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Sunday, 15 June 2008

Taking a Closer Look at the Lawyer's Movement

Written on Monday 09/06/08
@
Rawalpindi, Punjab - Pakistan

Continuing with my indulgence over the net, it does occur to me that I must catch up on my reading. I've been a profuse reader on current affairs and history, particularly so since entering the field of journalism in 2001: that has taken a back-seat of late. There is just so much commotion; in my mind, between politicians, amongst lawyers, within intelligence circles, from the media and anybody else in this country who has more than 2 'pennies' to rub together.

That precludes most people in this country, not that they matter....or do they?

The actions of the majority 'with' suggests that those 'without' don't have a prayer. Prices of essentials have rocketed so high that many 'normal' people, dare not venture out of their homes; empty pockets and hot weather can be a lethal if not fatal mixture.

Can the 'Lawyer's Movement', embodied by the call to re-instate Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudary, bring justice to that 'normal' man or woman? That man who, if his blood brother were to be killed, would have to perform 'miracles' just to ensure that his local police would register a case. That woman who, if she were raped, would have to share her 'soul' with many before judicial action was even contemplated.

The Pakistani people have a tendency to veer towards emotion, stretching out for that crest of a wave. However, every silver lining has thus far, not lived up to it's promise. Be it, the 1965 war with India, winning the cricket world cup in 1992 or going nuclear in 1998.

1965 was followed by the 1971 debacle over East Pakistan; political/economic/cultural neglection and imposition got it's reprieve in the shape of Bangladesh. 1992 was followed by Bangalore 1996, where the key component of the 1992 victory and stalwart of 21 years, Javed Miandad was forced to field on the boundary in his last appearance, huffing and puffing out any chance of him avoiding a run-out later in the evening and thus, denying Pakistan a fair chance of victory. 1998's jubilation on becoming the first Muslim country to go nuclear was followed by the humiliation of 2001's "Do you wanna go back to the Stone Age", (I'm paraphrasing a certain American official's alleged threat to Musharraf that year).

Is the lawyer's movement yet another machiavellian manoeuvre conjured up by idle minds or is it a genuine, sustained effort littered with sacrifice and drive to give the 'normal' Pakistani easily accessible, transparent justice?

I must confess, the events since March of last year have consistently surprised me. I do wish, for the sake of Pakistan as well as the world that the latter proves true.

On that day when Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudary sat amongst those four rabid generals; what would have gone through his mind?
"Why don't I just oblige these guys and do what every chief justice before me has done? I'm alone here, who'd support me if I didn't oblige? What would happen to my family if the threats I'm being confronted with were to ensue?

He deserves massive credit for standing up and being counted. Persisting with the 'tricky' issue of missing persons, used as fodder by the agencies in the 'War on Terror', insistence on the steel mill issue and taking up cases for the downtrodden, the nation owes him kudos.

'Justice Choudary' as some now fondly refer to him, has stepped on many a powerful toe, Pakistani as well as foreign.

Let's hope against hope and hope that this lawyer's movement, at the very least, mitigates the established tendency of Pakistan's glorious moments to provoke a mightier misery.

The Pakistani public is desperately in search of relief: From Musharraf, from a pliant judiciary, from the American government's political and military influence, for crying out loud.

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