Scene unforgettable and unpardonable (March 11, 2007)
(The picture was published in the Urdu daily, Nawai Waqt)
It was the height of state brutality. On his way to the Supreme Court of
Pakistan, Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was
manhandled by the police and the intelligence agencies. The main culprit
and instigator was the then Chief of Army and President, General Pervaiz
The picture proved a mover-and-shaker and consequently jolted the
conscience of civil society. The picture is also important because it showed
the daring act of the photographer to take the picture from the proximity.
Thereafter, both civil society and the media joined hands to support
lawyers in their movement for the restoration of the judiciary. The chief
justice along with his family was put under house arrest by the state
authorities. By so doing, the state showed its shameless face to Pakistanis.
The chief justice contested his case at the Supreme Court through his
counsel Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and got restored on July 31, 2007. The
restoration order was issued by Justice Ramday.
But the story did not end there. General Musharraf wanted to hold the slot
of the president for another term. Consequently, on November 03, 2007,
General Musharraf imposed the second martial law of his tenure, arrested
(and later put on house arrest) the judges of the Supreme Court (who had
issued an order nullifying the PCO of General Musharraf) and gaged the
media. Resultantly, the second phase of the lawyers' movement began.
In March 2009, owing to the Long March spearheaded by the lawyer
community and backed by civil society and the media, Iftikhar Muhammad
Chaudhry was restored as the Chief Justice of Pakistan with all honour and
grace. General Musharraf had to flee from the country and he sought
refuge in the UK. People's will triumphed and the coercive arm of the state
bent for ever.
During the crisis, the role of Justice Ramday cannot be overlooked. He
deserves the credit for intelligent handling of the situation.
The advertisement appeared in the Urdu daily Nawai Waqt on 27.08.08 in its
Lahore edition and on 28.08.08 in its Islamabad edition. The daily deserves the
credit for being bold and courageous and for projecting aspirations of people to let
build opinion in favour of an independent judiciary.