Non-state forces
such as the Taliban have no time for such declarations because they feel their
viewpoint isnt being heard. It is for Kabul, as well as the US, to decide how
best to incorporate the genuine aspirations of Afghans who feel alienated and


After the border clashes, The News wrote, at the moment, it seems
that all the parties concerned are keener on blaming each other rather than
finding a solution However unfortunate these events, Pakistani troops
cannot let intruders come frolicking into their territory. Such instances will
continue to happen if Kabul is not willing to accept certain ground
realities and respect the border. First, it needs to realize that it cannot
solve things unilaterally and that it will need to negotiate with Pakistan if it
wants problems solved. Secondly, its demands are only subjective in nature
Pakistan is in no way obliged to accept them.
The newspaper also commented on suicide attack in Peshawar.
Following the devastating suicide attack in Peshawar on Tuesday the
question that needs to be answered is whether this is retaliation for
Mullah Dadullahs death late last week at the hands of NATO and Afghan
forces in southern Afghanistan. One can understand reaction by a senior
government official and interior ministry spokesman who dismissed out of
hand any links between the suicide blast and Dadullahs death (though
NWFP officials had earlier said that there may well be a link). This is
because the government and correctly so wants to remind its many
critics that the Taliban operate mainly in Afghanistan.
The interior ministry official was quite categorical: he said that the
only thing he could say was that Dadullah died in Afghanistan and that the
Pakistan government did not provide any intelligence that led to his
elimination. However, he went on to add that whatever was happening in
Pakistan was the result of the governments campaign against extremism and
terrorism and linked to what was happening in the tribal areas and across the
border. It seems that the official, while partially contradicting himself, was
trying to lay the blame on Kabul and perhaps imply that it was fallout of the
recent Pakistan-Afghanistan tensions on their borders. This has to do with,
as seen from Islamabads vantage point, the increasing Indian presence
in Afghanistan
The government official is contradicting himself because it is
common knowledge that the Taliban and their sympathizers have taken to
terrorizing Pakistan population and that the tactic commonly used is to send
brainwashed recruits on deadly suicide bombing missions.
Coming on the heels of another suicide attack in Charsada just a
couple of weeks ago, Tuesdays bombing is not obviously good news for the
country. These two are in addition to several that occurred in the country last

year, none of which have been solved. Of course the police and the
investigating agencies have a job to do but the only way that this curse of
suicide attacks can be removed in the longer term is for Islamabad to
rethink several important facets of its foreign policy given that the
Indian presence in Afghanistan cannot be simply wished away.
More than five years of dedicated service has failed in quashing the
prejudices of the Crusaders. The world was reminded of the existence of
dirty bomb through a dossier. The government procured a copy of the
dossier Nuclear Black Market: Pakistan, A Q Khan and the Rise of
Proliferation Networks a document prepared by International Institute of
Strategic Studies made available to the media on 2nd May.
The editor of the IISS dossier on Dr A Q Khan claimed that Pakistan
might still be involved in illicit trading and smuggling to procure equipment
from black markets to run its nuclear plan. He said many questions still
remained unanswered. Dr Khan had revealed during investigations that all
army chiefs since Zia knew his activities.
The dossier also said that if anyone could be titled as the father pf
Pakistani bomb, it was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on the political side and Munir
Ahmed Khan on technical side. It also revealed that Rafsanjani had sought
the consent of Benazir to execute a $6 billion deal with General Aslam Baig
for purchase of nuclear technology.
On 1st May, Bush Administration designated three groups as foreign
militants; Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Laskar-e-Tayyiba.
During first week of June, Bush wanted more open society in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament adopted the controversial Kashmir
report; Pakistan reacted cautiously. Foreign Office said EU cant undo UN
resolutions on Kashmir. In fact, these resolutions have been rendered
redundant without undoing them.
Shireen M Mazari commented: It will serve little purpose to undergo
a rigorous self-confessional path and go beyond international legal
commitments in terms of giving across to our old equipment and so on since
we will always be targeted on the nuclear issue and Dr Khan when we are to
be pressured by the US and its allies and there is no ally more devout than
Blairs Britain. Sure enough, despite all our protestations and
accommodation to international demands on the proliferation issue,
periodically the Dr Khan factor and its suspected linkages to state

