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Nov 29th, 2007

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The Emergency Times Quote of the Day
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

Students welcome removal of Uniform but stress restoration of Judiciary
Members of the LUMS Student Movement welcome President Musharraf's long-awaited move of removing his military uniform. However, they stress that this does not detract from the main issue which has mobilized such a storm of opposition to the regime's actions in recent weeks; the primary issue continues to be the restoration of the legitimate judiciary as it was before November 3rd, 2007. The Judiciary's independence and sovereignty is the fundamental right and demand of the people of Pakistan. The students express the hope that the removal of President Musharraf's uniform is not merely a cosmetic overture and marks a real change of attitude in the government towards beginning a genuine process of lessening the degree to which the military is entrenched within the affairs of the executive and affecting a real separation between the judicial, executive and military institutions of the regime. Students' protests in defense of the judiciary will continue unabated.

Retired Senior Officers urge Musharraf to step down as President
A group of retired senior officers from the armed forces, including several Lt -Generals and Major Generals urged General Musharraf on Tuesday, to step down, not only as the Army Chief but as the President of Pakistan as well. They called on him to restore the constitution, revoke the PCO, withdraw media curbs, reinstate the pre-emergency judiciary and release political detainees. In their joint statement, they also said that since the President had admitted in an interview to performing an illegal act on the 3rd of November, he had lost all moral and legal authority to retain his position. They further stated that he was responsible for bringing the Armed Forces into disrepute. The statement contained the signatures of Air Marshall (Retd) Noor Khan, Admiral Fasih Bokhari, Air Chief Marshall Pervez Mehdi, Air Vice-Marshall Abbas Mirza, Lt-Gen Talat Masood, Lt-Gen Asad Durrani, Lt-Gen Ali Kuli Khan, Lt-Gen Naeem Akbar, Lt-Gen Jamshed Gulzar Kiani, LtGen Ghulam Mustafa, Maj-Gen Saeed Ahmed, Maj-Gen Rizwan Qureshi, Maj-Gen Pervez Akmal, Maj-Gen Ziaullah Khan, Air Commodore Aurangzeb Azim, Brig Shaukat Qadir, Col Ahsan Siddiqui, Capt Naeem Sarfaraz, Capt Safir Mallal and Commander Mumtaz Fazal Naqshbandi.

Student Action Committee Lahore urges boycott of elections
The following is a letter from the Student Action Committee Lahore to the country’s political parties on participation in the upcoming elections: To the leadership of the APDM, PML-N, PPP and PTI, The students of over 15 universities and institutes of Lahore have united to form the Student Action Committee, Lahore. We are also collaborating with the Student Action Committees of Islamabad and Peshawar. Together, we call to you at a time when the nation is required to unite. The institutions of the state have been maligned again and we, the students, have united to oppose their blatant subversion. In the absence of organized structures, it has taken us a while to unite, but united we stand to ensure that our country has a future. Our voices were raised and, then, attempted to be muffled from the first day following Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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Nov 29th, 2007

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the emergency but we have remained steadfast in the face of mounting pressures and we request you to do the same. Collectively, we have demanded the lifting of Martial Law, the reinstatement of the judiciary, the restoration of the constitution, the freedom of the media and the release of protest prisoners before we can even consider the upcoming election to be free and fair. Therefore, we have collectively agreed that unless the aforementioned are undertaken, we shall advocate a complete boycott of the elections and attempt to mount a movement for the fulfillment of this struggle. This letter is a call to you with a single agenda – a boycott of the scheduled elections – for we must lend no legitimacy to any course that the present executive takes to justify the imposition of martial law against the judiciary and the citizenry of Pakistan. Therefore, in this appeal to your party leadership, we call upon you to stand by your own manifest cause – the restoration of democratic rule to Pakistan. What is vital today is that we stand together for the judiciary, who had begun to take the first steps to uphold our constitution. The restoration of the judiciary to its position as of the 2nd of November 2007 must be a pre-condition before extending any degree of participation in the electoral process. These elections are a slight to democracy and all its advocates. Therefore, we make this call to your alliance to stand steadfast for once: for we have oft seen you waver since your creation. We need our political leaders to stand together for the cause that they have oft championed. If you do stand steadfast and withdraw from the upcoming mockery (the elections) then we do promise that we will do our utmost to stand by you in protest and, perhaps, even, stand ahead of you for this country, in our united struggle for the institution of true democracy in the country. Our task is simple and needs no elaboration: the restoration of people’s rule to the citizens of Pakistan. If, indeed, you be ready to stand by the people of this nation, then, we shall commend you and respect you and struggle alongside you for the sake of our future. However, if you too give in to the imperatives of short term power then unfortunately, you too shall stand as an affront to our cause. We, the humble students of the universities and institutions of Lahore, hereby, call upon you to boycott the upcoming election as candidates and as political parties. We shall call upon the people to do so in our capacity as (inshallah) the next generation of Pakistan. We hope that in doing so we can collectively mount a campaign that may change the currently teetering course of our nation. In anticipation of principles, The Student Action Committee, Lahore

