ISLAMABAD: A senior Supreme Court lawyer Athar Minallah wrote a letter to US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte urging him to take notice of “the draconian proclamation of November 3, 2007 targeted two segments of the society, the judiciary and the media.” He also appealed Negroponte to at least meet and hear the representatives of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Pakistan Bar Council as it would be in the best interest of US and Pakistan.
The letter written to Negroponte via US Embassy in Islamabad, said that the proclamation of martial law had the sole purpose of attacking and annihilating the Independence of the Judiciary.
In his letter, Minallah said that the lawyers community and judiciary struggling for a democratic Pakistan under the Rule of Law and the supremacy of the Constitution. The prime goal of the leaders of this struggle has always been to effectively fight extremism and terrorism which is in the interest of the people of Pakistan and its future.
Unfortunately the very forces in Pakistan who are determined to fight extremism and terrorism have become victims of the war on terror, he said. “Committed people like Aitizaz Ahsan, Muneer A Malik, Ali Ahmed Kurd, Tariq Mehmud and thousands of others remain incarcerated, harassed, tortured and kept in solitary confinement merely for struggling for true democracy in Pakistan under the Rule of Law so as to fight extremism and terrorism,” he mentioned.
He further wrote that Chief Justice and Judges remain under arrest along with their families, including a physically challenged child, in total disregard to the international commitments such as the Universal Human Rights Charter. This would surely be of concern to the people and government of the USA given the high value they place on democracy, civil liberties and human rights, he added.
Minallah said that United States would appreciate that without an Independent Judiciary and the support of the moderate and liberal forces in Pakistan, true democracy and an effective war on terror would not be possible. “Whilst General Pervaiz Musharraf has incarcerated the liberal and moderate forces since November 3, 2007 and has suppressed the media and press, he has made allegations and stated reasons for the imposition of Martial Law which are not only patently false and incorrect but a fraud on the international community as well,” he apprised the US Deputy Secretary in the letter.
Minallah further elaborated in his letter, “In the past the people of Pakistan have suffered and continue to suffer on account of the lack of support and understanding from various US Administrations, with the most obvious example being the unflinching support to General Zia ul Haq the architect of extremism and terrorism in this country. “We hope the same will not be repeated and instead the US Administration would at least make an effort to understand the situation and have a greater trust and confidence in the People of Pakistan rather than the dictators.”
Now that it is no more a secret that Mr. John Negroponte is deeply involved in the domestic and internal matters of Pakistan and is scheduled to meet different players involved in the crisis, it would be in the interest of US and Pakistan to at least meet and hear the representatives of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Pakistan Bar Council, the letter concluded.-SANA