functionaries and institutions comes up. This despite the US itself now
having contravened its NPT obligations by signing the civilian deal with
India. Meanwhile, we continue to accommodate some more; but that will
only raise the ante against us since our nuclear assets sit uncomfortably
with the West.
Take the recently released IISS publication from London, entitled
Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A Q Khan and the rise of proliferation
networks. The title itself shows the political bias built into the study.
After all, the insinuation is that it was Pakistan and Dr Khan that gave birth
to the proliferation networks and nuclear black market.
It is too bad that the IISS is exploiting its research and academic
credibility to do what is primarily a highly biased, political work targeting
Pakistan, with a few sections only devoted to the global problem of
proliferation. While Israel is barely cited as a state that was acquiring
clandestine nuclear technology much before Pakistan even got into the
game, India is also spared despite its known proliferation record in terms of
Iran, Iraq and its own programme.
The major part of the IISS study is more a project on Pakistans
nuclear programme, various estimates relating to the number of nukes it
possesses, details of countrys nuclear installations and so on. Yet the IISS
claims that the subject of this study is not a single country but the global
problem of proliferation networks and nuclear black markets.
Worse follows with claims that Dr Khan and Pakistan got off
lightly. Given that the State of Pakistan was not the proliferators, unlike the
State of India or France or the US, why should it be penalized on any count
in the context of nuclear proliferation especially since in any case Pakistan
has never been a party to the NPT nor has it been asked to join the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG)?
Clearly, the dossier seeks to have Pakistan pressured into giving
the West direct access to Dr Khan. In fact that is one of the options it
suggests. So it is time Pakistan declared, with no ambiguity, that the issue is
definitively over once for all. Nor is that all that is being sought from
The question is why we continue to be excessively open and
accommodative to outsiders on sensitive issues? Worse still, our leaders


are ever ready to make statements, which have tremendous repercussions on

the well-being of the country per se rather than any particular government.
Take the latest statement of Ms Bhutto When will we ever learn?
Rabia Akhtar wrote, Khans activities were those of an individual in
charge of a scientific organization in a state that was not a member of NPT,
and therefore was not in violation of international law (p.102, IISS Dossier).
This statement is the highlight of the latest dossier on Pakistan and the A
Q Khan network and the ensuing proliferation activities.
As a state actor, Pakistan has been trying to say exactly the same
thing to the rest of the world but coming from western source and that too
from an independent think tank like UK-based IISS, I believe it lends itself
more credibility because somehow the people in Pakistan and abroad have a
tendency of dispelling Pakistani sources of information especially when it is
the official stance on issues such as that of AQKs nuclear proliferation
The opening statement of my article is not the only statement in this
dossier that talks of AQKs independent activities as a proliferators on the
loose; rather there are numerous occasions whereby it is reiterated that there
is no evidence of state involvement with his acts of proliferation to DPRK,
Iran and Libya which can thus be verified.
Towards the end, the dossier applauds the reforms in great detail
launched by Pakistan in the wake of the damage it had suffered at the
hands of the AQK network, particularly NCA (with SPD as its secretariat)
regulating the export controls, developing command and control structure
and ensuring the security and safety of Pakistani nuclear assets. The effort
Pakistan has undertaken to project itself as a responsible nuclear weapons
state can be summed up by saying that Pakistans openness in explaining its
command and control structure goes beyond the practice adopted by most
other nuclear capable states. The professionals in these strategic
organizations working day and night to fight the blames set atone by the
AQK network, demand our respect and trust.
Alex Stolar criticized Musharraf for avoiding the hard choices. With
each bombing, President Musharrafs vision of an enlightened and moderate
Pakistan seems more illusive. The unraveling of Musharrafs vision of
enlightened moderation was not unpredictable. For far too long, Musharraf
has avoided making hard choices on the most pressing problems which

confront Pakistan on madressah reform, militancy in Kashmir, the

resurgence of Taliban, and democracy.
Musharraf is now entering a critical period and he faces very
difficult choices about his future and the future of Pakistan. While most
alarmist predictions about the security of Pakistans nuclear weapons are
unlikely to materialize, instability is likely to increase unless Musharraf
redirects the Pakistani ship of state.