Between Despair and Hope
Rasul Bakhsh Rais What would define chaos better than a swift reconstitution of the judiciary, imposition of Emergency rule and holding the Constitution in abeyance? This institutional chaos has pushed the elections as an issue to the margins of political debate. Why would anyone consider elections under the conditions described above as sincere, credible, free and fair? After eight years of Musharraf- centred politics, we see some signs of change in the politics of Pakistan. The first major change that will redefine politics issues, alignments and the political process in the coming weeks and months is the announcement that General Musharraf is going to take off his military uniform on Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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November 29 and get himself sworn in as a civilian president. Many a times before, pledges, declarations and commitments were not honoured. Therefore, there should be a bit of caution while accepting that the final episode of General Musharraf's career is about to begin. The moment it happens, the dynamics of Pakistani politics will greatly change, and that will be a very positive development for the country. It would mark the beginning of a major political transition. The indications of such a transition are apparent: Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, two leaders the General despised the most and kept out of the country for nearly a decade, have returned. What made General Musharraf and the ruling clique rethink their position on the leaders of the two major political parties? Not a sudden change of heart about democracy and constitutional rule, but a sudden loss of moral authority, because otherwise, Musharraf was and is Chief of the Army Staff and the 'elected president' who has the support of three major political groups that were ready to follow his political direction. The General has come to realise that between March 9 and November 3, he placed his own ambitions above Pakistan, its vital institutions and norms of governance. While this inversion of priorities was apparent to even the dullest of political minds, the General was adamant that all his thoughts and actions were guided only by considerations for Pakistan's security, stability and prosperity. The people of Pakistan accepted him without questioning the legitimacy of his military takeover and all institutions, including the Supreme Court of Pakistan, extended him whatever support he needed to fulfil his pledge of guiding Pakistan to genuine democracy and improving the economy. Contrary to popular expectations, his politics was based on the familiar thought that politicians can be bought for a bargain. Musharraf's every political move, including allying with some of the most corrupt politicians in the country and rigging elections, proved beyond any doubt that he did not represent the forces of social and political change but was quite comfortable with the herd as long as he was the shepherd. In Pakistan's cyclical history, there is a strange pattern where every military ruler undermines his position by committing blunder upon blunder even before the opposition forces do anything to him. Mr Sharif's return to Pakistan, despite regular threats that he would not be allowed into the country before completing the term of his exile and last ditch efforts by the regime to stop him, tells a great deal about how much the Musharraf's government has weakened. Emergency rule is the only armour protecting his dangerously exposed political flanks. But even that has hardly served its purpose. Everything that Musharraf has attempted since March 9 has backfired badly. Pakistan is in serious trouble today with a lot of uncertain, unstable and even chaotic situations. What would define chaos better than a swift reconstitution of the judiciary, imposition of Emergency rule and holding the Constitution in abeyance? This institutional chaos has pushed the elections as an issue to the margins of political debate. Why would anyone consider elections under the conditions described above as sincere, credible, free and fair? There is now an increased possibility of more political parties boycotting the elections with the return of Sharif, who considers Musharraf to be the mother and father of all of Pakistan's problems. He has presented a charter of demands that will be difficult for the Musharraf government to accept, including the General's removal from power. If Sharif decides to stay out of the elections, even if Bhutto participates, the polls will have no integrity at all. Also, the return of the two old political rivals is not a precursor of a major change in the politics of Pakistan, other than perhaps ousting Musharraf, and even that has serious question marks attached to it. While there are ample reasons for the lack of trust and confidence in mainstream political parties whose leaders have little regard for democracy within their own parties, in the objective conditions of the country, they can be the Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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only medium of political transition in the traditional sense of politics. It is not clear whether their ascendancy in the post-Musharraf era will be the beginning of a major political transition in the structural sense. It could be more of the same old wine in new bottles. The real indications of change and hope are in the new social movement of the students, media, lawyers and intelligentsia. It is not about conventional politics and leaders with their ambitions and deals. It is about the basics of Pakistani politics and society that need to be defined in the vastly changed national and global climate. There is a realisation that simply changing political horses who have been tried before will not help Pakistani society modernise and progress. Structural change with respect to the independence of judiciary, constitutionalism, rule of law and fundamental freedoms including, most importantly, the media, will gradually move society in that direction. The sentiment and capacity of the new social forces, and their willingness to accept suffering for the cause of true democracy and civility in politics is as mesmerising as its courage and youthfulness. Musharraf, despite a good start, lost moral power and influence because he failed to go with the forces of change and elected to rely on politicians of questionable integrity. The fate of two other leaders, each tried twice in the past, may be no different if they don't embrace the ideal of the new social movement, which wants real change and is willing to fight for as long as it takes. This is the true sign of hope. The author is a professor of Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He can be reached at rasul@lums.edu.pk

Picture from GEO Peace Initiative, Karachi

Protests scheduled for today
Lawyers are organizing their 'House IJLAS' on Thursday, 29th November at 10:30 a.m at Kiyani Hall, inside Lahore High Court. Collective protest against Sham elections at 2.30 pm on 29th at Nawaz Sharif Park outside APDM moot.

Student Action Committee Lahore stages first Protest
Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com

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The Student Action Committee, Lahore staged their first protest on Tuesday. Around 70 students gathered outside the Lahore Press Club at around 2 PM. Student representatives from FAST, NCA, PU, LUMS, LGS, BNU, UCL and a few other institutes were present at the gathering. Assembling on the footpath outside the Press Club, the students distributed pamphlets and raised slogans against the varied aspects of the Emergency situation. They later joined the GEO protest outside the Jang offices and raised slogans in unison with the lawyers and journalists, calling for the reinstatement of the judiciary and freeing of the media.

Disclaimer: This publication is not affiliated with or does not endorse any political party or social group. It is a humble effort to inspire and make aware- for we together can make a difference in these troubled times. Write to us at theemergencytimes@gmail.com. Our online version is on pakistanmartiallaw.blogspot.com