Composite dialogue did not prove even as useful as coffee house
chats. Pakistan continued making unilateral moves. On 7 th May, Kasuri said
Pakistan has suggested setting up a Zone of Peace at the Siachen Glacier.
Ten days later, Indo-Pak talks on Sir Creek began in Islamabad. On 18 th
May, both countries agreed to hold more negotiations on the issue.
Pakistan also continued taking unilateral CBMs. On 10th May, it
allowed import of Indian cotton via Wagah. The most bizarre confidence
building measure pertained to arrival of a delegation of Indians in Pakistan
to search for Indian soldiers missing since 1971 war.
They had photo session at jails in Lahore and Karachi displaying
photos of their kiths and kins languishing in Pakistani jails. At Karachi Altaf
Bhais followers helped the visitors in their search. After finding no one in
these jails, the visitors wanted to search jails run by army and wanted to
meet Musharraf Bhai, who had allowed them this opportunity.
Acts negative to confidence building were in plenty as usual.
Pakistani Hindus visiting India tore their passports and raised anti-Musharraf
slogans. On 1st May, Islamabad asked New Delhi to provide particulars of
the protesters who had alleged that authorities in Pakistan were putting
pressure on them to change their religion. Other events worth mention were
as under:
India alleged and Pakistan denied 7th May the existence of any
terrorists training camp in AJK.
India Army started maneouvres in Jalundhar area on 8th May. Next
day, India test-fired nuclear capable missile. At least nine people were

killed in bomb blast in Makkah Mosque of Hyderabad city in central

India on 18th May. Police killed three more and wounded 32 when
Muslims protested the terrorist attack. Fingers were raised toward
On 1st June, India told Sri Lanka not to buy arms from Pakistan and
China. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said Pakistan wont
accept Indian hegemony.
As India continued work on Kishan Ganga and Uri-2 hydel projects,
Pakistan requested on 4th June for stoppage of the construction.
On 9th June, Manmohan Singh ruled out the long awaited visit to
Pakistan in the near future.
India was able to consolidate occupation of Kashmir, nevertheless,
perpetration of state terrorism continued:
On 4th May, police opened fire at Kashmiris protesting the damage to
the mosque and injured several people.
Indian forces were accused of turning a mosque into army camp.
Fifteen people were injured when Indian troops thrashed civilians in
Hindwara on 7th May.
Ten persons were killed in different clashes in the Valley on 9 th May.
Three days later, a human rights group in IHK said it has received
3,600 cases of rights abuses by Indian troops.
Three Kashmiris were killed by Indian occupation forces in separate
incidents on 15th May. A week later, six people were killed in clashes.
One Indian soldier was killed in gunfight in IHK on 26 th May. Four
days later, six Kashmiris were killed by Indian occupation forces; one
Indian soldier was shot dead by his comrade.
On 1st June, three policemen and eight suspected Kashmiri fighters
were killed in various incidents. An Indian soldier was killed by his
colleague in Poonch area on 5th June.


Kashmiri leaders were rendered a non-entity, but they continued

incoherent chanting for resolution of Kashmir dispute. On 3 rd May, Sardar
Qayyum at the end of nine-day yatra of New Delhi informed the newsmen
that Musharraf has dismantled militants training camps in AJK.
On 13th May, Gilani accused India of conspiring to change the
demography of IHK. Three days later, Kasuri said Pakistan was engaged in
the confidence building measures to raise the comfort level of Kashmiris.
On 27th May, Chief Minister of IHK said cut in Indian troops was unlikely.
The News commented on the bomb blast in Hyderabad. Its a shame
that every time a bomb explodes inside India, Pakistan and its intelligence
agencies or outfits on this side of the border get blamed for it. Days after the
massive bomb blast at Hyderabads main mosque and the violent reaction of
the Andhra police to Muslim protesters, investigators, according to several
Indian newspaper reports, seem to have assumed a Pakistani connection.
Unfortunately, this is hardly the way to go about solving a crime,
especially one as heinous and tragic as this one. It shatters the myth of
Indias much-vaunted secularism and shows that in many cases, certain
political parties, state governments and law-enforcement agencies hold a
deeply communal mistrust and hatred of minorities, especially Muslims.
This mistrust comes out especially in times such as this because how else
does one blame the Andhra police shooting dead five Muslim protesters,
after the bombing took place. What the state government needs to do is heed
the call of the Muslims by ensuring that Muslims are not arrested without
any plausible reason as part of the investigation.
Wouldnt it be more likely that a virulently anti-Muslim group like
the VHP, RSS or the Bajrang Dal is behind all this viol